Friday, April 24, 2009

BOOK: Dark Mountain

Ah, Richard Laymon. Is there any other example of a modern Hemingway-style minimalist writer? Even if there is, do they compete with the ebb and flow of Laymon's brutal stories? Can anyone else develop such striking characters out of so few words? Well, if you have the answers, send me a message. Or just send me a message about anything. I get lonely often.

As already alluded to, Richard Laymon once again delivers a great book. It is entertaining and disturbing; intense and humorous; sensual and sadistic. Yep. Good ole Dick Laymon. Dark Mountain is another mass market paperback reissue from our friends at Leisure (! Thanks, guys! Since I didn't know about Laymon until a year ago, I hadn't had the chance to enjoy this read, and some of Laymon's books are harder to get a hold of than the attention of world leaders! Really, though, if you want to get your hands on Richard Laymon books that are out of print, check out Great site!

The first half of the book is comprised of Laymon's ability to construct solid, three-dimensional, likable characters. He then sends them into the woods for a camping misadventure that contains its own telling of creepy (and humorous) stories around the campfire. I really wish I had known Laymon while he was alive; his humor really shines through his otherwise harrowing stories. Just when I found myself wondering if I could really take another horror novel with the deep, dark woods as a setting, and crazy inbreds as antagonists. But Laymon, as usual, flips the book around, and puts all of the characters back into their everyday lives. They are left to deal with a very real curse cast upon them at the height of their camping misadventure.

This book concentrates on relationships, too. We get insight into the life of the charming single-parent father who is balancing a bitter, snarky, fiesty daughter and a beautiful, intelligent girlfriend. We have the highly entertaining "man's man" dad (complete with war flashbacks, a cigar, and a disposition for overshadowing his meek wife). And a nice little love story between the daughter of the former father and the son of the latter father. Plus, there's a bonus Oedipus complex thrown in for good literary measure!

Have a couple of hours to kill and want to spend them productively? Pick up Dark Mountain--or any other Laymon novel for that matter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens

This movie proves to be another feather in the cap of the DreamWorks Animation division, who have been doing what they do best since 2001; terrorizing people. The only things that terrify me worse than monsters are aliens. This movie contains an equal helping of both.

Within minutes of starting we are taken to a dark room. The sound of a creaking floor and wheezing can be heard. A young woman lies in bed. With the seconds of anticipation you can only assume that she is about to be abducted. Instead the light comes on and it is her friends. You can expect this sort of torturous delayed gratification for the film’s entirety. The question then becomes does this movie deliver? I would have to say yes. I was terrified from beginning to end. The main character in this movie, Susan suffers a tragic accident which makes her gigantic. Due to her radioactive nature she is sedated, bound and kidnapped. During her capture one of the officers is nearly impaled. Upon waking Susan is in a windowless steel enforced room. Without a word she is transported to a larger windowless room where she is all but forced into a combative situation with the prisons other occupants.

The horror and torture references are delivered with continue regularity throughout. The alien invasion begins in classic horror fashion with the teenage couple alone in the woods. The radio goes ballistic, a bright light and a crash in the distance. I can’t help but shout—quietly as I am in the movie theater—for them not to go out there, but of course they go and we get the always infamous cut to black as they huddle together screaming. As with any good kidnap/hostage horror the victims or as this film so affectionately calls them prisoners are presented with a way out, given that they perform a series of tasks. In this case the task is combat.

There are scheduled bursts of comic relief, which is sorely needed after some of the more frightening scenes. For a moment they help us forget that we are watching a horror and provide us with a chance to breathe before beginning the torment anew. There is a brief “name that tune” comedy moment that older viewers or younger old movie viewers will enjoy. There is even a tiny inkling of a moral lesson to be learned. Something about loving people despite deformity genetic or otherwise, I’m not really sure as by this point in the movie I was crouching beneath my chair.

All in all I would say this movie is definitely worth a watch. Not for fainting or the faint of heart.

Review Soundtrack:
Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs - "Wooly Bully"
Harold Faltermeyer - "Axel F"
Aqua - "Roses are Red"

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Jason X (2002)

GARBAGE! Slasher Franchise Month ranks among my worse ideas of all time. Thank God I'm done with this series. Yeah, yeah, I know. You all told me so!

Jason Goes to Hell (1993)

As predicted, I'm eager for this series to be over. It is possible to find a review here one day, but not likely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday the 13th: Part 3 (1982)

It is possible to find a review here one day, but not likely. I don't even care that this is the movie Jason got his mask in.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Strangers (2008)

(Needs review.)

Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981)

Part II sticks to the story of Jason as delivered in its predecessor and satisfies as an entertaining sequel. It follows the same basic format, but adds characters with even more personality and another round of kills.

I did not enjoy the fact that the first ten minutes are spent re-playing the last ten minutes of its predecessor. In fact, I felt insulted. I understand that in its day, the movie was being viewed a year later, but we honestly don't need that much footage to remember that Jason's mother was the killer and our heroine chopped her head off, leaving Jason an orphaned lake-thing. A minute's worth of flashbacks would've been sufficient, which leads me to believe that they needed to kill some running time (the movie still managed to be shorter than the first).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vacancy (2007)

(Needs review.)

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th has a special place in my heart for being one of the first horror movies I ever watched. It was on TV over and over again during one of the October horror movie marathons, but, at nine years old, I only watched it once. Later in life, I caught bits and pieces of the Jason series, which rekindled my childhood fears, but I never felt prompted to actually sit down and watch them all. Recently, with the start of this blog and inspiration from others out there, my interest has been piqued. So, here are my thoughts on the movie that took me over a decade to get back to.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BOOK: The Midnight Tour

A brilliant third installment of the Beast House series. Unlike the second book, The Beast House, this one compared to The Cellar.

More to come...

Review Soundtrack:
Artist - "Track"
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