Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Horror of Gifts

What to buy the girl that has everything? And by "everything" I mean her own free horror blog.

With everyone and their undead son putting together a gift guide full of truffle oil, gourmet salts and clothing items that rival a bi-weekly paycheck, I thought I'd put together some items that would be good the genre-loving among us.

Full disclosure, I haven't read The Horror! The Horror! but I sure as hell want to. Perfect for nerds and horror coolies alike.

The ultimate fan-fiction, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash is a must read for those who haven't already and we can only dream of what the movie could have been.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than a cheese of the month club. Fangoria is still the great magazine it always was and as an added bonus one of my favourite writers and Fright Bytes host Lianne Spiderbaby is a regular contributor.

We've got some cold months ahead of us. I use winter as the perfect excuse to save my money and stay in a lot. My favourite excuse is "Sorry friend, I have to finish the Friday the 13th series this weekend." Eventually, they just stop asking.... Here's a great list of some of the best horror DVD box sets out there.

Looking to do some redecorating but your favourite ax is in the shop? No fear! There are some amazing silkscreen prints of your favourite horror movies out there. My favourite is Room 237 by Tom Whalen.

I got this gift this year and it's still one of my favourite books and I insist everyone that comes over to my house looks at it for a full 5 minutes. Full of terrifying cautionary tales, Struwwelpeter is a messed up, sick and amazing look at what happens to rotten children.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where Are They Now In Horror.... Felicity

I love me some Felicity. To be fair, I was only recently reminded of this fact through this New York Magazine article which makes me want to go back and watch the whooooooole series.

For those of you that didn't watch Felicity the basic premise is this: hottie Ben (Scott Speedman) writes in Felicity's high school yearbook something to the effect of "I wish I'd gotten to know you better." Felicity then takes this as an invite to drop her current university med school plans and follow him to New York. Crazy? Yes. Disturbing? Yes. But look at Ben:

In any event, Felicity then meets this other guy, Noel, who is a good guy yet significantly less attractive. There are also some other friends, some of whom invent rape stories to get attention and others who are witches. Oh, it was created by J.J. Abrams too, so there are some time traveling episodes. It's actually a fun, sweet show about a young woman trying to find herself. Also this guy's in it:

ANYWAY.... My team and I have been working around the clock to determine who in the Felicity cast has horror supremacy. The more we got into their IMDB pages the more we realized there are some serious contenders in this bunch.

Starting the lowest of the low....

Yup, Felicity herself. She gets this dishonorable distinction because she hasn't done any horror! Every actor has done at least one goofy horror-esque part (as we shall see) and this is entirely unacceptable. Sure, you're not too good to cut off all your hair but nooooooooooooooooo you'd better do Mission Impossible 3 rather than play the female lead in some J-Horror remake. For shame, Felicity, for shame.

I'm now going to lump Sean (Greg Grunberg) and Meghan (Amanda Rotundi) together because they didn't do a heck of a lot before Felicity then managed to get dumped into the JJ Abrams universe of goofiness and played reoccuring characters on Alias/Lost/Heroes and then pop up as "News Reporter" in Super 8 which for many reasons I refuse to see. So there, Sean and Meghan. You're not important enough to be the worst so you get lumped in the crappy, crappy middle. BAM!

No joke, I could not find one image of this girl smiling...
Doing a bit better is Elena (Tangi Miller). She hasn't had a big career BUT she was in Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood. I'm glad they had the opportunity to wrap up the loose ends from the first one...

Coming close to some form of legitimacy is .... Noel Crane (Scott Foley)! **Beware some spoilers in this one** He gets this for a few reasons (appearance in True Blood, a nice melange of low-budget horror) but in his role as Hollywood hack and (dun dun DUN) killer in Scream 3 he gets a lot of cred. By no means is this the "ultimate" Scream movie or even that scary but, boy, he really goes for it in this one. 1 part bat-shit crazy, 1 part convoluted Halloween plot, I have to admire his commitment because he's so very very close to the top...

But our numero uno, the best of the ok, life-time achievement in horror goes to.....
Ben-Scott!! True story, I breathed on him at an after party at TIFF this year. No biggie. But why is he #1, you ask? Because he wasone of the most important parts of the Underworld franchise and surprisingly good in The Strangers which is one of my favourite horror movies of the '00s. See, all my gratuitous picture usage of him in this post was totally justified. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Won't Someone Please Think Of The Children!

There's nothing worse than disliking a kid. You feel like a jerk. But sometimes, kids are jerks. Bigger jerks than us even. Which is where the sadistic genius of Tom Shankland's The Children (2008) comes into play. The Children works on the most base promise of bad people get punished. Unfortunately, in this case, the bad people think very highly of themselves. 

Two young families come together to celebrate the Holidays in the-middle-of-nowhere-England. Elaine's family (comprised of her husband Jonah, her "mistake" teenage daughter Cassey and two young children from her new marriage) make their way to her sister's secluded and opulent country home. Frankly, the place looks like an estate where Kate Moss could host a wedding but let's face it, some families are just richer than others. Chloe, Robbie and their two children are just that, overly rich, luxuriating in the posibility of home schooling their children and generally taking it easy. They are the poster parents that you secretly want to be but you still despise.

When one of Elaine and Robbie's children takes ill, begins acting strangely and generally frightens the other children, no one notices. Soon the other children become "infected" with the families noticing little except for British Avril Lavigne aka Cassey. She's our Final Girl and has interesting conundrum of balancing partying and saving her family from homicidal tots.

The Children, which borrows from The Village Of The Damned and The Omen, bravely forces the blame on the parents and their lack of foresight. The odd British passive aggressive violence that carries the first half of the film is done away with to fill it up with Grand Guignol-esque violence - unrepentant, grotesque and absurdly funny. The shocks come sharply and effectively. The film has a good sense of what it's saying without hitting you over the head with how awful these people are, they are simply products of a certain way of living. Only when one parent looses their partner do they actively search out their children as she has developed parenting techniques to keep them away from her. The Children exemplifies a selfish form of parenting where the parents see the children as reflections of themselves and because of that short sightedness, they fail to see when an object is going to penetrate their skull.