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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Corner of Terror... Back From the Dead!

Greetings, everyone.  You may have been wondering where I've been, and what I've been doing since about March 2013... and why this blog went dead.

Well, Life has a way of taking you out of the game for a while- and such is what happened to me.  A combination of a new job and moving resulted in my having to put my reviews in Limbo for awhile.

Now, however... I am rising from the grave to bring you more reviews of horror movies, books and games!

There will be some changes occurring over the next couple of months.  Some of those changes are:

  • "What Movie Wednesday"- Due to the way my work schedule is set-up, I don't have every Wednesday off- so I won't be able to do my weekly voting and tweet-along.  To make up for this, I will be creating a page here that will show a schedule of tweet-along dates, 24 hour tweet-along dates, review postings, and any other special events that I might be able to conduct.
  • Navigation-  I'd like to make things a little easier to navigate around the site- especially as the list of movies, etc expands.
  • Appearance-  I'll also be revealing a new look for the blog.  This includes a brand new LOGO.  That's right, after three years, The Corner of Terror will be getting a new logo.
I'll being a lot of preparation over the next couple of weeks, and the reviews and tweeting will begin properly with the New Year.!

Hopefully, the new year will bring good fortune to us, and The Corner of Terror won't have to teeter on the edge of the Abyss again.

Stay with us as great things happen!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Vampires Shouldn't Sparkle

Now, before everyone starts screaming that this joke is old and tired, let me just say that there is a reason why the title is as it is.

Because it's not just "Twilight" that's guilty of a sin against horror.  It's any book, movie, or game that tries to humanize monsters.

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc are monsters for a reason.  They are cursed creatures- meant to symbolize the darkest parts of our Society and ourselves.

Vampires symbolize the parasitic, greedy, lustful, cold hearted parts of Society.  They are predators that prey on the innocent in order to survive.  They lust for the life blood of those around them, seeing mortals as nothing more than cattle- contemptuous because the living have souls, while they are souless, empty shells greedily trying to fill themselves up with life.

Kinda like a large corporation or government when you think about it.

Vampires are supposed to have no soul (part of being cursed and undead), they're missing that vital element that is generally accepted to be the source of love, compassion, mercy.  Part of becoming a vampire is losing that moral compass, and becoming corrupted by the darkness and the powers it bestows.  We don't like people who act like financial vampires by draining our bank accounts to satisfy their life style desires, right?  We don't like people who act like psychic vampires by draining us of our self-esteem, confidence, and good cheer in order to make themselves feel better, right?  These people lack a moral compass that would direct them away from that behaviour.  Why idolize a creature that sucks the life out of you- and leaves you an empty shell longing to be filled up with life again?

One reason given is that vampires are sexual creatures.  To an extent, they are... but they use trickery in the form of hynoptism to gain consent from their intended prey.  They seduce their victims, use them... and leave them empty.  Essentially, the women vampires neck with are being date raped, then often discarded.  The only lust they feel is for the blood that pumps nourishes you.  Once you give that up to them, you're useless to them.  It's like the handsome player flirting, and leading a woman on to think they're might be more to them... but once they have sex, they're gone.

Another reason giving for sympathetic vampires is that there has to be some that don't want to be the way they are.  I can agree with this one to an extent- but only because the Law of Probability dictates the possibility.  The only problem with this is psychology over an extended period- as demonstrated by the Stockholm Syndrome.  This is when a captive, over an extended period of captivity with their kidnapper, begins to bond with- and sympathise with, them.  Essentially, after awhile, they become what they started out resisting.  The vampire condition would eventually remove the resistance to feasting on humans (after all... cow blood isn't really genetically compatible with human biology), and the use of their powers would ultimately lead to them being contempful of mere humans.  Not only that- but guilt at having to murder people to survive would also take its toll... possibly driving the vampire to submerge the pacifist side in order to do what it needed to.

After 100 years, it's highly unlikely that a vampire would say no to a juicy human jugular vein... kinda like the way Donald Trump can't say no to a bad haircut.

There is a biological side to the vampire that makes it a monster.  The first being the fact that they're in between life and death.  This is because they've lost their soul.  They're doomed to spend eternity watching people live and enjoy life without being able to join them.  They have to watch family- immediate and descendants live and die without being able to mourn with them.  They are denied a place in Humanity without a soul.  This would add the psychological elements of jealousy and most likely a desire to destroy that life, and spread the pain by turning others into vampires.

