Tuesday, January 31, 2012

HORROR ENTHUSIAST AND MAKEUP ARTIST ZACH SHILDWACHTER BRINGS OUT THE GRUESOME BEAUTY OF BJ-C

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with longtime friend and fellow horror nerd, Zach Shildwachter.  We had a horror filled extravaganza that included my taking his "Day of the Woman/I Spit On Your Grave" virginity, and the two of us enduring quite possibly the WORST film ever made (review to come soon).  It was definitely a weekend for the record books, but the biggest highlight was when Zach asked if I would be willing to be a model for some of his work.  Just look at that face, how could I say no?  Zach is also toying around the idea of auditioning for SyFy's FACE OFF (something he should totally do) and what kind of uber nerd would I be if I didn't help support the creative process?  Zach is an extremely talented makeup artist and his simplistic and organic approach was wonderful to watch and even nicer to experience. He's a righteous dude. Nuff said.


Below are the progress pictures of his hard work.


Now a while back, a little over 2 years ago, Zach visited our friends John Squires of FreddyInSpace.com with the legendary Kristy Jett and met the infamous Jesse Bartel. Over the course of the 4 Loko fueled weekend (read about it here) Zach somehow managed to Sharpie some spiffy website adverts on the chests of my compadres. Being all the way in Chicago and left out of said visit, I joked that she wanted the same treatment for this site. Zach was more than happy to pay me back for two year wait.
I'm also extremely stubborn and refused to take off the liquid latex the smart way. I should have listened to my makeup artist, he really does know best. In all seriousness, Zach is a dream to work with. He's very conscious of his model and understands that not every face is going to look the same as the stock ones you're given to practice with.  He's remarkably talented and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to sit for him.

I want to use some of the photos he did as part of my promotional package. 
If you have any favorites, comment with them below!

Check out Zach's other works on his site Awkward Creations
or 
Read his horror journalism over at The Blood Sprayer 
or
Creep on his personal life at his tumblr Off Color Commentary 

Monday, January 30, 2012

MAC ELDRIDGE'S BLOOD ON THE PLAIN IS FINALLY AVAILABLE

You may remember hearing about Water Cooler productions and up and coming filmmaker Mac Eldridge a few years back when their hit zombie short "Chemical 12-D" made its festival round.  With a keen eye for the aesthetics and a strong grasp on spinning the genre, Mac Eldridge and his crew easily took the horror short world by storm.  After a highly successful and international run, Mac was on a mission to create something very, very different.  Joining his efforts (along with his amazing production team) this time around was author/screenwriter Angel Esparza.  While 12-D was merely an unique look at the zombie genre, Water Cooler Production's newest horror flick is an animal of an entirely different breed.  I submit for your approval, Blood on the Plain.  Now, I say that this is an entirely different breed for more than just stylistic reasons.  You see, Mac and the gang are trying to achieve what every filmmaker would like to do.  The short film Blood on the Plain is (hopefully) a stepping stone into creating a feature film.  It is for this reason that the short is left VERY open ended.  You know when you watch a film and your reaction is "THAT'S IT?! I WANT TO SEE MORE!" Well, that is entirely the intention of the filmmakers, and they have manged to instil that sensation with ease. If you like the short and crave more, have hopes that someday they'll be able to turn this into a feature film.

The filmmakers themselves seem to to describe this best. "Part western. Part horror. Blood on the Plain is a self-aware pulp exploration of a town in the wake of tragedy. Following a savage massacre at the Wadsworth High School Homecoming Dance, the townspeople take up arms and—under the guidance of four seasoned trackers—set out in search of justice. It’s the marriage of fear and anger which fuels these efforts and ultimately signals their failure. Those who remain will be forced to square off with the assailants; a breed of man never before seen and born of a previous generation’s offense."  They managed to create a very delicate balance of the world of Westerns and pair it elegantly with all the things that create a great horror film.  Unlike 12-D, there's a hearty pile of gore smack dab in the middle and some well executed creatures sure to give you the heebie jeebies.  Cinematographer David Wagenaar has also improved dramatically since the last time we visited him and it only continues to prove that the minds behind Water Cooler productions are a force to be reckoned with. 

