31 December 2012

Happy New Year - with "NEW YEAR'S EVIL"

NEW YEAR'S EVIL

German Titles:
Rocknacht des Grauens / Teuflisches Neujahr


USA, 1980
Director: Emmett Alston

6,5/10







Far from being a brutal gorefest or a uber-memorable slasher-flick, but definitely one of the most inventive, most unique holiday-themed horror movies of the 80s: "New Year's Evil", a groovy little gem about an extremely creative killer who's announcing on a call-in live New Year's new wave rock show that he's gonna commit a murder everytime the clock strikes twelve in each time zone!! Helluva plan, huh?


Emmett Alston, director of rubbish like "Demonwarp" and various silly Ninja flicks, created a silly but wonderfully enjoyable movie that is definitely better than its general reputation. It has some serious pacing flaws in the second half, the kills could have been much gorier and the resolution is just lame, but besides that, "New Year's Evil" is just cool.

As I mentioned above, the killer is creative as hell. His plan is outrageous, he kills his victims in different ways (stabbing, strangulating...) and he even uses various disguises (doctor, priest, businessman...).
I've never heard of the two performing new wave/hardrock/punk rock bands, but I admit, I totally enjoyed their music, especially Shadow's title song "New Year's Evil", and "Dumb Blondes" from Made In Japan.



The characters are all fun and the acting is decent, especially the performances of Kip Niven ("Magnum Force") as killer, Roz Kelly ("Full Moon High") as TV host, Taaffe O'Connell ("Galaxy Of Terror") as super-hot nurse and Alicia Dhanifu as cool rasta girl.

Not interested in New Year's parties and stuff? Stay at home and watch this flick. You'll have a fun evening, I promise :)

Wiki ~ Imdb

Maynard says:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :D

29 December 2012

Best Non-Horror Films 2012

Believe it or not: next to all the horror-insanity, I also find the time to watch films that are NOT horror! ;D Here are my faves of this year + fave music!
(Best and Worst Horror next year)


Maynard's Top 16
Best Non-Horror Films 2012

16.
Benh Zeitlin's
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
USA, 2012

You gotta love a film that takes place in a place called "Bathtub" and features a main character called "Hushpuppy" :-)


15.
Roman Polanski's
CARNAGE
France / Germany / Poland / Spain, 2011

80 minutes of Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly in one room, having a total blast! Fun!



14.
Brandon Trost & Jason Trost's
THE FP
USA, 2011

Undoubtedly the best "semi-post-apocalyptic dance-platform video-game" movie ever made!



13.
Óskar Thór Axelsson's
BLACK'S GAME
Iceland, 2012

One of the coolest, most shocking, most kick-ass gangster-thrillers I've seen in a very, very long time. Iceland rocks!



12.
Peter Berg's
BATTLESHIP
USA, 2012

Most underrated movie of the year. "Battleship" is so fucking badass, I still don't understand all the hate.



11.
Simon Curtis'
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
UK / USA, 2011

Absolutely excellent quasi-biopic with an uber-cute Michelle Williams who is actually even more beautiful than Marilyn himself!



10.
Josh Trank's
CHRONICLE
USA, 2012

Who needs PA4 or V/H/S when you can have "Chronicle", definitely the best found footage movie of 2012.



9.
Gary Ross'
THE HUNGER GAMES
USA, 2012

Epic, action-packed and extremely entertaining. The biggest cinematic surprise I've had all year. Shockingly good!



8.
Markus Schleinzer's
MICHAEL
Austria, 2011

The most depressing movie of 2012. So dark, so unpleasant, so disturbing, it almost makes you forget about "Funny Games" and stuff.


7.
Julian Pölsler's
DIE WAND (=The Wall)
Austria / Germany, 2012

One of the most impressive book adaptations of the last 20 years or so. The book is a masterpiece, and the film is also a masterpiece.


6.
Bobcat Goldthwait's
GOD BLESS AMERICA
USA, 2012

Probably one of the most important American movies ever made. So full of truth and lies and violence and fun and awesomeness! Yay!


5.
Peter Jackson's
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
USA / New Zealand, 2012

Almost as great as the LOTR trilogy, lightyears better than the underwhelming "King Kong" and the forgettable "Lovely Bones". Peter Jackson is back!!


