Friday, January 3, 2014

Gorehounds End of the Year Round Up! The good the bad the fugly! PART 1

Another year has gone by and your ghoulish pal Gorehound Mike is going to break down the best and worst of 2013 Part 1

The Conjuring 
The sleeper hit is everything it promises to be and more. Right from frame one (of creepy Annabell) this film grips you and doesn't let up to the credits roll. This is truly a film that deserves to be called scary without simply relying on gross out splatter effects to terrify its audience. I cant stress enough how brilliant a screenplay this is and how well the characters are developed. Conjuring hits every horror supernatural note just right without feeling  trait, from the haunting score, the great acting and the nightmarish cinematography which sets the mood better then any film i`ve seen in recent years. As stated above this film really
 gets into the core of a innocent family that is being terrorized by unseen demonic forces and there so well written and acted that we the audience deeply care about what will happen to them. I`ll keep this brief as already so many things have been written about this movie and is already a classic in the genre. 

 A fun spooky thrill ride from start to finish, you`ll be hard pressed to find a better film this year!


I remember hearing the news about Elijah Wood, everyone's favorite hobbit tackling the the titular role in Maniac a role that made greasy Joe Spinell a cult film star. I`m sure i`m not the only fan to say this was a odd casting choice.   But once the trailer hit the web I like everyone else was totally blown away but the level of scary Wood had brought and I knew then he was up for the challenge. Let me start by saying while Maniac is a deserved cult classic its not by any means a great film and I was open to the idea of a reboot. The end result is a disturbing and all together different take on Bill Lustings film which regains what worked about the original and fixes what didn't. Sorry but in the original i never bought how a slime ball like Joes character could land a babe like Caroline Munore.

But like real life killer Bundy Wood is charming,good looking and dangerous. French director Franck Khalfoun (High Tension) shows the seductive charm of Frank then slowly peels back the layers to reveal his true ugly and destructive self. Frank`s characters though out the film has these weird ticks and as the film progresses they get work, a very nice touch the filmmaker added. What is kept from the original is the creepy mannequins which this time around serves the story as Woods character Frank restores them for a living,making him not so weird to the audience right away for having them around. Again its a welcomed departure from the 1980 film. 

With a tight screenplay and well paced action and a very talented cast Maniac is one remake not only delivers the goods but in many ways surpasses the original.
There is some great little inside jokes for fans of the 1980 film to enjoy.

Jug Face
A late addition to the end of the year was Jug Face, i film i rented and was totally blown away. See my full review in the Archives. 

Frankensteins Army 
When I was but a wee gore hound I was really into a old school computer game called
Wolfenstein 3D the granddaddy of all first person shooter games (Wayyyy before GOW and Halo) Now let me be totally clear this is not a official adaptation of Wolfenstein the game, however fans of the first person shooter will get why i draw the comparison. I admit I groaned loudly when I saw this film was in the over used documentary style but this format actually works well in the context of the story. 

A young Russian  solider armed with a camera films their team on their mission  during the end of the second World War. They see some strange things in a small village but things go from bad to worse when they stumble into a Nazi madmans lab full of horrible creatures. Frankensteins Army jolts new life into a monster that can easily be silly rather then scary. F.A sets itself apart from the rest by first setting its story during the end of WW2 and giving its point of view from the Russians.  Also the creatures in Dr.Frankensteins lab are very cool with well done makeup effects that reviles any fright film this year. There a cool steampunk monster fusion that is a visual treat for the audience.  The plot is paper thin but the above mentioned more then makes up for this.
Frankensteins Army takes a totally fresh spin on the legendary monster and delivers on great special effects

Curse of Chucky
When it was announced that the next film in the never ending Chucky series would be direct to dvd/blu ray I and im sure most jaded horror fans like myself wrote it off as another quick cash in that is recycled and shoveled out to the masses.(i.e Carrie 013)

But to everyone's surprise its actually DAMN GOOD! Like Freddy, Chucky over time beaome less scary then funny with quippy one liners before he kills his victim. Wisely director Don Mancini
(Childs Play writer/co creator) restores Chucky to his former scary self. Its interesting that Mancini takes a "OLD DARK HOUSE" approach which amps up the feeling of dread beyond just relying on ol Chuck for all the creepy vibes. The writing is very clever and for fans of the series ties everything up nicely. Not only did this surpass everyones expectations but is a real game changer with the way fans look at direct to dvd/blu ray films, it really raises the bar high. 

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