Archive | November, 2014

Afterlife with Archie (Book One)

23 Nov

This is going to be short and sweet, mostly because it started as a Facebook status and then I realized *oh wait don’t I review horror related things somewhere?*  Also I do apologize as I don’t read a lot of comics, so this will not be as in depth as some of my other rants.  I’m slowly finding my way into a horror-y niche of comic books (I have a big book of classic EC inspired horror comics, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, and now this…  And I read the original Archie’s as a young girl.

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (Book One)

Well, kids. My childhood has been torn from the depths of my heart and ripped to shreds by a zombie dog.

#Spoilers

#Spoilers

Afterlife with Archie is emotional and thrilling. It is wonderful to be able to look back at something that I loved so much as a child, see how it has grown too, and become something dark, mature and new.

We begin our tale in the first few pages at night, Sabrina hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Jughead, holding a lifeless Hot Dog with tears in his eyes, asking for her help to bring him back.  I will say nothing more on the story-line but from the cover above I think you get the idea.

I don’t think I have ever cried reading a comic before… So that’s new. (The whole Vegas thing? Real tears.)
The zombies are very standard, which I enjoyed, a series so rooted in the 40s and 50s deserves retro zombies. I liked the little homages to classic zombie-related films as well: “Sometimes, dead is better.”

All in all I think that this series is a must for those who were fans of the original comics, like horror or zombies, and who are ready to get a little closure.
I can’t wait for book two!

P.S. So unfair for anyone who identified themselves as a “Jughead Girl”.

Please read, and stay scared darlings,

xo Jessie

Back From the Dead – THE DESCENT (2005)

11 Nov

What?  Two posts in two weeks?  UNHEARD OF!

I have returned again for another segment of Back From the Dead, where I will watch a film I used to dislike, or watched only once and judged unfairly, in the hopes of either being pleasantly surprised having wrongly judged a film in my angsty black haired youth, OR confirming my high-school assumptions that EVERYTHING SUCKS.

Last week we looked at DARKNESS FALLS, and thus far, scary black-haired, perma-frown Jessie was winning.  But this week we take a look at Neil Marshall’s 2005 cave-diving, claustrophobia inducing THE DESCENT.  Of the other films of Marshall’s I have seen, DOOMSDAY and DOG SOLDIERS, it is safe to say that I am split right down the middle having loved DOG SOLDIERS and having hated DOOMSDAY (next week on Ashes and Rashes (just kidding)).

I SAID NO.

GO AWAY DOOMSDAY. I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT.

THE DESCENT (2005)

I’m going to begin this by saying that my problems with claustrophobia have not always been a thing.  In fact I think that it actually only started a couple of years ago, not that I have had a lot of experience traveling through small spaces or crawling through tunnels.  This film…  This film, confirmed that I do in fact have a problem.  Y’know, because waking up to a full-fledged panic attack from dreaming that I was crawling through a tunnel and got stuck didn’t confirm it enough for me.  But all that aside…

Uh-huh.

Yeah.

THE DESCENT begins with a scene that I thought set the mood for the film… absolutely… perfectly.  We open on a group of women white-water rafting down a giant, tumultuous river, you can hear a child in the background screaming for her mother.  The rapids pick up, and the faces of the women in the raft change from lighthearted and excited to concerned.  Soon after, the rapids pick up even more, it looks as is we might lose one of the women to the intense river, the women start to look terrified and the audience genuinely fears for the women.  Soon after this, the women make it to the end of the river, faces back to smiling and laughing, and they calmly return to the shore, hugging family and friends.  We are introduced to our main character Sarah, who’s husband seems to be giving a little bit too much attention to her friend Juno.  Cut to a car, Sarah’s daughter sits in the back seat as Sarah and her husband discuss hushedly his strange behaviour when he swerves slightly into the next lane, hitting a vehicle head on who’s cargo of lead pipes finds it’s way into some faces.

The imagery in the beginning of this film, showing the women putting themselves in real danger, purposely terrifying themselves for the sake of the thrill and then coming out laughing really got my attention.  Then with the added comparison of something so routine as driving your car leisurely and causing such a horrific crash was done masterfully.

A year after Sarah lost both her husband and her daughter, still struggling with the weight of the horrific accident, she and her adventurous friends decide to go cave-diving!  From here, the nightmares really start.

Like worse than my claustrophobia nightmare...

I mean, imagine not being able to check the picture before it was developed? NIGHTMARE.

I don’t know exactly what it was about this film that bothered me when I was younger…  Maybe I was mad about not being able to go to some party or something.

THE DESCENT is an exercise in many different types of fear: the fear of losing your loved ones, the fear of the unknown, claustrophobia, fear of the supernatural, and the fear of losing your mind.  In that order actually.  You can look at the film as Sarah’s descent into a personal cave, fighting these demons and creatures, breaking ties with the people that only remind her of her past, and breaking free, finally finding her peace, (or so you might think).

On second viewing, and with a little extra thought post-credits, I’d have to say that I was very very wrong about THE DESCENT.  The creatures were scary, the scares were plentiful, the characterization of the characters (though not very thorough) still made me care a bit about them enough to not want them to die, as far as I can see there is not a very clear reason as to why I should hate this film.

