Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hulu Plus

So I've been quiet on this blog lately. Well, for one my internet was sporadic earlier in the week but aside from that I've not been compelled to watch anything. It looks like that is going to change at least for this next week though! Why? Well, because Hulu Plus is having a free week of use for Xbox 360 users.

I'm sure the point of the free trial is to get people hooked. So far, the interface doesn't quite work. For example, I can add things to my queue but it seems to be random if they will actually show up there or not. Beyond that, I would be much more interested in Netflix than Hulu (as I prefer films to shows). However, Hulu does have some films. In fact, they have a fair amount of Troma productions as well as things in the Criterion Collection. Once I realized that I had to dive into the free trial because that is excellent! The other unfortunate thing is that there are commercial breaks in between the shows and movies, to the best of my knowledge. I'm not sure, but I remember hearing that they even exist in the paid (Plus) version so we'll see. I can deal with that as long as they're not as often or long as regular TV ads.

So, expect to see me blabbering on about at least a couple of the movies I watch thanks to Hulu Plus. There's a great deal of stuff in the Criterion Collection I just keep avoiding... Can't give an excuse not to watch 'em now though!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ranking the A Nightmare on Elm Street Series

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989) - Nintendo Entertainment System

Now that I've watched all the worthwhile Freddy films I feel able to rank them based on how good I thought they all were. I still might watch Freddy VS Jason completely sometime, but that doesn't count in the Freddy chronology to me. As for the remake, I will avoid that as long as I possibly can.

So, in order from best to worst it goes like this:

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  2. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (7)
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
  4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (5): The Dream Child
  6. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge
  7. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (6)

Initially when I put this blog together I figured it would only be used for writing about movies I hadn't already seen, hence why the first two don't have blog entries. However I guess I have changed my mind now since New Nightmare is one I'd seen before.

Back on topic of the listing, there is no question that the top films are the first and the last. I have friends who think the "Dream" trilogy are dumb, but personally I thought it was pretty decent. There were some really fun effects showcased in the films too. 3 and 4 are the best though as by 5 it just feels like the story has dragged on long enough.

The 2nd movie is so terrible I hate that they had the gall to call it "part 2". However, it isn't quite as bad as 6. By that point Freddy got worn down into a silly, completely unscary antagonist who picks on disturbed teenagers. They're both pretty bad but if you absolutely need more of the series, then they'd do in a pinch.

With the A Nightmare on Elm Street series down I might go to Halloween or Friday the 13th next. I watched most of the Halloween flicks already but they're still kind of neat and I wouldn't mind a refreshing watch of 'em.

Actually, thinking of it now there is the Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy documentary that I need to watch. Apparently it is 4 hours which sounds perfectly wonderful. I had almost bought that when it came out because it came with a special poster but that time has since passed. Heather Langenkamp is apparently in the middle of directing her biography I am Nancy which you can bet I'll need to see whenever it comes out. So, it looks like Freddy will never quite die.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Year: 1994
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
Genre: Horror: Slasher

This is the very final Freddy movie. Even if it might not have been intended to be, with the 2010 remake any following sequels will continue on with that modernized one. So, here we are, the end of the Freddython and it's practically a return to the wonderful nature of the original.

Wes Craven took the reigns once again for this one, which he had basically let go of for all the sequels. It was apparent that maybe Wes was tired of his killer character being pushed into goofier and goofier situations. Either way, New Nightmare is a brilliant return to form that only he could have crafted.

The movie takes us out of the "Elm Street" world and away from the story of Freddy that was hammered into the citizens of the town. We are no longer in that series but in the real world. The movie follows the actress who played Nancy in the first film (Heather Langenkamp). Robert Englund talks to her and they go on a talk show together and basically this is our world. What brings this back to Freddy is the fact that apparently Wes Craven is hard at work on a new Nightmare movie. Around this time, Heather is getting harassing phone calls and letters at her house and starts to worry that Freddy is coming into real life.

