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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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