And there's the whole sunlight thing.  There is a reason WHY they burst into flames in sunlight (and not pretty fairy dust sparkles).  When they were transformed into a vampire, they are damned to darkness- which is when Satan is supposed to have the most power.  Sunlight is God's domain.  Those under Satan's domain are unable to battle the holy light of God as illustrated by sunlight.  Since God's power is stronger, they're bodies are unable to handle it- and thus are destroyed by the righteous fire that erupts from contact.

On a side note- the above scenario isn't all THAT far fetched, since there is a condition called  xeroderma pigmentosa (used quite effectively in "The Others" (2001)) where those afflicted are sensitive to sunlight.

The final biological thing that makes a vampire a monster to be feared is their manner of reproduction.  As has been pointed out in a couple of "Twlight" memes, since vampires don't have a heartbeat, there's no blood pressure, thus no blood flowing through the body.  Since there's no blood flow in the body, there can be no flow of blood to their... well, their danglies.  In addition to being impotent, they most likely don't produce sperm, since cell division has essentially stopped at the moment of becoming a vampire.  Because of this, they can't get a woman pregnant.

But that's not the part of it that makes them a monster.  Since they can't have sex the normal way, their sexual act comes via sucking the blood out of their victim and transforming them into a vampire- passing their curse on through their saliva.  This is one of the common ways that sexually transmitted diseases are passed around.  And to add to it- vampire have more than one victim... and knowingly spread their curse.

So... when you look at vampires realistically, I think most of us can agree that there are very good reasons why vampires are monsters... and shouldn't sparkle...

Would you like to see my analysis of other famous movie monsters?  E-mail me at cornerofterror@hotmail.ca, and I'll get to work on it!
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Dark Fall: Lights Out (2002)

In the world of movies and books, sequels are seldom as original or enjoyable as the first installment.  The same can be said of video games...

You are a cartographer in 1912 sent to map out a piece of dangerous coastline.  Finding a lighthouse nearby, you become wrapped up in an investigation to find out why lighthouse keepers have been disappearing over the years... and you must find the answer before you become the next one to vanish after the lights go out...

This is the second game in the "Dark Fall" series- with "Dark Fall: The Journal" being the first.  You can't really call this game a sequel, since there is no real connection to "The Journal".  The only connection is that the female paranormal investigator that went missing in "The Journal" makes an appearance.

There is a vast difference between the graphics in this game, and the original.  In "The Journal," the artwork is more drawn and moody, while "Lights Out" has a crisper, more 3D look to it.  It looks nice, but I didn't get the same sense of gloom and erriness from "Lights Out".  The sets just looked... sterile to me.

The music was as good in this one as the first one.  I would love to get the music on CD.

The gameplay is pretty basic for a Point & Click Adventure, as are the puzzles- which this game mostly consists of.  I had a hard time at points wondering what the puzzles had to do with the storyline... which I had issues with as well.

The premise (as always) was good, but the execution fell short.  I was looking forward to a spooky paranormal adventure, but wound up being disappointed by the introduction of time travel aspect of the story, and the rather weak sci-fi ending to the game.

There is a third game in the series- "Dark Fall: Lost Souls," that returns to the setting of "The Journal".  I'm hoping that it can recapture the atmosphere and creepiness of the series that this game failed to deliver.  I'm putting "Dark Fall: Lights" in The Ugly.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Demonic (2006)

In most horror films, you can be guaranteed of three "B's"- Boobs, Butts, and Blood.  Some of them, rely on just those three things to draw an audience...

A group of friends are travelling when they become lost in the middle of a forest.  An accident strands them in the woods, where people have gone missing... and flesh eating creatures roam the shadowy trees...

"Demonic" (also known as "Forest of the Damned" won as this week's, "What Movie Wednesday" selection, and offered up plenty of the three "B's" mentioned above.  Unfortunately, that was all that was appealing about this film.

I liked the premise- angels that lusted after man and fell to earth in disgraceg the woods eating people.  Too bad the only real indications of the creatures' angelic origins was a biblical quote at the start, and a couple of crazed rants by two people.  The concept could've added a lot more depth to the story, and adding more information about it could've really made this movie a bit more than what it was in the end... naked chicks running around the woods in the moonlight munching on people.

Not that I'm opposed to the idea of naked chicks running around the woods nomming on innocent travellers, of course.  The premise just promised more potential storywise than was ultimately presented.

