Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

POST 666: THE DEVIL THAT WALKS AMONG US-A LIFELONG LOVE AFFAIR WITH MICHAEL MYERS

Six more days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Six more days til Halloween, SILVER SHAMROCK!  Today embarks on a cliche horror day, as this will be the six hundred and sixty sixth post on Day of the Woman.  Rather than go the predictable route and write about something religious (since I've already covered it), I chose a more personal topic: The devil that walks among us.  Michael Myers is hands down my favorite of the main slashers.  Despite the recent reboot of the franchise, my heart has always remained in the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois.  As the holiday of his namesake peeks its head around the hedges, it's only fitting that I finally fess up and admit my love for the Shatner faced shape.   

My earliest recollection embarking the emotionless maniac was after my fifth Halloween, the first trick or treating experience I can consciously remember.  I had spent the evening running around the neighborhood dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West and cackling at children in the street.  Even as a kindergartner, I was a big crusader for remaining in character.  After the night was overtaken with hooligans intent on smashing pumpkins and stealing children from unsupervised toddlers, I managed my way back into the front door with my pillowcase filled with sugar dragging behind me.  The living room was dim and my mother sat with a wine glass in hand with her face glued to the television.  Exhausted, my dad picked up my (at the time) two year old sister and retired for the remainder of the night.  I poured out my conquests into the middle of the living room and began organizing the horde (something I would do every year following).  After the chocolates were separated from the sour, my mother extended a makeup remover wipe to me and simply said "Come here, I want to show you something". 

I climbed on top of the couch and snuggled into my mother's embrace.  The film began to roll, and I don't think I blinked the entire duration of the film. It was as if some sort of supernatural force had taken a hold of my psyche and forced my eyes wide A Clockwork Orange style without any contraption to hold them open.  I sat on the couch paralyzed and my mother just looked down at me and said "So, what'd you think?"  I turned to look back up at her and at full conviction exclaimed "THAT WAS THE COOLEST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN!"

Years would go by and my infatuation with The Shape grew to an almost unhealthy level.  I found myself renting the films as much as humanly possible and shutting down my entire evening if AMC were to play it on television.  There was an instance one Halloween where a teenager wore a Michael Myers costume and just stood silently in the middle of the street.  I couldn't walk down the block if I saw him there.  For as scared as I was, I couldn't help but hope that I'd see him at the end of the road whenever I turned a corner. 

Maybe it is the preference he has for murdering people in the comfort of their own home, or the fact he shows absolutely no signs of struggle or weakness while he does it.  Michael is the embodiment of pure evil and he makes it his goal to assure that you're aware of it.  He doesn't need one-liners or a slew of imaginative means of torture to destroy his victims.  He slashes, and he dashes...and yet makes sure his victims feel every single second slip away.  He's not just a serial killer, he's a cruel personification of malevolence.  To top it all off...he can't die.  It doesn't matter what anyone does to him, he can not die.  If anything, that's the scariest part of him all.  Michael Myers is the epitome of a horror icon and has been a staple in my little horror pumping heart.  Here's to you, Michael Myers for your successful career causing nightmares, surviving any and every challenger, and making a name for yourself as the perfect example of a Halloween slasher. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORROR MOVIE?

