Sunday, December 22, 2013

"Jesus is Coming and He is Pissed!" The Ten Worst Stephen King Adaptations

In the last article we looked at the very best that Stephen King movies (those movies based on the works of Stephen King and not--generally--made by him) have to offer. Today we're looking at the other side of the coin. For every good King movie there are three stinkers and choosing the worst can be just as hard as choosing the best (sometimes it's harder, believe me). But even some of the worst Stephen King movies have a certain charm to them, as you'll see below. After a heavy internal debate, I've decided not to include sequels and prequels of King works that were not based on any actual stories by King, one because I wanted to stick to adaptations, but mostly because I didn't want to fill the list with Children of the Corn sequels.

10. Quicksilver Highway (1997). This is somewhere in the middle of the many, many collaborations between Stephen King and director Mick Garris. Sometimes they're great (Riding the Bullet, as you saw on the last list, was top notch. As is The Stand) sometimes they're really not great (this one, and another movie you'll see a little later on down the list) but usually they fall into that flat dead zone in the middle. Quicksilver Highway has one big thing going for it: Christopher Lloyd. This was the late 1990's when he was just starting to drift out of relevancy and he shows up here as a traveling salesman of sorts, selling terrible anthology tales. The movie claims to be "from the minds of Stephen King and Clive Barker" which sounds like the best movie ever made, but what it really means is that it's a half-handed adaptation and ultra low-budget adaptation of some of their weirdest stories ("Chattery Teeth" by King, and "The Body Politic" by Barker). An anthology of two stories is awkward, and you wind up spending the whole time looking for connections between the stories that just aren't there. Matt Frewer is entertaining as always.

09. Graveyard Shift (1990). This was the first story that Stephen King ever sold. And as a story, it's very entertaining in an EC comics sort of way. A Maine textile mill has a very serious--and deadly--rat infestation. As with so many King stories, it's a different story when committed to film. Graveyard Shift feels so completely like an old-school Charles Band movie that I'm still amazed that it isn't. The rats are weird, skinless muppets (or just rats, scuttling about--but mostly muppets) and the big "Queen Rat" needs to be seen to be believed. It also has the worst Maine accents ever committed to film, which is saying a whole lot. Brad Dourif shines in a minor role.

08. The Lawnmower Man (1992). Of all the probably hundreds of Stephen King adaptations this is the one King sued to have his name removed from. Take that in. Although, to be fair, it's mostly because the film was the result of taking two scenes from King's short story of the same name, and shoehorning them into a pre-existing and completely unrelated screenplay called "Cyber God" and then calling that an adaptation. The result is a very, very awkward movie. The bumbling idiot of the script is now a bumbling lawnmower man so that the title has relevance, while the plot revolves around a virtual reality program that can alter reality in which the idiot is king and can become all powerful. Cyber God, as a title, actually would have made sense, and then maybe this pre-James Bond Pierce Brosnan vehicle would have been somehow relevant. But taking King's name off the movie doesn't solve the issue of chimpanzees in Tron suits. Actually, the movie is a little bit wonderful, but not exactly good.

07. Dreamcatcher (2003). Stephen King has a talent for being able to put the most ridiculous shit (see what I did there?) on the page and writing it in such a way that we not only fully believe it, but it terrifies us. Dreamcatcher was the breaking point. Dreamcatcher is basically a retelling of It at a hunting lodge in northern Maine, adding an autistic boy for flavor, and replacing scary cosmic clown with aliens that come out of your poop. It's not exactly a fair trade. Morgan Freeman spends the movie wishing he was in another movie.

06. Trucks (1997). Here we have a truly special treat. One Stephen King story (and not a bad short story, at that) that actually made the list twice. "Trucks" featured in the Night Shift collection along with a slew of top-notch King stories. Trucks sticks closer to the story than its previous adaptation, Maximum Overdrive, but much like that film, the story is not the problem here. For one, the budget really, really shows. It's low and bad and no matter how many bad movies you take in, you'll feel bad for watching it. Basically, a bunch of people find themselves trapped at a gas station when 18-wheelers become sentient and decide to take over the world. Somehow, this still manages to be the second-worst adaptation of the King story.

05. The Running Man (1987). It kinda hurts. One of King's most poignant, scathingly accurate pieces of sci-fi, predating The Hunger Games in social commentary, with dead-on black humor about the nature of violence and television (it predicted a whole lot)is... turned into a loud, explosive action vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Social commentary? Punching! Hitting things! Explosions, yay! A story about a man forced to compete in mindless violence for people's entertainment is now simply mindless violence for people's entertainment. I guess Arnold gives some of his best inaudible screaming here, but it's kind of painful other than that.

04. The Mangler (1995). Oh, Tobe. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, and how far, and how fast. Tobe Hooper exploded onto the scene with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and made something culturally iconic, and yet his second movie, Eaten Alive, was one of his worst. He's had hits and misses and movies you completely forget, but the misses make up most of it. Yet he can do it. He has it in him to do it. He's the only director to appear on both the list of best and worst Stephen King adaptations here (because he did Salem's Lot, and that was incredible), and I think that sums up his career pretty well. Point is, The Mangler is not one of his finer works. But with an evil, possessed industrial laundry machine it would have been hard for anyone to really make that work on the screen, but at least he does it in true Hooper style. When the machine starts moving around to stalk its prey, the movie really becomes a treat. Robert Englund appears under a ton of old age makeup and some random bionic legs and totally hams it up, being apparently the only person to understand what kind of movie he's in.

03. The Tommyknockers (1993). There have been a lot of Stephen King miniseries to make it to television, and many of them have had high ambition but have not quite had the budget to make the story work on film. This is one of those true rare miniseries treats to apparently have neither ambition nor budget. To say it's the worst King miniseries is nothing short of a milestone. Granted, the book is oft-malingned as King's worst, but I enjoyed it. Clearly more than the filmmakers did. Most of the plot lines from the book are completely removed, characters who appear in one or two scenes (mind you in a big book centering on a whole town) are fleshed out into primary antagonists. Seemingly made with the thought "Traci Lords seducing men with alien lipstick is clearly more important than whatever the book was about, I don't know, I didn't read it." In their half-assery they could have at least changed the ending to something more film-able. One hilarious note about the book: King wrote this tale of a struggling alcoholic at the height of his own alcoholism without ever realizing he had written it about himself until much, much later.