Most of the characters were rather generic, and not altogether likable.  I had zero sympathy for Ally (Bitchy McPMS as I called her in my tweets), or the horndog Andrew.  I didn't even cheer when they died, to be honest.  The heroes- Judd and Molly were a step up, that's for sure... but I just couldn't bring myself to WANT to see them survive.  I was... well, indiffrent to their Fates.   The character I felt sorry for was Emilio... but only because he kept looking like he was trying to pinch back from dropping a log in his pants.  I wanted to tell him it was okay to mess his pants while watching his sister is being dragged into the trees to become an appetizer for the naked women.

Of the lot, Tom Savini's acting was the best in his role of Stephen- one of the crazy people that survive in the woods surrounded by the naked female face eaters.  But even his acting was enough to make me sigh and wonder how much he got paid to be in this movie.  I'm not even sure how to characterize the "acting" of the naked women.  Is undulating, nipping lower lips, and comping on necks something that can be considered "acting"?  If so, then they did a tremendously good job.  Bravo!

I will admit that there was some great camera work in "Demonic".  There are some excellent moments of framing, etc that I liked.  The only aspect that bothered me was the segments shot with a night vision camera.  Those moments just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the movie.  The grue was really well done in my opinion.  The way Emilio's lower jaw was removed, and the splatter of blood from the crowbar scene were great!

While, most horror movies deliver boobs, butts and blood, it's never good to rely solely on those things to make your horror film a good one.  Lack of  story depth and bland characters will drop it from something enjoyable to something that gets tiring after a while.  I'd suggest watching this movie once, but I highly doubt that I'll watch it again.  "Demonic" is getting The Bad.

Special Shout-Out:

I'd like to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "Demonic":

Ron Morgan
Tanya Marie
Jay (from "We Came From the Basement")
Derek Anderson
Tuesday Movie Men

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 12 March 2013!

Join me on Twitter at @camethebasement every Thurs at 10:00 pm (PST) as I tweet along to their radio show on www.thex.ca!

Also join me Sundays @camethebasement at 7:00 pm (PST) as I tweet along to non-horror movies!
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Prospector's Curse (2013)

We've got a quick review of the short film "The Prospector's Curse" today for you.

Two fugitives come across a dying prospector who asks them for a proper Christian burial. Stealing his gold, the two ignore his request. That night however, they find that keeping a promise is a good policy to have...

"The Prospector's Curse" was written and directed by Josh Heisie, and stars Robert Nolan, David Roberts, and Johnny Quinn. Heisie has stated that this is actually just the first of a series of shorts that will focus on various horror themes- thrillers, creature features, and slasher films.

If they're as fun to watch as this one was, I'm looking forward to a chance to watch the others. The premise is simple and effective- it could've supported a feature length storyline, actually.

I also liked the characters of "Tubby" and Smith. They were unique and interesting. I enjoyed the way these two characters interacted. I wanted more of them.

As is often the case with short films, the acting was a bit over the top- and a little silly at times. Having said that, I really did enjoy watching Roberts breath life into "Tubby". I also thought that Quinn did a great job with the role of Smith as well. Nolan was good as The Prospector- especially after he dies. The remaining cast looked their parts too, and tried to create a real blend of personalities with the supporting characters.

There is some fantastic camera work in this short film. Nothing fancy, but highly effective use of framing, angles, and lighting. The play of light and shadow was great. I also felt that the make-up on The Prospector's corpse was great, and the blood usage looked awesome to me.

I'm going to have to give "The Prospector's Curse" a Good- and say that I'll be looking forward to more from Heisie.

Check out the trailer below for a taste of this fun short film.
The Prospector's Curse - Trailer from Josh Heisie on Vimeo.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Take a "Chance" on "Something Like a Phenomenon"

Last year, around this time, I reviewed a short film by the name of "The Timeslip" by Jonathan and Richard Chance.  I was quite impressed with this award winning short, and made it quite clear that I would love to see what they could do with a feature length film.  I was also pleased to have John answer some of my "Grave Questions"

Several months ago, John let it slip that he was working on a feature length project called, "Somthing Like a Phenomenon"- based on the events that took place in the famous Borley Rectory.  The story centers around the renown paranormal investigator, Harry Price, and the year he spent investigating the rectory with fifty volunteers.

The script made it to the semi-finals of the 2012 Shriekfest competition, and has begun production.  John was kind enough to send us a poster for the movie!
I love the look of this poster.  It not only echoes the visual style of posters from the late 1930's, but also has a nice Cthulu type motif to it.  This poster would actually look great as a book cover as well.