It is about as fresh a take on a horror series as someone can do and Wes is near genius for creating it. It is only necessary to watch the original movie to get what is going on in this one. However, watching the sequels wouldn't damper your interest in New Nightmare. The movie almost feels like fanservice with how wonderfully it ties into the original. Almost.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare is right up there in the list of great horror films. It isn't viewed as such by the movie community at large who prefer The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, and The Shining but that doesn't make it any less. It's a sort of slasher movie but with a lot more depth than most. For that, I give it a ton of credit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

Year: 1991
Director: Rachel Talalay
Writer: Wes Ccraven, Rachel Talalay, Michael De Luca
Genre: Horror: Slasher

This here is the final of the Freddy films although that is a misleading statement. After it there still was A New Nightmare and after that still Freddy VS Jason and then finally the 2010 remake. However, in regards to the initial story told in the first films, this is the last movie to pertain to it directly.

While the last film was hanging on by a thread, this one just goes over the deep end. After the last, they could have easily picked up on the story of Alice's unborn baby years later as a teenager. However, this doesn't happen at all. Instead they focus on Freddy's daughter that he had when he was alive. It is all a little odd.

The effects seem to finally have passed their prime as they now look hilariously goofy. It almost feels like this movie attempted to become a real "Hollywood" type movie but the series has never been like that. The creative spark of effects has been replaced by boring, late 80s effects that nobody would be excited to see. Apparently, it was also first shown in 3D. It didn't feel like a 3D movie when I watched it, which is a very good thing. There's nothing that bothers me more than movies that have things "reaching out" at you just to make use of the 3D gimmick. Thinking about it, at least now it finally makes sense why the lead character wore 3D glasses at a certain point in the movie. Maybe it was to signal the audience to do so as well.

Anyways, Freddy dies in a really boring way too. Spoilers: He gets pulled out of the dream world so he has no special powers anymore. Then he basically gets beat up to death. That is not the way a supernatural child killer deserves to go!

PS: There was the oddest bit of product placement I've seen since The Wizard as well. One of Freddy's murder involves bringing a stoner into a video game. Freddy then controls the game with his knife glove set up a bit like a  Power Glove and even goes so far as to say "Now I'm playing with power!". I don't think this could have ever been hilarious to a mature gaming audience, but hokey. I guess it's a testament to the relatively young fanbase for the series that they put this kind of thing in.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Want to See Scream 4

Or more so, I'm curious as to how it is. However, as with any sort of remakes/sequels I worry about their quality. At times, they work out damn well, such as the case for Night of the Living Dead or True Grit. Most of the time though things end up as a pile of junk or just okay (Halloween).

Despite my worry, I am cautiously optomistic about Scream 4. I loved the Scream trilogy. They always found ways to keep it going and I'm curious if they can keep up that innovative style. The premise of Scream (scary dude harassing you on phone about horror movies and stuff) has even been parodied in porn. It's iconic, even if not quite as much as the "he's calling from inside the house!" shtick of When a Stranger Calls. Then you've got the remakes that were just completely unnecessary (see: I Spit on Your Grave and Death Race).

This isn't meant to be a post about remakes though as apparently Scream 4 is not a remake. If it were, it would have left the "4" out of the title. I honestly don't know all that much about the movie. I know it was refreshing when the first film came out but will it remain that way today? What was once original is probably now par for the modern movie audience.

It has a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes but a 7.6 on IMDB. I've never relied to heavily on IMDB ratings, but Rotten Tomatoes is usually a pretty good source. Then again, Avatar has an 83% on there so maybe I should trust them less.

Maybe I'll see Scream 4 in theaters. If I do, that'll be the first new film I've watched in theaters this year. Joy. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child

Year: 1989
Director: Stephen Hawkins
Writer: Wes Craven, John Skipp, Craig Spector, Leslie Bohem
Genre: Horror: Slasher

The Dream Child is a continuation of The Dream Master. Alice is still alive and kickin' and apparently busy doing the deed with her high school sweetheart. However, he ends up dying and so do a lot of other kids because Freddy is back for yet another round. Also, Alice is pregnant.

