Monday, March 14, 2016

Come Check Out The New Site!

As of now, The Horror Revolution hosted at Blogspot is closed. Come check out the new site at www.thehorrorrevolution.com . I've transferred everything you know and love from this site over, and it looks awesome! Send me your thoughts, and better yet, visit all the time!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dread: The Study Of Terror

Synopsis: College researchers decide to study the feeling of dread, tracing its roots and causes. Eventually, they decide to delve deeper, forcing their subjects to face their fears head on.

I recently watched the movie Dread, one of the 8 Films To Die For. I'm a huge fan of the film series, and I love their support of indie filmmakers of the horror variety. Most of these films we wouldn't have seen otherwise, so After Dark's production and distribution is a huge benefit to the genre as a whole and indie filmmakers specifically. This film was also based on a short story by Clive Barker, one of the original masters of horror, and was part of his immensely popular Books of Blood. I'm a huge fan of his as well, and, incidentally, this was one of my favorites from his works. Needless to say, between the branding from After Dark and the Barker connections, I was super excited to see this story committed to celluloid.

Dread is essentially the story of a man whose family was murdered by a madman with an ax, leading him to a lifelong fascination with the feeling of dread. He teams up with a pair of research videographers to study people's worst fears, and documents everything for a final school project. It becomes clear before too long that the man has some serious issues, and he lets it get in the way of their research in some pretty serious ways. In making his "patients" face their fears, he realizes that "to know the death of others intimately is a clue to death's nature, and might prepare a man for his own death." We realize that our antihero's sense of dread comes from death itself, and that that's what he fears the most.

The movie, as well as the story itself, manage to concisely display the biggest component of the horror genre as a whole. It's not always a matter of what we're afraid of so much as why. If we can answer this question, we can know exactly where to hit our audiences, and what tactics evoke that visceral, gut reaction that horror aficionados hold most dear. Fortunately, while the topics that conjure these feelings are different for everyone, the atmosphere in which they're most effective often doesn't change. This films plays well on those, and brings to life a truly interesting concept.

The film itself wasn't a huge hit, and it's not one that will fit nicely with every fan of the genre, but I thought it worked well. It managed to stay relatively true to the book while carrying some of the more impactful scenes well (the bleach/brillo pad bath scene in particular, as well as the newly discovered cure for vegetarianism). The best part was the actual project itself, which opened a window into the soul of fear in these characters. It would be an interesting real life study as well, but I don't believe I'd take part after seeing this film: I'd prefer not to be chased down by chainsaw wielding clowns while also being chased by bees to test the theory.

The actors did well, and Shaun Evans' Quaid was particularly faithful to the book. He was genuinely creepy, and very much did the character justice. I generally don't enjoy movie adaptations of books, but this one was surprisingly effective. Anthony DiBlasi's direction managed to make this an adequate adaptation of Barker's idea, and it's definitely one of my favorites of the 8 Films To Die For series that I've seen. It's an interesting concept, one that I'd love to see explored further.

Bottom Line: Decent flick, definitely give it a go, especially if you're a fan of the other 8 Films To Die For or indie horror in general. Read Barker's Books of Blood as well; they're great as a whole, and this story is excellent in particular. 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Aussie Horror: The Loved Ones

Synopsis: After turning down an invitation to a dance, a teen with a death wish finds out that some people don't take no for an answer. Will his unrequited suitor grant his wish?


The Loved Ones is a movie I've wanted to watch for a long time, but is almost impossible to find in my neck of the woods. I literally have never seen it in stores, not once. So, like all hard to find objects du jour, I took to eBay and found it immediately. I'm incredibly glad that I did, because this became an instant classic in disturbing cinema to me.

Director Sean Byrne manages to put together an incredibly creepy and disturbing film about a shy girl who invites an attached boy to prom. When he turns her down because he already has a date, she enlists the help of her maybe creepier father to kidnap the boy and throw a prom of her own, complete with power tools and bleach, and maybe a little incest to top it all off. The film was decently gruesome, and the acting, especially Robin McLeavy's character (Lola, pictured above), was top-notch. She's pretty attractive, but I don't know that she'll ever be able to get a (willing) date again after this film. Xavier Samuel (Brent), the arguable star of the show otherwise known for parts in Fury (the Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf tank movie) and Twilight: Eclipse, is fantastic, though his actual dialogue is limited due to... well, you'll have to watch for that part.

The creepiest character, to me, is John Brumpton's "Daddy", an incestuous father who just can't say no to his little girl. As we delve deeper into the film and learn this isn't the first time these things have happened (not giving away much there, really), we see a dark and troubled relationship where this behavior has been passed down. In fact, "Bright Eyes," the mother in this scenario, very well might've experienced the same treatment Brent is undergoing through most of the film. Like father, like daughter I suppose. Brumpton really does kill this role, no pun intended, and his brilliant portrayal is terrifyingly believable. This is a family you most decidedly don't want to cross, and they make no attempts to hide it.

Daddy, get the hammer.
After viewing several nearly unwatchable movies as of late, this was a welcome return to form. I was delightfully disturbed, and left wondering if I'd do the same things for my daughter. I quickly decided that I would absolutely not, but it was nice to wonder for a while. The relationship between the father and his spoiled daddy's girl (ugh, the implications) is contrasted with the despair and ruination of the relationship between Brent and his mother, and the scene where Brent's torture is paired with his friend's bizarre first date with the girl of his dreams leaves us with a feeling that no one in this film is going to have a truly "happy" ending. The camerawork and editing was fantastic, with just enough gore to please, cutting away from the worst moments while still giving us a ticket to see something no one should have to. The score and sound editing lend to this nicely, building dramatic tension and a general sense of unease that never really ebbs away.

Ultimately, we are viewers of a man with a death wish learning that he doesn't actually want to die, and we are witnesses to the lengths that he will go to to remain alive. Contrast that with Lola's unrelenting story of desire and insanity, and we're left with a twisted treatise on the embodiments of life and death. The scenes are weaved beautifully together, and The Loved Ones comes together as a masterwork of terror. Could not be more pleased, it was everything I was looking for and more.

Tell me I'm pretty.
Bottom Line: The Loved Ones is awesome. I highly recommend checking it out if you can find it, and if you can't find it locally, buy it online like me. Excellent, haunting film, haven't stopped thinking about it for days. 4.5 stars out of 5.