“What You Have Here Is A Paltry Ghost” – Here’s The First Trailer For The New Poltergeist Remake

pg1I’m going to skip the usual “but do we really need it?” commentary on this Poltergeist remake, because the obvious answer is “no”. As far as I’m concerned the original has about as perfect a blend of both creepiness and jump scare as you’re going to find, and though by today’s standards, sure the effects are a bit dated in places, but for the most part, they still work. Nonetheless, I was still willing to go along with it because you never know what someone different might bring to the property, and as I’ve said in other situations, whether or not this version is good or bad, I’ll always have the original.

What really bugs me though is that it seems, at least from this trailer,that the creative team behind this remake have abandoned that balance, going instead for bombast, big effects, and that same damned “something I can’t see is pulling me up the steps” effect that has become de rigueur for horror movies since the first Paranormal Activity used it to shocking effect. (Seriously, in the original it worked quite well, but it’s amazing how quickly it has gone from seeming innovation to overused trope.)

Also, considering that this trailer completely spoils the big reveal from its predecessor, one has to hope that the film makers have something new to bring to the table plot-wise, or this movie really is just going to be a complete disappointment. For the moment I’m still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but this trailer doesn’t help that along at all.

The Best 80s Slasher Movie In Theaters Right Now – You’re Next (2013)

youre-next-smI have to admit I went into You’re Next with pretty low expectations. Some people I know seemed to like it, while others seemed at best disappointed. I’d heard it variously described as “effective”, “a parody”, a “horror comedy”, and “just plain bad”. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Y’see, the key to this movie is there in the headline. This really isn’t your typical modern horror flick. That’s not what it’s trying to be, and if that’s what you go in expecting, yeah, you’re probably going to be disappointed. It’s not another Hostel, it’s not another Paranormal Activity, it’s not even another The Conjuring.

Instead, what it is is something of a throwback. It’s much more akin to, say, the original Friday the 13th or John Carpenter’s Halloween (there are even traces of Carpenter’s distinctive musical style in the soundtrack). Actually, it’s more akin to the flood of movies that followed in the wake of those two horror classics. It’s a good old-fashioned stalk-and-slash type movie where the main questions are who is actually doing the killings, what their motivations are, and how they’re going to take out the next person.

Oh, and, of course, just exactly who is “next”.

Because one of the things that really works in this movie is that it is one where anyone (well, almost anyone) can die at any given time.

youre-next-2So, once I realized that was what I was seeing, and taking it in that context, I found that this movie really worked for me. Part of it, I’m sure is nostalgia. These are exactly the kind of movies that I “misspent” much of my youth watching, either in theaters or during the 80s VHS boom. And You’re Next has all of the right elements to actually have become one of the classics if it had been made during that period. It has just enough plot to be engaging, it has just enough jump scares and shocks to keep the audience on its toes, it has a fair number of twists, most of which work pretty well, it doesn’t take itself too seriously (which I suspect is why some people are writing it off as a parody or satire), and it has a relatively satisfying conclusion. It also has one of the best “survivor girls” to be found, and even gives her a reason (actually two) for being the one who lasts. Heck, we even get an early moment of nubile teenage nudity which, as The Cabin in the Woods pointed out, is something of a pre-requisite for this kind of flick.

youre-next-1Now that’s not to say it’s a perfect movie by any stretch. It certainly has some moments of really bad dialogue. There are a couple of moments that I suspect are more unintentionally funny than they were meant to be. A number of the characters are underdeveloped, and there’s at least one whose death I was actually cheering because the character was so frikkin’ annoying up to that point that I was happy to see them go.

However, as I said, for the most part the movie wound up being a pleasant surprise, and one that I’m actually glad that I went to see. It’s also one of those that I have high hopes will get the audience it deserves and will find its following once it hits home video, because it really is one of those movies that’s going to be perfect for say a “pizza and movie” night with some friends.

Oh, and one other thing… just be careful of women wielding blenders. You’ve been warned.

