The Family That Slays Together Week – Hidden (2015)

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

Hola, and welcome to The Family That Slays Together Week here at Late to the Theater, a week dedicated to – you guessed it– families in peril! We’re looking at movies that imperil those most complex of situations, the family, in apocalypses both zombie and not. So sit back, relax, and stop touching your brother/sister/cousin/dog/whatever or so help me I will turn this car RIGHT AROUND.

As always, There Will Be Spoilers below the cut.

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Hidden, 2015

As mentioned in Monday’s entry Cargo, there’s such a glut of post-apocalyptic media in the world that it takes something extra special to grab one’s attention. While scrolling through Amazon’s horror offerings one night, three things about Hidden (2015) leapt out:

  • Written and directed by the Duffer Brothers, well known these days for blockbuster hit Stranger Things
  • A Skarsgard – Alexander! My favorite Skarsgard — until I remember Bill is also my favorite
  • Family survival

Ray (Skarsgard), Claire (Andrea Riseborough), and Zoe (Emily Alyn Lind) are a family fortunate enough to have happened upon a bomb shelter. Their routine is rigid: sleep is important, canned food is rationed to make it last as long as possible, Ray keeps watch at times, and Claire gives Zoe educational lessons. Meaningful rituals relieve the boredom and mark the days, such as making the daily hashtag on the wall (301 so far) and taking ‘trips’ where Ray narrates imaginary outings to Zoe.  Ray insists the family wear shoes at all times.

And always, always, they listen for signs of Breathers – gasping, throat-rattling creatures who prowl the surface in search of prey.

Fans of the Duffers’ Stranger Things will encounter notes common to both: an intelligent female child who has hidden strengths; suburban landscapes burned and blasted into unfamiliar and menacing shapes, a la Silent Hill; the military as an amorphous, untrustworthy entity. Ray even presents a warm and caring father figure a bit similar to Hopper. In a refreshing change from Stranger Things, there’s Claire, a strong and uncompromising maternal figure.

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A complaint – when rocks fall on your car, do not walk TOWARD the danger.

There’s a lot to like in Hidden –  a tightly written story, balanced and well-acted characters, decent production value, and effective use of  tension as well as a few well-placed jump scares. Skarsgard as a dad is a joy to watch (keep an eye out for his silly English matron accent). In Lind’s performance, the Duffers show again they have a great eye for spotting and working with talented kids. The actors look suitably disheveled and filthy, as they have gone almost a year without a bath. Riseborough’s hair in the bunker scenes looks like it washed up on a beach, and the light does her lovely face no favors, either.

See it if you’re patient with slow-burn thriller/horror, but not if you’re looking for lots of loud scares and pithy dialogue. This is horror aimed at a more mature, discerning audience and won’t appeal to everyone.

Continue reading “The Family That Slays Together Week – Hidden (2015)”

The Family That Slays Together Week – Cargo

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

Hola, and welcome to The Family That Slays Together Week here at Late to the Theater, a week dedicated to – you guessed it– families in peril! We’re looking at movies that imperil those most complex of situations, the family, in apocalypses both zombie and not. So sit back, relax, and stop touching your brother/sister/cousin/dog/whatever or so help me I will turn this car RIGHT AROUND.

As always, There Will Be Spoilers below the cut.

Cargo_poster
The Future is Fragile

The zombie apocalypse (or ‘zompocalypse’ if you’re in a rush) genre has largely gone stale for me. It’s a trend that originated in the 60s in horror films, toodled around in genre films for a few decades, went mainstream in the early 2000s, and just never really went away. It’s a formula that always boils down to if there are zombies, then there is a race to survive during civilization’s downfall. Nowadays, for an entry to catch my notice there needs to be something extra, some additional element to get me intrigued.

Something like a baby.

A baby being carried through the Australian outback, one of the most unforgiving of natural environments, during a zombie pandemic — I’m listening.

A baby being carried by a father whose time is running out due to a zombie bite — Now you have my attention.

A baby being carried by Martin Freeman — YOU HAVE ME. 

Continue reading “The Family That Slays Together Week – Cargo”

Around Orlando – Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl

Around Orlando is a new feature here at Late to the Theater, wherein Achariya and I will detail local Orlando flavor. So whether you’re thinking about visiting, moving here soon, or just want to explore from the comfort of the internet, have a seat and take a gander! We will be sure to disclose any goods or services we receive. 

Recently I discovered a friend’s fiancée runs an awesome YouTube channel tying together some of my interests – horror, Halloween decor, and living in Orlando!

Say hello to Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl!

Continue reading “Around Orlando – Horror Happenings with the Dead Girl”

Hunting albino cockroaches in the caves of Chiang Rai with Fred Stone

I am digging deep into my memory to write up a few things in preparation for the memorial of my dad, Dr. Fred Stone. This will be a continuing series.

It was 1984, and the late afternoon rain poured around us. We were sitting in a guest house in Chiang Rai because my dad, Fred Stone (not yet Dr. Stone), had heard rumor of a possible fertile population of albino cave cockroaches deep in the limestone backbone of the northern Thai mountains.

But the rain (which, in 2018, has proved to be a dangerous hazard to the caves in this region) had stymied us on the first day of our trip. Until the rain stopped, however, there was something important dad had to do: teach me how to swallow my malaria pill.

Continue reading “Hunting albino cockroaches in the caves of Chiang Rai with Fred Stone”

Sci Fi Short: Scavenger

I love when I run across something that reminds me of all the good things people can do.

This sci-fi short imagines an alien running across the Voyager 1 spacecraft and its precious cargo of music, greetings in multiple languages, and children singing. The alien is understandably entranced, and falls in love with humanity and a human woman, causing him to seek out Earth. Yes, it’s the plot of the first Star Trek movie – cut me some slack, I’ve had a rough week.  

I love being reminded that despite the news, Good Things are still happening. People are still communicating messages of hope by making art and music and working together on passion projects.

I love that technology amplifies crystalline notes of hope, and that anyone with the bandwidth and computer access can experience it.

I love that someone imagined an alien falling in love with the best of what humans are capable of.

I love this, and that I’m still alive to appreciate it.

I love.