Y’all Ready for This?

Guess what next week is….

That’s right! It’s the beginning of HORROR MOVIE MONTH here at Late to the Theater! And we’ve got a whole big RANGE coming up! I’ve been planning and scribbling ideas and having all kinds of fun figuring out the themes for the weeks!

  • Week 1 – The Suburbs: Hell is Other People – Ride along on your BMX while we deconstruct some of that most 80s of juxtapositions, horror in the suburbs, with well-known films The Burbs, Poltergeist, and the less well-known Lady in White. If you enjoyed Stranger Things, you will find some familiar ground here. I’ve covered The Burbs before, but that was then and this is now and I’ve got lots of new corny jokes.
  • Week 2 – A Walk Among the Fandoms: My Trip to Spooky Empire – In which I recount my experience at Spooky Empire, Orlando’s horror convention. And I’ll talk about my John Clare costume! Excitement!
  • Week 3 – Werewolf Week! – Fur, fangs, talons, subtext about sexuality; the gang’s all here with Dog Soldiers,  The Howling, and one that’s very near and dear to my heart, The Company of Wolves. Get your beast-fix and bring a doggie bag (hurr) for week 3.
  • Week 4 – TBA. I like to end with a bang, so the last week should be something really cool, and I haven’t figured out what that is, yet. So who knows? Maybe it’s all Stephen King movies, maybe it’s all old-school, or maybe it’s all new-school, maybe it’s all cannibals. Time will tell!

So stay tuned! Our first entry will be hitting the intarwebz next Monday morning at 8.

Be there or be square!

 

HPL Insurance – For The Really, Really, REALLY Unexpected

I love it. Great production value, great performances, and just plain wonderful for fans of our favorite weirdo New Englander.

This H.P. Lovecraft Insurance commercial is all you need to get through the day.

I love it. Great production value, great performances, and just plain wonderful for fans of our favorite weirdo New Englander. I fully acknowledge his problematic legacy, but like my elderly relatives, I take the bad along the good.

They have more at the Youtube page, but I didn’t watch them yet so I can’t speak as to their quality.

I was supposed to go out of town to a family reunion this weekend – instead I am laid up with the flu. A fever of 102 is nothing to laugh at. Happily we caught it very early, only about 7 hours in, and I got some Tamiflu to head it off. My fever’s broken and now I just feel generally crappy, with aches, pains, a headache, and something I can only describe as puffy-hot-face. But we will power through!

Have a great weekend!

 

Welcome! Please, Let Me Show You Around!

Welcome to the big ‘Getting to Know Me’ post. I’ve noticed a lot of new folks reading my rambles, so I thought I would introduce myself and explain what kinds of things you’ll find here. Below the cut are some samples of the over 200 posts I’ve written that should help introduce you to me and my writing a little better.

Hi there!

Welcome to the big ‘Getting to Know Me’ post. I’ve noticed a lot of new folks reading my rambles, so I thought I would introduce myself and explain what kinds of things you’ll find here. Below the cut are some samples of the over 200 posts I’ve written that should help introduce you to me and my writing a little better.

Continue reading “Welcome! Please, Let Me Show You Around!”

Five Rando Christmas Movies

So I think we all need a break. We need warmth, joy, family and friends, and to remember the important stuff – and I don’t mean all the shit we just put ourselves into debt to buy. I mean the REALLY important stuff.

It’s been a hell of a year, folks.

This year’s news was a constant parade of nightmares and horror, and it was easy to get lost in the torrent of sorrow. The plight of Syrian refugees;  Paris, the City of Lights darkened by terrorism, and then rising from the ashes in glorious solidarity; the destruction of world Heritage sites by madmen; natural disasters; mass shootings; and of course, the inevitable callousness that comes with being inundated with such tidings. I’ll never forget the moment I said the words ‘Wait, which mass shooting from this year are you talking about?’ because there had been too many to keep track of. 

So I think we all need a break. We need warmth, joy, family and friends, and to remember the important stuff – and I don’t mean all the shit we just put ourselves into debt to buy. I mean the REALLY important stuff. And so today’s entry includes five movies that celebrate that aforementioned REALLY important stuff. I am sorry they’re all just for Christmas – I wish I knew of some Jewish and Muslim holiday movies to discuss! Maybe next year I’ll have found some.

These are all movies my family gets together to watch. My Dad and I get drunk and bray like donkeys at the screen, and my Mom disapproves but laughs along with us.

Have a read and enjoy!

Continue reading “Five Rando Christmas Movies”

Five Little Bits

It sat in my queueueue forever before I finally hit play, and it was an immediate win from the first five minutes.

Rather than sit down and do a big post on one movie and then never get around to it because there aren’t enough hours in the day, Five Little Bits is a roundup of five films I’ve recently watched, in no particular order, with no particular connection other than I’ve watched them and they are on Instant Watch. Also, in a rare deviation, I have included starred reviews for some quantifiable metric along with the gabbling. Enjoy!

Everything on that poster is true. It was AWESOME.
Everything on that poster is true. It was AWESOME.

