All posts by stilllooksfake

By 2015 standards special effects for movies look like a million bucks!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016)

Michael Giacchino - Rogue One

For nearly four decades now the music that John Williams has created for Star Wars has become as instantly recognizable as  Darth Vader’s breathing or the heart stopping light saber duels between Jedi Knight and Sith Lord. These scores serve as  the heartbeat to the films and go beyond setting the mood whenever a firefight breaks out on the streets of Mos Eisley or in the skies above the icy war torn battlefields of Hoth. With Disney now owning Lucasfilm the long term strategy plan being put into motion is to release both saga and anthology/stand alone films from here until eternity. With John now in his mid-80s his focus will remain on the new saga trilogy that began with The Force Awakens last December. As for the anthology films that have just now begun rushing down through the flood gates the young film makers and composers who helm these projects will have the daunting task of creating something that can go off and explore the vast reaches of that galaxy far, far away all the while retaining  that emotional depth viewers felt when Luke Skywalker stood and looked out upon the twin suns of Tatooine as they sank down beyond the horizon.

Michael Giacchino is certainly no stranger when it comes trying to emulate John Williams. His first major scoring session was composing original music for the Playstation and Sega Saturn video game adaptation of The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  As fate would have it Giacchino found himself transitioning into the long dormant film franchise with Jurassic World (which would go on to become the second highest grossing film of 2015 right behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, no less).  Originally Giacchino wasn’t the first choice to be the composer on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Alexandre Desplat (who collaborated with director Gareth Edwards on Godzilla) had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. Michael entered the fold with only four and a half weeks to write and record a full score. Under any circumstances even the most seasoned composer would crack under such extreme pressure however Giacchino melds a majority of Williams’ classic Star Wars motifs with material that fits into Edwards’ vision of an anthology film that brings a gritty realism to the wars fought between the empire and the rebellion. I’ve read feedback where many feel that this soundtrack would be more in line with any other science fiction film currently on the market and upon giving it my first listen I didn’t quite like what I was hearing as one track in particular, The Imperial Suite, teeters on being generic and leaves a lot to be desired considering John’s Imperial March is widely considered one of the most popular musical themes of the latter 20th century. Regardless of being under the gun (or more fittingly the blaster rifle) Michael Giacchino was able to come into his own during the final half of the score with five of the last six tracks where I’d recommend everyone put their focus if you’re willing to hit repeat and allow something that’s a little left of center to truly take form. Personally I think it blends rather well with the classic themes we all know and love and if you’re wishing that there were more of those cues featured in Rogue One all the previous soundtracks are still readily available in various formats so you can mix seminal with contemporary and still win out.

Final Grade: B+

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El Rey Network’s Kaiju Christmas – The destructive gift that keeps on giving…

via: Comingsoon.net

El Rey unleashes third annual 96 hour ‘Kaiju Christmas’ Godzilla movie marathon

Add some wanton, rubber-suit destruction to your holiday celebrations as El Rey Network trots out its third annual “Kaiju Christmas” marathon, bringing you over 96 hours of roaring action featuring the one and only giant Japanese atomic dinosaur, Godzilla. The marathon crashes into your home with the original film that started it all, the original 1954 Japanese flick Gojira (the U.S. cut, Godzilla: King of the Monsters will also screen) on Friday, December 23rd at 6AM ET/PT and culminates with Godzilla Raids Again (aka Gigantis The Fire Monster) on Monday, December 26th at 6AM ET/PT.

Check out the full schedule of Godzilla flicks below!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23RD

6:00 AM ET/PT           “GOJIRA”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS”

9:30 AM ET/PT           “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

11:30 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE”

1:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

3:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO”

5:00 PM ET/PT           “MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA”

7:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

8:30 PM ET/PT           “TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA”

10:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

1:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA”

3:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

4:30AM ET/PT            “RODAN”

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH

10:00 AM ET/ PT        “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

12:00 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

2:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DETOROYAH”

4:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

6:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

8:30 PM ET/ PT          “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

10:30 PM ET/ PT        “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS”

12:30 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

1:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

4:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA, MOTHRA, AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA”

8:00 AM ET/PT           “TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA”

10:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

12:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA: FINAL WARS”

3:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

5:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA”

7:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

9:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH”

11:30 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH”

1:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE”

4:00 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

MONDAY, DECEMBER 26th

6:00 AM ET/PT           “RODAN”

7:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

10:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLAS REVENGE”

11:30 AM ET/PT         “GHIDORRAH: THE THREE HEADED MONSTER”

1:30 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II”

4:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH”

6:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY”

8:00 PM ET/PT           “GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA”

10:00 PM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA

12:00 AM ET/PT         “GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA”

2:30 AM ET/PT           “GODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.”

