Twenty years ago, Studio Ghibli and the master Hayao Miyazaki opened my mind up to a new dimension of animation and storytelling that pretty much changed my life. It also inspired me to look toward telling bigger tales with richer characters, because Miyazaki is very much about rich characterization and brilliant metaphor. Much of his films revolve around the love of nature, the vastness of the open sky, and the effect humans can have on the environment and the world around us.
I’ve always been and will continue to be a staunch defender of John Carpenter. He’s one of my all time favorite filmmakers and even his weakest outputs have some great creativity to them. “Vampires” is fun in all its schlocky nonsense, and “Ghosts of Mars” is a fun remake of “Assault on Precinct 13” for a contemporary audience. Eighteen years later, “Ghosts of Mars” is fine C grade science fiction redeemed by Carpenter’s sharp direction, and the absolutely gorgeous Natasha Henstridge.
I love the idea of indie filmmakers taking their various horror short films and turning them in to anthologies, especially now with the horror anthology hotter than ever with audiences. “Blood Clots” has a lot of great intentions, but in the end it’s just an okay anthology with seven pretty okay horror shorts. I was never blown over by anything I saw here, but I appreciated the effort, and I liked the variety, overall. There are zombies, mutants, monsters, and werewolves, and that’s basically the only overarching theme for audiences.
Like a lot of previous efforts to reboot a property, Neil Marshall’s handling of “Hellboy” was the apparent product of studio interference and clashing ideas that resulted in a hectic shoot for just about everyone. That’s a shame since when Neil Marshall is allowed to unfold his own ideas and monsters, he gives us “The Descent,” and “Dog Soldiers.” It’s not to say that “Hellboy” is a bad movie, it’s just one half of a very good reboot that’s fun, and action packed, and one half of a sloppy studio film that’s boring, over explained, and sloppily tailored for sequels, prequels, and spin offs.
For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” we have a look at pitch for toys involving Italian Turtles, a horror tale about a pale lady, and a comedic spoof of an eighties Christmas horror classic.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
I love “Critters,” I should say that first and foremost. I love the movie series, the first two are childhood favorites, and when it comes down to it, I prefer the Crites over the Gremlins. Come at me I don’t care. So when news came that we were getting a limited series based on the eighties movie series, I was excited to say the least. The trailer looked amazing and I was so ready for it. I’m not one to adhere to conspiracy theories, but the only reason I can rationalize the utterly terrible “Critters: A New Binge” is that it was once a movie that was split up in to a “series” for the sake of views.
The mix of war movies and horror movies have always been a natural combination, since they’re both manage to examine the dark sides of combat and humanity. It’s just a shame that there haven’t been many movies of the sub-genre that have been worth watching. Thankfully, while “Overlord” isn’t a complete masterpiece, it manages to come out in the end as a sleek and very clever amalgam of horror, fantasy, and war oriented action. It might also sweeten the pot that Avery’s horror war hybrid feels like a spiritual prequel to “Re-Animator.” Director Julius Avery approaches the idea of a horror movie set during World War II with great right balance of both genres, allowing “Overlord” to be a character piece first and then delve right in to the horrendous grue and human ugliness.
The first “Goosebumps” movie was a big surprise for me. While I was against it being a fluid narrative and not an anthology or adaptation of one of the books, it ended up being a great, heartfelt, and genuinely fun horror comedy. And Jack Black as RL Stine was such a nice little addition that helped what was essentially a love letter to RL Stine’s imagination. It pains me to say that, like a lot of others, I just did not like “Goosebumps 2.” It’s not only the fact that it tosses out a lot of what made the original film so much fun, but it also completely recycles the premise from the first film with a monster apocalypse… except, you know, on Halloween.