My only complaint about the film is the ending, but the reaction I had was exactly what the filmmakers wanted their audience to have.  It's not a "full story" the way their first big short was, but the film making and cinematography has grown exponentially over the past few years.  At the very least, it's a beautifully shot film, and it keeps me wanting more.  This really isn't a short film per se, it's just the epitome of a teaser.  This gives just enough insight to the story we aren't able to see due to time and budget restraints.  If you're able to watch the film with all of this in mind, you'll find yourself highly entertained and like myself, wanting more.  If you aren't able to separate yourself from its unconventional feel, you may feel a bit disappointed.  I won't lie to you, it feels a bit disjointed, but it is SUPPOSED to feel that way.  Either way, they've got a gorgeous creation on their hands and something entirely new in the horror genre.  Instead of whining about the latest remake, support indie filmmakers with, I don't know, AN ORIGINAL IDEA. :)
"But BJ-C, how ever will we see this film you've been talking up for the past few paragraphs?" Well my darlings, I will tell you.  For the low, low price of $3.99 you can download the short for yourself and enjoy twelve minutes of the future of horror film making by purchasing it from The Blood On The Plain Web Store.  Not into downloads? No worry. You can totally buy a DVD at the same website for only $10.00.  What may be the most interesting of the merchandise up for sale is the selling of movie frames.  This film was brought to life by Cinematographer David Wagenaar, and to showcase the cinematic beauty that Blood on the Plain has to offer, they have decided to capture each moment frame by frame, and make these frames available to YOU!  By purchasing these frames, (at only a dollar, mind you) you are helping fund their future projects like, a feature of this film mayhaps?
Blood On The Plain will hopefully be starting a festival run in the near future, and you should really be a part of it! Support up and coming horror and indie filmmakers, or the terrorists win.  
Watch the official trailer below!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FINAL DESTINATION 5: FROM GREEN SCREEN TO GRUESOME


Sorry I've been so MIA. I went back to school and classes are quite hectic. Add that to the fever I've been battling the last four days and we have an explanation.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SINCE WHEN DID BEING A HORROR FAN BECOME SUCH A PISSING CONTEST?


MEGAN IS MISSING: THE REAL LIFE HORROR OF INTERNET INTERACTIONS

THIS CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS.

There are few moments when a horror film possesses the ability to completely and utterly shake me to the core.  These films don't necessarily have to be of the caliber to win an Academy Award, they just need to deliver a message.  Michael Goi's indie, found footage film Megan Is Missing is one of the most unsettling films I've seen in years.  Now, let me elaborate on this premise.  When I say the film is "unsettling" I mean that in the sincerest sense of the word.  Given my young age, I do have frequent interactions with early teenage girls through pageantry, baton twirling, and baby sitting.  The fact of the matter is, today's teenage girls are trying to imitate the lives of college girls and early twenty year olds.  Girls as young as twelve are losing their virginity at birthday parties and drinking with high school students.  They're wearing makeup earlier and experimenting with drugs and alcohol barely after their first period.  The teenage girl of today...is a complete and total idiot with complete disregard for common sense based on the principle that "everyone else is doing it".  Talking to strangers on the internet is no exception. It is for that reason alone that Megan is Missing completely took me aback.

I'm not going to analyze this film on a technical level, because it would be a waste of my time.  The acting isn't great, it's "found footage", and yes, there is a ten minute scene of a man digging a hole. There you go, there's your "technical" review.  What needs to be dissected is the horrifying truth the film holds.  The parents of generation dotcom have lost their ability to parent.  Children have far too much freedom and aren't monitored to the extent that they need to be.  I've seen ten year old girls SEXTING boys in their classes.  I didn't get a cell phone until the summer before high school and the only calls I was able to make were to my parents and the police. Hell, I couldn't text until my junior year of high school.  Parents today don't know how to tell their children "no" and this is why so many of our kids are at risk.  Children are sexualized at a very young age and when you combine that with social networking and smart phones, they're destined for destruction.  This is the unfortunate truth of the way the world works and Megan is Missing helps to showcase that with the epitome of a worst case scenario.



The film follows the story of fourteen year old Megan Stewart and thirteen year old Amy Herman.  The two girls live the typical life of fourteen year olds in new millennium America.  The girls go out to parties they shouldn't be attending, they're popular with the boys at school, and they spend their nights getting their kicks by flirting with strangers from the Internet.  I'll be honest, at that age, I did the exact same thing.  Amy was abused as a child and it definitely set her on the path for self destruction. While many criticize the acting of this film. These girls did a pretty decent job showcasing the false sense of immortality that the modern teenager believes they have.  A little campy at times, but not to the point where it broke me out of the film.  Regardless, Megan and Amy soon meet a boy who calls himself "Josh" on the Internet and Megan makes plans to meet with him.  

