Tag Archives: Movie Review

Horizon Review: Slither

slither poster

There are zombies everywhere these days. Not quite as many as there were at their peak in the Aughts, when it seemed like you couldn’t turn around without stepping in the latest zombie thriller, but they’re still everywhere you look. There are zombie movies, zombie books, zombie comics, zombie video games (oh, the video games!), and even a zombie TV show on prime time.

And – this pains me to admit, as a horror hound – for the most part, I don’t like ‘em. There are a few exceptions – Return of the Living Dead, both the original and remake of Night of the Living Dead, plus everything even remotely associated with The Evil Dead (though I would classify those more as demons than proper zombies) – but for the most part, zombies aren’t my thing. Part of the reason for this is that, like almost everyone else, I got zombied out back in the Aughts. As Special Effects go, zombies are cheap, and there was a while there when it seemed like everyone and their sister’s dog had talked their friends into putting on gray makeup and going out into the woods with a handycam to record their own steaming heap of brilliant social commentary.

The other part of it is that very social commentary aspect. Zombies are less monsters than they are a natural disaster. If the humans just kept their heads and worked together, they’d have nothing to worry about – but of course, they never do. The real monster in zombie fiction is us. The genre exists to showcase how stupid, cruel, cowardly, petty and bickering humans can be when put under pressure (and never mind how it ignores how brave, generous and ingenious we can also be under such circumstances). It’s a powerful message…once. Watching humans be horrible to each other can get tiresome when what you wanted was a fun creature feature.

What I do like is a story, in any medium, where the zombies are controlled by a greater force, be it a necromancer, a demon, an elder god, or an out-of-control A.I. You find this all over the place in video games, of course – need those end bosses, after all – but it’s surprisingly rare in movies. In fact, except for the Evil Dead series, which has the aforementioned blurring of the lines between demonic possession and proper zombies, the only movie I can think of that has its zombies controlled by a greater force is the 2006 film Slither. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, then, that Slither is one of my favorite zombie movies ever, and one of my favorite horror movies in general.
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Horizon Review: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Abominable-Dr-Phibes Movie Poster

It’s been a few years now since Torture Porn as a genre more or less faded from the scene.  In the end, it only really amounted to the Saw Series, the Hostel series, and a few copycats, not unlike the torrent of imitation J-Horror that flooded the States for a few years after the release of The Ring.

What always struck me as a bit funny about the whole thing was all the fuss.  How many articles did we see about how torture porn was yet another sign of the decay of Western Civilization, the final nadir of horror as it descended into pointless depravity?

The underlying assumption to those articles, of course, was that torture porn is something new.  It’s not.  It’s actually very, very old.  Another name for the genre is Grand Guignol, but of course, it’s much older even than the 19th-century theatre that gave it that name.  Of course, for much of history, people would make entertainment out of actual torture and executions.

Neither is the idea of evildoers being punished in ironic or “appropriate” ways a new one.  The peak of the form is probably Dante’s Inferno (which is masturbatory torture porn, if you consider how many of Dante’s personal enemies are depicted in Hell), but the idea goes back at least to ancient Greece, where Tantalus’s food-based crimes are punished with endless hunger and thirst, and the trickster Sisyphus is the eternal victim of a prank by Zeus.

More recently, you have 1995’s Seven (indeed, I firmly believe that if there had never been a Seven, there would never have been a Saw), and just a little further back, in a time period that the torture porn doomsayers would probably consider to be a more genteel era of horror, you have The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
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Horizon Review: My Bloody Valentine

My bloody valentine poster

I was originally going to post a review of Eddie and The Cruisers this week, but at the last minute, I decided that I should do a review of My Bloody Valentine instead, in honor of the holiday.  I’d seen the remake in the theatres back in 2009 and enjoyed it very much, and I thought I should see the original.

Both decisions were terrible mistakes, and I apologize for them.  Eddie and The Cruisers will be up next week.
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Quick Thoughts on Grabbers

Grabbers-DVDcover

Every country has its own personality, a fact that’s as true for movies as it is for any other aspect of culture.  Japanese movies are different from those made in Hong Kong, which are different from those made in England, which are very different from those made in Hollywood or Bollywood.

All of which is to say that Grabbers could only have been made in Ireland.

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“You can’t kill an entire race!”

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One of the things I found most impressive about the 2011 Thor film was the way it gave actual value to the lives of a Monster Race.
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Horizon Review: Evil Dead 2013

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Went to see the remake of Evil Dead this past weekend.

If you want the thumbnail, here it is: this movie is a worthy successor.  Changes enough so that you don’t say “Why Bother”, keeps the spirit of the original.  Three out of five stars.  Worth the ticket price.  Go ahead and see it, but bear in mind that I thought the prequel of The Thing that came out in 2011 was a perfectly good movie, too.

If you want to know more, keep reading, but the spoilers begin after this point.
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Horizon Review: Streets of Fire

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On my About page, and again in my first post, I mention that one of the things I intend to write about on this site is movies.  It would be strange if I didn’t: I’ve been a movie buff ever since I was a little kid hanging out in the local video store, wishing I could take the entire stock home.  And while there are certainly movies I’m going to pick apart or hold up as examples of what not to do, most of them are going to be movies I love, or that inspire me in some way.

That’s why the very first movie review on Dreams of the Shining Horizon is going to be about Streets of Fire.  It fits into both categories, and I wanted to get the whole endeavor off to a positive start. Continue reading

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