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Showing posts from August, 2011

Mike S. reviews John Carpenter's The Ward

Mike S, creator of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and mad blogger over at The Corner of Terror, joined Shawn and I in The Basement to catch John Carpenter's The Ward. Seeing as he hadn't posted his thoughts over at The Corner, we thought we'd give him the chance to do so here. And he did, because that's just the kind of dude he is!

Read on . . .

My good friends from The Basement have asked me to write down my thoughts on our recent viewing of John Carpenter's "The Ward", which- if you've listened to their PodCast (which you should), you'd already know the gist of my thoughts... but I'll write them down anyways just for you.

With "The Ward," John Carpenter once again shows us what a master of horror and storytelling he is.  He catches you with a scare before the opening credits, and then moves into a flowing narrative with solid characters with depth and personality.  The story unfold smoothly- slowly revealing the mystery be…

Lucas f--ks with Star Wars some more

Four words: George Lucas Death Clock. What is it? Something we're working on for Season Two. Why? Like you have to ask!

Lucas is an asshole. Sure, he was God when were kids. He created one of the most beloved film franchises of all time when he made Star Wars. It turned almost an entire generation -- my generation -- into a generation of movie nerds. Star Wars is nerd porn. 'Nuff said.

When he tinkered with the original trilogy and released the films in theatres in the late 90s people were so overjoyed at being able to watch the movies on the big screen again that they were willing to forgive the changes. Well, maybe not Han firing first but still.

Then came the prequels and everyone realized what a tool Lucas is and how he doesn't give a flying fuck about his fanbase. Now the original trilogy is about to be released on Blu-Ray and guess what, he's fucked with them some more.

First off, when Obi Wan saves Luke from the Sandpeople in Episode IV his scream has been chang…

Urban legends are real on Munger Road

Everyone likes a good ghost story right? Well, we do here in The Basement. And many good ghost stories end up as urban legends.

The new indie horror flick Munger Road plays off an urban legend from Illinois. A bit of journalistic reseach (thank you, Google) helped me come up with the following Munger Road tidbit: years ago a school bus filled with children stalled at a railway crossing on Munger Road. Sadly, a train slammed into the bus, killing everyone on board.

According to the legend, if someone dusts powder on a vehicle's back window, stops on the same set of tracks and shifts into neutral, hands will appear on the window as if the spirits of the dead are trying to push the vehicle off of the tracks.

The movie, due in theatres Sept. 30, is directed by Nicholas Smith and stars Bruce Davison, Randall Batinkoff, Trevor Morgan, Brooke Peoples, Hallock Beals and Lauren Storm. The plot involves two police officers pursuing a killer on the same night four teenagers disappear whi…

Jason and Shawn review: John Carpenter's The Ward

John Carpenter's The Ward

Jason: I hadn't heard much good buzz heading into The Ward and feared it would be more Ghosts of Mars than Halloween. My fears were unwarranted. While it's not the classic that Halloween or even The Fog and The Thing became, it's better than many of his later efforts. And Carpenter still has a command of the scares and slow-burn tension that made his earlier works so scary. He takes a pretty standard story and makes it live with decent characters, solid performances and more than a few frights. A Good from me on this one John. Don't wait 10 years to make another movie.

Shawn: I only have two complaints about this movie: no John Carpenter score and a boobless shower scene. Why would you put a bunch of hotties in the shower and not show their boobs? Otherwise, this was awesome. It was fantastic. It didn't feel like a John Carpenter movie at first, but it sure kicked in like one by the end. And how about that ending!?! Talk about a mind f…

Micro Review: Source Code

One of several movies I've been trying to catch up with during our summer break, and well worth the wait. Source Code is Moon director Duncan Jones's second feature film and it has all the Jones touches -- heart, brains and originality -- although he's playing with a different genre. The film might appear like a straight forward thriller with a sci-fi twist, but there is a lot more going on here. And to reveal too much spoils the fun. Suffice to say Source Code doesn't play out as one expects nor does it end with a bang. But the conclusion is totally satisfying if you are hungry for something different. A Good from me on this.

Next on the chopping block: John Carpenter's The Ward

If you put Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Christine, and Assault on Precinct 13 into a mathematical equation the outcome is something like this: John Carpenter = God.

Few directors have such an incredible resume. Sure, Carpenter has never reached the box office heights of Steven Spielberg or Michael Bay, and his movies might not be well received on initial release, but most of his earlier films are now regarded as genre classics.

Then came Ghosts of Mars, a movie so bad that Carpenter forced himself into what appeared to be retirement . . . until The Ward came calling.