While anyone with any common sense would be screaming "you idiot, you never meet people you've met in online chatrooms" you need to remember something...TEENAGERS ARE MORONS.  Megan seems to fulfill her plans to meet "Josh" and as the title says, she goes missing.  Amy becomes ridiculously upset and sets out on a campaign to find her.  Unfortunately for Amy, she finds "Josh" or rather, "Josh" finds her. The aftermath of this discovery is incredibly gruesome and grievously triggering.  


Michael Goi clearly did his homework on this one.  Although there are moments when it becomes a little obvious that the girls aren't actually fourteen, but if you can show me a set of parents who would sign off on their children to participate in this film (without being total stage parents), they'd probably lose their paternal rights.  There were moments in this film that honestly made me turn my head and close my eyes.  This film didn't scare me so much as completely break my heart.  It sickens me to know that the unfortunate truth of this film, is that this actually happens.  Michael Goi isn't some sadistic freak who fantasized this all up, he based his film off of seven different cases involving internet related kidnappings.  The script may not be the strongest ox on the cart, but it doesn't have to be.  The message of this film could be understood if the entire film was on mute. 

We've gotten too comfortable on the internet and have forgotten the dangers that lurk within.  Trolling has made it cool to be anonymous again and this is just presenting a watering hole filled with underage snatch with daddy issues just waiting to be picked off.  That may come off as insensitive, but it's the truth.  A huge issue many are having with the film is the fact Amy's parents allowed her to still use the internet and roam the streets with her camera unsupervised even after Megan's disappearance. I'd kindly like you all to revisit the case of Jessi Slaughter who even after receiving death threats from trolls on 4chan, her parents never once watched any of her asinine videos or took away her online privileges.  Wanna know what got her offline? A COURT ORDER.  Parents today just don't understand. They don't know how to PARENT.  This film is realistic in EVERY sense of the word. Maybe it's because I'm only twenty one years old, but I see this shit every day.  I always fear opening the paper because I'm awaiting the day when one of the girls I've watched grow up is under the missing persons. 



Now, this film isn't without its problems.  It's in no way a perfect film, but the last 22 minutes were so earth shattering, it completely overshadowed any of the film's pitfalls.  The film manages to creep under your skin and shows us the events the news never talks about.  It may seem a bit exploitative at times, but I honestly think that we've gotten to the point where we as a society NEED it to be.  Teenagers think they're invincible and are often times never held accountable for their actions.  They don't understand the risk they are putting themselves in.  The film does such a good job at making me never want to talk to anyone from the internet ever again that it was even endorsed by Marc Klass, founder of the KlaasKids Foundation to prevent crimes on children, and the father of Polly Hannah Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered.  This film isn't meant for everyone, and it's not a film that anyone should "enjoy".  I do, however, fully stand behind the filmmaker and his message for this film.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: CHLOE GRACE MORETZ

To the right of this text is the face of a girl that has been proving herself time and time again across numerous genres, but she got her start like most great actresses, in the world of horror.  At only fourteen years old, Chloë Grace Moretz has 39 acting roles to her name and was recently voted the "Favorite Movie Star Under 25" over the four main castmates of the Harry Potter films at the People's Choice Awards.  With her should be trademarked buxom lips and expressive eyes, Moretz has taken on (and completely owned) a vast majority of roles and showed her acting chops each and every time.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the new face of a screen starlet.  The difference between Moretz and most of the child actors in her age range, is that she possesses the acting talent to pass the puberty funk and transcend into a highly respected adult actress. Not many child stars can make the leap, but Chloë is well on her way to doing so.  She is highly respected for her decisions to play unconventional and challenging roles and even more so for portraying them with such prowess and elegance. However, we mustn't forget her roots. Let us take a journey back to where she got her start.

At only eight years old, Chloë Grace Moretz held her own alongside powerhouse performers Melissa George and Ryan Reynolds as the youngest of the Lutz children, Chelsea.  She may have won over audiences with her adorable little voice and big blue eyes, but it was her innate ability to convey innocence in the most horrific of circumstances that proved she was far more than a cute little girl.  Moretz's character was a beacon of supernatural activity and the sole individual able to see the ghostly little girl, Jodie.  She did her own stunts, her own screams, and easily gave the most believable of all of the performances in the remake.  Yes, Ryan Reynold's abs were shown up by an eight year old.