4.
Tomas Alfredson's
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
UK / France / Germany, 2011

Almost as amazing as Alfredson's previous masterpiece "Let The Right One In", and Gary Oldman is so awesome, he almost makes you forget about Léon... almost! :)


3.
Michael Haneke's
AMOUR
Austria / France / Germany, 2012

It's a fact: Michael Haneke is incapable of making a bad movie. "Amour" is completely different from his previous films, but it's once again a masterpiece!


2.
Alexander Payne's
THE DESCENDANTS
USA, 2011

One of the most touching movies I've ever seen. I was a crying and shivering wreck when the credits rolled. George Clooney, I love you!


1.
Christopher Nolan's
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
USA / UK, 2012

Who would have thought that TDKR could be even better than TDK? TDKR is so fucking mindblowing, I'm still shocked. The best Batman film there is, there was and there ever will be. Nuff said.


Honorable Mentions:
Flukt / Tai Chi Zero / The Ides Of March



Best Albums:
1. 5 - Lamb
2. Noctourniquet - The Mars Volta
3. Of Breath And Bone - Be'lakor
4. The National Health - Maximo Park
5. The Light The Dead See - Soulsavers feat. Dave Gahan

Best Songs:
1. The National Health - Maximo Park
2. Hips And Lips - Maximo Park
3. Runaways - The Killers
4. The Power Of Rausch - Oliver Koletzki
5. Leathers - Deftones
6. Heaven (Nu:Tone Remix) - Emeli Sandé
7. In Parting - Be'lakor
8. Wings - Frittenbude
9. You As You Were - Shearwater
10. Lies - CHVRCHES
11. Sonnentanz - Klangkarussell
12. Sun - Two Door Cinema Club
13. Hollywood Forever Cemetery - Father John Misty
14. Songs für Liam - Kraftklub
15. What That Was - Majical Cloudz



28 December 2012

Best Short Films 2012

2012 was a really excellent year for short films. Got the chance to see many, many fabulous shorts. Here are the 12 (um, 13) I loved the most!

Maynard's Top 12
Best Horror / Horror-Related Short Films 2012

12.
Brian Lonano's
THE TRANSMISSION
USA, 2012

Highly amusing, cool-looking and very well made fun-chiller with cool effects.



11.

Wesley Skelly's
FOOTSTEPS
UK, 2011

Gripping, eerie and highly suspenseful Brit-slasher in the vein of John Carpenter and classic early 80s horror.




10.
Sam Toller's
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
UK, 2012

Bizarre but mesmerizing and highly atmospheric take on the zombie genre, powerful from start to finish.




9.
Mark Blitch's
CHESTER A. ARTHUR: SASQUATCH TRAINER
USA, 2012


Super-funny and hilariously entertaining fake-trailer, obviously WAY better that the terrible "Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".

8.
Marc Roussel's
REMOTE
Canada, 2010

Fascinating, complex and extremely clever time-travel chiller, full of awesome-looking gore and stunning actors.




7.
Colin Berry's
PRICK
Canada, 2011

Powerful and incredibly haunting little chiller, visually compelling, thought-provoking and with a deeply fascinating main character.


6.
Greg Hanson & Casey Regans's
THY KILL BE DONE
USA, 2010

Badass piece of oldschool grindhouse nunsploitation, incl. tons of violence, excellent dialogue and hilariously awesome characters.



5.
Jeremiah Kipp's
EASY PREY
USA, 2011

Complex and convoluted, but breathtaking, extremely thought-provoking and fabulously entertaining "mystery-comedy" with some amazing acting.

4.
Mandragoras' Production's
DROOL
USA, 2011

The short film I watched the most this year: a surreal and super-weird, unsettling and erotic experimental film that totally gobsmacked me.



3.
Dominik Hartl's
SPITZENDECKCHEN (German for: Lace doily)
Austria, 2012

Black-humored, superbly entertaining and somewhat unsettling little chiller, full of excellent special effects, fantastic make-up and brilliant actors.