4:30 AM ET/ PT          “GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN”

To find El Rey Network in your area check out the channel finder here

“To be worthy of recognition, be humble.” – Debasish Mridha

deadly-vhs-award

Last year while doing battle with a bout of spring cleaning I came across a folder full of awards that I racked up from Jr. High/Middle School ranging from basic citizenship awards to being on the honor roll to having a strong immune system and not missing a single day of school in 7th grade. As I stood there thumbing through them I sort of chuckled as I began to wonder if these awards truly held any merit other than making use of cursive lettering and being printed on a thick/embossed piece of paper.

Surprisingly my immune system has held up rather well as its been around four years since an absolutely vicious strain of the flu virus knocked me to my knees. In terms of the person I’ve matured into I’ve never felt the need for affirmation of any sort to serve as a constant reminder of who I’ve become. While it may be a tad bit cliched to say this I’ve always tried to put my best foot forward and let my actions define how the rest of the world, in general, sees me.

As I was gearing up for Schlocktoberfest 2K16 this past September it was brought to my attention that I had become a recipient of The Deadly VHS Award  which is given to outstanding cult, exploitation, and horror movie bloggers. Modesty is  without question the single most important trait which keeps the rest of my personality in constant check. My deepest gratitude goes out to Fringe Void/The Devil’s DVD Bin for this prestigious award and for your years of friendship, continuous feedback, and unwavering support! Your presence on this blog has given me both the drive and determination to keep pushing forward and to above all else to stare defiantly into the face of procrastination. Once more thank you for this distinct honor my friend, words can only express gratefulness to a certain extent and this award goes beyond them.

To accept The Deadly VHS Award recipients must follow these steps:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Attach the award to your post.
3. Briefly explain your site.
4. List a few of the movies that shaped you and made you who you are today.
5. Select 3-5 other bloggers you want to give the award to.

  1. (Again) Thanks to Fringe Void/The Devils DVD Bin for acknowledging my little corner of the internet. This is modesty continuing to shine through as one will never see me refer to myself as a preeminent  horror movie virtuoso, I just do what I do and am beyond humbled to be given an award for an art form that brings some of the greatest passions in life. ***If you haven’t already please make sure to check out Fringe Void and The Devil’s DVD Bin as you won’t find a better set of websites to truly tap into the obscure/weirder side of horror.

2. *See Above*

3. The Direct 2 Video Dungeon began as an experiment sometime in 2011/2012. Quite honestly I didn’t know what to expect I just wanted to start blogging about some of my favorite direct to video features and before I knew it the blog started to take on a life of its own pulling down a substantial amount of web traffic. Mid-2013 is when other challenges in life began to rear their ugly head and it was becoming a chore to maintain the Direct To Video Dungeon so shortly thereafter I made the gut wrenching decision to shut things down. Thankfully this wasn’t a permanent vacation as D2VD 2.0 rebooted in time for Halloween 2014 with Schlocktoberfest a full 31 days devoted to exploring both mainstream and low budget horror. In the next two years the formula would be tweaked a little bit but October has proven to be my favorite time of the year where I can let variety off the leash and let it run uninhibited. As for what is coming next I can say with the utmost confidence that this blog will never fade into obscurity. The content featured will always remain and my general plan of attack going forward is to update whenever free time permits.

4. This next part is going to be the most difficult of this post – naming a few movies that shaped me and made me the person I am today. I could most likely write an entire book on this subject however I promise to keep it relatively short. Anyone who has become a longtime visitor of the Direct 2 Video Dungeon knows I share a deep affinity for the King of the Monsters – Godzilla. As for favorite interpretations the original 1954 Gojira goes beyond a masterpiece but other favorites include 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla, 1965’s Invasion of the Astro Monster aka Monster X, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, 1984’s Godzilla/The Return of Godzilla, 1991’s Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and while it has had its fair share of critics 2014’s Hollywood blockbuster attempt on the property brought a sense of awe I haven’t felt since first discovering the king on TNT’s MonsterVision in the mid-1990s.