Fast forward a few years, and you can spot Moretz in the horror films Room 6, Wicked Little Things, Hallowed Ground, and The Eye.  It was in 2010 that Moretz earned herself a spot in the geeky fankid's hall of fame with her performance as "Hit-Girl" in the superhero flick, Kick-Ass. Adorable, mouthy, heavily armed, and highly combative, Moretz blew audiences away with her insane action moves and line delivery.  I'm sorry, but not every 11 year old can pull off the line "Show's over motherfuckers" while retaining some badassery.  Moretz did it with strength and conviction.  I've yet to see a superhero movie since the release of Kick-Ass showcase even a fraction of the impressive factor of Hit-Girl.

As one of the biggest self proclaimed fangirls of Let The Right One In, my heart broke when they announced the American remake in the works.  The only thing that kept me somewhat sane was knowing they had cast Moretz as my beloved Eli. A good friend of mine said it best, "the only problem with Let Me In is that Let The Right One In exists." I have to agree. Moretz may have been far too female and conventionally beautiful for Eli, but she acted the hell out of the role.  She gave a beautifully executed performance and deserves any and all praise given to her. She kept the heart of a character fans the world over cherish, and I admire her for staying true to something I hold so near and dear to my heart.

Ladies and Germs, this is what staying power looks like.  Now, I'm not about to be the one who says that many child stars rest solely on their cute looks and tiny voices, (I'm looking at you Fanning Sisters) but this is the real deal.  My only hope is that Chloë Grace Moretz never forgets what helped skyrocket her to the fame she has and keeps a loving relationship with the horror genre.  One of my biggest complaints about modern horror is the inability for anyone to cast an actress for something more than her face and body, and Chloë is the total package.  We as horror fans should be encouraging more casting decisions like this and maintain some clout within the film community by producing films with quality performances instead of relying on FX and jump scares.  She's got a bright future ahead of her and I cannot wait to see what else she comes up with.  Her next role in "our realm" will be in the Tim Burton gothic/myster film Dark Shadows out May of 2012.

THE WORST HORROR MOVIE ENDINGS...EVER.

It's one thing for someone to make a bad horror movie, it's another thing for them to completely insult the intelligence of the audience member and wait to suck until the final moments.  Bad endings are the equivalent to being left at the alter, or only having nine chicken nuggets in the box.  I understand that some films are screwed at the end due to time restraints or what have you...but bad endings are just the WORST.  If a film is bad from the get go, it's easy to just write the film off as a bad film and call it a day.  It seems that nothing strikes more anger into the hearts of film goers everywhere than when they've wasted the last two hours of their life only to be completely let down.  I hate to admit it, but I was one of those individuals who were recently struck by the tragic abduction by an overly hyped exorcism movie.  After being proverbially robbed by The Devil Inside, it has gotten me thinking of other times when horror films had me excited only to slap me across the face, knock the wind out of me, and steal my lunch money.  Surprisingly enough, there are a lot more than there should have been.

OBVIOUSLY. SPOILER ALERT.
OKAY? GOT IT?
YO, SHE-BITCH...LET'S GO.

STEPHEN KING'S: IT
Stephen King, the master of horror, has developed characters and stories that have haunted our dreams (as well as realities) for decades.  One of his most famous creature features, is the infamous Pennywise the Clown from IT.  This character is arguably what triggered the "clown phobia" epidemic that seems to have stricken people everywhere, and he gave children something far worse than possible molestation to fear when it comes to face painted creepy men at birthday parties twisting inflatable phalli.  The four hour long mini-series kept audiences compelled and horrified until...he turned into a giant five dollar puppet spider with a kryptonite of an earring in a slingshot and the clown's downfall is the smoke from a rescue inhaler.  Yes. The kid with ASTHMA saves the day.  Oh, and don't forget. If your wife is catatonic, pedal your bike REALLY fast. She'll come back. Promise.