Now, I not only love my horror films, but I am also a bit of a paranormal researcher as well.  Borley Rectory, and Harry Price's year long investigation of the haunting there has always held a facsination for me.  There has always been controversy surrounding Harry Price and this investigation.

I'm really excited and eager to see the direction John takes with this movie.

Check out the website for the film, and it's Facebook page too!

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Room 33 (2009)

Abandoned facilities such as mental institutions are an often used location in horror films.  It wasn't much different with the recent "What Movie Wednesday" winner, "Room 33".

When their vehicle runs out of gas, a female roller derby team, and the couple they offered a ride to are forced to take shelter for the night in an abandoned mental institution.  They soon meet Roxy- a scared teenager with a mysterious connection to the facility... and the killer that is now stalking them from the shadows...

The premise, while not what one could call "original" these days is still one that promises potential.  The actual story used, however is pretty shallow and amounts to tedious repetition of characters being scared, concerned for Roxy, being bitchy and being killed.  There is very little in the way of emotionally engaging moments... or scares even.  The opportunities to explore the reasons for what was happening were wasted- rather than clear things up, they only confused things more.

"Room 33" isn't helped by the rather banal and shallow characters.  We've seen them all before:
  • The Pretty Boy
  • The Nice College Girl
  • The Slut
  • The Bitch
  • The Hot Foreign Girl
  • The Scared Girl
  • The Chubby Tech Guy
  • The Scared Black Guy
This movie does very little with them in terms of real character development.  Of the characters, the ONLY ones I liked were Nelson (the black guy), and Stewart (the tech guy).  I liked Nelson, especially, because he was pretty much the only one of them that seemed to realise they were in a horror movie.  But as much as I liked Nelson, I really didn`t feel anything when he died.  The worst character was Sarah- the "bitch" character.  She was just not likable at all in any way.  She was just a bitch.  She insulted everyone, gave a blow job to the "pretty boy" who her team mate was interested in... AFTER caving in the aforementioned team mate's head with a bat.  Tries to use the blow job to cause a rift between the "pretty boy" and the "college girl" (and is pissed when it doesn't work), threatens to kill the "scared girl" multiple times- and even vows to kill her again as revenge for her team mate's head being caved in.  Not one redeemable quality in that skag.  Not even the scene whowing off her fishnet clad butt was enough to make me go, "Oh, she's not so bad."  I wanted her to die in the most horrible, grisly, messy fashion possible.

The acting wasn`t great- in fact, I was at times wishing that it was the actors dying and not the characters.

There are a couple of decent pieces of camera work- but nothing that really hasn`t been seen before and stands out as a "OMG!  That's so cool!" piece of work.  In fact, I was not only disappointed, but I was quite pissed at the lack of grue in the kills.  First off, you don't SEE anything happen due to a fast cut away.  When you see the body, there's a bit of blood, and gooey tissue- but not enough to satisfy most horror fans.  This especially angered me because I was so looking forward to see the character of Sarah die.  But, when her time comes... there's just a quick shot of the killer's fingers in her eyes, and then she's on the floor.  Given the character's attitude throughout the movie, I felt cheated by that pay off.  It was a fucking cheap thing to do.

I do not recommend this "What Movie Wednesday" winner for watching.  At all.  Avoid it.  If I had a category worse than The Ugly, "Room 33" would be in it.

Special Shout Out:

I'd like to thank everyone who voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "Room 33":

Leona Biron-Coulter
Tanya Marie
Ricky Russell
Jason Wiggins
Shiro Seirei Kitsuna

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 07 March 2013.

Join me Thursday nights on Twitter @camethebasement at 10:00 pm (PST) when I tweet along to their radio show!

ALSO, join me Friday nights @camethebasement at 7:00 pm (PST) when I tweet along to a non-horror movies!
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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Werewolf vs Vampire Women (1971)

Two of the creatures of the night that seem to be pitted against each other in horror movies are werewolves and vampires.  This was no different back in the 1970's than it is now...

Elvira and Genevieve are searching for the grave of a medieval murderess and alleged vampiress when they are stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately, Count Daninsky lives nearby in a secluded castle.  He offers to help them search for the tomb... but only because within it may lay the key to curing of his curse.  It seems the Count is an immortal werewolf...

