Monday, February 16, 2009

New Horror Out on DVD Today: The Midnight Meat Train pulls into the station...

Well, "Friday the 13th" did own the box office weekend and, not only that, it far exceeded expectations. I think they originally thought it would bring in around $25 - $30Million, but it ended up bringing in around $42.2Million to lead the record setting weekend. I think this is both good and bad, I'll tell you why. The good thing is, it's always a positive when an R-rated horror movie leads the weekend, it just reaffirms that there's a market for these films. The bad thing is, it's a remake. As long as it's remakes that win weekends, they'll stick to remakes and not give new, edgier films a chance. Take "Midnight Meat Train" for example, which comes out on DVD this week. The guys behind the film fought SO hard to get it a major theatrical release, but couldn't. The title changed, the release dates changed and an online petition was formed... and, in the end, it got a minor theatrical release and now comes out on DVD. Even though it's from Clive Barker's "Books of Blood", it's got a good cast, good director AND it's pretty f'ing good film... it gets no big release, no big weekend. "Friday the 13th" will just reaffirm to the studios that they should be releasing remakes, with their built in audiences, theatrically, and the edgier shit goes straight to DVD. Anyhow, let's look at what comes out this week and, as usual, you can see the trailers on our Youtube page or you can check them out on Amazon by clicking on the title.

To continue what I was saying above, "The Midnight Meat Train" was one of the more talked about horror films of the year and with good reason. It's the first film out of Clive Barker's "Books of Blood", it was helmed by the acclaimed, award winning Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, it has a great cast, including Vinnie Jones, Brooke Shields and Bradley Cooper and, it's an f'ing violent and gory ride. I saw it not too long ago and, personally, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Although it is a bit slow to get going, there's some great gore, Vinnie Jones is fantastic and there's a classic Clive Barker ending. You're a horror fan, you probably already know about this film and you know you're going to check it out, so... what are waiting for?

"Feast III: The Happy Finish" is the third entry into the "Feast" trilogy, which all started with writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, plus director John Gulager, winning the third season of Project Greenlight in 2006. All three of them have kept their careers alive by pumping these out and, even though I haven't seen THIS installment, I thought "Feast II: Sloppy Seconds" was great and this film picks up right where II left off... where Honey Pie is killed by one of the creatures and the other survivors are saved by the mysterious prophet, Short Bus Gus, who can control the monsters. He leads them into the sewers as they travel to the big city and, along the way, they get help from karate expert, Jean-Claude Seagal. Oh, did I mention that there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor involved in these? And lots of gore... lots and lots of gore. Great series.

"Quarantine", from director John Erick Dowdle, starring Jennifer Carpenter, of "Dexter" fame, is a remake of the Spanish horror film "REC". "REC", as in 'record', is an awesome film that needs to be seen and I haven't seen this version yet, so I can't really comment. However, it DID get a decent marketing push from Sony Pictures and did alright in the theaters, grossing around $40Million off of a $12Million budget. It's about a doomsday-type virus that breaks loose in a building and the people that end up isolated in it. There were certain religious aspects to the first film (the virus was formed by an agent of the Vatican who was trying to isolate a virus that he believed to be the biological cause of demonic possession), but I'm not sure if they got rid of that aspect for this film... anyhow, should be worth checking out.

"Alien Raiders" tore up the festival circuit and was quite talked about... I saw it last week and it is pretty good. It's from Ben Rock, who was a production designer on "Blair Witch". He then followed that up by writing a directing some television specials, including: "Curse of the Blair Witch", "The Burkittsville 7" and "Shadow of the Blair Witch". He also directs TV and viral internet projects, some of which were projects for "Hellboy" and Audi. This film is the first feature film that he's directed and, like I said, it's won him various awards from the horror festival circuit.

Lastly, I'm not sure if "Screamers: The Hunting" has much to do with the 1995 classic, "Screamers". Actually, I'm not sure if the 1995 film "Screamers" is even a classic, but I liked it a lot. The original was from Christian Duguay and was written by Philip Dick and Dan O'Bannon... this one gives Dick credit for the original story, but it's written by Tom Berry and directed by Sheldon Wilson. It seems a little weird to make a sequel 15 years later, especially when the original would have mere 'cult' status, at best... but, hey. Whatever... that's cool. I liked the first one enough to give this a chance.

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