Outside of monster movies I grew up a child of the eighties it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise the influence the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the Indiana Jones and Back To The Future trilogies left on me. I am definitely what you’d consider a genre fan mainly focusing my attention on science fiction but every now and then will go through phases where weekends will be dedicated to Spaghetti Western or Film-Noir marathons. I’m also someone that when I come across a Jimmy Stewart film on TCM will immediately stop what I’m doing to sit and watch no matter what it is. My philosophy has always been that Jimmy Stewart never made a bad movie.

In terms of horror I’m a bit of a late bloomer not truly embracing the genre until my mid-20s. I come from the John Carpenter school of film making. While I won’t deny Carpenter made his name with Halloween my favorites of his are 1982’s The Thing which in my opinion is the greatest special effects picture ever made and 1980’s The Fog. Its with these two seminal works where I truly found my love for slow burns, tension building, and pure atmosphere.

5. My  Nominees for The Deadly VHS Award:

  • Direct To Video Connoisseur (Unfortunately the domain for DTVC has lapsed and wasn’t renewed. Matt where have you gone? I hope you’re doing well in life and planning your return soon.)
  • The B-Movie Shelf (One of my key influences I’ve always been impressed with the vast array of selections covered by the B-Movie Shelf.)
  • GoodBadFlicks (Okay technically Cecil over at GoodBadFlicks falls into the YouTuber category he still maintains a blog with his latest reviews/musings. He’s quickly become one of my favorite online personalities offering witty reviews and opinions as well as a web series where he gathers trivia about the making of a highlighted film presenting it in a professional/informative/never boring manner. Chances are  he probably won’t see this  but you never know who’s watching/reading – Keep up the stellar work Cecil!)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story looks to be the prequel fans deserve

rogueone_onesheet

When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney back in 2012 many breathed a sigh of relief.  Even though Lucas was the creator of the immensely popular space opera the reaction his prequel trilogy received was mixed to say the least. A majority of criticism stemmed from the over reliance on green screen and digital effects rather focusing on the grand story telling aspect that made the original films a beloved sci-fi series. Plus the wooden acting and clunky dialogue certainly didn’t help either.

George ultimately decided to give Star Wars back to the fans and let the next generation of young film makers reignite that spark of excitement in all of us who enjoy time and time again traveling to that galaxy far, far away. While Episode VII: The Force Awakens went back to many of the techniques the classic trilogy employed I felt like it stepped into the same foot prints of A New Hope without taking the risk of deviating from a set path and didn’t challenge itself to be different. The other reason I didn’t get behind The Force Awakens as others is we’ve had six movies devoted to the Skywalker lineage the time is right to go explore other avenues of the force.

What gets me excited now that Disney owns the property is the decision that in between the main saga films fans are going to get spin offs that will focus on side characters or various other elements in a limitless universe. The first stand alone, Rogue One, is set to be released in theaters in less then a month and will tell the story of how the rebels were able to get their hands on the Death Star plans. My initial thoughts were for the most part skeptical towards the idea until it was announced that Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) had signed on to direct. While a select few were lukewarm to Edwards’ interpretation of the king of the monsters there is no denying that the man has a keen eye for delivering breathtaking visuals as well as a grand sense of scale.  You couldn’t ask for a better choice to direct a stand alone film as every trailer for Rogue One captures the style of the original trilogy in stunning perfection. Having that sheer scope mixed with classic Stormtroopers is enough for me to buy a ticket opening night but if there was any other reason to get on board its the big screen return of the iconic Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.

Nowadays one can’t simply be a Star Wars fan without checking out the official tie-in novel. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel serves as a prequel to the prequel (if that makes any sense) and from the 14 chapters I’ve made my way through thus far its a fascinating/involving read well worth looking into before heading out to the theater on December 16th. I might delve into the novel a bit more on here once I’ve finished it and we’ve all had time to dissect Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as the new year approaches. You can pick up your copy of Catalyst by clicking on the book artwork below.

catalyst_a_rogue_one_novel

And another ones gone… And another ones gone… Another one bites the dust!