A number of horror movies have been released as of late to panned reviews from critics and low box office numbers.  It has been suggested that mainstream horror has lost its way and it seems as if we're only another remake away from destroying any cinematic credibility we once had.  This is focusing solely on mainstream horror for simplicity's sake.  If I were to open the can of worms and include indie/underground films/films with limited releases, we'd be splitting hairs.  Regardless, mainstream horror has been perpetually insulting not only genre fans, but audiences for far too long and it's gotten a little out of control.  So, I pose this question-what makes a good horror movie?  We sit here and talk about how horror films are going downhill, and yet we aren't making any arguments as to how to fix something.  If you are going to complain about a problem, make sure you have an answer to fix the dilemma.  With help from those that gave input through the Day of the Woman facebook page, here's a base on what it is that makes a good horror film. 
ATMOSPHERE
Within five minutes of posing the question on facebook, I was overwhelmed with requests that a good horror film contain "atmosphere".  When a horror film rests on the instant gratification of a jump scare, it doesn't allow the audience member to slip themselves into the world of the film.  Bertolt Brecht made a name for himself creating performances that were made specifically to distance the audience from what was on stage.  While this practice may work for certain art forms, horror films are not one of them.  If you want a horror film to truly invade the consciousness of an audience and show its strength through standing hairs and goosebumps, the atmosphere is going to play a pivotal role in the success of creating fear.
PLOT
One of the main attributes that horror films appear to be omitting is a strong plot.  It appears that most horror films are being created with the sole purpose to shock or frighten, and the storyline holding the film together seems to receive the least amount of focus.  While a killer, monster, madman, or event can be terrifying, it will be hindered dramatically if there isn't a plot to support the actions.  Thanks to M. Night Shyamalan, horror films have also been placing a greater emphasis on developing an impacting ending, rather than a concise vision throughout the entire duration.  This is leaving the audience without a feeling of fulfillment and irritation caused by the holes left behind.  
ACTORS THAT CAN ACT
As a student finishing up a degree in theatre performance, there is nothing more disappointing than sitting through a horror film and knowing an actor/actress was cast purely on their appearance or their reputation rather than their talent.  Horror films are notorious for giving many well known performers their "big break" or their first chance at a feature film, and yet it has only been as of late that we've been seeing more and more people pop up in horror films that shouldn't have ever made it past an audition reel.  We've focused so much of our energy into their physical appearance which only works in the realm of one-sheets and promotional material.  If you want a successful film, you need talented performers.  I hate to say it, but sometimes...people really are just a pretty face.
SCORE
Underscoring has been proven to either make or break an experience.  The sounds of screaming violins and breathing in the darkness have haunted the nightmares of movie goers for as long as sound has been implemented into film.  The score of a horror film is one of the most fundamental components of a production and yet one of the most overlooked.  Mainstream horror films have seemed to make it their goal to incorporate popular music into their scenes in order to create a more identifiable experience for audience members seeing it directly after the release, but that unfortunately goes out the window once the film is no longer the flavor of the week.  There have been far too many instances in which I've watched a mainstream film from the 1990's and was completely thrown off by the music choices.  However, the score for a film like Suspiria or Psycho will remain timeless and will continue to frighten audiences regardless of generation. 
PACING
If I have to be the one to say it, I will.  Horror films today are moving far too fast.  There's a popular theory that drama moves slowly, comedy moves quickly, and horror movies slowly but finishes quickly.  Insert "that's what she said" jokes as you please.  We has humans have been forced into this hustle and bustle way of life and our horror films have begun to follow suit.  If anything, we need to slow the films down if only to contrast to the way that we function.  If we slow the films down, it will help to create an unusual experience for the audience as it will be a way of moving that we aren't used to.  Filmmakers are often times unsure on how to pace a film and then the payoff hasn't been worth the ride.  You have to pace yourself with everything in this world, (running, relationships, sex, eating)  and this includes films.  
A BALANCE OF BLOOD AND GORE
For the love of all things holy, can we PLEASE stop making films with gore for gore's sake?  Seriously.  Just because a filmmaker decides to blow half of the budget on buckets of blood or gets a little trigger happy with CGI, that doesn't mean a good horror film is going to come from it.  Eli Roth and the SAW franchise are perfect examples of how concentrating too hard on gore can cause the overall film quality to suffer.  Seriously.  I'll take a bloodless film over a sixty-five person human centipede any day. 
BELIEVABILITY
Now, listen to me with care when I say that believability doesn't necessarily mean realistic.  Many classic horror films with fantastic (meaning fantasy, not "cool") aspects of the world around that are still able to remain believable are frequently the films that appear to be the most chilling.  If an audience member is equipped with the tools to subject themselves to the world of the film, the experience will then become all the more horrifying.  If the film isn't believable, the audience member will no longer be able to relate to the situation at hand, and therefore will more than likely find a way to avoid the intended fear. 



NOTE: I am in no way all knowing, this is purely opinion based.  Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section of this article

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grzegorz Domaradzki's Night of the Living Dead

For the past six months, Grzegorz Domaradzki has been slaving away at creating one of the most breathtaking images paying homage to George A. Romero's masterpiece.  

Limited to only 250 prints, this original screen print can be yours if your heart so desires it. 

Maybe you're not big on color, he also has a silver/glow-in-the-dark variant that is limited to only 100 prints.

If you're interested, you can purchase this beautifully crafted poster by visiting:


As a special bonus, if you type in
"DAYOFWOMAN" 
upon check-out, 
you will receive 15% off!

