The Cenobites in the Hellraiser series have always talked about how at extremes, pleasure and pain are indistinguishable from each other. Well folks, we’re less than halfway through this franchise and I’m definitely feeling the pain way more than any pleasure.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is the next in line of the progressively worsening Hellraiser films I’m trying to work my way through. It takes place some indeterminate amount of time after Hellbound, the second film, and generally has very little to do with its predecessors.
After being trapped in the Pillar of Souls at the end of Hellraiser II, Pinhead is trying to escape his prison so that he may roam free on the material plane, no longer bound by the rule of Leviathan, whom he served under in Hell. While physically weak, he begins to manipulate a local nightclub owner and general scumbag J.P. Monroe to fetch him human souls after attempting to beguile (and consequently slaughtering) some other, weaker-willed people. Once free, Pinhead must find and destroy the Lament Configuration, an occult puzzle box and the only thing that can banish him back to Hell. Joey, a young reporter has witnessed the aftermath of what the Lament Configuration can do, and after getting her hands on the puzzle box, is intrigued in following the story to its bloody ends.
Today marks a special day in Coffee and Illithids history. A while ago, I formally asked on my Facebook page (*cough* throw me a pity like *cough*) for recommendations and I got precisely one in reply. Being the wonderful human being I am, I kept procrastinating and putting off watching it until now. I’m a butt, sorry Anthony.
Don’t Look Now is a 1973 horror-drama from British director Nicolas Roeg, a man who has directed a bunch of movies I’ve never even heard of. It stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as John and Laura Baxter, two architects who are grieving the recent loss of their daughter Christine who died by drowning in a pond by their cottage. The Baxters are commissioned by a Venetian priest to help restore an old church. While in Venice Laura meets a pair of women, one who is psychic, and John begins to have odd visions and flashbacks to his daughter. The psychic while at first is warm and welcoming, eventually warns Laura that John will be in danger if he stays in the city any longer and that he must leave immediately. Odd happenings continue to happen to John and Laura the longer they stay in Venice, until John’s odd visions clearly become something more supernatural and sinister.
We’re back to our (ir)regularly scheduled program with some horror flicks! I figured I would kick things off with a bang, finally getting around to watching a film that has been heralded as one of the scariest movies ever made. Many fans (and even critics) at the very least consider [REC] to sit proudly in second place behind The Blair Witch Project for best found footage horror film, and pretty much everyone ever who has seen it has pooped themselves at least a little bit from witnessing the final 10 minutes.
[REC] is a Spanish found footage horror film about Ángela, a local news reporter and her cameraman Pablo who are filming a segment on night shift firefighters for their show While You’re Sleeping. While at the firehall, an alarm is sounded and they tag along with the emergency response team to investigate a woman trapped in an apartment. Once they reach the apartment building and investigate the old woman, they are locked and quarantined inside the building with the remaining residents by the army special forces and they begin to realize that they’re now trapped inside with a horrifying force. Residents of the building begin acting irrationally violent and cannibalistic, and as the blood flows, whatever happens to be affecting these people begins spreading to the new victims. Ángela, Pablo, and the remaining apartment dwellers need to look for any way out of the building, all while fending off the affected people and watching their numbers dwindle.
Not too long ago I dipped my toes into the New French Extremity movement by watching the home invasion gorefest, À L’interieur. Seeing how Shudder has given me access to the big three French Extremity films, I decided to check out one of the ones that blew the door wide open for films like À L’interieur and Martyrs to enter horror’s filmography, Alexandre Aja’s twisted slasher: Haute Tension.
Haute Tension (High Tension in English, and sometimes known as Switchblade Romance) is the second full length film by Alexandre Aja who is best known for directing the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes. It stars a tomboyish Cécil de France and Maïwenn Le Besco as the punk rocker Marie and the preppy Alex, two college girls who are retreating to Alex’s family’s country home to study for their upcoming exams. Horror movie does and horror movies do, and their peaceful, quiet time away from civilization turns into a Hellish nightmare.
A mysterious man invades Alex’s family’s home, systematically slaughtering them before kidnapping Alex and driving off with her chained up in the back of his rusted truck. Marie stows away in the back of the vehicle and it’s up to her to figure out how to get her and her friend away from the killer and off to safety.
2016 was a big year for horror movies about people being held in one location against their will. Green Room, Hush, and 10 Cloverfield Lane all featured our protagonists caught in a pickle, stuck in a room or house trying to escape. I’m always interested in one-location films because I love to see how the filmmakers work around only having one type of location available to film in. It’s harder to make your movies more engaging when you can only work with a bunch of dingy rooms in an old house, so when they pull it off it elevates the film to something a little more special for me. When I heard that Fede Alvarez (director of the 2013 Evil Dead remake, which I love) was going to be making another horror film set mostly in one house, I was totally sold.
Don’t Breathe is Alvarez’s second full length film, and sees him pairing up with Jane Levy again as his leading lady. Levy played the drug-addled Mia in Evil Dead, and returns in Don’t Breathe as Rocky, a young woman in a broken family trying to escape her shitty life in Detroit with her younger sister. Rocky, her boyfriend Money (played by Daniel Zovatto who was Greg from It Follows, and yes, Money is the character’s real name) and her friend Alex played by Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps, Prisoners) break into houses and sell off whatever valuables they can steal to get by. Alex’s father works for a home security alarm company, and Alex takes advantage of his knowledge of the security systems to help their burglaries go off with out a hitch. After finding out that a blind war veteran (Stephen Lang) came into a large amount of money after his daughter was killed in a car accident, our intrepid band of deplorables set their sights on his house for what could be the last heist they’ll ever need to pull.