John Carpenter Returns to Halloween

In a bit of exciting news, the master of horror himself, John Carpenter is returning to the Halloween franchise to reboot the series. He will be taking on the role of executive producer.

As you may know, John Carpenter is the one who created the Halloween series. The new movie has been in limbo since the second Rob Zombie Halloween movie. Would it be a continuation of that new mythos or a return to one of the previous mythologies. Who is to say but to be honest I wouldn’t mind if they were to forget all the movies after Carpenter originally left the franchise and continued from there. I also wouldn’t mind a new direction. I am just happy Halloween is returning.

John Carpenter Returns to Halloween via Halloweenmovies.com

The RPG Hub Movie Review: It Follows

It Follows is movie I read up a bit about a few weeks ago and was under the assumption It was pretty good. I went to the local video store and checked my all too favorite horror section and grabbed me a copy and I cannot help but say that I slightly regret it.

It Follows is a very, very basic horror movie cliché that a creature / thing stalks an individual and does not stop. The story revolves around a girl, Jay, who after intercourse with her date is chloroformed and tied to a chair. The boyfriend explains that he has now passed this on to her. What did he pass aside from a possible STD? Well apparently a supernatural being can now be sexually transmitted.

Ok so let’s take a moment to absorb that for a second. A supernatural being out to kill you can be sexually transmitted.

If you have had enough time to compose yourselves let us carry on. The date in question explains that this thing will not stop till she dies or passes it on like he has. With that being said he dumps her back on her front lawn and we get into the group dynamic of escaping this thing while never really understanding what it really is.

We do learn this thing takes the forms of those that people know of so it can get closer but apparently it does so in a way that nobody would ever want to get close to. An elderly relative in a nursing gown chasing you at school? Perhaps your naked mom?

Now that we have a very unsubtle supernatural entity following our leading lady, she of course decides to “pass it on” so to speak *wink wink*. Somehow though everyone she passes it on to does not last as long as she does and the entity returns to the chase. This is supposed to lead us to believe that we should be on edge throughout the movie to see if the entity will be back but we already know it will.

Eventually the gang confronts the entity and apparently defeats it but of course like all horror movie clichés we get a final scene where we see it is probably not over with yet.

I have to be really honest with you that watching the movie doesn’t seem as absurd as when you are actually trying to talk about it with someone because when you do, that is when you realize how god awful the movie is.

I like the idea of going back to the core concept of an entity / creature type coming after someone like in the old slasher days but there is literally no soul to this film whatsoever. While more classic movies would at least try to explain without divulging too much about the protagonist we literally have no motive, not one single iota of information. In a sense that is good right? Leave something for us to consider and ponder over till the sequel comes out and clarifies things but no.

The acting is very mediocre. You never particularly care about one or the other and there is no particularly huge development to them except whether or not they decide to pass the entity on which makes them morally horrible individuals for saving their own asses and condemning another to certain death.

While I was hoping that It Follows was going to be a surprise movie that I would enjoy when I actually got to see it I was sorely disappointed though highly amused. I have seen some outlandish horror movies in my time but a sexually transmitted entity is a new one for me. A positive though is that they went for a slow paced movie without rushing into action and it does have the occasional creepy vibe.

If you are simply looking for a time waster of a movie then this would be it but you could also watch a number of other scary movies out there and probably get more out of it then this one.

RPG Hub Movie Review: The Atticus Institute

Found footage movies are a dime a dozen and quite a few are not so great but I came across this particular gem by my good friend Neil during one of our hangouts. The concept of the movie seemed interesting; the Atticus Institute follows a group that studied psychic and telekinetic phenomenon in the 1970’s. While being deceived by one subject and losing focus the group comes across another promising patient but things are not what they seem to be. Soon they all discover that they are now way in over their heads where science loses out to faith.

Now while the film is found footage it is also filmed like a documentary reporting on these events that ended The Atticus Institute. I think with the sensitive materials that such a group possesses and also the involvement of the government that a documentary would probably not ever make it to fruition let alone former agents and army personnel speaking during segments.

The build is very good with you experiencing the wonder this group gets to participate in everyday and also when it fails. Finally when this new patient who has all these abilities gets into the mix you sense how on edge the institute got. While it was wonderful for some, others were uncertain and extremely fearful. Once the government gets involved when the institute reaches out for help, the pace picks up and things get even more out of hand which leads to the climatic ending.

While the build was good the filming was excellent. The team did a great job of getting the 70’s style down from clothing to equipment and then transitioning to the present day. You really felt the two distinctive era’s had their own life to it.