02. Sleepwalkers (1992). Remember up there when I talked about the frequent collaborations between Stephen King and Mick Garris? Well, with this as a starting point it's amazing they ever put together anything worthwhile at all. Sleepwalkers was directed by Garris with an original screenplay from King himself, which just completely boggles my mind. I cannot believe Stephen King wrote this movie, like, I have actual denial about it. Because there is nothing about it that works. Anyway, the story is about a couple of cat people who suck the souls out of teenagers. The cat-people are a mother and son who are 100% no questions asked romantically involved, and in a very physical son. Also, last name Bates, hardy-har-har. The movie also suggests that these soul-sucking people who both turn into cats and can only be killed by them (I know) is the origin of vampire legends, which is a little like finding out Santa Claus actually is real, but he kills cats because he's allergic and bangs his own mom.

01. Maximum Overdrive (1986.) "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." This is what a terrifying, coked out Stephen King says in the trailer for this movie. Yeah, side note, in addition to taking this list, it's probably the worst horror trailer of all time. Stephen King does not just narrate the trailer, he tells you everything looking right at you with those weird coke eyes and staring into your soul. Stephen King probably doesn't want to remember himself in the 80's, but man he went out of his way to make sure no one ever forgot. Anyway, this is the first adaptation of "Trucks" only it's about all machinery deciding to rise up against man at the same time (there's an unfortunate vending machine incident, in a movie that is a series of unfortunate incidents) Emilio Esteves tries to take the spotlight as leading man, but the real leading man is a big angry 18-wheeler that wears the Green Goblin's face like it just massacred a toy store. If I haven't said it already, Stephen King wrote and directed this film himself. Hell of a way to find out you're just not a director, and he has wisely directed nothing since.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Fun is Fun, And Done is Done:" Top Thirteen Stephen King Adaptations

Stephen King, master of the modern horror story, and still reigning er, king of cinematic horror. His works don't always translate to the screen with the same power they had on the page, but when they do, they do. And that's what we're looking at today. For the purposes of the blog, we're only going with the horror movies derived from King's works. Stand by Me and The Shawshank Redemption are both incredible and have enough things said about them. From small town terrors from vampires to clowns, to isolated psychological terrors to psychic predictions you really don't want to be right. King's work covers every kind of horror there is, things in the darkness of the night and the darkness of the soul. Horrors from without and within. And when everything comes together on the screen (which as you can see from the wealth of adaptations, is not the norm, but I digress) it, well, shines.

13. It (1990). What's there to say about It? It's classic. Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is a thing of legend. In truth, everything I could say about It at this point probably wouldn't be doing it any favors. Because when people talk about the great qualities of It (and rest assured, they are there) they are generally only talking about the first part of this two-part miniseries. The story centers on childhood nostalgia and confronting the (in this case literal) demons of the past. All of the flashbacks find themselves part of the first part of the miniseries, almost a self-contained story. As a result, the second part falls flat. But God, that first part. Pennywise makes himself known in memorable ways to each of the children and the young cast outshines their older counterparts.

12. Creepshow 2 (1987). One of the standards one can't help judge a Stephen King movie by is: how Maine does it look? Sometimes they fall very flat. Creepshow 2 gets major points for shooting in actual Maine. The opening puts us off to a wonderful start with the second chapter of the EC comics styled anthology, with Tom Savini giving a splendidly over-the-top performance as The Creep. He spins us three yarns: Old Chief Wood'n Head follows a vengeful wooden Indian who seeks to avenge the deaths of the shop owners who took care of him and return Indian treasure to its people. The second story, The Raft, is what most people seem to remember about this movie. It's based on the story of the same name from King's collection "Skeleton Crew." A bunch of horny teenagers swim out to a raft in the middle of the lake where they are picked off by a ravenous, mysterious oil slick and it's just as wonderful as it sounds. The third and final story "The Hitch-Hiker" was originally intended to be included in the first Creepshow, but time and budget saw it cut out and replaced by the "They're Creeping Up on You" segment that we'll get to later. Creepshow 2 is one of the last great 80's anthology movies, but it was not a bad note to go out on.

11. Silver Bullet (1985). Werewolf movies often seem harder to come by than great vampire or ghost movies. But the 80's, whether they're good or bad, they're entertaining. Luckily, Silver Bullet leans heavier on the good side. With a script by King himself and performances from Corey Haim and Gary Busey in their absolute prime. handicapped Marty, his sister, and his Uncle Red seek to put a stop to the werewolf plaguing their small town. The werewolf effects weren't exactly up to the quality of other films of the era, like The Howling or An American Werewolf in London. But still, better effects than the Howling sequels. So there's that.

10. Riding the Bullet (2004). Not, in fact, a sequel to Silver Bullet (although I would like one of those, movie Devil.) This is the best of Mick Garris's (thousands of) Stephen King adaptations. A young man has to confront death, the nature of it, and learn a thing or two about glorifying it as he has a hitch-hike that turns out to be very literally life and death while going to see his mother in the hospital after a potentially fatal stroke.

09. The Mist (2007). Frank Darabont shined with his versions of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Here, he decided to try his hand at adapting some of Stephen King's actual horror stories. This is a very Lovecraftian story about people trapped in a supermarket, surrounded by very thick mist and the creatures inside of it, trying desperately to get inside. The controversy surrounding the ending of the movie has caught a lot of people to keep this off their lists, but it's a hell of a ballsy ending and King himself has said he thinks it's better.

08. Christine (1982). First of all, John Carpenter. Secondly, this is a great allegorical, unsettling love story about a boy and his first car. Nothing ever comes between Arnie and Christine. Not bullies, not his best friend, not his actual girlfriend. Arnie has power, has something of his own for the first time in his life, and he will let everyone die before he lets that power go. The car is a major character, somehow believably terrifying. Christine remains a great film in Carpenter's career, and an underrated classic.

07. The Shining (1980). What? The Shining isn't number one? Don't get me wrong. The Shining is a powerful, incredibly unsettling and atmospheric horror film but as a King adaptation it sort of falls flat. What started out as a creeping haunted house story about a man's trouble with his own past and his own doom built on false promises and succumbing to evil, becomes a story about a very unstable man in a delirious, shattered narration of a trapped mother and son trapped with a father who cannot be held on a leash much longer. Still powerful, still has great performances, and it still has fantastic imagery. But when a thousand people give you a thousand different meanings, then that means the meaning was lost in translation.