The movie is somewhat like a super toned down Rosemary's Baby because Freddy (Satan) is taking the fatherly role for the developing fetus. The unborn boy is in fact the catalyst for the dreams - as apparently fetuses can dream. Whether this is true or not doesn't matter but because he dreams Alice can not ward off sleep.

Freddy intends to use the baby as a vehicle to birth him back into the world. What for, I can't really say, as Freddy shouldn't have his dream powers in the real world anyway. Either way, stuff goes down. This movie continues to try and outdo the last with effects. However, by this point things are starting to feel really silly. One guy fuses into a motorcycle for Christ's sake. This isn't a Final Fantasy summon this is supposed to be a horror movie!

The whole trope of this group of kids from Elm Street is tired by this point and that's probably why this is the last movie to continue that specific storyline. It took me a while to realize it, but all the movies with the "Dream" subtitle were part of a trilogy within the Nightmare series. It's pretty weird how they did that.

PS: Apparently this is the movie that has Freddy stuffing a girl until her cheeks puff out impossibly huge.

PPS: There was a fantastic song which played during the movie in a section and was the first credit song. I am pretty sure it's not meant to be the theme song for The Dream Child but I will imagine it is anyway.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Year: 1988
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Wes Craven, William Kotzwinkle, Brian Helgeland, Scott Pierce
Genre: Horror: Slasher

The Dream Master is one of apparently the last movie in the series that retains the number in the title. There's nothing wrong with them taking it out for future iterations, but I prefer it. Without numbers all these "dream" subtitles tend to blend together.

So, 4 starts off where 3 left off. At the end of 3 some kids were left alive and so here they are in this next movie alive and older. Despite Freddy being gone for a while Kristin keeps bringing her old team back into her dreams, much to their dismay. Of course, as soon as they begin to yell at her for it is when they probably need it the most. Freddy predictably comes back and gets straight to killing off the remaining kids.

Before Kristin dies, she gives her dream-pulling power to her friend Alice. The story from continues on into 5 and since I watched them together it's difficult for me to discern which cast of teens is from which movie. Regardless, what I do remember is this film was pretty cool. The moment Freddy put on sunglasses at a beach I busted out laughing. The kids feel like they die off a little too fast and in to large an amount, but the story is still extremely entertaining.

While this isn't the best one storywise, it is pretty intense with special effects. This movie seems when they started really going crazy with Freddy. Not only Freddy, but there are some horrible effects forced upon the teens. One girl has her body break apart as cockroach limbs spurt out. Another girl is forcefed by Freddy until her face is grotesquely swollen like a psychotic chipmunk. These might be from the 5th movie, but I'm thinking they happened here. The effects are still done very well and they're all very creative.

I wish more horror movies would capitalize on being silly and cool. I also wish they wouldn't try to force computer graphics on everything. I'm glad that sometimes movies rely on real effects these days, even if it's just a few.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Evil Dead: The Musical

Year: 2004
Director: George Reinblatt
Writer: George Reinblatt
Genre: Horror: Possession, Musical

The Evil Dead is a fantastic movie. Originally released in 1981 it was just a tiny, cheap production but people fell for it. Because of the success of that one, they basically remade and added onto the film for Evil Dead II. Finally after that they did Army of Darkness which is one of the most rollicking and awesome horror films made alongside Peter Jackson's Braindead/Dead Alive. 

Evil Dead: The Musical isn't a film but a stage musical. I have yet to have the opportunity to ever see it performed live before my eyes but I was able to get my hands on a copy. While the video quality wasn't the highest I was able to see what was going on. Picked up the official soundtrack CD too!

When it first started I felt that the humor was a bit too modern and the whole thing was too goofy. But then I thought back to the source material and it is all very silly. Once I got over some of the slight changing of comedic pace, I realized this was a great labor of love. The music isn't incredibly catchy, but it's not bad either. The dance segments were pretty fun as well even if they were mostly lifting various dance moves from popular dances.

It tells the story of Evil Dead 1 and II relatively well. I'm not sure which production I watched, but the Ash in it was dorky but oh so adorable. He fit into the Ash role perfectly and even though he was no Bruce Campbell he was a fairly accurate simulation. I'd watch it again in a heartbeat if I could see it live. Otherwise, it was a nice one time experience kind of akin to the absurdity of the Reefer Madness musical.