Monday, October 10, 2011

BJ-C'S BIGGEST HORROR GUILTY PLEASURES

The always fabulous Christine Hadden over at Fascination With Fear is spending her October putting her compulsive list-making to good use.  Every day in October, she's putting up a list.  Seriously. Every. Freaking. Day. Welp, yesterday she posted a list dedicated to nine of her biggest guilty pleasures.  She's inspired me to analyze my own guilty pleasures, and I'm going to pass the savings on to you!  Without further ado, here's my personal list of my biggest guilty pleasures.
THE HAPPENING
The movie with killer plants, the movie where Mark E. Mark talks to a fake tree, the movie where Zooey Deschanel does nothing but STARE for 2 hours wait, that's every thing she's ever done, and the movie that put the nail in the coffin on M. Night Shamalahymen's credibility.  On paper, this is quite possibly one of the worst films of the last ten years.  The premise had so much promise, but the ill-timed comic relief, poor casting choices, and misguided vision of the director bit everyone involved in the ass.  It just didn't work.  Well, for most people.  I happen to find this film hilarious and I could watch it all day, every day if only to watch Abigail Breslin's less talented brother try to go gangster on a door.  Sue me. I like what I like and I like this movie.
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE
So, remember that time Stephen King tried to direct the film version of one of his films and made the soundtrack comprised of nothing but AC/DC music and gave the guy from Mighty Ducks a huge romantic/heroic lead role?  Yeah...me too.  This film is ridiculous, pure and utter chaos, and I can't get enough of it.  I mean, THERE'S A VENDING MACHINE THAT TRIES TO KILL YOU! How can you not get behind a film like that?  Oh yeah, because the voice of Lisa Simpson spends 90% of the film screaming "Curtis" while wearing an outfit she stole from Blossom's closet.
BRUISER
You know what?  I don't care that George A. Romero tried to make films that weren't about zombies.  I freaking love this film.  I love it so much, I wrote a love letter to the protagonist for Romero Week over at Freddy In Space.  Get off me, I like it.
 RAWHEAD REX
Clive Barker characters are usually very hit or miss for most people.  The general consensus seems to be that Rawhead Rex was a miss.  A pagan God gets a little cranky and destroys everything in its path, and it looks...like that.  There's ridiculous gore. It's Irish. I like the accents. Deal with it.
MONSTER MAN
What could possibly be worse than waking up in the middle of a sexual fantasy only to find out you're actually eating out the wound of road kill?  Nothing, except the fact that I proudly own this monstrosity on DVD. I guess this is cheating considered I have a hell of a lot of sentimental value tied to this film.  This film is ridiculous in every sense of the word, and the music sounds like something left over from a failed Disney Channel series.  Despite all of its glaring issues, I could watch this film anytime, anywhere.

Okay, I'm going to cut myself off at 5 before I destroy any more of my credibility. 
Peace, Love, & Brains <3


Thursday, October 6, 2011

CAESAR AND OTTO'S SUMMER CAMP MASSACRE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE

It was nearly two years ago when I first introduced Day of the Woman readers to the gospel of Caesar and Otto brought to you by Fourth Horizon Cinema and the mind of Dave Campfield.  This B-Movie to end all B-Movies has since spawned its own youtube channel and quite a stir amongst cult horror fans everywhere.  Not only was this film the return of Felissa Rose in another summer camp film, but it also delivered us a hilarious look at the acting/directing chops of Dave Campfield.  I am now pleased to announce that Caesar and Otto's Summer Camp Massacre can now be yours!  You too can enjoy the blood and fun by purchasing your own copy of the DVD, which is now available on both the film's official website, and Amazon.  If you're into silly horror films with absurd situations and buddy-style tag team friendships, then this is the film for you.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IF YOU LIKED ______ YOU'LL LOVE ______