I don’t know what’s more difficult, devoting a full 31 days of the year to Schlock or working on the post game summary.

Boom! Done! Finished! Hasta La Vista Baby! Elvis has left the building! This year’s Schlocktoberfest was brought to you by the letter C which stands for Creature Feature and holy hell I think I set a personal record as there were 8 films that consisted of giant monsters, Giant Octopuses, Sharks of the Mega and 2 headed variety, carnivorous tentacles, 7 foot wasps, and hostile aliens.  If you’re sensing a bit of deja vu with several of these entries its because I went back into the archives and condensed older reviews from the first version of The Direct 2 Video Dungeon. This is also why you might have spotted a lot of this year’s list focusing on productions from 2012 with several coming from The Asylum.

The variety was off the charts – regular zombies, vampiric zombies, homicidal paper boys, psychotic grandparents, a couple generic slashers here and there and an reanimated corpse that dresses up as Uncle Sam. Go ahead and pick your poison.  Oh plus a book and soundtrack review that ended up taking the place of the horror based video games I covered last year (my gaming habits have been pretty sporadic lately and didn’t have enough time to look for any games that fit into the Schlocktoberfest mold).

Before I get to my top 10 Schlocktoberfest 2K16 picks I would like to once again thank all of you who came along for this wild ride. Schedules can be difficult to work around and there were days where life got in the way but I was still able to throw together an update of some kind. I know that in the last two years I’ve stated that I had plans to update this blog more often and thanks to procrastination getting the better of me that never happened. Well I do plan to be back very soon as I have a couple ideas I want to expand on so you’ll most likely be seeing me around sometime in Mid-November. As of right now I intend to enjoy the rest of my Halloween and start November off by catching up on the latest episodes of Elementary, West World, Gotham and the season 3 finale of The Strain. Until the next time – keep a stiff upper lip.

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Must Watch List: 

1 – Stranger Things – Technically not a movie unless you view this Netflix hit as it was intended through binge watching and even then each episode is presented in chapters so really this is what I’d refer to as an episodic live action book. A series starring children with adult tones. Horror, science fiction, drama, romance wrapped up tightly in an coming of age bow. You’ve had an entire month to watch this so if you flat out ignored my recommendation never come to this blog again…. EVER!

2 – The Witch – Beyond effective delivery, stunning performances, spine tingling results. If you grew up with a basic of witch folklore prepare to have all of your senses jolted.

3 – The Poughkeepsie Tapes – Blending the popular docudrama style of Discovery Channel’s New Detectives with the found footage genre there were moments where I felt a twinge of legitimate fear that wouldn’t subside until two or three days later. Can only hope John Erick Dowdle wasn’t blowing smoke about getting a distribution deal with MGM finalized as this needs a proper DVD/Blu-ray release.

4 – Godzilla vs. Destoroyah – 2016 featured another big return for Japan’s native son and when Funimation signed a deal with Toho to distribute Shin Godzilla for a limited U.S. theatrical engagement I don’t think The King’s handlers knew what was going to happen. One week and $1.5 million later and Shin Godzilla decided to stay take in the sights and sounds of the good old U.S.A. for a little while longer. I still missed out so Funimation when you announce pre-orders for Blu-ray I’ll be ready. Godzilla vs Destoroyah on the other hand is a real treat for G-fans as at the time it was intended to be a hiatus for Toho and what a send off the effects are completely jaw dropping, the story features a few new concepts all the while paying tribute to Godzilla’s humble origins. If you don’t have this in your collection you’re not a true Godzilla fan.

5 – Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies – Don’t really have to say much here. Abraham Lincoln kills zombies and does so in such a kick ass way you’ll be completely shell-shocked  when you realize this was an Asylum production. Thank you Bill Oberst Jr. without your screen presence this production would have been brain dead long before the zombies reached it.

6 – 10 Cloverfield Lane – Goodbye handheld camcorder hello Hitchockian suspense. The not so much a sequel as it a completely different concept that no one saw coming. What a pleasant surprise give John Goodman a fallout shelter set off an apocalyptic event and watch the tension build to a fever pitch.