The Dump Bin: Some Links For Your Sunday Afternoon

Time to close some tabs. Time to point you to some interesting stuff I’ve run across on the interwebs the past week or so. Yep, it’s time for another trip to the Link-Dump bin.

1) Let’s start today with a short film sci-fi film which asks some interesting questions about life, existence, and memory, HENRI. Starring Kier Dukkea and Margot Kidder, here’s the plot description from the website:

Hundreds of years in the future, a derelict spacecraft, controlled and powered by a human brain, floats aimlessly in the outer reaches of space. HENRI, the name of the ship’s power system, is an acronym which stands for Hybrid Electronic / Neuron Responsive Intelligence, and was the first of Earth’s Neuro-Tech space exploration research vessels. Trapped in the cold, mechanical prison of the vessel, the “brain,” which has no recollection or concept of self, gradually begins to experience disjointed images of its former life—images it cannot understand. Carrying the remains of a crew long dead, and becoming increasingly self-aware, HENRI experiences the instinctual desire to be free. Yearning for freedom and yet unable to move, the brain devises a plan to build itself a mechanical body from parts of the ship. Maybe then it will understand the images it is seeing—maybe then it will feel alive.

The trailer for the movie is below, and more info can be found at the website here.

Doin' it Bogie style.
Doin’ it Bogie style.

2) Over at Movie Morlocks, Richard Harlan Smith has a great post outlining things he loves about older movies posted as a series of questions (with accompanying pictures) he says he’d like to ask in response to people who ask him if he’s seen a movie that’s currently in theaters. While I don’t reject newer movies in the way he does, it seems we both share a lot of reasons for wanting to spend more time with movies from the past and the things that make them great.

3) Speaking of new and/or upcoming movies, here’s a look at a very interesting immersive promotional experience for Sam Raimi‘s upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful. Unfortunately, you’ll have to plan a trip to London to see it.

How could you NOT want to head to the drive-in to see this flick?
How could you NOT want to head to the drive-in to see this flick?

4) Bleeding Cool reports that the next Paranormal Activity movie may be taking a page from the William Castle playbook. I have no idea how this would work, but I do miss this kind of showmanship.

5) Noah Smith on his noahpinion blog chimes in on why Django Unchained is actually a white instead of black revenge fantasy. It’s a very interesting take.

6) There is a Bride of Frankenstein Study Guide available for free download or viewing on iTunes.

Dig it!
Dig it!

7) Cult Cinema Sunday shares some great prints that are available for sale, including the terrific one for Evil Dead II you can see at the right.

8) Finally, “demolition by neglect” – that’s a phrase you will hear in this traiker for a new documentary project currently in pre-production from Sterling Rock Productions entitled The Cost of History. Here’s a description from the website for the project:

What if America’s treasured historic buildings were actually costing the community?

Movie Palaces and theaters, Institutions like hospitals, schools, rehabilitation and asylum facilities; shipyards, libraries, colleges, glorious buildings built by legendary architects are falling into disrepair and ruin and while we argue to “save” history, we have to ask ourselves what is it really costing the community?

When these mammoth buildings fall into abandonment we see poverty, crime, and abuse quickly following in their footsteps, and when these buildings are cost prohibitive to tear down, communities must redefine “Preservation of History” in order to kick start a starving economy suffer the consequences.

With expert opinions, heartfelt stories of the building’s history and a little creative thinking, thanks to the beauty of computer graphics, The Cost of History will reveal these buildings present conditions and explore how they can have a second life and drive the local economy forward, or come to terms with their date for demolition.

Here’s the trailer:

Okay, that’s it for the Dump Bin this week, and just a taste of some of the interesting links I’ve been running across. Let me know what you think about them, and share your own interesting finds either in the comments, by email, or on the Durnmoose Movie Musings Facebook page (and hey, while you’re there, why not go ahead and give us a like? It’s one of the easiest ways to keep up with everything Durnmoose).

Thanks as always for reading, and until next time, Happy Viewing!