Saturday, 20 October 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: Halloween (2018)

This movie is special to me. Weirdly it's only after watching it the first time that I realised this. Everyone that knows me knows how much of a horror movie fanatic I am and how obsessive I can be over some of my favourites in the genre.

I don't think I would have any of that if it weren't for Michael Myers. The first Halloween movie I watched was Halloween: Resurrection when I was pretty young (probably around 9 or 10 years) and while that's a terrible edition to start with, I was hooked and couldn't get enough of it.

From there I've seen just about every other movie in the series and I've never had that fanboy obsession outside of the 1978 original. So really it's over half my life I've been waiting for a proper sequel that the characters involved with the original deserve. I may have just gotten my wish.

No spoilers. And for clarity, I've already seen this twice and own the awesome soundtrack on vinyl.

So for anyone new to this, this movie takes place 40 years after the events of the 1978 classic and ignores every single sequel or remake since then which I absolutely love.

We start off in the psychiatric institution in which Myers has been held prisoner for the last 40 years since being captured after the massacre of 1978. Two Brits are there to make a podcast discussing the events of the massacre and they try to get a response out of Michael, and even bring out his old mask. It doesn't go well.

On the other side of the coin we have Laurie Strode whose role is reprised by the always lovely Jamie Lee Curtis. She is the survivor of the original massacre and those events have stuck with her as she's now a total survivalist, even going so far as to spend her daughter's early years training her self defence and how to use a gun, leading to social services taking her away.

It really puts a proper impact on the events of the first movie to see just how badly the killings affected the lives of so many. In fact you could totally watch the first movie and then put this on straight after as they go together so well.

During a transfer to a new institution, the bus crashes and Michael Myers is free once again, leaving the poor little town of Haddonfield to experience some major deja vu as more killings are afoot. The Shape has returned.

This is classic Michael Myers and the one we've needed for some time. He isn't just some brute that storms around in a rampage killing people. He's a stalker that sticks to the shadows and patiently waits for his opportunity to strike. He's the image of pure evil. He has no reason to go around killing other than it's all he knows, or maybe it's just instinct. You can never tell with him. He's the classic monster that isn't some supernatural ghost or demon that we've needed in pop culture for quite some time. 

His kills start off quite simply, but as the movie goes on they do tend to get a bit gorier, and the faint of heart may have to look away at certain points.

It's not too scary either as it does rely on a couple of cheap jumpscares, but Myers does get his fair share of shit your pants moments like a scene featuring a motion tracker that'll stick with me for some time. There is also one scene towards the end of the movie that just never seems to end and it continually builds the tension higher and higher until you have to cover your eyes out of sheer fear. I loved it.

Jamie Lee Curtis almost steals the show herself and I daresay that she was Oscar worthy at certain points. Just seeing her as a gun toting badass preparing for the arrival of the devil himself was so much fun to watch and really gave a proper new dynamic to the character. It's almost a revenge movie in a way.

There's some fun homages to the original movie without totally ripping it off. Kind of like The Force Awakens. This movie was made for the fans in the best way possible. The soundtrack is fantastic as well as it was worked on by John Carpenter and features updated versions of the classic themes from the original that I can't get enough of.

This whole movie is a love letter to classic slasher horror and I feel like it's a movie the horror genre has needed for quite a while. We've been relying too much on the supernatural to scare us, and this movie showed that the horrors of humanity can be enough to scare the daylights out of you. You might not feel safe in your home for a while.

Overall I could go on and on about what I love here but quite a bit of that features spoilers so I'll stop here. I loved this movie and as a fan of the horror genre and of Michael Myers in general, I heartily approve of everything here. This is going down as an October classic and it's one I plan on watching every Halloween from now on, along with the original.

Definitely check this out. You won't regret it.

Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Ross's TV Reviews: The Haunting of Hill House (S1, E1)

For anyone that's read a few of my reviews you know that I never steer too far away from the realm of movies, but this is one that had me intrigued.

In all honesty I've never really been into TV shows at all and have only finished a couple of them off with a few famous ones still leering over my head.

I wasn't even sure that I was going to watch this show as it did seem pretty good from it's trailer but never seemed like something I could invest myself in.

Then the online articles started appearing, claiming that viewers of the show could not sleep from fear, that they passed out during viewings, and felt horrible anxiety at all times.

I was intrigued and even more so when I found some reviews claiming that this series is one of Netflix's best. At this point I knew I had to watch it and see for myself.

Reviewing a TV show is something completely new to me so bear with me if this isn't a decent read the first time. I'll be keeping this spoiler free and as short as possible.

Should point out that this is Netflix only for anyone wanting to watch.

So we start off right in Hill House back in 1992 as a teenage boy is awoken by the cries of his little sister from another room. He goes to investigate and finds his sister, Nell, is scared by a ghost she thought she saw, one known as 'break neck lady'. Her father appears to calm her down and puts her back to bed. I won't mention what happens next but it's an early indicator of how truly nightmarish this series could really be. Good luck sleeping.

We cut to 2018 and see what the kids from 1992 (all five of them) are up to. A couple of them such as Steven, Theo and Shirley are doing well for themselves in the fields of writing, psychology and mortician work respectively, while the others, Luke and Nell, are either in rehab or...... well I'm not quite sure yet.

The plot of this episode revolves around Nell trying to get into contact with the rest of her family for an unknown reason other than thinking that there might be something wrong with her brother Luke. It all seems to stem from childhood trauma of living in Hill House and through her supernatural experiences which are likely to give nightmares to some viewers.

It almost plays out like Stephen King's IT as we do go back and forth between 1992 and 2018 as we see how the events of the past are now affecting the future and how each of the kids seems to have a different experience.

