Tag Archives: Blake Mickatavage

Horrorathon Film Review: ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

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Starring: Many actors

Directed by: Many directors

Reviewed by: Freekz80

 

So… I suppose I should explain myself. This might come as a surprise to many of you considering I rated the original ABCs of Death a 1/10. It deserved it. Oh god, it deserved it. But I decided to give the series another chance, and if there was ever a case of a sequel actually being superior to the original, besides Halo 2, this is it. These shorts actually weren’t bad. As I did with my review of the original, I’ll take a few shorts that stood out to me and review them individually.

A is  for Amateur (E.L. Katz)

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Being the first short in the lineup, it’s pretty important that this one deliver as it gives the first impression! No fear, Katz does a great job with this short. A hitman encounters some… issues while attempting a hit. It’s definitely unique in the way it plays out,  and it’s unexpected! Always a plus. ABCs of Death 2 is off to a good start!

B is for Badger (Julian Barratt)

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You know it’s good when you weren’t quite ready for the short to end. This one features a film crew looking to document some local wildlife, and they stumble upon something quite startling. Gory, incredibly gory, but that’s just the way we like it. Wow, ABCs 2 might actually be a good film!

D is for Deloused (Robert Morgan)

Pretty disturbing, if not absolutely disgusting. Essentially, a man is executed and exacts vengeance upon his killers with the help of a strange bug. I wasn’t a huge fan of the claymation here (also largely disliked it in the original film) and to be quite honest, couldn’t wait for this particular short to end. This one was a turn off.

M is for Masticate (Robert Boocheck) 

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In this short, a man is shown running down a street, tackling a victim, then attempting to eat them. That’s it.  It kept me watching without too much gore, and nothing absolutely disgusting or disturbing, which is fantastic. The use of slow motion was pretty effective as well. I definitely enjoyed it.

S is for Split (Juan Martinez Moreno)

This is another example of the finer shorts in ABCs of Death 2. A man staying in France calls his wife, only for her to be attacked in their home while on the phone. The cinematography is very well done, it’s disturbing, suspenseful, and violent. It’s great that all of that can be accomplished with nothing being blatantly overdone. It’s also got an interesting twist!

X is for Xylophone (Juilen Maury, Alexandre Bustillo)

I really have no idea what the point of this short was. This one was almost as bland and uneventful as “G is for Gravity” from the first ABCs of Death. Needless to say, I didn’t like it at all.  I guess you don’t have a whole lot to work with when you are stuck with a shitty letter of the alphabet, haha!

Y is for Youth (Soichi Umezawa)

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Alright, what the fuck? Why are the Japanese shorts always so strange and disturbing? Why don’t they ever make any sense? Is there something I need to know about? This particular short reminded me of “Z is for Zetsumetsu” from the original film, and let me clarify, that is NOT a good thing. I mean, I guess they had some… ahem… uhm, “interesting” props and special effects? That’s really about it. The execution was poor, the story is not coherent, and is essentially nonexistent.

Final Score: 

While this film definitely is an improvement over the first, it still has some flaws. I suppose that is unavoidable with 26 different directors, but I am still reviewing the film as a whole. Would I recommend you watch it? Yes, but only once. There are some great shorts, and there are some downright awful shorts. In comparison to the first film, which had literally zero decent shorts, this is a step in the right direction. But alas, a polished turd is still a turd.

…Just kidding. ABCs of Death 2 was a decent experience! 6/10.

Okay

Gore: 10/10. Some of these shorts are fucking disgusting.

Scares: 2/10. Not many, but some of the shorts are quite disturbing.

Beware: Tons of blood and other nasty body fluids, giant badgers, giant japanese dicks, and, uh… a slew of other shit that makes no sense.

 

 

 

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HORRORATHON Film Review: Event Horizon (1997)

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Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill

Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

Sci-Fi Horror films are becoming increasingly rare these days, and if this is a genre you enjoy, then you can’t miss this film. Imagine if Alien and The Thing, two absolutely phenomenal and monumental horror films, had a love child together. That’s along the lines of what you’ll find in Event Horizon.

Sam Neil stars as Dr. William Weir, the mastermind behind a ship called the “Event Horizon”, which has gone dark near planet Neptune while testing an experimental gravity drive. He joins Captain Miller (Fishburne) and his crew on a mission to respond to a distress signal received from the starship. Of course, the situation doesn’t seem very promising; all signs indicate a massacre took place aboard the “Event Horizon”.

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Not the most reassuring captain’s log.