06. Pet Sematary (1989). Once again, major points for filming in Maine. And, major points for a horror movie directed by a woman (even rarer then than now). Also, a script by King. It would have been hard to mess this movie up, so luckily they didn't. It doesn't live up to the novel (does it ever?) But it's one of the most terrifying adaptations, for sure. A haunting rendition of "The Monkey's Paw" and what happens when you repress or refuse to accept death and its place in the world. As Jud Crandall so eloquently put it: "Sometimes dead is better."

05. 'Salem's Lot (1979). Tobe Hooper barely held onto his career after his debut masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But every hit he had after that was worth it, and Salem's Lot shines the brightest. Still the most powerful miniseries adaptation. One of the best of King's novels is adapted into a story of small town secrets boiling to the surface, through vampires. Mr. Barlow, the Dracula figure of King's novel, is reimagined as a silent, stalking Nosferatu-type figure. The vampire effects, cheap as they were, still scare the living hell out of me.

04. Creepshow (1982). Creepshow, is simply put, a masterpiece. This is the only film on the list actually starring Stephen King himself, and good lord does he shine. The tagline is "The Most Fun You'll Ever Have Being Scared" and it is 100% right. With a script from King and the directing talents of George Romero, plus Tom Savini handling make-up effects. Each segment is delightful. We've got a mogul returning from the grave for his long overdue Father's Day cake, Stephen King as a lovable hick covered in alien moss, Leslie Nielsen burying Ted Danson in the sand and leaving him to drown followed briskly by Danson's revenge, a monster in a crate who's been stewing hungrily for a very long time, and a germ-obsessed business tycoon with a major bug problem.

03. The Dead Zone (1983). David Cronenberg's most accessible movie does not sacrifice anything visually. It's still a powerful, character-driven film and Christopher Walken gives the performance of his career. A man wakes up from a coma five years after an accident, and he wakes up with some extra talents. He can see what's going to happen to people. Either right away, or a little way down the line. He tries to be reclusive, but he can't stop helping people, and he learns to live with it. But when he shakes the hand of a man running for president, he sees the potential end of the world. A nuclear holocaust and a man crazy enough to bring it about. So the question he must ask himself: if you knew Hitler, and you knew what he was going to become, would you kill him?

02. Misery (1990). First of all, Kathy Bates. She gives an all-time great performance for which she received a well-deserved Academy Award as a reclusive woman who pulls her favorite writer out of a car crash and keeps him bed-ridden so that he can write a new book, just for her. Here, we see some of the author's fears come to light: the number one fan. And she, like the movie, is completely unforgettable.

01. Carrie (1976). The first is the best, but there's been plenty of great ones along the way. This is the perfect marriage of a great King story and stylish, quality film. Brian de Palma shows his skills as one of the all-time greats, and Sissy Spaceck and Piper Laurie give unforgettable performances as telekinetic, lonely, friendless Carrie White and her deranged fundamentalist mother, the true monster of the piece. The film unravels along with Carrie's psyche right up until the prom, when enough is finally enough and we are treated to one of the most lavish, colorful and iconic massacres in horror movie history.

So there you have it. That's my take on the best horror films from the minds who adapted the mind of Stephen King. Stay tuned for my list of worst Stephen King adaptations coming soon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Evil Comes in All Sizes: Ranking the Puppet Master Series

So, I recently delved into a massive, masochistic undertaking. I sat down and watched all the way through the Puppet Master franchise. For those of you who don't know, Puppet Master was a 1989 movie from legendary B-Movie producer Charles Band--the man responsible for such movies as Re-Animator, Ghoulies, From Beyond, Laserblast, Trancers, Subspecies, Demonic Toys and a whole slew of others. It was the first film from Full Moon Entertainment after the bankruptcy of Band's Empire Pictures. Puppet Master was one of the most successful home-video releases of all time upon its initial release and has launched a legacy of straight-to-video horror fare and merchandising, not to mention becoming the most successful straight-to-video series of all time.

The problem? I just oversold it way too much. Because what started as a great B-Movie series about wacky killer marionette puppets has gone through massive budget cuts (for, again, a series that started out straight-to-video) and two bankruptcies (Full Moon Pictures into Shadow Entertainment into Wizard Video into Full Moon Features) and so, ten films later things are not exactly where they started. But nonetheless, Full Moon claim they're on top with yet another new Puppet Master film on the way in addition to a TV series coming to their recently launched streaming network in 2014. It's a long journey with continuity errors that would make the Friday the 13th franchise jealous and story lines ranging from unique to insane to vaguely racist, so without further ado, let's begin the countdown.

11. Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003). What's the worst thing about any TV series? That moment when they first run out of ideas and hit the inevitable clip show episode. It's one trope that obviously couldn't really translate to film, right? Well, nobody told Charlie Band. This movie marks the only one to be made during the company bankruptcy and maybe the only film of all time co-produced by Blockbuster. Puppet Master: The Legacy starts as a noble effort to bridge together to the (many) continuity errors of the series, explaining what happened to most of the characters who never appeared again and trying (and failing) to make sense of the convoluted timeline. The problem is that it goes through all this in about 15-20 minutes of new footage shot with two actors over two days, while the rest is filled in with "flashbacks" to recap the entire series so far. Oops.

10. Retro Puppet Master (1999). Another entry that started with very noble intentions, the best thing I can say about this movie is that at least it doesn't use any stock footage. This one's a prequel set in 1902 starring a bunch of people who were maybe thinking about attending acting school some day. Let's not kid ourselves, the stars of these movies are the puppets, their great designs and wonderful effects. Neither of those things are present here. Instead, Retro Puppet Master focuses on a youthful Andre Toulon (the titular puppet master of the series) and his very first batch of living puppets, which are based on the unused concept art for the original movie, no joke. And they look it. This also marks the first PG-13 puppet master film, so we can't even look forward to some interesting kills. Instead, the pseudo-puppets face off against a gang of demonic blues brothers while Toulon sometimes remembers to do a French accent.

9. Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (2004). Growing up as a Full Moon fan (back when they were a popular b-movie company, and had fans) this felt like one of the most hyped up movies I could ever remember. It was probably one of the movies I spent my youth most looking forward to, alongside Freddy vs. Jason. It was first announced way back in the early 90's and was going to be the second Demonic Toys film and the fourth Puppet Master film, but they couldn't pull it together at that time, or multiple times over the next twelve years. It was finally scheduled for release in 2000, with an accompanying action figure series and a plot that would have seen Traci Lords buying the puppets on eBay. But once again, this brings us back around to the bankruptcy. Around 2000, Full Moon went under, completely. Charles Band, who knew fans were looking forward to the film, also knew he didn't have anything near the money to make it, so he sold the rights to.... the SyFy (SciFi) Channel. What we have now is a 'movie' starring Corey Feldman and Vanessa Angel as rival toy manufacturers, one who owns the puppets, one who owns the Demonic Toys. The film borrows most of its plot from Halloween III as the toy lady wants to use a commercial to take over the world with Demonic Toys on Christmas morning. The showdown of the title takes under four minutes.

8. Curse of the Puppet Master (1998). The was the first major dip in quality for the Puppet Master series after Full Moon split from distributor Paramount Pictures in 1994. After Puppet Master 5 claimed to be the final chapter, this was deemed worthy to reinvigorate the franchise. This one centers on an old man who runs a doll museum and recruits a brainless gas station attendant to build him a new puppet (but what a twist, he actually plans to turn him into a puppet). This entry is actually nearly a shot-for-shot remake of, of all things, another B-movie titled Ssssss! Anyway, by this point Full Moon was so out of money that the puppets just sit there the whole time and when they do move 90% of their action is stock footage taken from the other movies.

7. Puppet Master: Axis Rising (2012). The most recent movie, made after Full Moon's declarative comeback continues to be a step in the right direction but with still too little budget to make much of any kind of impact. It's got a little more puppet action and tries to have a bit more story than the average fare (especially with what Full Moon's making these days) and it relishes in being campy as fuck. After all, this is the first Puppet Master movie actually directed by Charles Band (who won't admit he directed "The Legacy" under a pseudonym). Released under the title Puppet Master X, because Band refuses to acknowledge Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys as a film and insists this is the tenth in the series.

6. Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010). This was Full Moon's comeback tour. The first film since '04 and the first from Full Moon since '03. For the first time since 1993, the puppets have the ability to do their respective things, head drilling, head spinning, vomiting leeches, etc. without resorting to stock footage. It even tries to have a plot line, picking up from the flashback prologue of the original film and continuing the story from there. But the acting is not up to the ambition of the script, especially the racist, overdubbed Dragon Lady.

5. Puppet Master 4 (1992). We did it, guys. We made it to the watchable movies. We've made it through the Z-movies and into the B-movies. Puppet Master 4 and 5 were shot at the same time, initially intended to be one big theatrical movie titled, of all things, Puppet Master: The Movie. I don't know either. Here, we've got most of the puppets in action and the great stop-motion effects in their heyday. The plot shifts from earlier entries to a crazy story about a genius robotics nerd working to crack the key to artificial intelligence who uncovers Toulon's living puppets. But, it turns out the magic that makes the puppets live was stolen from an ancient demon who is willing to kill to get it back. The puppets find themselves the good guys, protecting the nerd and his friends from puppet-sized demon minions called Totems. It's a lot of fun from a time when Full Moon had the budget to at least half-match their ambitions.

4. Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1993). And it should have been. The last absolute blast of a Puppet Master movie is the second half of the story started with 4. The plot is mostly the same, demon sends a super Totem in his own image a couple days later to finish off the nerd and his girlfriend while a sleazy scientist wants to figure out a way to benefit from the puppets, somehow. It takes about 40 minutes to get going, but the effects are great and the showdown between the puppets and the Totem pulls out all the stops and would have been a perfectly high note to end the series on. But alas. Worth noting that the film lost one day of production because the entire crew walked off the set when their checks collectively bounced.

3. Puppet Master II (1990). This is probably the most accessible Puppet Master film for new people looking to step into the series. As a slasher, a killer toy movie, and a campy B-movie good to watch with a group, this one works the best. In other words, Puppet Master II works the best as a horror movie. The plot is very simple. The puppets have used the fluid that keeps them going to animate their creator, Andre Toulon. But now they have precious fluid left. But! A group of paranormal investigators have just taken up residence in the hotel that the puppets and their pruny master call home. Steve Wells gives a great, if awkwardly German, performance as an undead Toulon under a lot of invisible man bandages. The kills are great and one of the best puppets, Torch, sees his introduction in this movie.

2. Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991). This film almost feels like an honest to god motion picture. The plot, story, and occasionally the acting are better than a straight-to-video sequel about killer puppets has any right to be. Toulon's Revenge is a prequel set during WWII that sees Toulon as a kindly old puppeteer who just wants to entertain the children. His show, however, pokes fun at Hitler and so his company is shut down and his wife is shot. The Nazis also uncover the secret that his puppets are in fact alive and they want to find out how. Badly. This film adds weight to the series by centering the emotion, depicting Andre Toulon as a tragic antihero and lets us in on the secret that the puppets all used to be human. Shot down by the Nazis, all of them just wanted the chance to keep on fighting, and so their souls were transferred into wooden bodies. We get to see the origins of classic puppet Leech Woman (Toulon's murdered wife brought back for a special kind of revenge) and the bread-and-butter of the franchise, Blade (Nazi doctor who died trying to make amends and do the right thing, taking a bullet so Toulon could escape). Six-Shooter, a fan-favorite puppet, makes his first appearance here. He was initially designed as a ninja/mercenary type, but changed to a cowboy to visually represent Hitler's opposition.

1. Puppet Master (1989). This one is about on equal quality with the previous two, it's admittedly nostalgia that makes it take the top prize. This one will always hold a special place in my heart. It takes a little time to get going, but this is a fun and quirky little slasher about a group of psychics who are called to a hotel by an estranged colleague, only to get there and discover that their one-time friend is dead. Mix into the plot an old puppeteer named Andre Toulon who killed himself in the hotel in the 30's, and you have a steadily building thriller... about a bunch of killer dolls. The puppet effects are the stars of the film, and the puppets are indeed stars right from their first appearance. Blade, Tunneler, Pinhead, Jester and Leech Woman all get to show off their talents in unique and imaginative ways. The film that launched an ill-fated franchise, nearly a dozen sequels, but when you sit down and watch it as a casual B-moviegoer, you can kind of see why.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

"They're All Going to Laugh At You": Why the Carrie Remake is Destined to Fail (For All the Wrong Reasons)

So, I was browsing my facebook as I do and after about a hundred memes featuring broken, abused teens and the million upvoted comments of them to "get the fuck over it" or "get a life" or, most commonly, "go crawl in a hole and die," I happened to see an ad for the Carrie remake due this October. And then a few things started to click for me.

