Newspaper ads of your favorite horror films

dawn of the dead now showing friday the 13th ad

Newspaper ads of your favorite horror films

Who knew these were collectable?

I first saw a newspaper movie ad last year when searching for pics of Tales From the Crypt. A little bit of sidetrack searching and I found movie advertisement newspaper clippings being bought and sold on eBay and I-offer. I have a few of these myself, saved from a few years back. When I get them framed, I’ll post them here.

 

Oculus (2014) – movie review

Oculus (2014)

I don’t want to say that Oculus was a disappointment because I did like the story. It just wasn’t what I had expected. Judging by the trailer, I was expecting this year’s equivalent to The Conjuring. The truth is, though there were a few good creepy scenes and some tense moments, Oculus never delivered the scares in a big way.

Two children, Tim and Kaylie, survive the mental breakdown and attack of their parents which ends with both parents dead. Now 10 years later, Tim is released from an institution, cured of his delusions about the tragic night. Kaylie is happy to see him and immediately escorts him to oculustheir childhood home. She has plans to clear her family’s name (especially her father), and prove the strange and ancient mirror was the cause of the tragic event.

Kaylie has set up cameras and atmospheric recording devices on the mirror, as well as, a fail safe device to destroy the artifact if the situation gets out of hand. Naturally, Tim thinks it’s unnecessary, having learned through his psych treatments that what they had witnessed as children were delusions in the face of violent trauma. We soon see that delusions are the power of the mirror – the bending of reality in order to drive the owners of the artifact insane. In this way, Oculus is a psychological horror film and you can see the family going through difficulties that would make them loose their grip on reality.

Once the experiment begins the brother is plagued with vivid flashback memories. From that point on, the film alternates from past to present for the remainder of its runtime. This effectively keeps the film moving as two stories unfold simultaneously. We get good pacing and revealing of details about the tragic night past, while the current night’s plan begins to unravel.

The drawback to this aspect is we know the children survive into adulthood. This deflates a lot of the tension in the flashbacks and breaks the escalating suspense of the present story. Ultimately it makes the film less scary than its potential. Spirits emerge from the mirror in some creepy scenes, but don’t play an active role in the action. They attempt (and often succeed) in influencing the family members to deadly deeds but are relegated to standing in corners and whispering in family member’s ears. Shades of The Shining are present here as the spirits push the father to murder.

I did enjoy the story. I think it was well-written and original in the way it was told. I also thought all of the acting was high grade for a horror film and that may be its strongest asset. I know there are a lot of names associated with the film (from the makers of…), but the only one that matters is director/writer Mike Flanagan who also made Absentia. I actually like Oculus more.

However, I always look for that one film each year to carry the torch for the horror genre into the next year. Despite a promising premise and a strong story, Oculus is not the one. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it for what it is.

Oculus pic 8

An interesting paranormal psychological horror story worth a viewing.

I give it 3.8 horrific halucinations on the malignant haunted mirror scale!

 

Alien Abduction (2014) – movie review

Alien Abduction - 2014 pic 1

Alien Abduction (2014)

Alien encounter films can be the most cliché and ineffective genre of films. There are few that successfully capture their intended horrific atmosphere. Dark Skies did nothing for me. Altered was a snoozer to me. The Knowing? Blah.

With such a generic title, (Alien Abduction – could you think of anything less original) I wasn’t expecting much. It sounded like one of those budget SyFy, cookie-cutter films – you know, with a sexy, big-boobed, military woman, wearing a camouflage, tank-top, tee-shirt and wielding a huge semi-automatic machine gun. However, the trailer looked interesting enough and I decided to give it a try.

Which reminds me, when is Netflix streaming going to make it so you can watch the trailers? The technology is there… get one of your employees in India to spend a day loading them in. I mean, come on already! Am I right?

The film starts and it’s a found footage film. I had no clue from the trailer that it was an FF film. Points off for that.alien abduction 2014 film

A young autistic boy is hyper-attached to his video camera. He barely says ten words in the whole film. His family is on a camping trip to Brown Mountain. On the first night the kids are awakened by strange lights. Emerging from their tents they see strange balls of light in the sky above the peak of Brown Mountain. In the morning, the video camera is dead and they can’t show their parents the footage until the batteries recharge. By that time, they are on the road again and get lost on a back road leading to Brown Mountain‘s summit. With the video camera back in service they come upon abandoned cars. They reach a tunnel in the mountain with cars and vehicles clogging their path. The Dad and his two sons go to investigate while Mom and the daughter stay back at the Caravan. When the men enter the dark tunnel, all hell breaks loose! From that point on, the film turns into a jarring creep-fest as the family is hunted down by aliens. They are picked off, one by one, in a thrilling attack and retreat cycle, which really boosts the tension and elevates the terror of the film.

At times the usual FF techniques are a bit monotonous and all too familiar, but there are enough tense scenes to keep you interested. The anger of the Dad about getting lost seems over-the-top. I remember being on road trips as a boy and my Dad getting mad, but not like that.

alien abduction 2014 pic 5think the quick flashes of aliens in the moving camera adds to the creepiness, showing just enough of the creatures to be freaky. There’s no strong violence in the film – as with most alien encounter films – it relies mostly on mood, atmosphere and suspense, which it does a good job conveying.

If you scoff at the premise of an alien abduction film, you’d be better off to leave this be. And if you dislike FF films, you are best advised to stay away. However if you are okay with both of these concepts, Alien Abduction is a very good entry into this genre. While it doesn’t offer any new ideas to the genre, the first person POV puts you squarely in the action. Decent acting, likable characters, and alien effects/make-up by the Chiodo Brothers make for a well-made film.

A tense alien encounter and abduction film in the found footage style – worth a watch for those who like the genre.

I give the film 3.8 illuminations on the strange lights in the sky scale.