As expected, shit goes south pretty quickly. While aboard the ship, the experimental gravity drive activates on its own, sucking in Justin, one of the crew members. When they finally retrieve him shortly after, he’s completely unresponsive. He’s been changed. Dr. Weir, Miller, and company then attempt to figure out what exactly it is they are dealing with, unaware that all of them, not only Justin, have been exposed to the horrors that killed the last crew.

In my opinion, one of the best parts of this film is the plot. While not incredibly original at its roots (crew unleashes deadly power upon themselves, slowly being picked off), it is still a very refreshing take on the idea as we never actually SEE the bad guy (if you can call it that) on screen. It was quite intriguing for me to wonder and speculate as to what exactly the gravity drive led to. As the crew begins to fall apart and go completely mad, you can’t help but wonder “Why?”

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Just the beginning of what the Event Horizon will show you!

Sam Neil also gives us a great performance as Dr. Weir. Though to be honest, I was just glad to see him in a movie that wasn’t Jurassic Park. Laurence Fishburne also delivers a convincing Captain Miller, though perhaps a bit cliche as the stoic and unwavering leader character. The rest of the crew, however, was a bit bland. It is quite rare for supporting characters to ever stand out, but none of them really came close in this film. Just the typical fodder characters, heh.

In addition, while overall it was a pretty disturbing experience, I felt that a handful of the events were akin to your typical, corny horror movie occurrences. Predictable, and fairly disappointing (characters essentially deserving their deaths because of stupidity, etc.) but hey, I suppose it wouldn’t be a complete horror film without those!

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The doctor is in! 😉

 

Scares: 6/10 – Pretty disturbing overall, with some cheap jump scares. Nothing overwhelmingly frightening, though.

Gore: Galore. 9/10

Final Score: 7/10

While not my favorite Sci-Fi horror, this film is certainly worth watching, perhaps multiple times. It’s not quite on the scale of Alien or The Thing, but as I mentioned earlier, it is a refreshing spin on that sort of horror sub-genre. Certainly a collectible for any fan of horror!

Good

 

HORRORATHON Film Review: Young Frankenstein (1974)

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Starring: Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman

Directed by: Mel Brooks

Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

Those of you who’ve seen this film may notice that it isn’t our typical horror review! That said, this is a classic film that should be in every film enthusiast’s Halloween collection.

Gene Wilder plays the hilarious Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, a professor at a medical school in America. He is absolutely disgusted with the work of his grandfather, Victor Frankenstein, and attempts to completely disassociate himself with him. However, he soon learns that he has inherited the family estate in Transylvania, and travels there to check it out. There, he meets the strange and witty servant Igor (Feldman) and the beautiful but slightly dull assistant Inga (Teri Garr), and becomes encapsulated in the work of his grandfather. After deciding to resume the experiments of Victor Frankenstein (and comically using a brain labeled “abnormal”), the Frankenstein Monster is reborn and hilarity ensues.

Continue reading HORRORATHON Film Review: Young Frankenstein (1974)

HORRORATHON Film Review: Hard Candy (2005)

Hard_CandyReviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

Directed by: David Slade

Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson

 

Well… Where to begin? I suppose I’ll throw out the essentials. Ellen Page plays the vengeful 14 year old vigilante “Haylie” in this disturbing thriller film. Her target? 32 year old photographer Jeff Kohlver, whom she meets in an online chat room. At first, Haylie seems like your typical naive teenager; young, stupid, and vulnerable. Jeff, however, is quite the opposite. He is intelligent and composed, but nothing will prepare him for Haylie’s true nature.

Continue reading HORRORATHON Film Review: Hard Candy (2005)

Film Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

Disclaimer: I did not read the novel “All You Need Is Kill” prior to experiencing this film!

Do you enjoy brutal sci-fi action, alien invasions, and temporal mind-fuckery? How about Tom Cruise playing somebody other than Tom Cruise?! This just may be the summer film for you!

Continue reading Film Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Movie Review: Alien (1979) Horrorathon

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Reviewed by: Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

So you’ve undoubtedly heard of Ripley Scott’s sci-fi horror film that spawned an incredibly popular franchise with films and games still in production today, right? But have you ever sat down and experienced just WHY Alien has been praised so much over the years? Let me give you some advice; if you haven’t, you better change that!