THE DESCENT 2
The sequel to the highly regarded film, The Descent, held a lot of promise.  While the initial storyline of how they got the main character back into the cave was a little wonky, the action really picked up and the twist in the middle was unexpected but very welcomed.  It was the ending, however that forced me to locate a spatula to flip my angered jaw off of the floor.  The bumblefucking redneck that took our protagonist to the hospital in the beginning of the film has suddenly made a drastic character change and is now bludgeoning our sole survivor and throwing her back down the cave to be eaten by the dwellers within.  Wow. Unless he was some psychic who knew they were going to send her back into the cave with a new crew, he should have just thrown the bloody blonde back in and saved us the two hour disappointment.















INVADERS FROM MARS
Tobe Hooper...you should have known better. This film is such a mess to begin with.  Miscast actors, poor performances, lackluster plot points, and a terrible ending almost destroyed Tobe Hooper for me.  You'd think that the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was more than a one trick pony, but hot damn...this film was a nightmare.  I'm just going to spoil the hell out of it. IT WAS ALL A DREAM. Yep. You just sat through a child's fucking dream. You're welcome. I just saved you a few hours of an illegal download (since you schmucks don't pay for your movies anymore).
FRIDAY THE 13TH VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN
I am probably going to have to turn in my fangirl card when I admit that this is one of my favorite sequels.  I'm not a huge fan of the hockey clad killer to begin with, but this film just makes me giggle.  There are fewer things in this world that bring me greater joy than watching Kane Hodder tear apart the Big Apple.  Sue me.  However. Comma. The toxic sewer sludge of NYC has the power to turn adult Jason into drowned child Jason? Give me a break. What are you going to tell me next, he goes to space? Yeah right. Oh wait...
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
I fully endorse people to remake films that were problematic.  It's remaking classics that I have an issue with.  Wes Craven may be a household name in the horror world, but I'll be honest when I say that the original Last House On The Left wasn't really that great.  I appreciate the film for what it is and what it stands for, but if upon reviews...it's just a little hokey.  The music playing for the "bad guys" when they aren't doing bad things sounds like something out of a Three Stooges episode and I never really see the villains as a threat until they're actually killin' and rapin'.  I digress. I really, really enjoyed the remake. I found it to be a solid film and the story progressed quite nicely.  The last minute though...what the fuck? I mean. what the actual fuck was that? When they start driving off in the boat, TURN THE MOVIE OFF. You'll thank me later.

THE VILLAGE
M. Night Shyamalan made his money off of twist endings and desperately tried to milk that cash cow dry with the rest of his films. Too bad he couldn't ever recapture the magic he did with The Sixth Sense.  His obsession with Ron Howard's babygirl and his desire to "shock" audiences did nothing more than force audiences to try to figure out the big "twist".  Unfortunately for him, they figured them all out...about twenty minutes into the films.

SPECIAL MENTIONS:
From Dusk Til Dawn
SCREAM 2&3
Priest
High Tension
 

Monday, January 9, 2012

LILY COLLINS TO REPLACE THE KING OF THE DEADITES IN THE EVIL DEAD REMAKE?

I hate Genesis. A lot. And I really, really, REALLY hate Phil Collins.  However, his daughter Lily Collins seems to be a force to be reckoned with.  Armed with eyebrows as prominent as Bruce Campbell's chin, Lily Collins has been in talks to replace our beloved chainsaw arm deadite slayer in the upcoming Evil Dead remake.  Surprisingly, I'm a huge advocate for the whole "anything men can do, women can do too" mantra, and I've even written posts about how horror films would have been different had a woman played the starring role.  I'm going to get a lot of slack for this and my inner Ashley J. Williams fangirl is probably pricking a voodoo doll of me with poisoned pine needles for saying this...but I sort of want to see how this pans out.  South American Director, Fede Alvarez will be taking over for Sam Raimi, who will be producing the film along with the king himself, Bruce Campbell.  Diablo Cody is said to be assisting in penning the piece, so expect some dialogue to induce some eyebrow raising.  They're looking to release sometime around April of 2013 and it has been said that they're trying to avoid the punchlines and over-the-top comedy of the sequels and instead focus on the heart of the original..and truly scare us.  Lily would play Mia, who heads to the cabin to detox after a recent overdose. Struggling with her new-found sobriety, strange things begin to occur and those around her cannot figure out where reality is sitting amongst her withdrawl.  The Necronomicon will play a part, and she won't be visiting the cabin alone.  Quite a different take on the original, but still seems to have the same heart as the one we first fell in love with.