Some critics have not been kind to The Ward, which stars hottie Amber Heard (above) in a tale of girls terrorized by a ghost at a mental institution. The biggest complaint is it's standard horror stuff that's beneath Carpenter's earlier work. Do Jason and Shawn, a couple of Carpenter junkies, agree?

Find out when when the August Special lands Sunday at 8 p.m. PST on iTunes, Facebook, podOmatic and right here…

Evil can't be contained in Escapee

Sometimes the formula works, sometimes it doesn't, but I've always liked me the slasher genre. There's something about the whole killer-on-the-loose concept that lends itself to the gore, hotties and titties that make horror movies work. Scares are optional in slasher mvoies, but we'll take them if we can get them.

The new thriller Escapee takes pretty much every slasher movie we've seen before and tosses them into a blender. We've got an escaped mental patient who leaves a trail of bodies in his wake as he stalks a pretty student to her home. Sold!

Carter Murphy directs the film, which stars Dominic Purcell, Melissa Ordway (above), Christine Evangelista, Danny Nucci and Faith Ford. Below is the trailer courtesy of the folks at Bloody Disgusting. While it's not the best cut trailer, the film itself looks well made and promises the above mentioned gore, hotties and titties.

We'll know more when we give Escapee a viewing.

Four, count 'em FOUR Amityville Horror films in the works

We've been beaten near to death with remakes and reboots and sequels and prequels so why not rush four films into production about the same subject?

Four studios are working on some variation on The Amityville Horror, the alleged true story of the Lutz family as they suffer at the hands of some paranormal activity after moving into the Long Island house where Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family.

The tale was made popular in Jay Anson's bestselling novel and two feature films. And hey, when you make money a couple of times why stop?

So, here we go with four, count 'em FOUR more films on the subject matter. The first is Dimension Films's The Amityville Tapes, which is said to be a sequel of some sort from directors Casey La Scala and Daniel Farrands. 

Moving right along we've got My Amityville Horror, a documentary by Eric Walter about the DeFeo murders made with the help of  Daniel Lutz, the eldest son of George and Kathrine Lutz. Could be interesti…

Get ready to scream, scream for your lives!

Last Halloween we in The Basement had a most unique interview from beyond the grave, and it changed our lives forever.

That's when psychic Mike S., Shawn and I shared the spotlight with the late, great filmmaker William Castle and spent about 60 bone-chilling minutes discussing his life, films and legendary promotional gimmicks.

Well, the spirit of the movie visionary has been a busy little ghost since then, entertaining thousands of fans on Facebook and overseeing two more editions of Scare It Forward. And he's penned a book about his return from the dead, a tale that is 100 per cent true -- From The Grave: The Prayer.

Castle has teamed up with horror magazine Fangoria for a contest that will earn three lucky winners a free copy of the book plus a classic piece of memorabilia from the Castle vaults. All you have to do is scream . . . scream for your lives!

So pick up your cellphone, webcam or other video-recording device and film yourself doing your best horror movie scream. …

Corey Feldman turns up in stills from Six Degrees of Hell

News has been bouncing around the web for weeks now about the new horror flick Six Degrees of Hell, which has already proclaimed the title of Scariest Movie of 2012.

We'll be the judge of that, director Joe Raffa and writer Harrison Smith. But the film does have the neat twist of actually being filmed at the Lake House Hotel of Horror in Sayorsburgh, PA, a location that is rumoured to be haunted. And it stars Corey Feldman, who is no stranger to any of us who grew up in the 1980s. Remember The Lost Boys?

Feldman leads the cast as Kyle Brenner, a paranormal investigator retracing the steps of a friend and associate who has gone among the missing against the backdrop of horrific events at a creepy hotel. Jill Whelon, Brian Anthony Wilson and Susan Moses round out the cast.

The still below doesn't show much other than Feldman, who hasn't aged a day since the 80s. I'd like to reach into the picture and cut off that one strand of hair though. As for the film, sounds pro…

Take a trip through the Texas Killing Fields

One actor who just doesn't get enough love is Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The man's so at risk of become just another That Guy actor and it just isn't fair. He's starred in a handful of fun, little-seen films like Dead and Breakfast and The Losers and has displayed such charisma. Yet he's not had his big break.

But starring in Texas Killing Fields alongside Sam Worthington and Chloe Grace Moretz could help Morgan get a legitimate crack at stardom.

The film, directed by Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of acclaimed director Michael Mann, follows a small-town homicide detective (Worthington) and his partner, a transplanted cop from New York (Morgan), as they track a sadistic serial killer dumping mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh called The Killing Fields.

Serial killer movies can be hit and miss. But the trailer below looks pretty intense. And if Ami Canaan has as much talent as her dad, we could be in for a real treat. Anchor Bay loves it's genre pictures, but my fear for M…

Get the crap scared out of you in this Woman in Black preview

Harry Potter sure has grown up hasn't he. Not her, the guy below.