Housebound – Housebound is one of my new favorites. It’s a smart, low-budget horror comedy from New Zealand that a friend recommended. Housebound is the story of Kylie, a young woman remanded to house arrest with her cheerful but estranged mother in the Middle of Nowhere, New Zealand. I loved this movie for lots of reasons: Morgana O’Reilly’s strong, unapologetic performance as a twenty-something teenage rebel; Amos the security guy who’s into paranormal research and who has clearly been WAITING for a chance to ghost-hunt his whole life; brilliant performances; the lived-in, cluttered and claustrophobic atmosphere of the house itself; the deconstruction of family history and relationships and subsequent re-connection; and the dialogue all create a delightfully solid little film. It sat in my queueueue forever before I finally hit play, and it was an immediate win from the first five minutes. And that moment when Kylie’s past is laid bare – SO GOOD.

Five out of five stars – if you liked Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, you’ll love this film!

More Truths! Lovely!
More Truths! Lovely!

Thale – A beautiful, multilayered Norwegian film shot on an ultra low budget (only 10 grand! insane!) that deals with huldra folk, a mythical race of forest women with tails from Scandinavian folklore – Stay with me. Tall, stoic and studly Leo runs a bio-cleanup company and gives his longtime friend Elvis a job. We meet Elvis when he is puking into a bucket, grossed out by the job and its gruesome requirements– a bucket which Leo, long inured to the grisly nature of his job and also to much of life, needs to finish the job. While on a job in a remote location, they discover a strange, feral and childlike woman hiding in a basement. Although the eponymous Thale spends most of the movie naked, her nudity is rarely exploited or made sexy; instead, it underscores her vulnerability and isolation from both humanity and the huldafolk. I loved this film, which I would compare to The Troll Hunter except way lower budget. Elvis and Leo’s complex friendship and the secrets they keep from each other add a fascinating layer to the film, especially the understated performance Jon Sigve Skard gives as Leo, whose placid, gum-chewing exterior hides a lonely frightened soul. Also worthy of note is the grim language they use to describe aspects of their job: ‘We have to break up the shed because he flowed out the floor’ should give you an idea.

Four out of five stars because of the sometimes glacial pacing, the film nevertheless gets a LOT of mileage out of its leads, including the performance from Silje Reinamo as Thale, and the interesting plot. And that ending – WORTH it!

Damn good design there!
Damn good design there!

Oculus – A horror film about the devastating effect a haunted mirror had on suburban, upper-class family, Oculus had a solid premise, some strong performances, and a really great subversion of common horror tropes, but ultimately I didn’t care for it. Karen Gillan puts in a hell of a performance as a woman obsessively determined to help her brother no matter the cost and shows her remarkable range as an actress. Unfortunately I just couldn’t like this film. Watching the family violently disintegrate into madness was excruciating, and the ending I found disappointing – longtime readers can probably guess why.

Three out of Five for incredibly effective scares, performances, and solid writing, but personally I just didn’t like the story – others definitely will, though! A great horror film otherwise, with a sequel in the works.

Lastshiftposter

Last Shift – Another intriguing premise that didn’t pay off, Last Shift’s first act is all tension and beautiful character building before it implodes on itself. A rookie cop with a tragic family history must spend the night in the old police station since the new replacement facility has opened. She starts getting weird calls, there’s blinking lights and creepy sounds and an incontinent homeless man and all of that sets a nailbiting scene of dread and atmosphere, and then things go off the rails with a murder cult. Creepy ghosts and furniture rearranging also happen – this wasn’t a bad movie, I just didn’t care for the overall story. You have a great premise – deconstructing the horrors taking place in the shadow of the Thin Blue Line is So Hot Right Now, but it just didn’t pay off. Lead actress Juliana Harkavy is highly charismatic and very watchable, and hopefully on her way to better things.

Two out of five stars.

Hi Jaime Lannister! *waves*
Hi Jaime Lannister! *waves*

Hodejergerne (Headhunters) – Another Norwegian film, and I will fully disclose that I watched Headhunters because Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) was in it. I could easily drop two thousand words about my feelings on this actor, but I will save that for my secret smut diary. MOVING ON. Headhunters is a sort of American Psycho/Film Noir mashup with an intriguing premise: Roger Brown, a prominent corporate recruiter who suffers from a case of terminal Short-Man Syndrome, has an expensive lifestyle and wife he can’t really afford. He supplements his income as an art-thief who robs his high-powered clients, replaces their artwork with knockoffs, sells the good shit and then buys his Scandinavian fembot wife expensive earrings and supports her art gallery, while screwing some other lady on the side. I found him a somewhat likable protagonist despite his terrible actions AND his occasionally jarring resemblance to both Christopher Walken and Steve Buscemi – AT THE SAME TIME. He meets Clas Greve (Jaime Lannister), the kind of Handsome Man Alpha that other men both loathe and secretly aspire to be. Charming, disgustingly good looking, a retired millionaire, and a former special forces agent, Clas has a lost Ruben in his house and Roger finds out and sets out to rob him, and of course it is The Wrong Thing To Do. What follows is a bloody and sometimes gross deconstruction of Brown’s vanities until his long-buried humanity finally rises to the surface – it’s very much in the vein of Park-Chan Wook’s Vengeance trilogy. It was an interesting watch but stretched credibility in many moments (I don’t know how they do it in Europe but in the U.S., Special Forces people don’t usually have their pictures all over the internet) and there was a thread of jet-black dark humor running through it that… I never quite laughed out loud, but I think it’s because I don’t enjoy Schadenfreude.

Four out of five stars for lavish production value, great performances and an intriguing premise, but the story and any emotional attachment falls apart in the third act.

So that was Five Little Bits! I hope you enjoyed this little roundup and there was something here you found interesting enough to check out.

Have you seen something lately you think I’d enjoy? Please give it a shout out in the comments!