Now, there are reasons that I'm okay with this and I believe clarification is in order if only so I can maintain some of my horror street cred.  First of all, I would like everyone to take a step back and think about the iconic horror films that have been remade in the past few years.  Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger have all gone under the remake knife and the consensus has been somewhat universal.  "It's just not the same...you can't remake something we hold so near and dear to our horror hearts".  THAT is the main reason that I'm okay with there not being an Ash and having a female protagonist instead.  The Evil Dead is what it is because of Bruce Campbell.  Plain and simple.  If they were to remake the film and keep Ashley J. Williams as a character, the comparisons to him would be instantaneous and there is NO ONE who can embody the persona of the character the way the Bruce Campbell did.  Anyone trying to tackle the role would either fall short of our expectations, or turn him into a caricature.  Ash is such an unique character and if not executed properly, he will come off as campy or the attempt would lean more towards parody.  That's just the nature of the character.  By wiping out Ash but still allowing the story to take place within the world of The Evil Dead, it gives us a brand new set of characters to fall in love with and new ways for characters to try to escape.  


Since Sam Raimi is producing it, we can be sure that there will be plenty of throwbacks to the diehard fans regardless of who plays the leading role.  If Drag Me To Hell proved anything, it's that Sam Raimi knows his audience and he especially knows how to throw us a bone every now and again.  Instead of getting the same story we've all got memorized at this point, we'll get a different take on how to defeat the deadites with some homages sprinkled in nicely.  One of the biggest complaints people have about remakes are the rehashes of iconic kills and fans often cry "if you're going to do it shot for shot, why even bother?"  No Ash Williams means no Ash kills.  It'll be new, and honestly...that's sort of something this film franchise needs.  Do I wish Bruce would come back and play Ash old and bloated to defeat the evil that lurks within the woods? Absolutely.  Is that going to happen? No. It's not, and it's unfair as a fan to demand an actor to return to a role that made him famous when he is in no way physically capable of performing the way he once did.  I hate to break it to you all, but actors get old. They age. It's a way of life.  From what it sounds like, we're getting an entirely new flavor of the franchise, not just a new film.  I hate to say it, but I'm sort of excited to see what they're doing with this.  I am not expecting this to come even close to the original films, but I'm ecstatic to see a group of people remaking a film and actually giving it an entirely different spin.  This is what a remake should resemble.  Keeping the heart and soul of the film, but painting it an entirely different shade.  Does this make me a traitor as a horror fan? Maybe.  But I stand by my opinion.  I really want to see what they've got up their sleeve for this one.  Who knows, maybe we'll be hailing to the queen at the end of it all. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TI WEST: A GOD AMONG MEN

This is about to turn into an extremely eloquent fangirl rant, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting that.  Let me get the carnal responses out of the way so I can really divulge into why I'm so obsessed with him at the moment. I would have Ti West's babies and gladly enjoy the process of making them.  Now that I've gotten that out of my system. LET US BEGIN. 

A few years ago, I got my grubby little paws on a film called The Roost.  I found it to be not without its problems, but a fantastic throwback to the horror films of yesteryear.  It was shot on a low budget, but gave off a delightful indie feeling and in all honesty, was a damn entertaining movie.  For a young director, I'd have to say I was rather impressed.  It was 2009, however that put Ti West on the map as a horror director that is a force to be reckoned with.  The House of the Devil is a near perfect film.  Now before anyone tries to shout about the slow pacing or how nothing crazy happens until the ending, I'd kindly like you to take a step back and go watch films from the early eighties and bite me.  Ti West completely encompassed the look, feel, and probably even the taste of how truly terrifying horror movies were meant to be made.  He has a keen eye for style and I find him to be an expert at pacing.  While the payoff wasn't until the ending, the film was always entertaining, thrilling, and interesting to watch.  He has a unique writing style and developed characters that were always authentic and easy to relate to.  The film took the underground horror film by storm and it has every right to.  It's a gorgeous film and a great thrill ride.  He created a film at the age of 31 with a quality that most directors twice his age have failed to produce.

