31 Jan 2011

Joe Dante Digs Deep to Rekindle a 80s adventure

Deadly Movies DVD Reviews | The Hole on Blu-Ray and DVD 17th January
Available 17th January

The 80s is a hot decade for producers to pillage. The past ten years have seen 80s horror movies remade to death, 80s TV shows have been dusted down and given feature length treatment, and 80s action he-men have had a big screen renaissance. Surprisingly then, that most endearing sanctum of 80s childhood memories, suburban kids have a wacky adventure, has been all but untouched. Movies like ETThe GooniesGremlins,Back to the FutureStand By MeExplorers, and The Never Ending Story (go on you know you can list a lot more) have been untouched by the evil remake claw (although the remake whores at Platinum Dunes have acquired the rights to Monster Squad). Which leads us nicely to The Hole, not a remake, but a film very much with 80s sensibilities, and helmed by non other than Joe Dante, the man who gave us Gremlins.

Here we get all traits and fingerprints that made those movies so enjoyable, and for most of us, relatable to our greatest childhood fantasies: Middle class suburban kids come across something extraordinary that leads to adventures where they, not the adults or parents, are the heros, and the adults are often the villains. It’s not that the 90s or 00s haven’t offered such movies, but where Dante really taps into the success of those 80s classics is to reintroduce kids to horror. That’s right horror. Remember that wolf in The Never Ending Story? ET going all white and corpsey? or Spike’s face melting off in Gremlins? It was the mixture of adventure, suspence, and, all-be-it mild,  horror that made those films so memorable for kids. In The Hole Dante treats his audience with a respect that has been lost of late, a knowledge that kids can not only take a little scare here and there, but actually enjoy it!

The Hole then is a simple premise, two brothers, Dane and Lucas, and the love interest neighbor Julie, find a seemingly bottomless hole underneath their, yes suburban, home. That’s the kind of simplicity kids love. What’s down there? Where does it go? Are there monsters down there? Of course like any kids, they are going to find out. The temptation for most other kids movies at this time would be to transport the kids to somesort of Narnia, probably New Zealand shot, fantasy world. Dante however, high on 80s space candy, keeps us at home, and gives us creepy figures, demonic shadows, and possessed dolls. In short the hole is evil. Along the way, help and advice is imparted by 70s and 80s icon Bruce Dern which is another nice touch. When we finally arrive inside the whole we’re treated to a twisted world of German Expressionism rather than dwarfs and fairies. It does fall apart slightly during Dane’s final confrontation with the true evil that lurks down there, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the ride. Ultimately this is a welcome return to form for Dante who remembers to keep things simple, hire strong young actors (all three are fantastic), and that kids actually like being scared.

The DVD and Blu-Ray transfers look fantastic, although of course the theatrically 3D effects are lost in 2D translation leaving some effect shots looking a little odd. An unavoidable curse of the 3D movie to 2D DVD release. The extras consist of one making of featurette ‘Making of The Hole‘, Interviews with Cast & Crew, and a Behind the Scenes feature.

The Hole is released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 17th 2011

27 Jan 2011

Deadly Movies’ Alternative Oscars 2011

And the nominees are..,

Deadly Movies Oscars

If you’re dreading the wall-to-wall Oscar Porn that will be lavished over by the media during the next few months then join Deadly Movies for a decidedly alternate list of the best-of-the-best (well alternative except for ‘Black Swan‘ but that was just too bloody good).

NOTE: These are films whose wide release in the theatre or on DVD occurred in 2010

Best Picture
Rare Exports A Christmas Tale
House of the Devil
The Human Centipede
Piranha 3D
Black Swan
Let Me In

Best Director
Gareth Edwards – Monsters
Jaume Balaguer√≥ and Paco Plaza – [REC]2
Adam Green – Frozen
Jalmari Helander – Rare Exports A Christmas Tale
Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

Best Actress
Sarah Polley  – Splice
Emma Bell  – Frozen
Robin McLeavy  – The Loved Ones
Natalie Portman  – Black Swan
Ashley C Williams  – The Human Centipede

Best Actor
Onni Tommila – Rare Exports A Christmas Tale
Dieter Laser – The Human Centipede
Kodi Smit-McPhee – Let Me In
Jean-Pierre Martins – The Horde
Josh Stewart – The Collector

Best Supporting Actress
Betsy Russell – SAW 3D
Kelly Brook – Piranha 3D
Mila Kunis – Black Swan
Delphine Chan√©ac  – Splice
Jessica Alba – The Killer Inside Me

Best Supporting Actor
Kane Hodder  – Hatchet 2
Elias Koteas  – Let Me In
John Brumpton – The Loved Ones
Jerry O’Connell  – Piranha 3D
Mark Ruffalo  – Shutter Island

Best Foreign FilmRare Exports A Christmas Tale (Finland)
The Loved Ones (Australia)
The Human Centipede (Netherlands)
Harpoon (Iceland)
[REC]2 (Spain)

Best Cinematography
Rare Exports A Christmas Tale – Mika Orasmaa
Monsters – Gareth Edwards
Let Me In – Greig Fraser
Black Swan – Matthew Libatique
A Nightmare on Elm Street – Jeff Cutter