I barely recognized Daniel Radcliffe in this full-length preview for Hammer's new The Woman in Black, but that could also be because I was too busy shitting my pants over how creepy it looks.

Excuse the vulgarity, but we tell it like it is here in The Basement. And James Watkins's telling of the classic British ghost story looks way scary. But we like 'em way scary, don't we? Yes. We do.

The plot has Radcliffe playing a young lawyer who travels to a remote English village to organize a recently deceased client's papers. Once there, he discovers the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance. It's bad scoobies from there.

The image above is from the 1989 TV version of the story, which was originally a novel by Susan Hill. This telling hits theatres in the U.S. on Feb. 3 and will likely get a wide release, which is good because I'd actually venture out to see it.

Now turn off the lights, c…

This movie poster is Inbred

Seriously. It is. A poster. For a movie. Called Inbred.

Can you believe the title Inbred was never used for a movie until British director Alex Chandon went ahead and made this tale of young offenders who cross paths with the wrong youths in a small Yorkshire village . . . the inbred kind? I bet it gets nasty. Don't believe me? Check this shit out:
Gross yes?

The film premieres at the U.K.'s FrightFest later this month. No word yet on when/if it comes to our side of the pond. The above poster promises carnage and, knowing the British, there could be some wit involved. Quite.

Here's the full synopsis, Basement Dwellers: A disparate group of young urban offenders and their care workers embark on a community service weekend in the strange, remote Yorkshire village of Mortlake, which prides on keeping itself to itself. A minor incident with some local inbred youths rapidly escalates into a blood-soaked, deliriously warped nightmare for all involved.

Want to learn more?…

Suspense takes a ride in Elevator

I'm going to share a little something about myself here and admit to being claustrophobic. Small spaces? Hate them. Elevators? Thanks, but no. I will walk 35 flights of stairs before riding in one.  No bullshit.

My fear of elevators hasn't deterred me from watching the elevator-themed movie Devil. I've avoided it because of the whole M. Night Shyamalan thing. That and why would the devil hang out in an elevator anyway?

But being trapped in an elevator with a bomb? Yeah, I get that. Which is why the plot for Stig Svendsen's thriller Elevator has me sold. The independent flick features nine partygoers trapped 50 floors above Manhattan with said bomb. Not my idea of a good time, but the trailer below does show promise. Mind you, that's what trailers are supposed to do.

The film is due out later this year. Check out the official website to learn more and, as always, we'll keep you posted.

By the way, I have no idea what's wrong with the woman in the picture abo…

Micro Review: Paul

Not the comedic classic that Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz became, but still a damn funny way to spend a couple of hours. We can thank Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for that because the minds behind the previously mentioned gems wrote and star in this sci-fi comedy about a couple of movie geeks who meet an alien. Seth Rogen lends his voice to Paul, and is a perfect third party to Pegg and Frost's buddy duo. Throw in Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver and you've got a dream cast that works the fun, breezy script for all it's worth. Lots of great in-jokes for movie fans. This is Good stuff indeed, but not on the level of the duo's other work. PS: go with the unrated version. It's got some amazing profanity in it!

Home invaders get more than they bargained for in You're Next

Home invasion isn't a much touched up topic in the horror genre outside of the 2008 fright film The Strangers. But the upcoming horror entry You're Next looks like it'll giving the formula a run for its money, scary masks and all.

The film, which is directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon (Dead Birds) Barrett, will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival later this year. It also brings 80s scream queen Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) back to the big screen.

The plot does come with a twist, which is nice. The Strangers played the concept of creepy home invaders to the hilt and that would be tough to repeat, even in a sequel. But check out the synopsis for You're Next: A family comes under a terrifying and sadistic attack during a reunion getaway. Barricaded in their secluded country home, they have to fight off a barrage of axes, crossbows and machetes from both inside and outside the house. Unfortunately for the killers, one of the victi…

A clip from Creature

Admittedly, this clip from the upcoming creature feature Creature, doesn't show much.

But it does have the great Sid Haig of House of 1,000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects fame playing a friendly kind of sinister toward sexy damsel Serinda Swan (above), who is about to be sacrificed the titular creature Lockjaw. It's enough to make we want to see more. In fact, Creature is on our review schedule for Season Two, which launches Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. on The X.