2.
Patrick Rea's
WRONG NUMBER
USA, 2012

One of short-film-master Patrick Rea's absolute best works ever: a gripping and captivating little chiller with two amazing actresses and a kick-ass ending twist.



1.
Richard Powell's
FAMILIAR (Canada, 2011)
& WORM (Canada, 2010)

This year, nothing impressed me as much as Mr. Powell's two mindblowing short film masterpieces FAMILIAR (which I got to see as a screener AND on the big screen at the /SLASH Filmfestival)
and its companion piece WORM.

Both films are creepy, atmospheric and visually stunning, shocking and disturbing, and the performances of Robert Nolan are simply jaw-dropping.



Watch in Full Length:
Chester A. Arthur / Drool / Easy Prey / Footsteps / Prick / Thy Kill be Done / The Transmission / We Are What We Eat

Trailers:
Familiar / Remote / Spitzendeckchen

No trailer for "Worm", but you can find several clips from the film HERE
No trailer for "Wrong Number", but keep checking its Facebook page HERE


26 December 2012

P2

 P2

German Title:
P2 - Schreie im Parkhaus

USA, 2007
Director: Franck Khalfoun

7/10








December 2011 I watched tons of Christmas-themed horror films and provided my avid readers with shitloads of Christmas-reviews. This year, I wasn't exactly in the mood for Yuletide-slashing and apart from the lame "Silent Night" reboot, this was the only (kinda) christmassy film I've watched, though I admit, I only checked it out because of the involvement of director Franck Khalfoun, screenwriters Alexandre Aja & Grégory Levasseur, and cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, the masterminds behind the awesome remake of "Maniac".



"P2" is a creepy and enthralling cat-and-mouse game (taking place in a parking garage on Christmas eve), well-written, well-directed and very well produced, and it has almost everything I like in a horror movie: sympathetic and interesting characters, eerie and sinister settings, unexpected plot twists and a badass climax. The cinematography is stylish and intriguing, tomandandy's score is atmospheric and highly effective, the Christmas tunes are fabulous (Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby", Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas") and the editing is often really, really clever.

Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley deliver flawless powerhouse performances. Love Bentley's rage outbursts or the hilarious Elvis-playback-scene, though his character often feels a bit implausible.
There's lots of brilliant gore and violence (crushed head, broken fingernail), many extremely suspenseful scenes (opening scene, elevator flooding) and a cool Rottweiler attack.


It has a few pacing issues and several scenes in the second half should have been shorter, but overall, "P2" is a superbly entertaining tension-fest.

R.I.P. Charles Durning

Veteran actor Charles Durning passed away from natural causes at the age of 89.

To Horror fans, he is best known for his roles in the three Fred-Walton-directed horror-thrillers "When A Stranger Calls" (1980), its sequel "When A Stranger Calls Back" (1993) and "The Rosary Murders" (1987).
He also appeared in the Brian De Palma movies "Sisters" (1973) & "The Fury" (1978), the 80s classic "Dark Night Of The Scarecrow" (1981) and the Stephen King adaptation "Desperation" (2006).

His most memorable non-horror appearances include "The Sting", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Tootsie", "To Be Or Not To Be" and "Dick Tracy".

Rest in Peace, Charles Durning
1923 - 2012



24 December 2012

SILENT NIGHT (2012) + The SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT Pentalogy

 SILENT NIGHT

Canada / USA, 2012
Director: Steven C. Miller

4/10











Although I'm not a fan of Steven C. Miller, and although I'm not too fond of 80s-slasher remakes, I was pretty excited for this reimagining of Charles Sellier's christmas classic "Silent Night. Deadly Night" (see below). I loved all the stills and the poster artwork, the trailers were fun and goddammit, we don't get that many Christmas-themed horror flicks these days.

Unfortunately, Miller once again totally messed up: "Silent Night" is an unimaginative, soulless and completely forgettable Christmas lamefest without any chills or thrills, poorly developed, badly paced, predictable from start to finish, and it totally can't decide whether it wants to be a dark and brutal slasher, or just a silly horror comedy. Oh, and for the greater part, the movie looks kinda Instagrammy which doesn't help.