Alien begins with an introduction quite similar to that of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) in that the audience is shown a large ship, using sneaky cinematography to give you a sense of its’ immensity. It is the Nostromo, a commercial towing ship on a journey back to Earth after mining millions of tons of mineral ore. The crew, seven total, are suddenly awakened out of cyrostasis by the ship’s artificial intelligence “Mother” when a transmission is intercepted from a nearby planetoid. The origin of the transmission is unknown, so the crew approaches to check it out. Upon landing, Warrant Officer Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) stays aboard the Nostromo with Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), the Engineer, Ash (Ian Holm), the Science Officer, and Parker (Yaphet Kotto). The rest of the crew, including Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Navigator Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), and Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) suit up and hit the planet’s surface to find the source of the transmission. The search party encounters some pretty strange things out there, including alien architecture, an unidentified corpse with a gaping hole in its’ chest, and most importantly, eggs like none of them have ever seen. When Kane begins to observe one of the eggs, it opens to reveal a scorpion-like monstrosity that immediately clings to his face, incapacitating him. When Kane is brought back to the ship, Ripley refuses to let the party on board due to quarantine procedures. We soon discover that the crew members certainly have their differences, and the lives of each one of them could rest on the decision of whether or not to let Kane on board.

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Step a little closer to the Alien.. uh… ballsack. See what happens.

What works:

Alien probably isn’t the most traditional horror film. The spaceships and extraterrestrials would remind one more of Star Wars than The Thing. That being said, it does a lot of things really well, and shows that a geeky subculture of sci-fi can be blended with horror aspects for a great mix. For one, I’d like to compliment Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Warrant Officer Ripley. This was her first lead role in a film, and not only did she wear the big hairdo pretty well, but she was by far the most believable (and seemingly the only remotely level headed) of the characters. Tom Skerritt also played Captain Dallas pretty well, and I admired the stoic, honorable nature of his character. Branching away from specific performances, the ambiance in the film is incredibly well done. I loved the environments inside and outside the Nostromo, especially the nooks and crannies in the ship that unintentionally gave the Xenomorph great places to ambush the crew and terrify the audience. The subtle musical cues that bad shit is about to go down may sound a bit cliche, but nonetheless worked very well in Alien.

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Surprise, motha fucka!

What doesn’t:

There are a few problems I have with Alien. For starters, as I mentioned above, Weaver’s character seems to be the only rational mind on board the Nostromo . The rest of the crew just likes to bicker and accomplish just about jack shit. For a small crew on a pretty expensive/important mining mission, you’d expect that they could at the very least have the cooperation skills to agree on something other than the fact that their space food tastes like ass. Captain Dallas also seems to contradict himself in that he obeys corporate orders by having the crew investigate an unknown transmission, but completely disregards them when insisting Ripley disobey quarantine procedures. To add to this, there were a couple of plot holes I noticed: First, what the hell happened to the laser pistols?! Considering the threat the crew was dealing with and that there weren’t enough flamethrowers to equip each crew member, you’d expect the unarmed to at least get some damn laser pistols! We see the search party carry them off the ship, but they suddenly disappear when they come back on board. What gives!? Next, sometime during the beginning of the film it is mentioned by the crew that the ship is roughly 10 months from Earth (we aren’t given a rate at which the Nostromo travels) but near the end of the film, Weaver mentions that her shuttle is only 6 weeks away. The disparity between spacecraft speeds can’t be THAT much! Finally, my last problem with Alien is Jones. That god damn cat. I’m really not sure what his purpose was except getting people killed. I don’t think I’d ever expect even a pseudo-professional mining crew to not only bring a cat on board, but allow it to run around and do whatever the hell it wants. I don’t recall ever seeing the thing in cryostasis either, so it probably should have been dead by the time the Nostromo completed its’ mining tasks. 

This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that it probably won’t kill the experience for you (I’m just being a bit observant) and despite these few discrepancies, Alien is still quite the intense and horrifying experience.

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“Here lies Brett. While chasing pussy, his fate he met.”

Final Verdict:

Good

Alien is a classic sci-fi horror that any enthusiast should add to their collection. A bit cheesy at times and not without its’ fair share of inconsistencies, it still remains a chilling film that is loads of fun to watch. In my book, Alien deserves a solid 7/10.

 

Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013) Horrorathon

Reviewed by: CinematiChris (Chris Filipowicz) and Freekz80 (Blake Mickatavage)

Wow. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it won’t be long before this incredibly chilling film comes knocking. Demonology. Witchcraft. Possession. Murder. Suicide. The Conjuring has it all. These are the things that inhabit the dark corridors of our worst nightmares. These are the things that cause us to force our eyes open with a gasp for air. The Conjuring brings them to life. A large, cheerful, yet unsuspecting family and an old farmhouse filled to the brim with sorrow and gruesome atrocities. Combine the two and you’ve got the primary setting for The Conjuring. Quite spooky already, and we haven’t even begun to get into the good stuff.  Please put your seats in the upright and locked position. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor are Mr. and Mrs. Perron, a couple moving into a new home in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters and the family dog. The Perron family is quite excited and eager to begin this new chapter in their lives. The move goes smoothly and everything appears to be well, except for a few things: The dog, Sadie, won’t come inside, and one of the children accidentally discovers a dreadful staircase leading to a basement full of very old things. Almost immediately, things begin to go very, very wrong for the Perron family, far beyond the typical bumps in the night. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are soon contacted, and the challenges that ensue are some of the most horrific things we’ve seen in a film. The kicker? It’s based on a true story.  