Last night, I finally saw The Innkeepers.  Ti West has truly done it again.  This isn't going to be a review, so I'll hold my tongue about plot points.  I swear to Cthulhu, this man can make a damn movie.  The thing I appreciate the most about his film making, is his grasp of aesthetics.  His films are all remarkably appealing to the eye and if there's ever a moment that feels "dull" or "slow" there is always something beautiful about the setting to distract you.  I honestly didn't find a single moment of this film to be dull or slow, but I am also a person who craves "slow-burn" horror films.  Ti West is a master at pacing, and this film was no exception.  To enforce even more about his eye for beauty, his one-sheets for his films are incredible.  Both The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers were placed #1 on "best posters of the year" on countless horror websites.  Why?  Because they're perfect.  They all look the way posters are supposed to look.  They're intriguing, but they're works of art.  You know you've created a quality advertisement piece when someone would be willing to put it on the wall in a frame without ever seeing the film.  That's how I felt with both of his recent films, and I know I'm not the only one in thinking that. 

Most importantly, Ti West is an incredible person because of the way his mind works.  Recently, he released an open letter to the world explaining why we shouldn't pirate movies.  It reads as follows:

Dear Internet,

This Friday (Dec 30th) my film THE INNKEEPERS will be released on VOD an entire month before it's released in theaters (Feb 3rd). This means it will likely hit the Internet torrent sites within 24 hours and seed thousands of downloads in the coming days.

WHY I THINK YOU SHOULD PAY FOR INDEPENDENT MOVIES. It's not the money. Personally I don't care about the money. As sad as it is to admit it's very unlikely I will make a dime off of the release of the film. My previous film, "The House of the Devil," had a similar release and was very successful - That was in 2009, and to this day I have made ZERO dollars off of its success. I do not own the films, and by the time any profits would trickle down to little old me (writer/director/editor/producer) they would all have been mysteriously soaked up into vague expenses, random fees and outrageous overages. This is the nature of the business and I have come to accept it. As long as I don't own my films - something I give up in exchange for someone with much deeper pockets affording me the budgets to make them - this is how it goes. It's a trade off and I'm fine with it. I don't really care. What I do care about, however, is your support. I care very much about that.

Every time you purchase something you are making a statement. You are creating physical evidence that something has value. If something has a high value, then it becomes in high demand. So if you make a concerted effort to support lesser-known, interesting and esoteric things (Art?) then you are helping make those lesser-known things more popular. I'm sure we can all agree that there are incredible movies made every year that never get the attention they deserve - That's not the movies' fault. That is our collective fault for not being proactive enough to GO OUT OF OUR WAY to support them.

So yes, I want you to go out of your way and pay for my movie. Not because I'm greedy, but because if the movie makes money (whomever for) that's tangible evidence of a paying audience out there for movies like mine. For independent films. For something different. Not just bland remakes/sequels or live action versions of comic books/cartoons/boardgames. This is a powerful time for the consumer. With a small platform release like ours (VOD/Theatrical), it's been made incredibly easy for you to support the film...You don't even have to get out of bed.
I do personally benefit from you paying for my film. So do my friends and collaborators. Maybe not in a direct, financial way; but in the gaining of support from consumer/fans whose collective interest convinces rich people to keep giving us budgets (hopefully bigger ones) for the types of movies we make. These investors only do this based on the accountable value of a movie. Not the content. Hopefully everyone knows that by now, but maybe there are still a few ideological people out there reading this who think movies get financed because they are simply great stories worth being told no matter what their commercial appeal. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions...They don't.

How about this: If you went into a store and there were two similar products - one made by hand by someone local who you knew (perhaps a small business in the USA?) and the other just churned out by a machine (perhaps not in the USA?) - wouldn't you pay a tiny bit more for the one made by the person you knew? Especially if you knew it was actually benefitting that person? Wouldn't that be better than supporting the machine-made, impersonal, uninspired version? Wouldn't you want to support them?

Where we choose to spend our money should reflect what matters to us and what we want to support. If independent film matters to you, then do me a solid and pay for the film instead of downloading it. It's not a huge financial commitment, but it has a huge financial impact. I am not a corporation, I am not independently wealthy, I don't come from a family of the industry...I'm just a regular dude who made a movie and wants to keep on making them. I can't do that without your help, and it would be very much appreciated.

Lastly, if you live in a city where the film is being released theatrically, please go see it in the theater. It took over a year to meticulously craft the film with the intent of it being seen projected on 35mm on a big screen with loud surround sound. This was all done for your benefit. It is meant to be seen in a theater - It is after all...A movie.

Sincerely,

Ti 

I'm sorry. What the hell is there not to like about the guyTi West, get down with your bad self.  Continue making movies for the rest of your life, because you are one of the few directors out there that actually understands how to make not just a movie, but a piece of art that will stand the test of time and CGI.   
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