7 – The Final Girls – Would have been much higher up on the list if not for a PG-13 rating. I’ll say it one more time for good measure – A PG-13 slasher flick?!?!?!? Never in all my 35 years of life would I have thought such a thing could exist. Oh well it dusts off some old ideas applies some polish and presents them in like new condition.

8 – Deep Rising – Oh Stephen Sommers how I miss thee, this is back when you presented some actual fun ideas. There’s not one person in the entire cast where I feel their talent was wasted. There are one liners galore, thrills, chills, gross out moments and plenty of laughs. Don’t get any second ideas here just because Deep Rising is in the number 8 position doesn’t mean it’s not as good as the films above in fact its the second highest rated creature feature next to Godzilla so if you’re looking for something completely campy but is so much fun don’t pass this one by.

9 – Don’t Breathe – Want to really throw audiences for a loop? Make a movie where 90% of the time the characters don’t even talk to one another. Don’t Breathe locks in the tension in a way where you don’t care if there’s dialogue you’re too concerned with monitoring your own pulse and wondering if your heart is going to into cardiac arrest by the time the credits roll.

10 – The Millennium Bug – Demented hillbillies, a normal everyday family getting off the grid to avoid any Y2K catastrophe and oh yeah a grotesque behemoth who’s rudely awakened from his  peaceful hibernation. If you miss the days of Stan Winston and Rick Baker this indie creature feature isn’t afraid to raise its practically created middle finger towards every CGI heavy production polluting the entertainment industry.

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 31: The Witch (2015)

I remember hearing that Goats will eat anything therefor I never really found them to be that scary. Until now.
I remember being told at a young age that Goats would eat anything therefor I never really found them to be all that frightening…. Until now.

Synopsis: A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

Which is the greater evil? The evil that resides inside of man or the evil that lurks out past the shadows in the woods and inside the beasts that inhabit such a vast untamed forest? With modern society we don’t have to turn far in order to see the evil that men do. Grab a TV remote and turn on the news, power on a laptop and load up a internet browser to CNN.com, check out a copy of The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune or USA Today. It is all around if given the chance it envelops us and yet its white noise that a vast majority decide to tune out and pay no mind to as we try to live our normal everyday lives.  The fear that lurks beyond the shadows as the sun slips down below the horizon is far more elemental preying on the wide array of emotions our minds will go through whenever we’re out in the middle of a serene wilderness. The unexpected sound of a branch snapping will send a surge of adrenaline through our bodies as we instinctively begin turning in circles desperately trying to locate the source of the sound. Now imagine in the course of taking four simple footsteps you’re transported some 400 years back in time to a point where if you hold a certain set of beliefs you’re cast out of society forced to make a go of it in unfamiliar territory that rests on the edge of an endless forest. It’s a world where their form of contemporary medicines wouldn’t be able to fight off simple illnesses and would ultimately be blamed on the work of the devil. If you’re not familiar with how to properly cultivate the earth and in your brash arrogance plant vegetables that turn up rotten blame wouldn’t be put on pure ignorance one simply had to point their finger at something as wicked as black magic instead. Wandering out into the serenity of the woods would greatly be frowned upon as you’re risking life itself. The sudden snapping of a tree branch could simply be a deer a wolf or a bear or it could be something that engorges on the fears of the unknown and is sinister beyond imagination.