For the uninitiated, Carrie was a film by Brian de Palma based on the debut novel of Stephen King. It centered around a bullied, abused, meek teenage girl named Carrie who began to develop telekinetic powers which manifested more and more as the movie developed and the bullying got worse and worse, hitting their peak after an awful prank at the senior prom. In the end, Carrie loses her grip, loses herself to her own power, and the repressed young girl becomes completely unhinged--and her entire town pays for it.

I began to realize immediately why this just won't work anymore, and it has little to nothing to do with how Carrie turns out as a film. It won't matter because when De Palma made Carrie, when Stephen King published the novel, the title character was an outcast that any teenager could identify with. They immediately latched onto and understood her struggle, even the unpopular ones. Many teens wrote to King having been bullies themselves, who saw the other perspective and realized the harm they were inflicting on people. One would think, one would hope, that these themes would be universal.

I mean, do kids still have these problems? Absolutely. But: will kids admit to them? Not in a million years.

One look at facebook and something has clearly changed, at least in the teenage market that a movie like Carrie would have to try and capture first. And that is that nobody identifies with the bullied girl anymore. There has been such a resurgance in bullying and teen suicide that nobody has any idea what the hell to do about it (so they settle for the fan favorite "do nothing at all"). We may post about it, we may "share" an occasional cause, but the truth is that as a culture we've pretty much begun to embrace bullying. It's a big problem, I even wrote a whole book about it, but now is neither the time nor place to plug.

No, what remains is the problem, and the root of the problem is this: when the 70's version of Carrie came out, everyone watching the film could identify with that girl's struggles, and everyone could feel her pain. In even such a stylized, gory film, there was an overabundance of empathy. Everyone watching latched on to Carrie White and hoped against hope that she would be able to turn things around for herself. And now, when kids go to see the remake they will be identifying with everyone AROUND Carrie. Chris Hargensen, Billy Nolan and their posse are the identification point of the modern teenage audience and it is a cold, hard truth.

I'd like to think not, but this a time when two to three hundred kids will all tell gang up on one classmate via facebook to tell them to kill themselves, just to see if they can pull it off. Hell, look around you. Look at how many human rights are being questioned every day now, it's not just teenagers, bullying is becoming a natural go-to state.

So the truth remains that when kids crowd into the theaters (if they're even interested enough in the movie at all) to see the new version of Carrie, no longer will they be thinking "why doesn't she do something about this?" but: "why don't they just kill the bitch?" It's blunt and uncomfortable to think about, but it is the truth. I can promise you that it is.

I guess all I can do is hope the movie is good and ask people to judge it on its own merit, who knows, maybe it won't even be good. At this point, that might be the most merciful death it could hope for. Because the kids watching, they're all going to laugh at it.

Since Carrie came out, that last shock--that ending sting that invented the jump scare--has cemented a legacy spanning over thirty years. With so many reprintings of the novel, a "sequel" to the movie and a TV miniseries, it is still the image of blood-soaked Carrie from De Palma's film that stands out in the collective mind. And part of that was due to that last jolt, talked about for so many years, the possibility that Carrie could jump up, and get you at any moment. Now, it is the actual ending of the film that holds the most truth: the last moments in which Sue Snell wakes up and realizes that Carrie's hand, reaching out of her own grave to grab at her, was only a dream. And that Carrie White is dead and gone.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day of the Woman: Defending 'I Spit On Your Grave' as Feminist Horror

So, we're going to be doing something a little different with the blog today, but it's something I'd like to do more of in the future. Basically, this is going to be somewhere between a rant and an essay, and I'll be getting into actual analysis of a particular film. In this case, Meir Zachi's 1978 film, 'I Spit On Your Grave.'

As someone who does nothing but sit around and talk (often thoughtfully, I hope, though it does depend on the movie) about horror movies, I was recently drawn back into the seemingly endless debate about whether "I Spit On Your Grave" has any merit. With a sequel (an ambiguous sequel unrelated to either the original film or the 2010 remake) finally on the way, I have to wonder why it is that this film is suddenly being revisited. And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. But we'll get to that.

When "I Spit On Your Grave" was released in 1978, it was not only panned by critics, but called vile, repulsive and harmful. The critics at this time responded the same to every slasher film. The argument was different here, though. Slasher films were entertainment, they wanted to keep you on the edge of your seat, they were violent, but the violence was exciting, and passing. It never lingered. Basically, they wanted you to have fun.

This movie did not. And for that, it is a mistake to call it harmful. The only thing is, now critics have forgotten all of those slasher movies, and the fans have always ignored the reviews that did call them repulsive, but even a good many lovers of the horror film, well, this is one movie they've sided with the critics with. That or you get, "yes, it's sick and hateful, but I like, sick and hateful movies." And the thing that drove me off the deep end regarding this movie was something I read last night, from one of the most well-thought-out books on exploitation films out there.

Basically, they stated that even though it became a cult film and has its fans, there is no one who could argue "I Spit On Your Grave" as anything remotely feminist.

Well, hello, there. Here I am. And for better or worse, that's just what I plan to do.

For those of you who don't know, the movie follows a young woman, a writer, who moves into a small house in the country to work on her book. She immediately attracts the attention of the local men. They play nice, they watch her, and then they break in, rape her, and leave her for dead in the woods. But she doesn't die. She crawls home. She stares at the wall for about a day and a half. And then with quiet, casual reserve she exacts her revenge on every single one of them. It's not pleasant to watch, even if there is some cosmic, primal satisfaction in watching a woman castrate the man who raped her.

My first point is, if we're not supposed to take violence in film literally (and believe me, we're not) "I Spit On Your Grave" should not be the one exception. Literally, this is not a way that any problem should be solved, but in a primal form of expression, yes it damn well should. The violence in this film represents one thing: power. When the men are violent to her, they are brutal, and the camera soaks it all in. This is harsh, and perhaps too long, but almost necessary for her to do what she has to do afterward. When she kills them, the murders are increasingly violent, but only because she has taken that power from them and is now spitting it back out. By knife, by rope, by ax. One by one.

Should a woman kill her rapist? Not at all. Duh. But there has to be a satisfaction in seeing that trade off of power. Ideally, it needs to happen. In a better world, the tradeoff of power is there. A woman will identify her rapist, take him to court, and he will go to prison. That is a restoration of power. It is not the world we live in today. That is why I think "I Spit On Your Grave" is not only feminist horror, but necessary feminist horror, and why I don't find it remotely surprising to see a sudden remake and sequel come about in the last couple years.