The acting from everyone was great and there wasn’t one person that didn’t feel out of place which tends to happen in these sorts of movies. You will also notice a lot of familiar actors & actresses from both movies and tv. It seemed all throughout the movie we were going “Hey it’s the principal from Buffy!” to “I can’t quite place him but I totally know I watched a movie or two with him in it”. It’s funny when you see people you know but you just cannot place them exactly.

The Atticus Institute is simply an awesome movie. A great popcorn flick if you’re into supernatural thrillers. It’s well paced, the acting is great and you almost wish they would make another one because it was that damn good. What makes a good scary movie is not the quantity of jumps but the build towards them. The Atticus Institute does exactly that and I highly recommend it to anyone.

RPG Hub Movie Review: Rob Zombie’s Halloween

We all know the John Carpenter’s classic Halloween. There have been many movies made in the franchise which have been both good and outright terrible but the mythos of Michael Myers has lived on. However after the Halloween: Resurrection movie did…not so well, a new direction was called for and in came Rob Zombie. Yeah I know right? You may remember two of Zombie’s other works, House of 1000 Corpses and it’s sequel The Devil’s Rejects. We will get to those another time so let’s just talk Halloween.

The story of Zombie’s version of Halloween is not entirely different from what was already established by Carpenter. Michael kills when he is young, then he is institutionalized, then escapes, kills some more and voila. The only difference is that this version is a little more gritty and more dark. This is not a bad thing mind you but Zombie has tendency in all his movies to make everyone seem like raving hillbillies.

This is how we are introduced to Michael as he is in a rather dysfunctional family who has a father being a mega drunk douche that even hits on his own daughter and then the polar opposite in his mother who by the way works as a stripper. This somehow is all a catalyst to the killer Michael is to become. There are some elements which were somewhat intriguing in that he liked to wear masks when younger and even made masks for himself in the institution. All of this likely a way for him to protect himself. Once he escapes it’s slasher fest right till the end.

There seems to be three schools of thought when it comes to Halloween. Those who want a more rationalized Michael that can be explained, those who want a supernatural version and those who simply want him to be left unexplained. Zombie seem’s to take a middle ground between all these aspects.  As mentioned we are to somehow think his childhood may have played a role but we are always left wondering if that is the simple answer. Later as the movie progresses though Micheal is put through the wringer so to speak by being stabbed, shot in the body twice and a glazing head shot. None of course kills him. So does this mean there is something supernatural to him as well? Maybe he is just really fucking lucky.

One of the biggest logical drawbacks to the movie is Michael himself. We are to believe a child who loved the candy so to speak ended up a 7ft tall muscular power house when he showed no inclinations for physical activity whatsoever. It may not seem like a big deal but with the more grounded  / realistic approach that Zombie seem’s to be going for, it breaks any credibility he had going for him.

Though it may seem like I am griping a lot about the movie, Halloween is a fun viewing. The action is almost constant, Michael as a character is extremely imposing and the supporting cast of characters are all played quite well. Sheri Moon Zombie plays a sympathetic mother whose family is butchered but still has love for the child who committed those crimes.  Malcolm McDowell plays a new twist on Dr Loomis who is a bit a prick and is more out for himself then helping Michael.

I think with how convoluted the Halloween franchise had become I was glad they opted to do a reboot. I am just not sure that this is the version I would want future sequels to but I also cannot help but think it was still very enjoyable to watch. Sometimes that is the thing when classics are remade and that is we are afraid of change. Zombie has proven he can make a good horror movie but I would like to see him try newer elements then rehash similar themes from his previous movies.

RPG Hub Movie Review: The Innkeepers

This is one of those movies that I first discovered in the video store. It had that intriguing cover and an interesting story. But despite all that I kept getting other movies but it was always on my hit list. So when I got my first free month of netflix I managed to find it and voila, it was time to see this movie and boy was I glad I ever did.

The Innkeepers follows Claire and Luke as they spend the final few days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes. They not only work they but are also trying to investigate the potential haunting by a famous spirit named Madeline O’Malley. All they need is that one big break for them to prove her ghosts existence. The concept is typical for a ghost story but with the small town feel and charm of the building, it really works.

The pace of the movie is slow as you begin to learn more about the building and Madeline but there is always something going on so you never feel like the movie drags. What helps is that both Luke and Claire are very witty and enjoyable characters. You really feel like you could hang out with them. They are very down to earth with no extraordinary quirks and I think that works for them and the movie as you don’t have to digest some complex character along with the story. You really are here for the enjoyment of the movie. There are a few other characters but they have their purpose and like Luke and Claire have nothing that takes your attention away from what is happening.

As things begin to develop you do encounter some scares but nothing truly gory or grotesque. The scariness is purely atmospheric and the ghosts you see are nothing to cringe at. Everything is done is such a way that it makes this movie extremely accessible for those who don”t want to be grossed out. This is very rare nowadays where shock value seems to always be a priority.

