Devils night was spent in a church, watching a heavy metal band play under a cross. It was beautiful. During my Halloween sojourn, I watched many, many films. I had planned to play plenty of Ju-on on the Wii, but since it isn't that good, that idea was and is dead in the water. He did attempt to shoot more timelapse of the stars, but alas the sky was overcast, so all we ended up doing was watching films. And a bit of K-1. Not a bad Halloween.
Paranormal Activity: Lots and lots of hype. My feeling is that if the previews didn't tell you this was the scariest movie ever made, then no one would have been scared. Yes, there were a few tense moments towards the end, but what tension it did create was ruined by a poor script and bad acting. Films need character development. Not a couple having the exact same arguement every 10 minutes, being intercut with them in bed. How many times did Katie tell Micah the camera was a bad idea, and how many times did he reply, "I'll take care of it" and march down the hall taunting the demon? Far, far too many times. Plus, they two biggest chills in the film were shown in the trailers. If Spielbergs cronies hadn't orgasmed all over this film, no one would have ever seen it. They tried desperately to make a cult phenomemon, to make the next Blair Witch, but I imagine in 10 years, no one will remember this film. The other thing that really pisses me off with this film is they try to convince everyone it was made for $15,000. Yes, originally it was. Until Dreamworks got a hold of it and then re-shot the ending and a few other small moments, re-mixed the audio and re-edited the film before finally releasing it.
The Haunting of Conneticut: Watching this film reminded me of watching Paranormal Activity. Some great chills and scary moments, and some good building of tension, again ruined by a terrible script. This time, an overly melodramatic and cliched script. I laughted during the 'searching for hope' montage in which Virgina Madsen lays in bed, clutching to her pillow, praying, and her husband is getting drunk, rocking out on his guitar, until he smashes the speaker and then his shelves. Where the hell did this rock guitar come from? And lest not forget the part when the dad listens to an audio tape made by the haunted cancer son Matthew. What teenage boy records an audio tape for his dad in which he tells him he loves him and what he's been up to. Were the creators of this film really that stupid? I guess so. And what the hell was up with the detective cousin, that really does nothing for most of the film, until she turns into Nancy Drew, accessing the cities archivies to unlock the mystery of the house! If a horror film is to be good, the film as a whole has to be good. It can't be a few good scares surrounded by crap, especially when it takes itself so damn seriously.
The Midnight Meat Train: Ryuhei Kitamura strikes again in his first Hollywood film. Adapted from Clive Barkers short story of the same name, it turns out to be quite an effective piece of bloody mayhem for Kitamura. He does wonders with the meager budget. Its visually inventive, like most of his films, and damn claustrophobic. It also features some wonderfully creative death sequences, something most horror films seem to be missing these days. Is the film perfect? No. Some of Leon's descent into obsession isn't really motivated, and sometimes the snazzy camera work that Kitamura is known for does border on self-gratification, but as a gory piece of meat, it works quite well. Kitamura shows he definetly has the chops to continue his work in North America.
The Devils Chair: This is the first Adam Mason film I've watched. After the first half hour, I was almost ready to turn it off. The voice over wasn't working for me. Most of it looked like crap. The motivation for Dr. Willard to take Nick West back to the place of his girlfriends death was weak at best. And some of the acting, my god...it was funny the first time Dr. Willard was referred to as Gandalf, but he didn't have to act like him at all times. The last hour of the film though did pick things up a fair bit. What starts out as predictable becomes a mindbending journey into the truth about the chair that sits in the old asylum. The creature SFX are pretty stunning, and the demonic creature that lurks within the chair is really well done, very Lovecraftian. So the film turned out not to be all bad. The voice over still never worked, no matter how unpredicatable the film was. It does get bloody, really, really bloody, but after it ended, I couldn't help but feeling like something was missing. It just didn't hit the mark. But I'll give Adam Mason and Simon Boyes props for attempting to make something very different and unique with incredibly limited means. I will watch Blood River and Broken now that they've got my attention.