REV-ELATIONS (CLASSIC HORROR TV/FILM)

Cosmic Rock

The Rev's Horror Half Year In Review

 

Welcome to a very special edition of Rev-Elations cosmic creatures! As we're nearly half-way through Hammer House of Horror, I'm actually taking a break from our reflections on the HHOH episodes to talk about the ever important here and now and give some recommendations on recent films I've seen. Don't worry, Hammer House Of Horror will return in all of it's blood soaked, british and bare breasted glory next time for our next episode "The Carpathian Eagle." Here in 2018, however, we are being flooded with a cornucopia of delicicious horror delights, so if you're someone like me, who clings to the things he knows and loves with a death grip and you're resistant to change because you have been burnt in the past, there has never been a better time to jump into the pool. I can assure you the water is great (notice I didn't say safe), come on in!

 

I mentioned in the last column the horror genre as a whole was red hot going into the summer-time and a little film from A24 productions called "Hereditary" has now grossed over 27 million at the box office. While that is an impressive performance for what is a relatively new movie, it had a 10 million dollar budget so it also has already turned a profit and is still in theaters. Reviews for this movie coming out of the festival circles were unheard of. Some called it the scariest movie since "The Exorcist", some said it was the scariest movie of all time. The filmmakers were chastened by some for using those reviews in the marketing of the film. The argument was understandable. Those are bold claims and setting expectations too high can certainly hurt audience reactions and you could really make a strong case that they did. In their defense, if someone said those things about my movie, I'd get that shit tattooed on my forehead. So I totally understand. I found the trailers effective as they set a certain tone but don't reveal enough to know at all what to expect from the movie. I was able to cast the review quotes aside knowing that kind of hype has become the norm and I pay it no mind, but then again I'm the target audience for super weird theatrically released movies. The reaction was that of a "Hereditary" House Of Horror divided. Audience scores were extraordinarily bad. Critical reviews had it sitting at a 93% on rotten tomatoes and were extremely high. I saw some people call it the worst piece of shit they ever saw. I saw others call it an absolute masterpiece the likes of which are rarely made with any sort of budget or star power these days.   I had the chance to check it out for myself and form my own opinion on "Hereditary". It gets two big devil horns up from this guy! Being so different from what is currently popular, I thought that immediately made it stand out. Like previous A24 films such as "The VVitch", it has a slow pacing and is a very cerebral movie. There is such a creepy vibe flowing through every shot and it makes you genuinely uncomfortable. The point of horror is to horrify, and as fans of the genre we can often become a little jaded to that fact. I can always appreciate it when a movie can stir those emotions. It really is totally bonkers that a movie like this could even get made today. It's biggest strong point is just how different it is in comparison to the currently trendy jump scare based horror, but to some that was the same reason they hated it. They were also able to cast well known stars in Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne who elevate the material and Millie Shapiro probably has an entire career in horror ahead of her if she wants it, though she's had plenty of success as a outside of horror even at such a young age (she is actually a Tony award winning broadway star). I understand why a lot of folks didn't like it. I've seen this compared to of course the Exorcist, but also Rosemary's Baby and director Ari Astor has stated he feels like it is a spiritual successor to "Don't Look Now". If you're a fan of the popular horror films of the day this is something completely out of left field for you. That isn't to say one is better than the other. Jump scares are fine and certainly have their time and place. Clearly movies with lots of them are very popular and have a huge demand, but if you want something different and want to feel feelings that you think about for weeks afterwards and you want to be just genuinely disturbed and creeped out.. See this movie! It is one horror fans will be talking about for years to come.

 

 

  Now Hereditary got plenty of love. Another movie I want you to give a chance to that wasn't quite so well received is the slasher sequel "The Strangers: Prey At Night". The reviews I saw for this were mostly negative. Sure it doesn't cover any new ground, and in comparison to the bleak and serious tone of the original film some of "Prey at Night" seems downright ridiculous, but appreciating it for what it is I actually found it to be a ton of fun. It is a textbook slasher with all of the tropes (final girl, less than smart victims), set to a killer 80's soundtrack and as a matter of fact in this dude's humble opinion now "owns" the song "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" for horror flicks at least. It does manage to cover a little new ground in the slasher subgenre with it's use of the music throughout. If you passed on it because of the reviews and you love the Friday the 13th flicks and the numerous clones of the sillier slasher variety that followed, give this one a chance.

 

  My next pick is a recent release from french film-maker Coralie Fargeat, called "Revenge". In this one the title says it all. As the old saying goes "there are no new songs to write and no new stories to tell". I don't think that is an absolute statement, but in this day and age it is certainly hard to come up with something completely original. "Revenge" is a familiar archetype with a fierce new coat of paint and it does it to perfection. If you dig other "revenge" horror (pun intended) such as I Spit On Your Grave, Last House On The Left, etc.... this movie is for you. It is brutal, unflinching and it's themes are more relevant now than ever. 

 

There are some flicks that were theatrically released at the end of last year but got their video releases in 2018. We mentioned slashers a couple of paragraphs ago, chief among those home video releases was the Ariescope/Dark Sky pictures instant classic Victor Crowley. VC is the 4th installment of director Adam Green's "Hatchet" series but also serves as a soft reboot for the franchise. Green's signature blend of humor, heart and gore fires on all cylinders and if you haven't seen any of the "Hatchet" series just plan for a marathon night. We have a slasher king for our era and his name is Victor Crowley. Another one you should check out is the absolutely heinous "Terrifier" from director Damien Leone. This is another slasher, but in stark contrast to VC and in spite of the killer being a clown, there is very little fun to be had. This is the type of horror movie that chills you to the bone. Art The Clown is one of the most horrific creations in recent memory. I am desensitized as hell. I have seen some shit, let's just put it that way. This movie disturbed me and fascinated me. I didn't think it was possible to be scared by horror at this point in my life, but actor David Howard Thorton as Art The Clown made me rethink that. And just because it was my favorite movie of 2017, and it hit streaming on Shudder in 2018, director Joe Lynch's "Mayhem" is an absolute must see. It stars Steven Yeun of Walking Dead fame and the incredible Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Ash vs Evil Dead, Smilf). "Mayhem" is more of a social statement on pursuing your dreams/action thriller than a straight up horror movie, but it is the type of movie all horror fans will most likely love as there plenty of horror elements. I hate over categorizing things. If it is a horror movie it was my favorite one last year. It spoke to me on a personal level, and as I said was my favorite of all movies last year so do yourself a favor and check it out.

 

 

 

That's all for now. I haven't seen "A Quiet Place" because there is ironically no movie theater in my hometown that is actually "a quiet place", and I should probably avoid public outbursts of rage. Until next time, keep it strange, drown out the noise and if you want to follow my antics on twitter or instagram, do so at @dragonsrejects or on facebook.com/revdanthedragonwilson.