Creature is directed by Fred Andrews from a script he co-wrote with Tracy Morse. The plot is as follows: "An ex-Navy seal, Niles (Mehcad Brooks), his girlfriend Emily (Serinda Swan) and their friends head out on a road trip to New Orleans. When the group decides to stop at a roadside convenience store owned by Chopper (Sid Haig) they are introduced to the legend of Lockjaw, a Creature who is part man, part alligator...The Legend has it that an inbred local man by the name of Grimley (Daniel Bernhardt), lost his famil…

From Harry Brown to Substitution

It's no secret we in The Basement loved the hell out of the British revenge thriller Harry Brown. Now the man who made Michael Caine totally bad ass again is ready to direct a variation on Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train

We don't need another spin on The Master's classic but if anyone can do it, Daniel Barber can. Granted, Harry Brown was Barber's first feature, but it was intense, suspenseful and featured some bone-crunching violence. He also got great performances out of the entire cast, including Emily Mortimer (above).

There are few plot details available, but Ian Shorr’s script takes Strangers on a Train's plot and transplants it to high school, with a substitute teacher convincing a student they should swap murders. Shorr also wrote the fucking great indie horror flick Splinter, so that's two points in Substitution's favour.

No word yet on when Substitution starts rolling, but we'll keep you posted, as always.

A DVD double dip to die for

Horror fans love their films and DVD production companies know it. That's why you can find box sets containing two, 10, 20 and 50 movies -- usually old, often crap. Just ask Mike S. at The Corner of Terror -- for peanuts at your local Big Box Store.

But not every set is a dud, especially when it comes to DVD double features. And the upcoming Shout! Factory release of 80s horror classics Visiting Hours and Bad Dreams could be worth the purchase for genre buffs.

The fine fiends at Dread Central provide some details for the disc, which hits shelves Sept 13 for the suggested retail price of $13 US. Read below for more.

And remember, Visiting Hours is a Canadian slasher pic and it stars one Bill Shatner.You know, Capt. James T. Kirk? Right. Him. Watch it!

In the mid-1970s the members of the love cult Unity Fields sought “the ultimate joining” by dousing themselves with gasoline and committing mass suicide. A young girl blown clear of the fiery explosion was the only survivo…

The past comes calling in The Caller

Horror movies that feature a chilling phone call as the springboard to terror are nothing new. When A Stranger Calls, Don't Answer the Phone and Scream are a just a handful of successful examples. The latest to give the formula a try is the indie fright film The Caller, but it comes with a twist.

Rachelle Lefevre (above) plays a troubled divorcee who is tormented by a series of sinister phone calls from a mysterious woman claiming she comes from the past. Then people from her present start disappearing and, according to the trailer below, things get nasty.

I have to admit, this looks slick. Scary too. And who doesn't like a little Luis Guzman with their terror? We'll know more when The Caller gets a limited theatrical release later this month before it hits VOD and DVD care of Sony Home Entertainment. 

A trailer, UK poster for A Lonely Place To Die

Melissa George is rapidly becoming the modern era's new scream queen. If you have any doubt check out Triangle, Touristas and 30 Days of Night. And the new British thriller A Lonely Place To Die intends to continue that trend.

The film, which also stars Ed Speelers (Eragon), Sean Harris (Harry Brown), and Karel Roden (The Bourne Supremacy), centers on a group of five mountaineers hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands. The group discovers a young Serbian girl buried in a small chamber in the wilderness and become caught in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers as they try to get the girl to safety.

I've always liked George, and the premise sounds great. The trailer doesn't quite sell me on this, but we all know how trailers can lie.

A Lonely Place To Die will be released in the UK later this year. Hopefully the film makes its way Stateside.

A first look at Catwoman

I know, I know. We're not supposed to be giving props to mainstream releases. But we've given extensive coverage to The Dark Knight Rises so far, including featuring the teaser at the fans' request. And we do like to point out when Hollywood does things wrong.

But, in this case, it's good to show when Hollywood does something right. Not that any of us doubt writer/director Christopher Nolan when it comes to his Batman trilogy.

He's said his take on Catwoman is Selina Kyle as a thief and robber and that the costume would not be geared for the sexy like Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. Judging from the pic below, he was telling no lies.

I'm fine with whatever Nolan does. Sure, the first image of Catwoman could have had more umph. But it does feature the Batpod motorcycle, which I want. And, costume or not, it's impossible for Anne Hathaway not to look sexy.

The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20, 2012.

Horror takes a turn on Canyon Road

I can't think of anything more terrifying than being buried alive. Obviously I'm not alone in this fear as first Buried and now Canyon Road play with the theme.

Written and directed by Calix Reneau & Jennifer Still from an idea by Ivan Lovegren, the film stars Lovegren and Roxanne Jaeckel as a young couple who's vehicle becomes buried in a mudslide, trapping them alive. 

The teaser below, which was recently screened at Comic-Con, actually shows promise. This is a low-budget effort for sure, but the acting appears solid.

No word yet on when the film will be released. But we'll be watching for it here in The Basement.