Now that Halloween has been peeking its little head around the corner, it's also become the time where I find myself bombarded with friends asking for movie recommendations for the frightful nights to come.  If I'm being completely honest, I've discovered something ridiculous.  My friends are cowards.  Seriously! Instead of trusting my judgement and recommendations, I'm stuck listening to "Well...I really liked ________ do you know anything like that?"  Most of the ________ films are usually some mainstream garbage cranked out by Anchor Bay and I am left shaking my head and trying to plead with them to watch something else.  So now...I present you SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
If you liked PROM NIGHT, you'll love THE LOVED ONES
I still haven't been able to wrap my finger around it, but there's an overwhelming amount of the collegiate population that found themselves scared by the remake of Prom Night.  Apparently, they can easily identify with how teenagers treat Senior Prom like some monumental event in their lives that they believe will actually matter in ten years.  Oh well.  Australians have been really picking up their game when it comes to horror, and they further proved it in 2009 with The Loved Ones.  While not as much of a party filled prom as the Brittany Snow edition, this film shows what happens when you turn down an invitation from the quiet girl at school.  Spoiler Alert: Don't decline invitations from the quiet girls at school. They don't take it well...
If you liked TWILIGHT, you'll love NEAR DARK
Okay, I'm sort of stretching it on this one considering most Twi-hards have some sort of brain damage.  If I'm going to rat on how much Twatlight blows, I should at least be able to combat their obsession with a proper horror equivalent.  Near Dark is exactly what Twilight would be if Stephenie Meyer understood vampire folklore, wasn't Mormon, and had the talent to write a decent storyline.  A vampire love story of epic proportions, this film is jam packed with fabulous one-liners, vampires BURNING in the sunlight, and a test to see how far someone is willing to go for love.
If you liked THE RING, you'll love A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
I don't know why, but Americans really have some sort of issue with creepy dark haired women.  While vastly different from The Ring, this South Korean import deals with tragic deaths within a family and the horrifying events that take place shortly after.  The film has beautiful imagery, some unsettling nightmare scenes, and a pretty decent amount of spookiness paired with an eerily wonderful score.  Seriously, trust me on this one.
If you liked CABIN FEVER, you'll love SPLINTER
Eli Roth did to shaving your legs what JAWS did to swimming in the ocean.  I see his flesh eating bacteria and raise him a "Thing-esque" plague.  Overlooked gross-out film Splinter has moments that genuinely made me squeal out of my seat.  Ladies and Germs, that doesn't happen very often.  Without spoiling it, there is one in particular that got an audible reaction out of me.  Watch it, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
 If you liked SAW, you'll love DREAD
Okay, there's no madman hell-bent on teaching lessons and there's no unnecessary gore.  The torture in this film is far more cruel than anything Jigsaw could concoct.  Think of what you're most afraid of.  I mean, really REALLY afraid of.  Now think about someone using that against you to the nth degree for no other reason than to ruin your life.  Add that to the uber sexy Jason Rathbone, and you've got yourself a movie.

Like these lists?  Let me know and I'll be sure to create more of them for you.  Comment with suggestions and I'll be sure to crank out more through the month of October!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

GPOY

For all of you n00bs out there, GPOY stands for "gratuitous picture of yourself".  In tumblr world, you put GPOY under anything that remotely reminds you of yourself.  For example, if I saw a picture of a small rodent shoving acorns into its cheeks while I was shoveling Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls into my mouth, I would reblog the photo and tag it "GPOY".  It also can be used literally, when you post an actual picture of yourself.  Why the hell am I rambling on about this?  Because I want you to be my friend on tumblr!  I've had a couple of people ask if I have one, and I do!
Follow me on tumblr!

On another note, one of my professors was selling his collection of nearly 2000 titles for only $4.50 a pop.  Needless to say, I scooped up some of the good ones.  He had a ton more that I would love to add to my collection, but these four seemed like a necessity.  Don't shoot me, but I really didn't own my own copy of any of these films.  Now that I have them, I am a much much happier person. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HALLOWEEN!

Oh darlings, hello. I've been away from a computer for a while and have been surviving off of mobile devices for a bit.  Long story short, I'm back.  As October has reared its beautiful little noggin, it's time to bring back an old favorite.  Image lists! A while ago I would post "things I like to do" and use an image from a horror movie to describe it.  I'm going to (attempt to) post every day for the rest of October just to keep everyone in the festive mood.  I once posted a video blog about the things I hated about Halloween, and it was so well received, I made a sequel to it.  To combat those video blogs, I would like to present to you an image list of the things I LOVE about Halloween.
THE FACT SHOVELING MY FACE WITH CANDY WILL BE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE
DOGS IN COSTUMES
SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF MY BABY SISTER
PUTTING ON COSTUME MAKEUP
THE FREAKS THAT COME OUT AT NIGHT
NIGHTMARES
SEEING THE EXORCIST PLAYED ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN TIMES
HAUNTED HOUSES
 COSTUME PARTIES
JACK-O-LANTERNS
THE RETURN OF THE WALKING DEAD!!!
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