Apparently the live showings even featured a "splatter zone". If you were up close to the stage you would have a good chance of some of the on-screen blood spurting out at you. I, for one, would dig that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Year: 1987
Director: Chuck Russell
Writer: Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont, Chuck Russell
Genre: Horror: Slasher

A Nightmare on Elm Street has been one of my favorite horror movies since I first saw it some years ago. Freddy is my favorite of the big three slasher characters and really is a "character". Despite my fondness for the first movie and A New Nightmare I really have not seen much of the huge series. I decided to change that today so I watched part 2 and 3. As it turned out, I'd already seen 2 but 3 was totally new to me.

Whereas 2 is really a big let down 3 was surprisingly incredible. It's fun. Something I always want to see more of is the power of Freddy's dreamscapes. Dreams don't make sense and are allowed to be as crazy as possible. In this movie it felt like the world was very dream-like. For example, there was this part where a character was attempting to run from Freddy. She ran and ran but her feet were practically in tar so she couldn't move. That's dream logic to the extreme and more movies need to make use of dreams for horror. 

The characters were all relatively likable and it was cool. The music was also memorable, if tremendously 80s. I don't think any of the other sequels I will watch will be nearly as good as this, but I can hope. 

By the way, a lot of parts of this movie were really unintentionally hilarious. From an attempt to seduce a young boy to a scene where Freddy attempts to literally eat a girl, I was laughing out loud when I wasn't supposed to. The acting wasn't necessarily off, but it was a very unusual story with strange effects. The giant girl-eating Freddy head especially was weird as hell. If nothing else, I'll probably remember that part for a good long time. 

Thoughts About Netflix

Netflix is something I've wanted since 2004 or 2005. All these years I have managed (or been unable) to make use of the service but it seems like that will finally change soon. Maybe. I really want Netflix, but do I even need it? I have hundreds of movies currently at my disposal which I have never seen. They just don't feel like anything I "want" to watch. Of course, watching things that I haven't especially been interested in have yielded new favorite films in the past.

There's no need for me to have Netflix but if I did I would make tremendous use of the service. I've been holding a list of movies which I can't obtain elsewhere but are available on  Netflix for a while now. It would be quite easy to simply rent out movies every 2 days or so and turn them back in without having to scrounge for titles for about a year. Presumably throughout the year I would come up with even more movies easily available on Netflix and end up never running out of things to get from them.

Would I have time for any other movies? Probably. Sure there are days when I go without a movie but it's not very hard for me to stuff at least one film into every day. For my first year of college I managed that quite readily even with all the other work going on.

So, I really want Netflix. I want a regular package which allows for DVD shipments. The just streaming plan would be fine if only their entire were available. As it stands, just having some titles available is not nearly enough for me. Something I'm curious about is how often and how much their library expands each month. Is it primarily new releases that flood their doors or do they pick up a few older titles as well?

I just want this damn service in my life. What are some pros and cons of Netflix? I don't happen to know but surely I'll find out once the service is something I make part of my daily life.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Hello out there on the internet!

This is far from my first foray into blogging, but one of two for my more recent endeavors. If you're here, it's probably due to first discovering The Game Dungeon. Video games are my number one obsession, but movies also take up a very special place in my life. Horror movies in particular are really special to me.

I intend to use this blog for thoughts about movie news, movies I watch, and whatever else film related pops up. Mostly it will be a place to share my ideas of movies that I just watched. Many of the entries will probably be horror films because that's my favorite genre. Action movies will be very few and far between, as that is my least favorite genre.

I'll really watch anything if it seems to have something of value about it. Most of the movies I watch (aside from things deemed "classics") have from 2-5 stars on IMDB. There have only been two occasions where I actually couldn't sit through a movie - I can't even remember their names. Aside from that, even movies that get 1 or 2 stars on IMDB are usually wholly watchable, if devoid of worth.

So there is a basic little thing about my movie tastes and this blog. I probably will start off with posts about some of my favorite movies. See you again shortly!
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