For a first episode it does it's job very well by introducing to a few characters and having them be memorable in their own way while also driving this mysterious story onward and making you ache to find out what happened in that house all that time ago.

It doesn't go overboard with the scares and delivers them at just the right time. There's no cheap jumpscares to be had here, just intense atmosphere and a spilling of dread to wash it down with. There was actual one jumpscare but it furthered the plot so I'll give it a pass.

Overall I'd give this a recommendation if you're looking for something spooky this Halloween and I'm hoping the rest of the series lives up to the good buildup we've had from this one.

No rating until the end of the series.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ross's Spooky Reviews: Terrifier

Yeah I know that every review I post is spooky, but it's the month of October so just role with it.

This is one I've been trying to review for the past month but other things have gotten in the way. Now it's time to shine a light on Terrifier. This one received a bit of hype due to the creepy clown killer featured on it's posters and trailer. Is all this enough to lead to a great horror experience? Let's take a look.

As usual no major spoilers and make sure to check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

The movie begins in a talk show as a woman with a deformed face is being interviewed. Her face is the result of an attack from a killer clown known only as Art. The talk show host ends up making fun of her and...... well let's just say it doesn't end well.

Cut to Halloween night and we follow two girls, Tara and Dawn, as they make their way home from a Halloween party and decide to get some pizza. They run into Art the clown and things start to get weird. He won't stop staring at Tara and he never makes a sound the entire time even with all his creepy poses.

I'm not usually bothered by clowns but by god this one is absolutely the creepiest one I've ever seen. He can give Pennywise a run for his money any day. He's played by David Howard Thornton and apparently this is his big screen debut which is mind-blowing because he comes across as an absolute pro here.

He's in the movie pretty much straight away and I was worried that he would start to become boring as the movie went on. He never did. If anything he somehow grew creepier as it continued. He even got a few chuckles out of me too. I really need a sequel or a prequel to see him again. I loved him.

There's one scene in particular where he decides to dress as a woman in order to trick another character and it's honestly one of the most disturbing things I've seen and will haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. His movements are just so unnatural that it can't help but turn your stomach. Another bit of proof that you don't need shite jumpscares to get a proper good scare on the audience.

The movie does come across as a gritty kind of B movie but it completely works to it's advantage. It's almost like Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth co-directed this. While no other characters outside of Art really stood out, everyone performed well here with no one coming across as bad which did surprise me.

There is one character simply known as Cat Lady and I have no idea what her purpose was here. Her strange character is never explained as she just seems to live in the bowels of this building and no one knew she was there and she believes a doll is her baby. Granted she does give us a few creepy scenes with Art so I'll give her a pass.

For anyone not into gore you're going to want to stay from this as there is tons of it splattered around the place. I don't want to go into spoilers because some of the gorier scenes are really inventive, but my goodness a lot of the things I've seen here will stick with me. I don't think I'll be able to take a selfie again (if you've seen it you know exactly what I mean).

Overall I had a blast with the movie and I think it's destined to become a future Halloween classic; one that you can watch with your friends and just enjoy. I know some movie critics look down on it as they see it as exploitative cinema, but as a horror fan I couldn't have been happier. You've got a joyously over the top antagonist and a plot that keeps you guessing. What more could I ask for?

Definitely check this. Unless your squeamish and hate clowns. Then definitely don't.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: Venom

Oh my have I been waiting for this one. Venom is one of my favourite ever comic book characters and maybe my number one favourite outside of The Joker.

Ever since the mess that was Spider Man 3 came out I've been anxiously awaiting another chance for sinister symbiote to get his chance to really shine on the big screen. Eleven years later and it looks like my wish came true. Let's begin.

As usual there will be no major spoilers and be sure to check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

So our story begins with a rocket crashing back down to earth and it appears that the pilots were able to procure an alien lifeform. One of these lifeforms is able to escape and bonds with a paramedic for an unknown purpose. And we won't find out until around the third act. The rest are being taken to the seemingly evil Life corporation.

Our main character here is news reporter Eddie Brock (played by the always excellent Tom Hardy) as he is given the responsibility of conducting an interview with the chairman of the Life corporation: Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). This doesn't go too well and Eddie finds himself without a job.

Later on, Eddie continues to investigate the Life Corporation and through a series of unfortunate events, ends up bonded with one of the alien lifeforms taken from the ship. This one is known as Venom.

Now it's no secret that Venom has been getting some rather negative reviews from critics with most saying that the movie comes across as dull, but I never got that impression at all. The movie is surprisingly funny throughout and got quite a few laughs from me.

The banter between Eddie and the Venom symbiote is fantastic and might be the best thing about the whole film. Seeing the full Venom suit in all it's glory is also fantastic and he looks great. The action scenes are a lot of fun as its just absolute madness at all times.

I will say that the villainous symbiote, Riot, was a bit disappointing as it did only appear at the start and then did not make any real impact until the film was near to its end and it almost felt rushed because of it. Don't get me wrong, seeing two symbiotes go head to head was a lot of fun but I just wish it had been a bit more focused.

The beginning of the movie also has this issue as it does feel rushed with the first five to ten minutes used to introduce a few key characters and then suddenly it jumps to six months later, which left me wondering what the hell Riot was doing in those six months. Was it just wandering around until it was able to locate the other symbiotes? And why did it take six bloody months?

These are the only real issues I had as otherwise the movie was a lot of fun with everyone performing well, with Tom Hardy especially making a good impression as he was definitely a great choice for the role.

For anyone that reads the Spider-Man and Venom comics there are a few references here and there to look out for so keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure to stay for the end credits as well.

Overall I had fun with this. It wasn't the best comic book movie but it was far from the worst one. All that matters is that Venom got to look good on the big screen and I can only hope that we get to see more of him in future. Maybe in the MCU? Who knows.

Rating: 7/10