The Innkeepers is one of those movies that I believe will stand the test of time. It doesn’t try to shock people and it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It just tells a damn good story that you can munch on your popcorn to. I highly recommend that you rent this on any given day and give it a whirl. You will not be disappointed.

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

When I heard they were making a new Evil Dead I was both excited and worried. For one Evil Dead a beloved cult classic while on the other it is a remake per se and you know how they can go right. Well this seem’s to fall in a grey space for me so let’s get right to it.

For one this new Evil Dead is grittier in that it takes itself somewhat seriously this time around and starts the movie off with a plot. A group of young adults head to this cabin in the woods where they attempt to help their friend Mia (and one of the character’s sister) in detoxing from her drug use over the course of a weekend. Now we already know that there was some freaky things that happened at this cabin via a flashback so it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand.

In fact it takes almost no time at all for things to start going down the drain for these people. Mia is seemingly possessed after one of the friends reads from the necronomicon found in the basement and inadvertently summons this malevolent demon / spirit. From that point on there is the typical body count and craziness one would expect.

There are plenty of homages to the previous Evil Dead that you will be wondering if they are trying to freshen things up or are we simply watching a retread. Again depending on your taste it can go either way. I would go so far however as to say that it was too much retread. Rather then making the reboot their own thing they kept trying to use what we already have seen before and the movie comes off as being incredibly lazy.

The acting started off pretty good as well with everyone playing their designated roles and the prospect of the brother-sister relationship rebuilding between Mia and David had plenty of potential. But once the gore fest commenced this took an almost amusing backseat because she was possessed throughout the whole movie. Everyone else who seemed interesting initially were just fodder for the meat grinder.

And while the tone at the beginning of the movie is serious and the acting being quite decent we are torn away part way through the movie with ridiculous dialogue from the possessed friends as they each have their moment under the spotlight. It’s like they tried to inject campy dialogue from the original during these supposedly scary moments. Yes, let’s have the demon / spirit / possessed person yell “cunt” in various phrases. Oh the horror! When that moment hit, Evil Dead lost all credibility it had going for it. It’s ok to use expletives and other foul language in a horror movie. Hell it is expected but the dialogue was sophomoric. Maybe I expect better from demons / spirits.

This Evil Dead embraces gore and gives people a sight that is rarely seen. At times it was outlandish with how far it was going. But if you’re a fan of that type of gorefest then you will be more than happy with what this movie has to offer. At times even I had to admire the sheer amounts of fake blood used.

Evil Dead is an interesting beast. I think they had the intention of doing something new to freshen up the franchise and reboot it yet they missed their opportunity rather spectacularly and made a remake that brought nothing new to the table except current special effects and cinematography. I will admit the trailer had me fooled. I expected a somewhat serious take on the movie and doing something new. It is not the worst movie I have seen and I would go so far to say to at least rent it on a cheap night but I almost wish this had never been made.

Movie Review: The Conjuring

If you have any fascination with the spiritual world and probably even if you didn’t the name Ed & Lorraine Warren have certainly been heard. They are renowned investigators of the paranormal and demonic with many high profile cases such as the Amityville Horror. Now whether you believe any of their work or not is up to you but we have a treatment of one of their cases in the form of The Conjuring.

The Conjuring stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren as they are called in to help a family who has suddenly be plagued with not only odd occurrences in their home but the onset of being terrorized by the supernatural.

James Wan who directed this movie has taken it upon himself to treat the subject with a lot of respect. Often we see “based on” movies that go out of their way to hollywood everything to a point where you couldn’t believe what you are watching. James Wan however takes a more subtle approach in The Conjuring. If you were to imagine an escalating haunting then you could totally believe the events in the movie and that is what makes it so scary.

The movie is also not just about the haunting that took place but also the people involved. Performances are top-notch and you in turn feel a connection with all who are involved which is also difficult when presenting a movie like that. Often times one element is sacrificed for another whether deliberate or not but in this movie that fine balance is made.

In terms of atmosphere The Conjuring has you on your toes with all it’s subtleties. I would even say that it is a treat to watch in how well done it is. The tension in the theatre was thick and just about everyone jumped at one point or another. It was good to see a movie have an audience entranced like that.

Also if you are a fan of the Warrens and have read their books or perhaps just read online about their cases then this movie will also please you in the reference to the Annabelle case. I won’t go into description of the case itself as you can quickly google it but having read a book on their cases as well as online information I was left grinning ear to ear on it’s brief inclusion. Oh and don’t forget to look out for Lorraine Warren herself who cameo’s in the movie.

The Conjuring is a movie that you should definitely go a see. If you’re looking for something to renew your faith that a good haunting movie can be made then you will be vindicated. This movie was a labor of love and it comes across as such. It will please both newcomers and also fans of the Warrens with references and actual pictures at the end. I cannot recommend this movie enough and do hope to see movie case files handled with such a treatment.

Movie Review: Hollow

When it comes to horror movies a cover can trigger my excitement for a movie. I know they can be misleading as the common term for books is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and the same can be said for movies however this one just caught my attention as did the synopsis blurb.

The movie follows four teens as they travel to a cottage for a getaway which happens to be near a monastery as well as an old tree with a frightening legend to it. Apparently people have a tendency to commit suicide by hanging themselves via the tree.

Hollow is another in the found footage genre but that is not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to these types of movies I don’t jump on the “not another one of these” bandwagons but rather I pretend no other found footage films have been made. This let’s me judge it in a fresh light. The use of the genre in this particular movie is okay. Obviously there are bits and pieces that you need to fill in the blanks as they use the method as a way to create atmosphere. However what creates the most atmosphere is the english countryside in which they are located. From the ruins of the monastery to the tree itself. It is pretty freaking creepy.

With that being said though you never feel fulfilled though. When things start building up it almost seem’s to be done too quickly. The mythology of the hollow tree itself could have been something much more but it never seem’s to attain it’s full potential. In the end you do end up feeling hollow which is somewhat ironic.

The characters themselves just seem your typical adolescent self involved jerks. Obviously they try to slip in a nude scene with the found footage method and there is a drug induced scene which brings nothing to the table.

Hollow is a movie that when your done watching could have been something so much more but there is still something to be found it it that is still entertaining. It may not pay off as a movie that will make it on your shelves permanently but it is something you should go out and rent when you have the chance when you are just looking for something different.

RPG Hub Movie Review: Friday the 13th (1980)

Being near Halloween now, I always like to go through my old collection of horror flicks so with that being said, let’s take a look at one of, if not THE innovator of the slasher genre. Friday the 13th even to this day and age stands as a classic but I think what people remember most is the infamous character Jason Vorhees that stands out. However the series actually didn’t even have Jason as a principle character and maybe that was a good thing.

Friday the 13th is campy, never taken too serious but is still more serious in tone then it’s sequels hope to be. A group of yound teenagers are gathering at Camp Crystal Lake where the buildings are being renovated for a new group of children to come visit during their summer. But the movie starts us off showing an murder of two young teenagers. This gives the area a bad reputation and a local name of Camp Blood. Also there is oddball local who likes to say how dangerous the place is. He tends to pop in and out at random places and survives despite it all no less.

It doesn’t take long for the new teenagers to start dropping but there is a bit of buildup. Effort is made to give the place a good impression and how calm it could be. So when things do start hitting the fan then we are made uneasy as that sense of comfort is suddenly not there. During the murder scenes we never see who the killer is but rather the legs and feet. This makes us wonder who it is as some characters even seem to know the killer.

Eventually we have the climax with the lone survivor confronting the killer who ends up to be Jason Vorhees mother who is taking revenge on councillors as her son Jason was left unattended and drowned. While being an accident we can quite relate to these days in current events over the summer, Mrs Vorhees has become deranged with anger and grief. Times where she talks to herself as if it were her son telling her what to do is extremely creepy and well done. While she is small in stature she makes up for in a crazy mom next door which is unsettling and maybe all the more scary. She comes off as warm and caring during her somewhat sane and luring into false sense of security moments. Kudos for the acting job well done Betsy Palmer. It’s not a large role in the movie but it’s got the most impact and makes the movie.

Also when we think all is over we have a scene of Jason as a boy coming out of the water to pull into the water. It’s another classic horror movie moment and opens the movie for a sequel if need be or an amusing finale otherwise. These dream like endings would be common for both the Friday the 13th series as well as Nightmare of Elm Street.

We also have the chance to see Kevin Bacon in one of his early roles. The horror movie genre tends to be a good stepping stone for many actors to start their careers and other movies will introduce others as well. It’s a tradition that won’t soon end in my opinion.

The movie doesn’t have the gore quantity other installments will have. The goriest scene would probably be Kevin Bacon’s characters demise with an arrow through the throat. For it’s time it is done well however these days we can see the setup for that scene quite well. Got to love those latex flesh ripping. You would never think skin so stretchable. There is also some T’n’A but again, not as much as the sequels to have but it is amusing that teenagers in a forest can only think about pot and sex.

There is not a lot more that can be said about Friday the 13th except that it stands the test of time as being maybe not a scary movie these days but definitely a classic worth seeing. Forget the zombie Jason, come say hello to mama Vorhees! The plot is thin and the acting sub par but you will still have a good pop corn movie night with your friends and that’s what it is all about. Go check it out! In fact, check out the original trailer that almost shows all the kills.