Wanna know why I love Christmas slashers like "Silent Night, Deadly Night", "Evil Christmas" or the "Black Christmas" remake so much? They all feature "humane killers", poor sods who suffer from a traumatic Christmas-incident and go nuts when Yuletide rolls around.
Here, it's just another masked non-character, running around, killing off one-dimensional, unlikable and incredibly annoying douchebags who've been a bit too naughty *yawn*

The blood (mostly practical) looks cool and the kills are fun, but apart from the badass woodchipper scene, there's no standout kills, which really, really sucks! I mean, I can remember almost any kill from flicks like "SNDN 1&2", "Santa's Slay" or "Don't Open Till Christmas", but I already forgot about every single kill featured here. Also, the nods to the original felt as odd and inept as the Alien-nods in "Prometheus".


The acting is so-so. Jaime King and Ellen Wong deliver solid performances, but actors like Eric J. Berg or Curtis Moore are just lame, and Malcolm McDowell... well, he already sucked in "Halloween II" or "Doomsday", but here he's just horrible. Time to retire, Alex!

The cinematography is ace (Joseph White, "Mother's Day"), the lighting is cool, the red/green-colored finale is pretty badass and there's also some super-hot nudity (Boobs!) - but this all doesn't save "Silent Night" from being just a piece of humbug. Ho, Ho... No.

Wiki ~ Imdb





- The "Silent Night, Deadly Night" Pentalogy -

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT

German Title:
Stille Nacht, Horror Nacht

USA, 1984
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.

8/10








Ho Ho Ho! Look, it's Billy and he's coming to punish you!
"Silent Night, Deadly Night", one of the most controversial and most hated movies of the 80s (Parents can be so annoying), yet one of the most popular slasher movies of all time and also my personal favorite Xmas flick. It's hilarious and highly entertaining from start to finish, but also quite surprisingly intelligent, a bit disturbing and even thought-provoking, especially in terms of controversial themes like child abuse, religious abuse, rape and childhood traumas.


It's packed with quirky and incredibly amusing characters, such as toy store owner Ira ("7 o'clock... it's over! Time to get shit-faced!"), the insane Grandpa ("You see Santa Claus tonight, you better run boy... you better run for your life!!"), Billy's mother ("Calm down. Grandpa's nothing but a crazy old fool."), 8 year old Billy ("Mommy, you shouldn't have said that. It's naughty to say bad things about old people. Santa Claus will punish you!"), the insensitive Mother Superior ("Punishment is absolute. Punishment is good."), the weaponed Santa ("31 bucks... merry fucking Christmas.") and of course 18 year old Billy as Santa on a killing spree ("NAUGHTY!!" / "PUNISH!!").

 
There's also lots of pretty gory kills (slit throats, hammer smashed faces and Linnea Quigley impaled on the antlers of an antelope head), lots of gorgeous nudity and a few pretty thrilling sequences - plus: the outstanding scene where Billy gives the little girl a Stanley knife as a present.
The script is neat, the pacing is really good, it's well-directed, well-shot and the intense soundtrack is extremely effective.

An absolutely fabulous Xmas bloodbath. Forget about "Home Alone" or "It's A Wonderful Life" - this is the one movie you need to watch every yuletide season ;-)




SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2

German Title:
Stille Nacht, Horror Nacht Teil 2 / Bloody New Christmas

USA, 1987
Director: Lee Harry

5,5/10







Hahaha, it's the infamous Part 2: on the one hand one of the worst and most flawed sequels ever made, on the other hand an uber-hilarious so-bad-it's-good-movie that totally entertains the crap out of me.

What's bad:
The first 40 minutes consist mostly of flashback footage of Part 1, which is boring, uninteresting and very, VERY annoying. The whole movie looks extremely cheap, the acting is absolutely atrocious, the plot is terrible and it's so full with illogical and incredibly stupid plot holes, it makes you wanna kill two-time director Lee Harry who was also responsible for the story and the screenplay.


