Monday, March 24, 2014

The Immortal Augustus Gladstone (2013)

Tonight my husband and I took a much anticipated stroll through the warmth and sunshine of the coming Spring weather when we stumbled across a Missing Person sign in the middle of our neighborhood.

Oh no! Was my first thought, as we investigated the very large neon green/yellow sign stapled to a post, and examined the description of the missing person.

The picture portrayed someone who appeared both female and male (at first glance), with the following details:

"Bald, wears blond wig and tennis shoes, Approximately six feet tall and two hundred pounds, last seen in Portland, Oregon in 2011, believes he is immortal."

Oh no!! Was my second thought, thinking kind neighbors and acquaintances were sending a search party for someone with mental issues.

Because that happens in our neighborhood. Over the years I've heard of and seen the posters for many kind, lovable yet mentally unstable people who wander off one day and are never seen again. It's sad, terribly sad. Some have family around, many do not. These people are simply lost, forgotten, and disappear with little recognition they ever existed. My heart hurts for them, their families, for all of us.

As I was staring at this poster, trying to understand what was being said, my husband leans over my shoulder and says: "Bunch of promotional bullshit." and walks away.

What, what, what?! I say, pointing to the sign. Has the man lost his mind? He walks back and points to a web link that looks suspicious, sitting at the bottom of the poster. After a minor dispute I look up the link and sure enough, the poster we stumbled upon is not about an actual missing person but a promotional movie poster about a fictional documentary regarding a supposed vampire, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone.

I hadn't heard of this film until I ran into the poster, so good on them for getting the word out on this independent film but thumbs down for the promotion.

This will be my first review on a movie I have not, nor are there plans to, watch. This is a review on the movie's horrible promotion. Tricking people into noticing something is one thing. Tricking people into reading a Missing Persons poster only to discover that the person is not really missing - just so people read it: Bad Form. Bad, bad form.

I applaud the idea behind the quasi horror mockumentary, I despise what has been done with it as far as advertising goes. It's a shame too, sounds like it might have been interesting. Now it just smells of foul douchebagery.

Missing persons is no joke. Absolutely no joke. That heartbreak shouldn't be used to promote a movie.

Good luck with your film, guys. Fire who ever came up with this movie poster idea. Thumbs down.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Forgotten One (1989)

This movie has caused quite a stir in my family over the decades.

My first introduction to The Forgotten One in the early '90s was accidental and pivotal. Someone rented it from the movie store - probably my older brothers. We all watched it over and over again until it was due to be returned.

At the time I was a bit confused by the very adult content (sex, confusing relationships) that supported the film's story line. However, this created an aura of mystery for me that became so strong, it still comes back even as I watch it as an adult and understand the context. It was also because of this mysterious adult content that I was ushered out of the room when the scenes became a little too intense, this helped with the aura building.

And then someone taped a copy of the movie.

We watched the film until the tape nearly wore itself out.

I managed to procure this beat-up taped tape and tucked it away into my dust-covered VHS collection. Tucked away so well, actually, that it became forgotten.

Many years went by and I find it once again, wipe away the dust, and pop it into my TV/VHS combo system. There it sat...forgotten. That is, until after I donated the TV/VHS set - with the forgotten movie inside. Sad and mad at myself for loosing this beloved movie that I forget I loved so much, I began a search for a DVD.

There is no DVD for the US. In fact, as of today I'm not aware of this film being printed anymore.

Years later I stopped beating myself up about the loss and stumbled upon a used copy for sale at Amazon for $1.00. I jumped at the sale and then jumped again when it arrived in the mail. Looking at Amazon now it appears the prices for this VHS tape has now jumped to $29.50 - WHAT?

Back to the review:

The last bit of family drama that has been tied in with this film was when I tried to make my husband watch it, now that it was back in my possession.

He did not like the film. I was offended. For years this was a family classic, a fond memory, a hard fought treasure, and he didn't like it. We fought. Made up. Fought a little bit more. I petted the movie cover and told it that everything was going to be alright (I didn't really do that, but it's something that I would do.)

You'll love this movie if:

You have fond memories of it. Love classic ghost stories. Love ghost stories that don't scare the pants off you and give you nightmares. You kind of dig a love story. You're passionate about Boulder, CO history. Love spooky stories told around the camp fire. Digging for local history. Pianos. You simply like damn good ghost stories. Curling up to the couch and watching a slightly creepy-crawly spine chiller on a cold dark night. Ghost stories with sad happy endings.