ANGSTY ANGST ANGST

ANGST
Sidenote: I literally just looked up my old profile on MySpace to find this picture… You’re welcome.

I just hated everything.  You’d never know because I am ridiculously cheery now, I swear.

ANYHOO.  With a rockin’ beginning, one scare that was super predictable but with perfect timing still scared the HELL out of me, and great characterization and story, I give 2005’s THE DESCENT 4 lead pipes out of 5!

Thanks for tuning in again darlings, next week I tackle…  *pukes in anticipation* 2006’s BLACK X-MAS.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, maybe it will grow on me…  Maybe…

*pukes*

XO
Jessie

Back From the Dead – DARKNESS FALLS (2003)

3 Nov

Back when I was younger, more naive and not very specific about why I loved or hated the things I did, I watched a lot of horror films (that hasn’t really changed though…).  Most of those films I loved.  But some of them I absolutely loathed.  Looking back on those films, it is hard for me to place the exact reason behind my hatred.  So in honour of October rolling by with nary an entry from THIS lazy writer, I thought it appropriate to start November off with a bang and start something fresh.

I give you Back From the Dead: a new segment(thing) where I will watch these films that I swore I would never watch again, but this time critically, analytically, and either report back with a list of reasons for my hatred OR perhaps a new outlook, maybe after really paying attention and on second watch, these films will shred their way into my heart.

Only time will tell, but so far things are looking dim for the side of these movies, as I bring to you, my twice baked review of a little film called…

DARKNESS FALLS (2003)

We begin DARKNESS FALLS with a boy, getting ready for bed at night and tucking a tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, and following the classic warning of “If you hear anything, don’t peek!” from a window-sneaking friend, the suspense starts to build.  With a fake-out here, and some genuine terror there, we have a great set-up for a good old fashioned horror film.

NOW anybody who follows me on Twitter (IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?!) will have seen recently this hilarious tweet of mine.

OMG I’m so funny.  And yeah, it’s been a while since I dreamed up this new segment, who asked you?  The reason I bring this up is that only at THAT point in the film, the first five minutes, did I actually feel fear.  You’ll also notice, dear followers, that that was the only thing I tweeted, twittered, twatted, during the film.  Because the rest of my time was spent eating hardboiled eggs with no fear.

The tooth fairy (in this film) is said to have been a woman who loved children and when the children in the village would lose their teeth, they would bring them to her in exchange for a gold coin.  But her house caught on fire, and she suffered horrible burns that would leave her sensitive to light.  So naturally she made herself a mask of teeth and only went out at night.  Clearly this is bad decision-making on her part.  When two boys go missing, the town immediately blames the woman who wears a mask made out of body parts, and they have her hanged.  A few days later the boys return to their families unharmed, and it is revealed that the whole town is just AWFUL at making decisions.

All this to say, if you peek at the tooth fairy, she is going to murder you.  And she hates the light.

When a boy in present-ish time loses a tooth and after peeking at the tooth fairy survives, tooth fairy kills his mother and the boy grows up never shaking his fear of the dark, and pops pills to mask the depression of knowing that no one ever believed him.  His friend from years ago gets in touch and tells him that her little brother now claims to have seen similar things, and they band together to find out what is going on, in a town APTLY named DARKNESS FALLS, on a night when a huge storm hits, and all the lights go out…  But it’s a fishing village…  So luckily…  There’s…  A lighthouse.

I'm sorry it does what?

I’m sorry it does what?

One of the main problems I had with this film was the story was built around itself so tightly.  The town only exists within this story, and the story can only exist within the town.  MANY films cater to themselves effectively, where certain elements in a story just have to line up in a specific way for it to make sense.  But I start to get bored of a film when you can predict what will happen in the first few minutes because it has been so meticulously set up.  A good horror film can take place anywhere, you can look at the town in which it exists and say “this could be my own backyard” which is the main reason behind Wes Craven creating a horror so seductively set on “Elm Street”, a street that HAS to exist in every town.  Now, the character of Fred Krueger “existed” in the town set in the movie, but tell me after watching A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) you don’t worry about who’s going to visit your dreams.

He really does have beautiful eyes, though.

He really does have beautiful eyes, though.

Many horror films exist in a world where urban legends come to life, and you can say that that makes them “tight circle” films where the legend only exists in the town and the town only exists in the legend.  But even in a film like URBAN LEGEND (1998) it is plainly said during a lecture (I think with my love Robert Englund, fittingly) that not one legend has been proven exclusive to one town or another, an urban legend is a legend because it has the ability to travel around and seem true to wherever it is being told.

I guess you know where I am going with this.

DARKNESS FALLS, though your depiction of the tooth fairy as a teeth mask wearing, light sensitive wraith is disturbing, your story is somewhat claustrophobic in it’s setting, and predictable from the start.

I give you 2/5 milk teeth.

Stay tuned for more critical analysis (ranting) of twice-baked horror films coming soon.  Next I aim to tackle a film everyone else loved, but I couldn’t stomach for some reason THE DESCENT (2005).

Thank you for reading 🙂

Jessie