Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Horrhound Weekend

So I went to my second Horrorhound Weekend this past Saturday. For the uninitiated, Horrorhound is a horror magazine somewhat akin to Fangoria. The Horrorhound week is a horror convention they host in Indiana once or twice a year. They bring in a number of celebrities of the genre, host screenings, have concerts, and sell lots of merchandise. This was my second year. A large amount of the fun for me is just walking the dealer room and looking at the many sights. The dealer room is packed with interesting cosplayers, artwork, independent film makers trying to sell their films, and many of the lesser known celebrities. Amongst the celebrities this were none other than the stars of the Boondock Saints(the 'saints' and Rocco), the ever present Lloyd Kaufman of Troma, and one of my childhood heroes Corey Feldman.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the show for me was a screening of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. This little film caught my attention a while back when I happened upon the trailer. I was quite upset to find that it had not yet found a distributor, meaning I had no guarantee that I'd be seeing it anytime soon. The basic premise of the film is that two hillbillies buy a summer house in the middle of the woods. They run into a group of vacationing college kids and a series of misunderstandings lead the college kids to believe that Tucker and Dale are serial killers. When the efforts of the college kids to defend themselves backfire with them inadvertently killing themselves it confuses things immensely.
I enjoyed the film, overall. The characters of Tucker and Dale were well played and felt genuine. The college students felt more generic, lifted from any stock slasher film. That said, they don't need to be anything more for the purposes of this film. Two of the college group are given further development. Allison is the girl who the title characters save from drowning. She ends up being very kind, down to earth, and open minded. It is enough to make you wonder how she ended up with the rest of the group. Then there is Chad; he is the impetus behind the college kids leading the unintentionally suicidal attacks, and it is quite obvious that he's got a screw or two loose from early on. The plot drives itself nicely. It is sufficiently humorous and suspenseful. I found the ending a little predictable, but I can't fault the film for that. I would recommend this movie for any fan of the horror genre, especially those who enjoy humorous satire along the lines of the Evil Dead trilogy or Idle Hands.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mysterious Skin

I watched a little film last night called Mysterious Skin. This movie is the work of the twisted mind of Greg Araki. Allow me to preface this review with a warning of sorts. Because they pull no punches and don't shy from the offensive, the films of Greg Araki are among my favorites. However, this same fact keeps them from being for everyone. If you are homophobic or easily offended I do not recommend this film.

Mysterious Skin is the story of two boys coping with the same childhood trauma in very different ways. Neil is a gay prostitute that doesn't exercise the sort of caution that his particular profession should require. He lives with his loving but oft absent mother, and has two close friends who both pine for him; Wendy a childhood friend and Eric another teen dealing with being gay in a small town. Brian lives with his mother because he seems to have never completely grown accustomed to the outside world. He is haunted by memories of lost time as a child, and is convinced that the memories he is missing are of his abduction by aliens. He spends his time investigating aliens and his childhood. When a dream leads him to believe he had once been abducted alongside Neil, who was on his little league baseball team, he goes to meet him only to find that he'd missed Neil by mere minutes, as he'd just hopped a bus to go live with Wendy in New York City. Over the next couple of months he befriends Eric and waits for Neil to return home to ask about their childhood trauma.

The story in this film is told quite well trough both Brian and Neil's monologue. Araki paints a vivid picture of this small town and the terrors through which each boy lived. The tone of the film is quite somber at times, but is broken up with just enough humor and concern to keep it balanced. There are quite a few depictions of Neil's intimate encounters; the worst of which are conveyed with explicit and disturbing detail, despite being subjects most people wouldn't even touch. Ultimately it's the relationships and characters that make this film. The friendship Eric forms with Brian is quite refreshing. Wendy's love for Neil despite everything she knows about him really makes here character endearing. Brian's story arch is quite interesting in and of itself. The final interaction between Neil and Brian is fascinating and powerful. I have to say that this film was interesting despite being difficult to watch at times. Overall I enjoyed it, and would watch it again, but it doesn't compare to Araki's other films. If you want to watch an Araki film, I would suggest the Doom Generation or Splendor. The latter is even relatively tame, content wise.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Red State

Mike and I went to see Kevin Smith present his new movie "Red State" about a week ago. I must say, I think it's Kevin's best film. I'm not saying it's my favorite of his films, but I think it's the best over-all. It has the best editing, special effects, acting... or at least the dialogue felt more natural in the characters' mouths than any of his other flicks. Regardless of the political message, I think this was a well-made movie and scarier than any slasher-type horror films.

If you're a fan of Smith's work or just a fan of psychological thrillers (and it doesn't hurt if you don't mind a bit of anti-fundamentalism), this movie is worth a look-see.

Oh, here's the only picture I took if the experience: