I will do whatever it takes for this role – Sarah
[Programming note: It’s Shocktober at Final Girl and the first movie she picked to review happened to be one I had recently seen and had been meaning to review cause I loved it so much. So here is my review and make sure to check out the incredible Stacy Ponder’s review over at Final Girl.]
If I were to make a list of various tropes and such that I love from horror movies, somewhere very near the top of that list would be ‘The cult members arrive for the ceremony’. I live for the cult members arriving. A montage of cars arriving, rich old white people in full robes, taper candles, walking single file. It never fails to get me. The neighbours cooing over their new born Anti-Christ in Rosemary’s Baby. The cult members arriving to pay respects to their martyr in Martyrs.
Let’s be honest, I’m a slut for anything resembling Satanic horror/religious thriller. Seventh Sign, Prophecy, End of Days, Bless the Child, Stigmata, Lost Souls. I just can’t help myself! So what I am trying to say is that even if Starry Eyes was a complete turd, I probably still would have gone batshit for it. But thank Satan, it’s actually a gory, well made and refreshingly original and simple take on some really age old ideas and horror tropes.
The set up is super simple. Pretty aspiring actress who hates her shitty day job, has a group of friends she doesn’t seem to care for and who are kind of shitty to her. All she wants to be is a STAR! The kind of girl Hollywood is (one would assume) full of. When she is offered her dreams on a silver platter, she learns that there isn’t much of a difference between selling her soul figuratively versus literally.
I won’t go into the plot beyond that. It’s good to not quite know what will happen. That said, there are some truly gross moments and some great gore. The film has a pervading sense of dread, you feel just as uneasy watching a group of friends drinking in by the pool as you do when someone enters a room not realized they’ve walked in on someone being murdered.
A great horror movie that pays homage to some classics while still managing to be very original. Come for the Satanists and stay for the body horror.
Movie: Dahmer Year: 2002 Cast: Jeremy Renner, Artel Kayàru
Plot: Dahmer tells the story of real life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeffrey (Renner) works in a chocolate factory by day. At night he brings guys home where he attempts to make them sex slave zombies, and cannibalizes his victims.
Why So Queer: Dahmer isn’t a straight up horror. It a psychological film which examines the mind of Dahmer. The film explores Dahmer not as a cold blooded killer, but instead as a young man so damaged by his fear and self loathing that he can only express intimacy in moments of horror and control. Jeremy Renner manages to make Jeffrey a character you simultaneously pity, abhor and desire. The film doesn’t demonize Dahmer’s queerness but rather allows it to highlight his isolation and humanize him despite his terrible actions.
Alzheimer disease is never about just one person -Mia
Found footage has become the dead horse which studios choose to beat when making horror movies these days. While I prefer it to the remaking of cult classics and foreign properties, it is often done poorly. With The Taking of Deborah Logan however, we see all the reasons why this tactic can be so chilling.
The premise of the film is that Mia a med student is doing a documentary as part of her thesis on Alzheimer disease. Sarah Logan agrees to let Mia and her two man crew film her mother Deborah as she slowly succumbs to senility in exchange for a much needed stipend which will allow them to keep their family home. So far a pretty basic horror set up.
What makes this movie so great however, is a truly chilling performance by Jill Larson as the titular Deborah. I remember Larson from my mother’s favorite soap growing up, All My Children. One doesn’t normally associate actors from soap operas as being the most talented at their craft. But the sheer dedication and fearless choices made by Larson make this one of the most chilling possession films ever.
The found footage angle is utilized so well to create a slow sense of building tension. By the time some truly insane stuff starts happening, you are so drawn in, it makes sense. Rather then going from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye, we slowly build towards some truly disturbing visuals.
While it trades in some fairly standard tropes, a combination of great performances mixed with interesting narrative choices make for a truly enjoyable horror experience.
Lady Gaga has been announced as the new lead for FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel the fifth installment of the incredibly popular horror anthology series. Following the announcement that series star Jessica Lange would not be returning for a fifth season, speculation ran rampant as to how the series would change in her absence. American Horror Story: Hotel is expected October 2015 on FX.