"The Werewolf vs Vampire Women" (original title, "La Noche de Walpurgis") is a Spanish horror film that helped to create a horror movie boom in Spain.

The premise is actually one that kinda makes me shake my head.  Not because it's stupid or anything- but rather because such pairings tend to lead to a rather silly movie.  And when one stops and examines this movie, it is rather silly... or course, that could be partly because the US version (which I watched as part of "What Movie Wednesday") was heavily cut.  There are some large holes in logic on the part of the Count and the others.

I did find that I liked most of the characters.  The Count is charming and a decent guy under all the fur and wolf slobber, and Genevieve makes a good companion for Elvira.  The Vampiress Wandessa is a decent villianess as well.  The only character I had some problem with was Elvira- the heroine.  It was the sudden turn she took from not trusting the Count to being in love with him overnight.  Bothered me.

The acting was pretty good, though some of the lines the actors had to deliver were a little silly.  Paul Naschy as the Count was quite good.  He was able to bring charm and pathos to his werewolf cursed character.  While I had problems with the character of Elvira, I felt that Gaby Fuchs was not only beautiful as Elvira, but did a passable job in the role.  Also beautiful was Barbara Capell- who played Elvira's friend Genevieve.  Capell brought a nice touch of character to Elvira's best friend, and a really seductive  aura to her vampiress portion... even with the huge ass fangs she had to wear.  I also through that Patty Shepard as the Vampiress Wandessa was superb.  She was beautiful, mysterious, ghostly, and seductive.

The camera work doesn't really stand out as being what I would call exceptional.  They furthest they go with special effects was to slow down the film during the vampiress segments in order to make them seem more etheral and dream-like.  While simple, and standard, it did the job and was effective.  The sets were also rather standard in terms of European horror films of the 1970's.

For a night of vampire and werewolf movies, I wouldn't hesitate to include "The Werewolf vs Vampire Women", but I wouldn't go out of my way to re-watch it.  Because of that, I'm placing it in The Bad.

Special Shout Out:
I would like to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "The Werewolf vs Vampire Women":

Justine's Halloween
Jessica Hewlett
Mary E Thompson
Leona Biron-Coulter

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 27 Feb 2013.

Also, join me every Thursday night at 10:00 pm (PST) @camethebasement when I tweet along to their radio show!

ALSO, every Friday night at 7:00 pm (PST), you can find me @camethebasement tweeting along to non-horror movies.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)

One of the perennial favorites when it comes to horror in general is Edgar Allan Poe.  His tales of the macabre and the unusual provide fertile soil for directors and actors when it comes to cultivating the heebie jeebies in people...

Edgar is a quiet, retiring sort of person- much too shy of a person to ask his beautiful neighbour out for a date.  On the advice of his friend Carl, Edgar asks Betty out... only to find out later that the two have started an affair behind his back.  Taking matters into his own hands, he soon discovers that the heartbeat of guilt is a difficult one to stop...

This "What Movie Wednesday" winner (part of last Wednesday's double feature), is a loose adaptation of Poe's famouse short story.  While there are several major differences between this movie and the source material, the spirit and core premise is still there.  For such a simple movie, the story is strong and solid.  Normally, the ending (similar to that of "Point of Terror") would've irritated me- but I didn't mind it with this one.

The acting was fairly good.  Laurence Payne suited the role of Edgar very well.  He looked the part, sounded the part, and acted the part beautifully.  You come to feel for him- even after his horrendous actions.  He also gives a good example of "crazy eyes" that really looked insane.  The beautiful Adrienne Corri played Betty.  She really made you feel that her character was only dating Edgar because she had no other friends.  She looked great with blonde or black hair, too.  Even though Dermot Walsh isn't in the movie much as Carl (he's dead for at least half of it), he still turned in a good performance.  You could tell that his character was trying to be the best friend he could be to Edgar, and was fighting the temptation offered to him by Betty.  His performance really helped to his end a tragic one... and makes you glad when revenge is finally his.

There isn't much to say about the camera work.  It's fairly standard, static fare for the 1960's- but does use light and dark really well to create a suspensful scene.

I'm going to place "The Tell-Tale Heart" in The Good.

Special Shout Out:

I want to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "The Tell-Tale Heart":

Jessica Hewlett
Mathew Little (of "The Wayward Tarheel")
Jason Wiggins

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will take place 20th February 2013!

And don't forget to join me Friday nights at 7:00 pm (PST) on Twitter (@camethebasement) as I tweet along to NON-horror movies!

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