You won't love this movie if:

You have a problem with Kristy McNichol. Don't like Kristy McNichol's acting. Don't like reporters with closed minds. Slow moving movies. You could care less about Boulder, CO history. Romance in movies bothers you.  Don't like ghost stories that require thinking. Or simply don't like spooky movies (like my husband - no matter how much his wife does, there's just no convincing).

Recommended pairing:

Candle light dinner (with yourself or others), or a bottle of whiskey while soaking in the tub. Favorite dinner staple from your adolescence. Sexy clothes to lounge in.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Daywalt Horror: Bedfellows (2010)

Hello hello hello, what do we have here?

Horror movies that really know how to tie in the classic with the modern so as to make a truly horrifying story?


That's how it's done folks. Movies/books/tales of all kind are truly horrifying when they tap into our mundane everyday AND into the future.

So, while my husband and I were out and about today, sipping a pint and showing off tee-shirts he made for the St. Patrick's Day festivities/everyday:

Tee-Shirt Drawing

We ran into an old friend that had no idea I had a horror movie blog, and yet our friend begins to tell us about a "super scary!" horror movie short he stumbled upon on Youtube.

I leaned across the bar, ".....

No, he's absolutely serious. It's very scary and we should check it out. A short time later, with our pints empty and coats put on, I tell him I'm going to check out said scary film and talk about it on my blog. At which point he stared at me with a blank face and I realized that maybe it's been too long since we actually talked about what's happening in our lives rather outside our lives. To be continued.

15 minutes later I'm home and locate the much hyped movie short: Bedfellows.

I tip my hat to you, sir Daywalt. Well done, well done. My only complaint is that the credits are nearly as long as the movie, but I recognize this as only a pet peeve and I do not work in the movie business. I have the same complaint about books where the Acknowledgement section is greater than 2 pages. It's just me, I think - I don't yet know where it comes from.

In any case, Daywalt horror, especially Daywalt's Bedfellows, is able to capture a truly horrific (and long lasting) experience in a matter of seconds and I have no doubt it will stick with you for years to come. You've been warned. 

This particular short movie excels in showcasing one of our darkest nightmares and it's all thanks to a cell phone call. Classic + Modern = Awesome. I look forward to watching more of these shorts, so stay tuned for additional updates about what I see as a new star in the horror movie business: Daywalt Horror. Hammer, you should be proud. 

Recommended pairing: a small handful of your favorite treats, a drink that makes you sleepy, and all the lights out...

Now, if you're ready for it, you can see Bedfellows here: 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Recently, my husband and I were talking about movies that had a significant impact on our the-world-is-safe-and-wonderful psyche as a child. Mine was Gremlins. Gremlins ruined me for a long time. My parents, as well as so many others, took their children to see what they thought was a movie about cute and furry mogwis only to end up up stuck with hordes of screaming children who were convinced Gremlin eggs were hatching under their beds every night.

He did not have this experience, instead, at the age of 7 he came down with a nasty fever on Halloween night and was nestled in front of the made-for-TV movie, Dark Night of the Scarecrow. With a fever so high that he was hallucinating (his hands felt like two balloons), for some reason his family thought this show would make him feel better. Instead he sat terrified and learned about bigots, revenge, and executions.

This was a sad story to hear, and yet when he walked out of the room I immediately turned to Amazon and bought the movie.

When the DVD arrived, his eyebrows rose and I said excitedly, "Let's watch it!" To my surprise, I did not win any Awesome Wife points that day.

Several weeks later he finally agreed to watch the movie again, for the first time in over 30 years.

He remembered a surprising amount of the film, and I was pretty dumb struck. Although fairly low-budget and cheeky at times, the moral of the story came through loud and proud. The horror/monsters of this film, like so many that are geared for kids, was not under the bed or in the closet (teaching how to not be afraid of those places), but in the heads of adults - people children should learn to both trust and fear. This movie is also what I call an everyday horror movie, where the horror of the film happens everywhere, all the time, still.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow, a rather sad film with a bitter sweet ending, is frightful for children and adults. I advise watching this with a small group or alone. I'm not a huge fan of movie ratings (e.g., PG-13, R, etc.) because I don't trust the business behind it, but there is a place for judging when and when not to show certain movies to children where the expectations are off (see also my Gremlins experience).

If you believe you're children will understand the consequences for being a complete asshole message, and are ready to not be afraid of ghosts, then this will be a good one for you. If not, give it time. If you're in the mood for a chilling ghost story about revenge, then this one will be a good one for you. If you're simply mean to people and know it then I recommend changing your ways, stat.

In the end, my husband was glad he saw it again (getting monsters out of the closet), I'm glad I saw it with him (learning).

Recommended pairing: love, your favorite drink, and any dish that scares you a little bit because of a bad experience in the past.