Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crimson Peak

Mia Wasikowska plays Edith Cushing, a Turn of the century lady (that's the 19th Century, BTW) who's struggling to be taken seriously as a writer. Her industrialist father (Jim Beaver) entertains a business proposal from Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a nobleman who is trying to make his fortune in the mining industry. Edith overhears Thomas's appeal to her father and the board of directors and is quite taken with the man.

As romance blooms between Edith and Thomas, much to the chagrin of Edith's father and Thomas's overprotective sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain), a terrible tragedy "coincidentally" occurs sending her rushing into marriage. At the family home of the Sharpes, Allerdale Hall, all is not well. The place looks like a Charlotte Brontë fever dream only not as structurally sound.

Oh and there's ghosts! When Edith was a young girl, her mother died and came to visit her after the funeral to give her a warning, "Beware of Crimson Peak!" This encounter makes Edith just a tad more open to supernatural experiences than your average person. The moment she sets foot in Allerdale Hall, she is besieged by spirits that are all pretty pissed off. What do they want? Who were they? These questions and more will be answered this season on Crimson Peak!

As the month of October is coming to a close, I realized that I hadn't been to see a horror movie all damn month. And that was probably because everything but this looked like shit to me. I desperately didn't want to miss Crimson Peak on the big screen. Thankfully, the new place around here, Studio Movie Grill, is close to work and the wife and I could easily catch a screening right after work. This place used to be the Regal University 16, the legendary theater glorified in my account of Nafa's and my Halloween II experience back in 2009 (read it here).

I only have two negative criticisms for Crimson Peak; one is rather slight and the other a bit more annoying. Heck, they might even be tied together, at least they are in my deranged mind. The first thing is, I feel like the setup leading up to Edith getting to Allerdale Hall and falling for Thomas Sharpe should have been longer. Period pieces are slow and the good ones are achingly so. Thanks to my wife, I have seen A LOT of Jane Austen adaptations, some of them 4 hour versions and that length lets you settle into a story thus making the small emotional moments have a huge payoff. I realize that asking for a horror movie that is one minute short of two hours goes against every molecule of my being but damn it, this is a gothic horror film and I wanted more.

The second thing is the acting felt pretty stiff in spots. I don't want to harsh on this point too much because I'm hoping a second viewing of Crimson Peak will help me change my mind. Would I have been more invested in these performances had the movie taken it's time a little more? Probably not. I did care what happened to these people and I did get wrapped up in all the gothy melodramatic business but something is nagging at me. The one person who really bothered me was Jim Beaver. His portrayal of Carter Cushing really left me cold. He needed to be a bit more gruff or drunk or pissed off or jolly -shit, I don't care- just more something.

Now that that nitpicking is out of the way (see, only two paragraphs!), let me gush for a bit. Guillermo del Toro has never let me down and Crimson Peak is no exception. This film feels like 1. A love letter to the Hammer horror films of the 1960s, 2. A knowing nod to Mario Bava fans, and 3. A full on manly makeout session with Henry James. I've only read a few of James's works but I get the impression that he liked to kiss dudes, hard. The eerie atmosphere, beautiful set design, and magnificent lighting are paired with surprisingly brutal violence and monstrous apparitions making this a real treat for horror fans.

What makes this some next level shit is that Crimson Peak is kinda smart and it made me want to talk about this movie immediately after it was over. del Toro tells you what is going to happen early on and when it happens, your brain goes, "Damn it! I forgot about that! I'm not as smart as I thought. Blast these spectacles and useless vest!" Okay, maybe that's just me. I notice that this film has a slim chance of making its money back and I really hope it does because I want more classy, lush, and thoughtful horror films like this. Recommended. And -BONUS!- it's a great date movie.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Halloween From H!TITDS

Here are three Halloween-themed episodes of your favorite podcast to make the season feel like the sleazon.

I don't know what that means!

Listen right here!

Monday, October 19, 2015

LeEtta Can Draw, I Can't

My wife LeEtta is participating in Drawlloween this year. You should check out her stuff, it's fun!

Clicky the linky

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Doomed Movieton Broken - Cinema Somnambulist... THE BOOK!

So here we are in the 10th year of DoomedMoviethon.com and the site is down. Apparently, the web-hosting company I've been throwing money at for a decade is gone. Woops! Instead of screaming to the heavens and eating a bag of my own intestines, I'm taking this as an opportunity to revamp the old girl. The next time DoomedMoviethon.com is ready for your eyes, it'll be way hotter with some new content and a celebration of all the old stuff that's been what the site has been about all along. Apparently, people still like horror and cult movies! And double apparently there are some of you out there who STILL LIKE Doomed Moviethon! Thank you for that!

Speaking of recycled content, I wanted to announce right here, right now that I've been putting together another book. Say what!?!?! Yep, that's right. It's called Cinema Somnambulist and it's a collection of my writings on movies from this very blog and the aforementioned DoomedMoviethon.com. There's going to be approximately five chapters. All of my Franco Fridays, all of my nostalgic crap, and a bunch of Eurohorror and Asian horror stuff will be represented, just to name a few.

There will be very little material that is unique to the book but I really wanted to collect all of these pieces in one place just for myself. Then I thought, hey maybe some folks would like a copy too! Nice ego, Richard. But since it's a selfish exercise, I'm going to make the print as cheap as possible and offer the Kindle version for free. Rest assured that Cinema Somnambulist is a passion project and not an empire-building money machine like everything else I do. Wait, what? Anyway, I hope you will enjoy it.

Take care, my friends.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Three New Episodes!

Hello! Have you been listening to Hello! This is the Doomed Show lately? Damn yo. We be podcastin'. Brad and I talk about Lucio Fulci's Aenigma. Jeffrey and I talk about the almost forgotten oddity, Sex, Demons, and Death (AKA Diabolicamente... Letizia). But that's not all! Scott MacDonald of EurocultAV.com stopped by to talk about David Cronenberg's Shivers with me. It was pretty awesome.

So kick back, relax, or don't relax, eat something healthy like fruit, break out the chess set, and listen to some men talking!

Look at this busy art I made.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No Evil: The Zombie

Hey there, gang. You know who I'm super proud of? My wife! She drew the cover for Giallo Meltdown and has been drawing the Doomed Moviethon Girl for a decade. Currently, she's working on the second issue of her comic, No Evil. Here's what No Evil is all about. Well, LeEtta was kind enough to let me write the script for the second issue. She is going to post a page every Tuesday on her blog until it is done. When that happens, we're going to have it printed so y'all can own the whole thing in physical form! Crazy, right? I agree!

Follow along on her blog!