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The film includes interviews of residents who actually witnessed the Brown Mountain Lights, a phenomenon that has occurred frequently in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Foothills for the past century.

Read more about the true phenomenon here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/brown-mountain-lights-nc_n_1302204.html

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And, for a completely different veiw/opinion of Alien Abduction 2014, check out the review at John’s Horror Corner

 

Model Kits – Cro-Magnon Woman and Sabertooth Tiger refurbish – Aurora Prehistoric Scenes

cwom71front the-saber-tooth-tiger

Aurora Prehistoric Scenes

Cro-Magnon Woman
Sabertooth Tiger

Once again, these kits are no longer available, have never been reissued and haven’t been made since the 1970’s.

The Sabertooth Tiger was part of a ‘used lot’ collection that I had purchased from eBay with missing and broken pieces. The Tiger itself was in- tact and had minimal painting done to it. It was missing the base and accessories. I was excited to get this because when I was young I had won a model building contest with this kit, second place; I got a trophy and a gift certificate.

sabertooth 001

The base I used was in the ‘used lot’ box and I’m not sure what kit it comes from. I made some changes, adding a big rock on one side and a small tree. I originally planned on putting leaves on the tree but decided I liked the way it looked without them. I made the deer leg with clay to match the one in the original kit.

sabertooth base sabertooth 006

I sprayed the kit with gray primer so I could start painting from a neutral color. The original color of the kit is a tawny orange and many people leave it unpainted but I wanted to go with a more natural color of today’s Mountain Lion.

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The Cro-Magnon Woman I purchased separately. It was a complete kit, previously used and partially painted but not built.

cro magnon woman 6

I didn’t care for the paint job so I sprayed it with primer and started from scratch.

She came with two sets of legs for the builder to choose from. Most people go with the flat footed stance because it’s easier to place her on the base. I used the ‘action’ legs which look more animated.

It is impossible to get her standing on one foot using glue. To solve the problem, I positioned her right foot on a grass clump. I took a straight pin and heated it until it was glowing. I pushed the pin up through the base and into her foot and leg. A little crazy glue to keep her from spinning and you get a nice action shot of her jumping away from the snake.

cro magnon woman 7 cro magnon woman base detail 1

The snake is usually positioned in the tree on the base, but I never liked the way it looked – it always looked unnatural. So, I found a Sabertooth Tiger skull in my ‘used lot’ box which I believe is from The Cave kit and positioned it on the base to form with the contours of the snake.

cro magnon woman 1

In my next post, I will show the Allosaurus with my own custom base.

 

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) – movie review

hellraiser-bert

above photo is not from the film

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

Who’s bad idea was this? If it’s the same guy who decided, we can do Pinhead without Doug Bradley, he should be FIRED! Okay, I realize that the studio had to do this film to keep the rights of Hellraiser. We wouldn’t want the rights to revert back to its creator, Clive Barker, because, what does he know? (I’m being sarcastic here!) So they put out a film that is so bad, no one could resurrect the franchise.hellraiser revelations dvd

How bad is it? First, this film doesn’t know if it wants to be a found footage film or not. It takes about 45 minutes for the director to decide. Second, the two main characters are such bottom-of-the-barrel, low-life scum, how could I possibly care if they lived or died. They’re abusive to women and eventually work together to kill them. I’m supposed to be interested in their plight? Nervous for them? 3rd  - It is quite clear that the cenobites are a bunch of actors in-costume. I mean, make some attempt at making it seem real. Whether that be, more subtle make-up, or veiling the designs in darkness, smoke or filters, it should seem less prosthetic. You can see where layers were glued on, liquid-rubber latex was pulled and sections were painted. I’m surprised I didn’t see zippers and Velcro holding it all together.

Hellraiser had 8 sequels since the original film came out in 1987. Some of them didn’t even have Pinhead in them. But every one of them were better than this. Just a bad film all around. Even the big scene at the end is just rehashed ideas. Stay away. Of course this is just my opinion.

hellraiser revelations pic 3

Tied with The Exorcist II for worst horror sequel ever!

I give it a 1.0 on the crusty crap scale of sucky sequels!

The Banshee Chapter (2013) – movie review

the-banshee-chapter pic 4

The Banshee Chapter (2013)

There are some good ideas and concepts stirring in this film. Military and scientific studies by the government in the 1970s concerning a drug known as MK Ultra and the threshold and capacity for fear has left a residual energy. A young reporter attempting to recreate this drug and thebanshee chapter cover study, goes missing. His girl friend sets out to discover what he has uncovered and the reason for his disappearance. She watches the video tape of his drug experiment and discovers strange music and voices. Further investigation reveals this white noise is familiar to a local ham operator. It is a mysterious shortwave signal and transmission emanating from an uninhabited area of the desert. This leads her to an old drug-taking renegade, an abandoned test facility and a living test subject still entombed at the lab.

The problem is these aspects are scrambled, disconnected and never form into a cohesive story line. Every time the film begins to build momentum, it veers off in a different direction, deflating all the creepiness, tension, and atmosphere it had built. The scene in the desert with the short wave transmissions was creepy as hell. I wish they would have kept going from that point, but the girl turns her car around, goes back to civilization and has to start the momentum from scratch. The film is laced with some found footage scenes that could’ve had a unifying affect but the footage itself cuts to static so frequently, it becomes a distraction. The film had all the ingredients to make the perfect omelet. But in the end we are served nothing more than scrambled eggs with a bunch of uncooked ingredients on the side. It’s watchable and moderately enjoyable but it missed a great opportunity to be something truly frightening.

the banshee chapter pic 7

Not a total waste but failed to fulfill its potent possibilities.

I give it 2.1 blackened eyes on the scale of screaming banshee, horror-haunting conspiracies!