Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Shocktober Days 18, 19, 20, 21 & 22

#18- Demon seed (1977)

Back In the olden days of the 20th century, the fear of technology was a significant one if one which is now in hindsight laughable. The fears of what the 21st century might bring, and whether the computers would even take the new four digit number at all. Anyhow, these fears of the technological future ran through the media, case in point Demon Seed, a film which concerns a computer system impregnating a young woman...yum.

 Despite technophobia being more a past fear, that said, in very recent years where technology has taken giant leaps forward this film is actually highly relevant to today's society, suggesting a certain cinematic longevity. It's good then that Demon Seed is actually a great film aswell then, I mean it takes its time here and there, but eventually it comes round and slaps you round the head.

Reminiscent of 2001 a space odysseys infamous HAL computer system, Demon Seed's computer system, Proteus , soon goes out of the creators control, taking charge of the whole house and perhaps a little stupidly an electrical wheelchair with added metal arms and hands. Whilst it may not reach the insidiousness of HAL, Proteus certainly gives it a good shot, projecting a similarly formal tone and dark intentions.

As the film draws to a close it brings up some very telling points about the relationship between man and machine and perhaps how we could easily go too far. Demon seeds good fun and is a refreshing example of an old horror still being relevant and scary in today's society.

8/10- Sci-fi tech meets disturbing body horror.

#19- In Fear (2013)

In Fear is a small British horror released last year which sadly few people saw, cus yu know it ain't too bad, especially in comparison to the blockbuster horror which emerges from Hollywood.

Going for the more minimalist approach to horror, In Fear tries to tap in to the universal fear of being lost, in the dark, in a place which is almost supernaturally deceiving your own mind. The story is very simple revolving around a young couple on their way to a hotel in the country which they ultimately find very hard to find. They get lost, day turns to night and horror ensues when it appears someone is following them.

The issue with minimalistic horror is simply that something has to be happening constantly to keep the audience on the edge of their seats whilst they await the next tease of information, you want to show them little, but you've got to show them something, it's all about the careful building of tension. In Fear for the most part does this quite well as the viewer feels like the 3rd passenger, trying to decipher the route themselves as we watch a situation plenty of people can relate to and would dread to be in.

As said the tension builds nicely and the acting is just good enough to hold you in your seat, withholding your disbelief. The only real issues come from the films conclusion in which it felt like the film-maker really didn't know what to do, so instead put some vague, mediocre ending in which doesn't really quench the thirst of viewers, nor  horror fans.

An ending can be deciphered from the rubble, it's just a shame that the story didn't culminate into something far more eerie.

6.5/10- Don't drive

#20- VHS 2 (2013)

I din't think much of the first VHS film but for some reason the rest of the horror world did, and as small groups of superfans began emerging, a sequel became inevitable. Weirdly enough though the positives and negatives i found with the first film almost identically match the positives and negatives of the sequel.

The concept is original, perhaps explaining its minor popularity, with both films concerning the uncovering of an abandoned house with a room filled with cassette tapes, in which if 4 (or so) are played in order, some kookie shit will happen. Thus we get an anthology of short horror films, which is quite a nice idea. That said however there is one really obvious issue with this in relation to the quality of the final film, with 1 or 2 of the short films being really good and the other 2, rubbish, leaving you clueless. This was exactly the issue with the first film, and as I previously mentioned those issues are present in the 2nd film too, that said the quality of the films has definitely increased.

The best film concerns a group of film-makers who go and investigate a cult, only to find out their fucking nutters, with peculiar supernatural beliefs. Directed by Gareth Edwards, the mind behind the Raid films, this film is superior in every way to its competitors, boasting realistic yet gruesome practical effects within a short story so mysteriously disturbing it creeps under your skin.

The bad films aren't even worth talking about, so I won't really talk about them. Ones about a guy who gets a new eye, its pretty boring, cliché and tame. Ugh there just so similar to stuff we've seen before.

VHS 2, grated it better than the original but that's no mean feat, the challenge the series needs to face is to find a quality group of short films and clump em together, not just to accept rubbish and put it next to tasty goods.

6.5/10- Better than the first but that ain't hard.

#21- Wolf Creek (2005) 

So if you google this film, it'll come up with a handful of stinking reviews, but there's someone out there, or more accurately a group of people who seem to think this films gold-dust. It isn't. It's shit.

The film follows a group of teens (which is refreshing and original) backpacking in the Australian outback, but as they become stranded a shifty looking man offers them a ride back to his (you'd be rude not to accept) and they have a trip down shitcreek. Wolf Creek is like a huge culmination of loads of clichés, from gory torture porn to stupid teenagers doing stupid things, to weird fat men doing weird fat man things. It's just far too bland really, there's no meat to chew on, nothing to get you hooked to your seat, just a stereotypical story of horror.

That said, the film is fine, it's not awful, it's just in few ways original. One or two scenes are relatively effective but ultimately you can only see so many stupid characters doing stupid things until you just give up.

The worst thing about the film is that damn subtitle 'based on a true story' a phrase so vague, I'm sure you could slap it on any film. Oh and the second one's just come out on DVD...

5/10- Lacks seasoning.

#22- Braindead (1992)

So this is Peter Jackson before he went mainstream, so arguably Peter Jackson in his purest form, tied down to no one but his own creative limitations. And Peter Jackson without any creative limitations is clearly one messed up son of a gun.

Braindead's weird. It's a really weird film. The definition of black comedy, Braindead follows the story of lets say a 'mummy's boy'living with his mother in a large mansion, but when her fate crosses with a monkey with a deadly virus the house gets messy. She quickly descends into sickness, and visually disgusting sickness as her skin peels, her ears fall off, etc. etc. you can see where I'm going with this.

Braindead is truly disgusting, with pussy blood flying in all directions once shit gets out of hand, nothing is too much for Peter Jackson. A kickarse priest is brought onto the scene as well as a zombie baby whom the protagonist takes on a walk in the park to hilarious is bizarre results. With this disgusting action Braindead is subsequently a whole load of fun mixing deadpan humour with vile practical effects and constant violence.

Why Peter Jackson is most well known for his contributions to mainstream cinema, I will never know, with only his Lord Of The Rings series being any good. The lovely bones for example, is not lovely. Braindead (and his previous film Bad Taste) feel special, they feel cared about and that's what Jackson is missing today, he lacks the heart and passion which he clearly possessed in this film. Braindead is limitless fun filled with limitless guts, gore and laughs.

8/10- Jackson at his best.

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