What's good:
Eric Freeman as insane Ricky, the brother of Billy from Part 1 - one of the most untalented actors I've ever seen, yet his over-the-top performance is so unintentionally funny, I nearly die of laughter whenever I see him moving his magical eyebrows or saying crap like "Fuck off, Doc!", "Eat shit" and, of course, "GARBAGE DAY!", which became one of the most populat Internet memes of all time.
There are also some kick-ass kills (death by umbrella, death by jumper cable), the second half is pretty fast-paced, the soundtrack is pretty cool and there are at least a few mildly funny characters, such as the loudmouth in the theater ("Come on, start the movie! MO-VIE! MO-VIE!") or the dorky Chip (Ricky: "That's enough." - Chip: "Oh, it speaks! - Ricky: "I said... that's enough." - Chip: "That's what she said when I fucked her brains out on the backseat of old Red here.").

 
People who enjoy watching bad movies will love this - everyone else: stick to the first part.




SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 3: BETTER WATCH OUT!

Alternate Title:
Blind Terror

USA, 1989
Director: Monte Hellman

3/10







You better watch out, because Part 3 is a stale and tedious sequel that definitely won't satisfy you if you're a fan of the first 2 parts. It's nowhere near as entertaining or funny, and although it's nice to see that they tried to do something different, this part just ends up as some kinda poor imitation of similarly plotted movies like "Friday The 13th VII" or "Halloween 5".

 
It starts out pretty good with a cool-looking dream sequence, some nice gore and a hilarious joke from a drunken Santa (to the killer who's in a coma: "Hey vegetable, what's your favorite singer? Perry Coma?") but then after the first 20-25 minutes you realize quickly that the movie's goin' nowhere fast:
no tension or suspense, countless scenes where absolutely nothing happens, endlessly bland and boring dialogue sequences, some horrible acting performances (especially the uber-lame Eric DaRe) and the annoying fact that most of the kills are offscreen.


As to the rest, well: gorgeous one hit wonder Samantha Scully delivers a very good performance (though her character is pretty unlikable) and it's always nice to see Bill Moseley in a pre-Rob-Zombie-performance - sadly, his take on Ricky from Part 2 is unfunny and completely disappointing, and the fishbowl on his head just looks stupid.

Waste of money, waste of celluloid, waste of time.




SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 4: INITIATION

Alternate Titles:
Bugs / Initiation: Silent Night, Deadly Night IV

German Title:
Welcome To Hell - Das letzte Ritual

USA, 1990
Director: Brian Yuzna

1,5/10




I love the work of Brian Yuzna, especially of what he directed / wrote / produced in the 80s and 90s - except for this terrible, TERRIBLE sequel which has absolutely nothing to do with the first 3 parts.

The story about a quasi-lesbian witch circle, giant cockroaches and spontaneous combustion makes absolutely no sense, the script is a shoddy mess and Yuzna's direction feels just bland. The whole movie is boring as hell, most of the acting is mediocre and every single characters is plain annoying.


A nice cameo by Reggie 'Phantasm' Bannister and some nice-looking special effects (created by the one an only Screaming Mad George) - everything else about it is pure crap.




SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOY MAKER

German Title:
Toys - Tödliches Spielzeug

USA, 1991
Director: Martin Kitrosser

4/10








"The Toy Maker" - written and directed by Martin Kitrosser (who later became Tarantino's script supervisor!), co-written and produced by Brian Yuzna - is gladly better than the last 2 parts, but unfortunately also not as entertaining as the first 2 parts.


Pros:
There are lots of funny killer toys, such as plastic snakes, little robots, A Santa-Claus-shaped musical orb and "Larry the Larvae" who loves to gouge out eyes. The opening scene is highly thrilling, the last 20-25 minutes are pretty action-packed and the unpredictable Pinocchio-esque plot twist is just cool.

Cons:
There's hardly any tension or suspense, especially in the first half where the movie just drags and drags. The direction is weak, the script is lame, the dialogue is trite and the plot makes not much sense.
Most of the acting is pretty bad (William Thorne, one of the most annoying child actors I've ever seen), the soundtrack is extremely dull and the whole thing looks like a super-cheap TV movie.
Oh btw, it also has absolutely nothing to do with any of its predecessors.

 
If you want a good killer-toy-movie, watch "Dolls", "Child's Play" or "Demonic Toys" instead.
If you want a good Xmas horror movie, stick to the original "Silent Night, Deadly Night".

Wiki ~ Imdb

Maynard says:
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! :-)

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