Good horror films embrace the story their telling whereas magnificent horror films will use atmosphere to toy with every human emotion.  The atmosphere The Witch embraces hinges on primordial elements deciding early on that its going to use the plain fear of isolation to slowly unnerve viewers. A family has to readjust their lives as best as they can in an absolutely remorseless wilderness. A mere 10 minutes in the tension is quickly fractured when the family’s newborn son mysteriously vanishes. The father is quick to blame the disappearance on wolves and the mother is bedridden with grief and depression breaking down into tears as she prays for the safe return of her child. After searching for a few days the father makes the heartbreaking decision that everyone should move on with their lives readjusting once more to whatever hardships may come their way.  The forest around the homestead begins to feed off the tragedy and despair by punishing those who set foot in it. These were the moments where I found my pulse quickening to the point  where my heart was ready to punch out of my chest. Subtle little instances where what could be viewed as a bit of misfortune returns with those who ventured out and like a single ember sets fire to an already fragile powder keg of raw emotion. Atmosphere comes in many shapes and forms and the way it crawls out of the shadows  in The Witch is through the performances of four very talented young actors. Any respected thespian will tell you delivering a line of dialogue in the right inflection can be extremely difficult yet all four of these kids bravely carry the entire weight of the film on their shoulders. I knew almost immediately when I began making my selections for Schlocktoberfest 2K16 that The Witch would bookend the month and decided not to screen it right away preferring to wait and see where my emotions would lead. Thankfully I was not disappointed. This is bare bones horror at its finest. No lens flares or flashy explosions. No Hollywood hunks brought into the production to try and sell the film on the merits of being a box office smash. You want those qualities you know where to find them The Witch on the other hand is for those who like having a plot thread expanded out beyond set traditions and reminds us why we always gather together to tell these stories during this part of the year.

Final Grade: A+

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Day 30: The Final Girls (2015)

The 1980s called and they don't want want their poster back. In fact they're very jealous. This goes above and beyond incredible artwork.
The 1980s called and they don’t want want their poster back. In fact they’re very jealous. This goes above and beyond incredible artwork.

Synopsis: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.

A couple days ago in the opening paragraph of my review on 2012’s Girls Gone Dead I asked if horror movie cliches had become cliches in themselves. The standard cut and paste job is why the genre fizzled out in the mid to late ’90s and the only time when the iron was put back into the fire was when film makers took a step back and looked at the most popular concepts from a completely different angle. One of the highlights of Schlocktoberfest 2014 was Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon which focused a majority of that film solely from the perspective of the slasher villain himself. A year later featured Tucker and Dale vs. Evil where a game of role reversal was played with a pair of Hillbillies being the normal ones and a group of college kids were the homicidal maniacs.  Looking to top both of those The Final Girls throws a group of movie goers into a ’80s themed summer camp slasher flick that is a loving tribute (right down to the Harry Manfredini-esque theme song) to Friday the 13th. Ever since Scream established the rules one has to follow in order to survive who wouldn’t mind having the opportunity to jump into their favorite horror movie  and see if you could out smart the machete wielding hock mask wearing killer when all of the main cast were done in by the over three decades worth of cliches that we spotted coming from a mile away.  One of the movie goers even uses this knowledge to try and guide the rest through without any harm but the movie itself isn’t having any of that and uproots all those normal horror tropes to the point where there isn’t a playing field to try and get a level advantage from.

Whenever the buzz for certain projects hit the internet I always remain the reserved skeptic. It’s not that I don’t believe a lot of the positive word of mouth I’ve always kept my guard up until I’m about halfway through the feature. The Final Girls attention to detail is my favorite quality about it where the normal world is very crisp and sharp much like any high definition camera one would pick up at Best Buy. Once everyone is thrown into the 1980s though the look changes drastically to be more in tune with that of VHS tape where the contrast dial is turned all the way up and every now and then you could almost sense that there’s a speck of dirt that appears on the film grain. From top to bottom the casting is near perfect with Malin Akerman Alia Shawkat and Alexander Ludwig being instantly recognized by my subconscious. It took about a half hour to realize that Thomas Middleditch is also featured but quite honestly the only thing I know him from is a Conan ‘O Brien sketch. Where Final Girls stumbles a couple steps is an observation that many  have brought up pertaining to red corn syrup or lack thereof. I don’t quite get that decision as Middleditch’s slasher horror aficionado even ponders if the movie’s characters blood is made up entirely of red corn syrup. I mean come on in my 35 years of life I’ve never heard of a thing as a PG-13 slasher film. The writers and directors can drop a couple F-bombs and various sex and drug references yet they’re too afraid to throw vats of fake blood on everyone? Makes me wonder if The Final Girls had an initial R rating and the studio up and stepped in to try and reach a wider demographic. Other than that if one wants to create an obscure horror trilogy of unrelated modern classics Behind The Mask, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and The Final Girls is an imposing trifecta of hilarious terror that everyone shouldn’t be afraid  to tackle between now and October 31st. Don’t worry there’s still plenty of time… Right? Right!!!…

Final Grade: A-