The words "rape culture" are something you hear tossed around a lot. And the more I think about it, the more it's kind of true. We're in a world right now when news coverage of a rape in which the men were charged and convicted will still talk about what a shame their being caught for rape will do to their athletic careers. If this is rape culture, I Spit On Your Grave is counter-culture.

Watching the film again, as every rapist pleads for their life, you could take every word they say and it sounds exactly like something that's come out of FOX news in the last week. One claims she "deserved it because of what she was wearing" another tells her that "you can't blame me, a man's just a man" all excuses that are not only made frequently by alleged rapists, but by the media reporting on them. So when the main argument against I Spit On Your Grave as feminism pipes up: "if the movie is feminist, why is the rape shown in detail? Why doesn't the camera turn away?" Then I still have an answer, even though I don't like it.

The world we live in is both violent and not entirely un-chauvanistic. As sick as it sounds, showing what happens to the lead character in detail is probably the only way to ensure the entire audience is on her side. Because while the rapists still claim she deserves it for what she was wearing, nobody in the audience sounds an agreement. Because they saw it. They were right there in the dirt with her. They saw the whole thing from the woman's perspective, and that is precisely what all of these stories reporting on rape seem so frighteningly anxious to avoid. They don't want to think about it. This film makes you think about it. Tough love, yes, but I think we're all better off for it.

This is why I feel the film is both important as a horror film and a work of feminism. Why I think it is the perfect movie to revisit now. Is it an exploitation film? Of course. Was it intended to be as deeply read as I just went through? I kind of doubt it. But the film stands on its own regardless. It is a violent, cold statement against a subject that will never be anything but violent and cold. It is a film about power, and about putting it in the woman's hands and shutting up about it. We shouldn't have to go through a violent statement like this just to see the subject of rape from the victim's perspective. That should be obvious. But until 100%, as a country, we don't have to, then at least we do have violent statements like this. A powerful film that will show you everything you need to see, if you can stomach a look.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

25 Greatest Horror Movies of the Decade (So Far) - Part Two

And so the list continues...

10. Beyond the Black Rainbow (2012). Why aren't more people seeing this movie? It's on Netflix. That's the only requirement people have to watch movies, right? Anyway, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a psychadelic, retro acid trip of a subversive horror film. It's what you'd get if Stanley Kubrick and Dario Argento were still making movies. It's a very psychological, non-linear horror that is pretty rare for today. And the score is motherfucking phenomenal.

09. Stake Land (2011). I've got a full review somewhere on the blog, but Stake Land is a great, well-acted post-apocalyptic thriller that injects a breath of fresh air into the vampire genre. In addition to making the monsters monstrous once again, there's an underlying theme of the definition (or re-definition) of family after the world has ended.

08. Attack the Block (2011). What is Joe Cornish doing right now? Because the answer should be everything. The brilliance of this movie (produced by God among Brit directors, Edgar Wright) cannot be understated. So there are these British thugs, and we see them rob a woman in the first scene so that we know they're thugs and it's not just the way they dress. But then, BAM, aliens. Aliens all over the damn place, and now the thugs have to defend their neighborhood, people who don't trust them and people they don't particularly trust. And the fuzzy blacklight aliens look awesome.

07. John Dies at the End (2012). Don Coscarelli only seems to direct a movie about once every ten years but when he does, it's truly something to behold. His last movie before John Dies was, for the record, Bubba Ho-Tep, a winner in every sense of the word. In this case, a lot of credit also goes to David Wong's brilliant novel on which this is based. As a film, it is unlike anything you will probably experience this decade. Basically, there's this drug called soy-sauce that is no simple hallucinogen. It doesn't alter your perception of reality, it alters reality itself. The movie is side-splittingly funny, the characters are believable despite themselves, and it raises some actually thought-provoking questions between dick jokes.

06. I Saw the Devil (2011). Hard-hitting, insane Korean film and that should be enough for you to see it. It's insanely violent, for the record, and there's an action element too that is actually pretty easy to go along with. It makes you enjoy watching a film you really don't want to enjoy watching. It's a pretty unique experience as only Korea can offer and the cinematography provided herein is absolute perfection.

05. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2011). Of all the movies on this list, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil might be the most absolute fun. Like the best horror comedies, this is great fun and brilliant satire at the same time. Tucker and Dale are two good ol' boys on their way up to the family cabin, and through a wacky series of misunderstandings, teenagers end up suffering horrific deaths and the backwoods rednecks have a doosy of a day dodging the psychotic preppy college student who blames them for the deaths of his friends (but is actually just SO horny to kill something.)

04. A Horrible Way to Die (2011). Talked about Adam Wingard a little bit down the list as he worked on V/H/S, but that didn't showcase his incredible talent as a director nearly as much as this movie, which is haunting. A woman is trying to move on and pull her life together after the discovery that her boyfriend was a serial killer and the subsequent arrest left her a broken, sheltered alcoholic. As she puts the pieces together one by one, she meets someone in AA who gives her something she hasn't felt in a long time: hope. But the old boyfriend has just broken out of prison, and there's only one place he wants to be.

03. Let Me In (2010). Well, look at this. A list of 25 movies over the past three years, and only one remake. But a fantastic remake it is. This American adaptation of Let the Right One In followed closely on the other's heels, but it stands on its own and the two films compliment each other nicely. The American version can't play up the gender questions as well as the Swedish version, but it does focus a little more on the relationship between two children, one who is a monster and one who has great potential to become a monster, and never makes excuses for the actions of its young protagonists, or villifies them. The film constantly walks a line and the two young stars, Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee deliver more genuine, heartfelt and adult performances than most actors out there right now.

02. The Woman (2011). The Woman is the collaborative effort of writer Jack Ketchum (The Girl Next Door, The Lost) and director Lucky McKee (May). It therefore should be expected that the resulting film would be both extremely impactful and extremely, extremely disturbing. And yet no one was expecting this. The Woman plays on the traditional American family, the structure of such, and the very ideas of nature/nuture, male power, and violence in general. The woman is the last survivor of a cannibalistic clan of savages living in secret in the Maine wilderness. She is discovered by a man while out hunting, a man who is well-respected and adored in his community, who then takes her home to chain in his basement in attempt to "civilize" her, despite her never having so much as set foot in a house in her life. While the woman is a cannibal, the clean-cut American family becomes the monster as father and son bond over raping and torturing her, and the poor mother keeps quiet over the whole thing, while the daughter--who hides a secret of her own--hopes to somehow save this situation, but fears for her life in doing so.

