Thursday, October 29, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bad Movie Society - Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

To anyone who asked on Thursday: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is loosely based on real-life killer Henry Lee Lucas. With that out of the way, I'll say that this movie was really good, and during one scene, painful to watch. Director John McNaughton did his best with the $110,000 budget to craft realistic murder scenes and hire capable actors. Though the film drifted into camp occasionally, the team pulled it together in the end. I particularly appreciated the aforementioned rape/ murder scene that occurs in a stranger's house. McNaughton knows what's uncomfortable and terrifying. By showing the scene through the lens of Henry's camera, we get to feel like voyeurs, observers of a snuff scene, pervs, and participants. Truly messed up.

Another highlight for me was the soundtrack. Industrial soundscapes with creepy synths and massive drums made for some of the best horror movie music I've heard in a long time. Next week, we'll be watching Suspiria, with soundtrack by "Goblin." Master horror-movie-watcher Chris ensures me that the soundtrack to Suspiria trumps all. We shall see.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bad Movie Society - Peeping Tom

I thought only students and teachers had Columbus Day off; I never knew postal workers did too! Unfortunately, that meant we couldn't watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer on Wednesday. Instead, we watched Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960). Too bad because it wasn't scary or even very engaging.

How was I supposed to know?! It got the Criterion treatment, and I heard critics refer to it as the British Psycho. In Peeping Tom, Mark (Karlheinz Bohm) gets his kicks by filming women, killing them, and then watching his footage. He connects with Helen (Anna Massey), but their connection cannot save him. He continues killing and spiraling out of control until the climactic end.

So voyeurism used to be scary, but it isn't anymore, or maybe I'm too much of a voyeur to have a proper perspective on the topic. This movie has no nudity, no gore, no hardened violence, and that's a problem. I've talked about the power of suggestion/ subtlety in horror movies before, but a few home movie clips of a tormented youth hardly build tension. If you remember back to Psycho, we know Norman is fucked because he's talking to his corpse-mom. All we know about Mark is that his childhood sucked, and now he likes to take home movies. Where I come from, people with this problem listen to Mineral or the rawest of black metal and pick up Livejournaling. The makers of this film should have put less stake in their philosophy books. My friend Chris, horror-movie fan numero uno, agrees. We talked about it at Cro-Mags a little before the Clockwork Orange theme kicked in.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bad Movie Society - Audition

If an American production company wants to remake Audition, they'll inevitably completely change the things that make Audition special. With a running time of just under two hours, Audition takes its time creating tension and atmosphere. Frankly, I don't think the American public would wait it out. Sucks for them, because the last forty minutes deliver on the promise of the beginning. The shocking violence makes us question whether we're watching the same movie at all. At the actual "audition," director Takashi Miike inserts a montage which plays out more like a Richard Gere romantic comedy than a horror film. Fortunately, he spares no expense at the end; our minds wander as Asami (Eihi Shiina) does unspeakable things to Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi). Maybe Miike had a small budget or a bad costuming/ effects department, because he keeps the end slightly classy by not showing the needles actually entering the nasal cavity. Just saying.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bad Movie Society - Night of the Living Dead

Last week, the BMS changed things up and didn't watch bad movies. Instead, we (meaning, me and Andrew) watched 1968's Night of the Living Dead. The lighting was surprisingly creepy considering the budget, and the acting was above-average considering the budget. Considering the budget, I'd say Night of the Living Dead was pretty good!

Let's get specific about what makes this movie fun/creepy. When Barbara's (Judith O'Dea) brother is killed by cemetery-zombies, she flees to a farmhouse. There, she runs into Ben (Duane Jones), a black guy who pretty much takes over as leader and only common sense-haver. Barbara gets all catatonic for the rest of the film. She wasn't attacked or infected, but she gets zombie-fied nonetheless. The horror lies not in the zombies outside, but in Barbara's zombie-like disposition. What's her problem, and what is she gonna do?

This is a problem a lot of modern horror movies have: no power of suggestion. George Romero, the director, lets us know that there's a zombie-child in the basement, but he never gives us a candid look; she's just a threat. Hell, we don't even get to see the zombies outside too much. The real terror lies in the boarding up of windows, the conversations people have about the child they know must be killed, and the bizarro-world in which a black guy can order around white people with success. Just kidding about the last one, but imagine what some moviegoers must have thought!

PS. An amazing sweatshirt.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Did you hear? Expired Youth - Demo

When Expired Youth broke up on April 17, 2007 (I'm looking at the last show shirt now, actually), it seemed like everyone who liked hardcore even a little bit came out. Such a fun time, but it ranks as my second-favorite time seeing them. The first was when they played Depaul with the Killer and some touring bands. They had the old lineup, considerably fewer fans, and a kickass demo.

And a good demo is really all a band needs to succeed at first. EY released a 7-inch on Think Fast! records, but I prefer the demo. Maybe it was a time-and-place thing, but that demo spent an entire winter in my car stereo. I can't remember the last time such a young band made that kind of impression on me.

Get it here!