What Works: {Chris’ take} A lot, actually. I haven’t seen a horror movie quite like this one in awhile. The acting is top-notch, as well as it’s set design, and most importantly of all, given it’s horror, the scares. Perhaps the biggest scene-stealers of the film are Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, committing to giving their all to playing the power couple that is the States’ premiere demonologists. Throughout the film, they seem like a legitimate, supportive couple who, while they have different skill sets, are committed to their mission to aid regular Joe Schmoes with otherworldly entities, good or bad. And lucky for those of us hyped for a scarefest, this film focuses on the bad…

For a first time viewing, this is top-tier level scares. James Wan gets what scares me, and I’m sure most other people, judging by the film’s early reviews. Rather than showing us the monster three minutes in, or giving us a disappointing result, Wan builds dread through his eerie set design and deliberate pacing, making us fear what’s hiding in the shadows. By the end of my first viewing, I had nearly torn through my popcorn bag from gripping it so tightly, especially in the final third.

Also, I feel this needs mentioning to those who may doubt: If any non-human entity asks to reside in your insanely creepy porcelain doll; you say HELL NO. And move to another state. Or another country that doesn’t sell porcelain dolls.

SERIOUSLY.

What Works: {Blake’s take} I agree pretty strongly with a lot of what Chris wrote above. The Conjuring is by far one of the scariest films I have seen in a few years. The fact that you aren’t directly shown what the Perron family and the Warren couple are dealing with until long after you’ve soiled your pants for the first time retains an unmatched creepy factor persisting throughout the entire movie. Also, the foreshadowing was incredibly effective. It gives you a taste of dread before anything spooky even happens (the family dog refusing to enter the house is just subconsciously tenderizing the meat that is your mind!) and keeps you glued to the very edge of your seat right away. I really appreciate how the tension and suspense is developed as the film progresses, giving you slight scares here and there and once you think you’re off the hook for a while, you are floored once again. Eventually, this suspense is unleashed in a climactic and immensely satisfying conclusion. As Chris hinted above, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson could not have excelled any more in their roles. You can almost FEEL the passion the Warren’s have for their work through the screen. While the Perron daughters were nothing spectacular, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor also played fantastic roles. Combine these four with an awesome group of supporting actors, and you’ve got one hell of a convincing crew. To top it off, I feel the cinematography was impeccable. Countless shots were so well done, shots that, coupled with awesome set-design as Chris mentioned above, leaked fear and misery into the audience. Just thinking about the shot of Andrea as the door slams behind her gives me chills.

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No! Lie back down, dammit!

What Didn’t: {Chris’ take} As Blake mentioned in his take, the Perron daughters were probably the weakest link of the film, but that’s not saying they were terrible. For the most part, they gave decent performances. Unfortunately for those kids, they had to be working with such great actors, making their decent performances noticeable  by comparison. Also, as it goes with most “Based on a True Story” films, certain aspects were, let’s say, enhanced. While the Annabelle doll in the film is creepy as all get out,  the truth is almost more frightening. In reality, that terrifying entity actually resided in a Raggedy Ann doll, something I could never associate with the sheer terror the doll actually inspired in real life, adding to that surprise and fear…

What Didn’t: {Blake’s take} I think Chris just about hit the nail on the head when it comes to flaws in The Conjuring. There aren’t very many, but alas, they are there. I really agree with him in regards to the “enhanced” nature of a few things in the film, but I don’t stop with the Annabelle doll. Near the climax, events just become so out of control that it almost becomes hard to believe they ever happened. While viewing, you aren’t really considering this as you are too busy shitting yourself, but they become food for thought afterwards. For a movie to be nearly entirely based on a true story, there must be some sources out there. It takes a lot for something to cross over from the fairy tale realm to the world of reality, and if The Conjuring is truly based on factual events, I would just hope that the physical evidence (unaltered photographs and film that we see being captured in the movie) might be more accessible. Maybe I’m just being nit picky. Regardless, The Conjuring is still a very chilling film.

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Real or not, my pants are still quite moist. *squish*

Final Score:

Somewhere between…

Great
and…

Legendary

While not a perfect film, especially upon a second viewing, it’s still a damn good one, being very well made, directed, and designed. Well worth at least renting, worth adding to your collection if you’re a serious horror fan. 8.5/10.