01. The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Joss Whedon and longtime writing partner Drew Goddard (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cloverfield) team-up to write a deconstruction of the horror genre told through a horror movie that is, in a way, every horror movie all at once, and what a surprise, the results are something insanely genius that will be written about for a long time to come. The Cabin in the Woods is not merely a game changer, it has cleared the table and laid down a whole new game. It's hard to reveal absolutely anything about the film because to reveal anything is to begin to reveal everything. Within the (hilarious) text of the movie, there is biting social commentary, societal commentary, commentary on the people who make the movies as well as the people who watch them. Whether you've seen a single horror movie or a thousand, you will be able to see the brilliance in the entirely new form of genre-filmmaking that is presented herein. If you stayed away from the film because of it's title, in that it sounds like every horror movie ever, that's exactly why you need to see it. It isn't. And it isn't because it kind of is.

Monday, May 6, 2013

25 Greatest Horror Movies of the Decade (So Far) - Part One

Well, we're coming fresh off of the Cadaver Awards, so my mind's still on the new shit and proving that there's a lot of good stuff out there right now that everybody should be checking out. Once I get this out of my system, we'll move on back to the old shit. For now, we're moving up on half-way through 2013, barely into the new decade. But it is a decade, nonetheless, of even more people complaining about a lack of decent horror than we had on the last go-round. So, for the hopeful resurrection of your viewing pleasure, here are the movies you clearly aren't watching, but you really should.

25. The Ward (2010). John Carpenter returned to feature filmmaking after a 10 year hiatus with this film, and while it doesn't live up to his glory days (can anything ever?) it was pretty worth the wait. Films like Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, and The Fog, proved that while Carpenter would be known for the more "man's man" characters like Snake Plissken, there were no shortage of strong women in his best work, so it was really interesting to see Carpenter at work with an all-female cast in this story about a young woman moving into a mental health facility with a dark past (sounds cliche, maybe is, but I'm also trying not to give away the twist.) I only wish he'd scored the film as well.

24. The Hole (2012). Shot in 2009 but released in 2012, this film--like The Ward--marks the long-awaited return of another celebrated horror director. In this case it's Joe Dante (of Piranha, Howling, Gremlins and Twilight Zone: The Movie fame) who takes what looks to be a standard "new family moving into a haunted house" story and has great delight turning the whole thing on it's head. There are some definite scares here, although the movie is pretty tame, proving once again that nobody can pull off family-friendly horror like Joe Dante. Probably nobody should even try.

23. The Tall Man (2012). This is the American debut of French filmmaker Pascal Laughier who directed the absolutely brilliant and absolutely intense film, Martyrs. The Tall Man tells the story of a small rural town plagued by disappearances. While not as violent as Martyrs (because nothing really can be...) Laughier brings the same fevered intensity to this. Jessica Biel may feel miscast, but young Jodelle Ferland's importance really carries the acting of the whole picture. Another atmospheric and hard-hitting piece dampened only by an unnecessary and painfully obvious twist.

22. The Innkeepers (2012). Ti West is a director to watch. The House of the Devil was one of the absolutely best films of the previous decade and this one holds up as well. Filmed in on location in VT in a hotel who's creepiness I can personally attest to, The Innkeepers follows two young caretakers in a mostly empty hotel who double as paranormal investigators at night. Sara Paxton carries the film more than most leading ladies in horror these days and is an absolute delight to watch. The film packs on the scares but maintains a witty, at times almost Whedon-ish sense of humor that was fairly absent in House of the Devil. West is proving to be a versatile director, even within the genre, and I'm definitely looking forward to what he comes up with next.

21. Wake Wood (2011). This Irish horror film is another home-run for recently resurrected Hammer Studios (infamous British horror studio of the 50's and 60's producing hundreds of classic horror films, most of which starred Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing). It's moody, atmospheric, very Irish, and raises a lot of unsettling questions as only the best horror films do. The story is centered around a man and his wife who, after losing their daughter, move to the small country village of Wake Wood. A town with pagan roots, a town of dark magic, and one that can even raise their daughter back to life. At a cost. Timothy Spall is, as always, absolutely wonderful to watch.

20. V/H/S (2012). I am an absolute sucker for anthology movies and absolutely nostalgic for the days of VHS so this movie was on my radar from the get-go. It didn't disappoint. The movie is the collective brainchild of some of the best rising horror directors, including Ti West and Adam Wingard. Some segments hold up better than others, but the ones that are great are truly great and worth the price of admission. After seeing this film, I have allowed found-footage to stay around another year. It's your last, though, and I won't be changing my mind again (until V/H/S 2 comes out.)

19. Cloverfield (2010). Speaking of found footage. This one remains one of the best uses of that style (probably in a neat trio with the original Paranormal Activity and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon) Cloverfield is a bit massive for a horror film, but the hand-held, POV camera always makes it feel constricted. The characters have no idea what's going on as a giant monster invades New York, and they never find out. That very notion is horror to its core. The movie is well-paced and manages to somehow feel realistic, in part due to smartly keeping the monster hidden (or blurred out) for most of the film.

18. Dream Home (2011). This film is Korean. This film is also incredibly, incredibly messed up. The two are directly related. This is not the Daniel Craig film that happened to come out around the same time. This is about a woman who will do absolutely anything (in escalating, messy and inventive ways) to obtain the apartment she feels she deserves. Something that, unfortunately, anyone in their twenties can relate to kind of easily.

17. Chronicle (2012). Okay, it's another found-footage movie. Most people categorize it with the superhero films of recent, but horror is a much more appropriate place. There are a lot of superhero movies bouncing around right now. There are not so many super villain movies. This is the brilliance of Chronicle. Where there is, yes, neat powers and action, there is also a disturbing character study (even more disturbing in POV) of a boy who obtains great power and manages to avoid the lesson of great responsibility at every turn as he moves down a darker and darker path.

16. Troll Hunter (2011). We'll, um, we'll run out of found footage movies eventually, I promise. But this one! This one is so... Norse. The basic setup is that of basically the Norwegian version of Ghost Hunters (awesome), only they hunt trolls (awesome), and when they tag along with some crazy Crocodile Dundee-looking motherfucker (awesome) they find actual trolls (awesome!) only, these aren't Ernest Scared Stupid style trolls, which is good, because that troll was absolutely terrifying. These trolls are enormous and ravenous and Norse and why are you still listening to me talk about it? Call Thor, tell him to bring the finest of mead, sit down in one of our more sturdy chairs, and enjoy.