Best Visual Effects
Piranha 3D
Hatchet 2

Best Documentary Feature or Series
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
A History of Horror With Mark Gatis
Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore

Best Make-up
The Wolfman
Hatchet 2

21 Jan 2011

Lessons learned from Black Swan

Deadly Movies Reviews (of sorts) | Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman in 'Black Swan'

This is less of a review of Darren Aronofsky’s superb ‘Black Swan‘ (you find them anywhere you want) and more of a op-ed on what horror can learn from it. Many will question Black Swan’s use in a horror article. Is it horror at all? In the the 1940s it would have most definitely counted as horror (psychological horror in the vain of ‘The Cat People‘). By today’s standards It’s much harder to pigeon hole into the horror genre. Not that it matters, It’s just a bloody good movie. But horror, which has become about as visceral as film can become, can learn a lot from it.

Claustrophobia: Aronofsky’s stylistic approach here is to not give Natalie Portman’s Nina or the audience any room to breath. The camera is in her face the entire time. We, and Nina, are kept locked in close frame for most of the movie. We barely get any release or relief from this tight claustrophobic atmosphere. What does this achieve? It achieves a heightened sense of tension for us and the character. Meaning that a simple fingernail or toenail tear is more excruciating than many gross-out kills which are the easy fallback for contemporary horror.

Ambiguity: Too many modern horrors rely heavily on stupid twists or reveals to present us with a truth.., or the ‘it was me all along’ moment. There is nothing wrong with keeping the audience guessing. The ending, and events leading up to the ending, of ‘Black Swan‘ are puzzling and disorientating. You can question not only the ending, but most of the events in the film. It leaves the audience gasping for breath when the credits role.

Simplicity: This was a horrible experience that happened to one girl as she, and everyone else, went about their daily business. You don’t have to be stranded in hillbilly land without mobile signal, you don’t have to encounter supernatural creatures, you don’t have to be the sole survivor or a zombie apocalypse. All of those conventions are fine and work. But there are other ways, simpler ways, of conveying horror.

These are just a few of my thoughts. Some modern horror is tremendous. Most is, sadly, awful. Aronofsky may not have delivered a modern horror classic (I’m sure that wasn’t the intention anyway) but ‘Black Swan‘ does show us how effective simple techniques can be in producing truly horrific scenarios.

20 Jan 2011

Roger Corman presents Dinoshark!


Deadly Movies | News

It’s always good news when a press release arrives in your inbox about a new Roger Corman film. It may well be battling Asylum in the stupid name category, but with Corman and Anchor Bay behind it, ‘Dinoshark‘ looks like it could be made from sounder monster bones. Check out the DVD artwork below and hit ‘more’ to read the press release. ‘Dinoshark‘ is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 26th.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – For millennia, it slept inside a frozen glacier: waiting to be set free.  But with an unexpected shift of climate, the glacier cracked, and what was once extinct was reborn to unleash terror in a brave new world. On April 26, Anchor Bay Entertainment releases the hit Syfy Channel original movie Dinosharkon Blu-ray and DVD. Produced by the legendary Roger Corman and Julie Corman, Dinoshark bites with an SRP of $24.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $19.98 for the DVD with pre-book on March 30th.

Born in Antarctica, Dinoshark noses his way down the warmer currents to Mexico, towards a popular vacation spot crowded with party-goers unwittingly ready to fall prey to a prehistoric eating machine.  When the killings begin, it becomes clear that no normal animal can be responsible for such savagery.

Local captain Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour – “24”, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Skyline) and marine biologist Carol (Iva Hasperger – “CSI”, “Cold Case”) seem to be the only ones convinced that the creature terrorizing their shores is something other than the expected man-eating shark.  They enlist the help of the world’s only expert on the Dinoshark (Roger Corman himself).  Together, will they be able to reel Dinoshark in?

Dinoshark is the story of a terrifying sea-creature that threatens to turn a holiday swim into a bloodbath.  This fierce, finned predator has to be seen to be believed:   if he will let you live that long!  Bonus feature includes a full-length commentary track with producers Roger and Julie Corman.

7 Jan 2011


Deadly Movies previews the deadliest movies of 2011 and It’s exclusive to t5m. Check it out here

Deadly Movies' 2011 Movie Preview

2 Jan 2011

Deadly Movies 2010 site review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how Deadly Movies did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of our overall blog health: The WordPress Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow (that’s a good thing).

Crunchy Numbers
Featured image
About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. Deadly Movies was viewed about 26,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.
In 2010, there were 97 new posts, growing the total Deadly Movies archive to 205 posts. There were 277pictures uploaded, that’s about 5 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was July 23rd with 1,475views. The most popular post that day was Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of #11 ‘Invasion of the Blood Farmers

Where Did They Come From?
The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com,twitter.comfacebook.comnymag.com, and en.wordpress.com.
Our top search terms were actor christopher george, 90s creature feature Deep RisingDeadly Movies, andThe Human Centipede Movie.