15. We Are The Night (2011). It's a lesbian Lost Boys.

...Oh, you need me to go on? Okay. I guess so. This film is about a young woman who is, well, bitten by a vampire and drawn into a sisterhood of crazy psychotic vamp chicks. It's a rare sort of vampire film that manages to keep the hotness of vampires and monstrousness of vampires perfectly balanced. Also, it's German, in case you start watching and wonder why everyone's speaking German. The vampires in this film are treated as realistic characters who wear their condition as both a badge of honor and an excuse to be pants-shittingly psychotic.

14. Red State (2011). Kevin Smith is a big, fat comedy guy. That's been his thing. He's done it for quite some time, but this time he decided to switch the gig up to big, fat horror guy. And so he went and made a horror film about the Westboro Baptist Church, because my God, somebody had to. The characters are not actually the Phelps' in name but the inspiration is abundantly clear. Michael Parks owns this movie (John Goodman also rocks it, but when doesn't he?) and there is a deep intensity and disquiet to the acting. What is depicted herein is extreme, but probably not so far from the truth, so it's a bit of an awareness film in that regard as well.

13. Lovely Molly (2012). This movie is from the director of The Blair Witch Project and in my opinion it is far, far superior to that supposed horror classic. Molly has moved into her childhood home with her guy, and the experience has brought back some demons, both metaphorical and literal, because this is horror. But the poor girl has succumbed to illness in the past, and the question persistent throughout the film is whether or not the experiences (which are only happening to her) are actual manifestations, or her mind is simply proving too haunted to keep itself functioning.

12. The Bleeding House (2011). This one was a sleeper, even for me. I heard nothing about it, no reviews, saw it blind on Netflix when I was looking for movies to compile for 2012's Cadaver Awards. So glad I did, though. It's a small, character horror about a kind, Priestly stranger who comes in out of the rain into the home of a family that doesn't see many visitors after a tragic accident that the whole town has come to blame them for. Their daughter, after said event, has begun developing some... unnerving tendencies that her parents are trying to repress. But when the kindly Baptist proves to be more than he claims, the daughter's burgeoning psychotic side might prove to be the only thing that can save her family.

11. The Snowtown Murders (2012). Goddamn, Australia, you crazy. This is inspired by a real case, but the film feels very, very real. It's not found footage, it's not particularly documentary-style, but you feel completely as though you are watching something real unfold. Not one person in this film feels like an actor. Everything feels real. The colors are dulled, the sound is dulled, there is little to no music and you can never look away as this one boy is being trained to kill in a town that has made an art of turning a blind eye. Gripping horror that feels entirely like a character drama until it carries you into very dark places. that's 25-11, hope you enjoyed everything so far. Check back in tomorrow for the top ten horror movies of the decade so far!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Second Annual Cadaver Awards Winners!

Here they are, (no drumroll, please, this is the internet and that would be ridiculous) the winners for the Second Annual Cadaver Awards. The nominees were a little harder to find than last year (I thank Netflix for most of them) and as it stands there was only ONE wide-release nominee for Best Picture. But as we're about to prove, it was still a great year for horror, so take a look. Here's the full list of nominations, winners are in bold.

Best Picture:

The Innkeepers
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Lovely Molly
The Cabin in the Woods
The Tall Man
The Snowtown Murders
John Dies at the End
The Hole

Best Screenplay:

Chronicle - Max Landis
The Cabin in the Woods - Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard
John Dies at the End - Don Coscarelli
The Innkeepers - Ti West
The Snowtown Murders - Shaun Grant

Best Actor: 

Fran Kranz - The Cabin in the Woods
Michael Fassbender - Prometheus
Dane DeHaan - Chronicle
Daniel Henshall - The Snowtown Murders
Chase Williamson - John Dies at the End

Best Actress:

Eva Allan - Beyond the Black Rainbow
Sarah Paxton - The Innkeepers
Rebecca DeMornay - Mother's Day
Alexandra Holden - Lovely Molly
Hannah Fierman - V/H/S

Best Supporting Actor:

Bradley Whitford - The Cabin in the Woods
Richard Jenkins - The Cabin in the Woods
Paul Giamatti - John Dies at the End
Lucas Pittaway - The Snowtown Murders
Sean Rogerson - Grave Encounters 2

Best Supporting Actress:

Kelly McGillis - The Innkeepers
Sigourney Weaver - The Cabin in the Woods
Lauren Larkis - Lovely Molly
Jodelle Ferland - The Tall Man
Charlize Theron - Prometheus

Best Visual Effects:

The Cabin in the Woods

Best Make-up:

The Devil's Carnival
The Cabin in the Woods
John Dies at the End

Best Score: 

John Dies at the End
The Tall Man
Beyond the Black Rainbow
The Devil's Carnival

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Road

Best Cinematography:

Lovely Molly
The Innkeepers
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Mother's Day
The Snowtown Murders

Best Sound Editing:

The Devil's Carnival
Beyond the Black Rainbow
The Snowtown Murders

Best Editing:

John Dies at the End
The Snowtown Murders
Grave Encounters 2
The Hole

Best Director:

Drew Goddard - The Cabin in the Woods
Ti West - The Innkeepers
Justin Furzel - The Snowtown Murders
Don Coscarelli - John Dies at the End
Eduardo Sanchez - Lovely Molly

Best Death:

Melissa - Mother's Day
"I'm never gonna see a Merman" - The Cabin in the Woods
Motel Room Massacre - V/H/S
Lightning Strike - Chronicle

Biggest WTF Moment:

Elevator Scene - The Cabin in the Woods
"He called you the 'N' word?" - John Dies at the End
Lawnmower Scene - Sinister
Security Footage - Lovely Molly
Self-Abortion - Prometheus

Best Quote:

"I dare you to make out with that moose over there." - The Cabin in the Woods
"Are you my dad?" - John Dies at the End
"I like you" - V/H/S
"Big things have small beginnings." - Prometheus

Best Worst Movie:

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Dark Shadows
Night of the Living Dead: Re-Animated
Underworld: Awakening

Best TV Series:

True Blood
The Walking Dead
American Horror Story

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Tobe Hooper
Ridley Scott
Malcolm McDowell
Joe Dante
Don Coscarelli