Best Horror films (I saw) in 2013

by  on Jan.04, 2014, under horror movies

Let me preface this by saying, I don’t get to watch everything that comes out and I know I missed a few horror films here and there so this is by no means and exhaustive list of the best horror of 2013. Its simply the best horror films I watched in 2013 in my opinion.

Conjuring-intl.608x898The Conjuring:

The expertly shot and paced ghost story that feels like a throwback to the way film was made in the 1970’s.  James Wan dives into the story head first and sets us up in a world where demonic possession and malevolent spirits are real and out to hurt us.  The movie features great performances by Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, and Lili Taylor, who finally makes up for her awful appearance in “The Haunting”.  Masterfully crafted shots and scares abound in what is easily the new high bar for ghost stories.

 

 

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Lords of Salem:

While I’ve found Rob Zombie’s early films to be entertaining, I didn’t care for his Halloween remakes but he surprised the hell out of me with Lords of Salem.  A throwback to Satanic panic movies from the 1970’s, Lords features some amazing imagery, bizarre set pieces, even crazier characters and a cthulhu-esque satan spawn being held lovingly by a nude Meg Foster.  What’s not to love!  The acting, by no means perfect, is the best in a Zombie film so far and story actually feels well paced and manages to not indulge in the typical “trailer-trash” talk that so saturates his previous work.  It shows some real growth for Zombie as a filmmaker and I find myself actually getting excited about his next project!

 

 

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Insidious 2:

While I really liked the first Insidious, I didn’t care that much for the “further” parts of the story with Patrick Wilson wandering around in a world of dead people and fighting a darth maul demon.  So when I heard that Insidious 2 would focus more on the “further” world I didn’t get too excited.  But the film surprised me with how good it was and how bat-shit insane some of its sequences were.  It’s a weird film with Patrick Wilson spending most of the film possessed and chewing up scenery like a mad man.  It also featured one of my favorite “Haunted House” set pieces ever!

 

 

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Maniac

Maniac is what a remake should be.  The original 80’s film is an interesting sleazy movie but I doubt anyone would classify it as a classic of the genre.  The remake takes the basic concept of the character of Frank and tells us his story through his eyes.  the entire film is shot from first person perspective and puts the audience in the head of a killer.  Elijah Wood stars as Frank, a character we only see when he looks into a mirror or has an “out of body” experience which happens a couple times in the film to punctuate what Frank is feeling.  Its a concept that sounds hokey at first but somehow ends up making a run of the mill serial killer movie into something far more interesting.  Plus the 80’s style synth soundtrack by French composer, ROB, is easily the best of the year!

 

 

Antiviral_(film)Antiviral

I’m a big fan of David Cronenberg’s early films when he was at his weirdest.  Now his son, Brandon Cronenberg, appears to have picked up the torch and is running with it!  Antiviral is his full length film debut and its a doozy.  It introduces us to a world where society has become so obsessed with celebrity that people pay to get infected with the same colds, flus, and diseases that that their favorite film star has.  The film follows a employee at one of the companies that sells these maladies who infects himself with a virus that ends up killing the celebrity it came from and he has to find a cure before his time runs out. its a very bizarre film that shines a very bright light on our culture’s obsession with celebrities.  I’m excited to follow the career of Brandon Cronenberg and see what strange places he takes us next!

 

american-mary-poster

American Mary

What a surprise this movie was!  The Soska twins take us into the strange world of extreme body modification in this twisted story.  Mary (Katherine Isabelle) is a medical student who gets raped by one of her professors.   Traumatized by the incident, she drops out of school and begins working in the world of underground surgery where she comes across some very strange characters with even stranger desires for their body.  The movie stumbles a bit here and there but overall its a fascinating little film by two promising female voices in cinema.

 

 

vhs2V/H/S/ 2

I liked the first V/H/S but it didn’t “wow” me.  So I walked into the sequel with some apprehension.  A couple of the stories, including the wraparound are complete and total misses.  They just suck.  But the first person zombie short, “A Ride in the Park” was clever and funny, then there was the awesome “Safe Harbor” story about a film crew documenting a cult that is preparing for something very big and scary that happens that day.  It’s a creative, fast paced and action filled sequence that makes the move so worth seeing.  The film closes with Jason Eisner’s (Hobo with a shotgun) entry into the film “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” which feels like a bit of a throwback to movies like “the Goonies” but with far more foul language and aliens.

 

resolution-2012-posterResolution

For a movie with a cover that looks like your typical “torture porn” dreck, Resolution cannot be judged by its cover.  The film is a slow burn supernatural tale that takes place while a man tries to detox his best friend from his drug habit.  As the film progresses, stranger things begin to happen and both men begin to question their sanity.

 

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Unjustly Hated: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

by  on Oct.30, 2013, under horror movies, Movie Review

blairwitchposterSo there are a lot of movies out there that were really hated when they came out.  The best example is probably Halloween 3: Season of the Witch which up through the early 2000’s was the most despised of the Halloween movies.  Today it has enjoyed a resurgence and found its audience.  I hear a lot of horror fans gush about it and it even received a collectors edition Blu-Ray release last year.  But there’s a lot good horror movies out there that have a bad rap and I aim to give their their due.

When the Blair Witch Project came out it was a hit and there’s a lot to admire about  it.  The film itself is one of the fathers of our current “Found Footage” craze but that’s not what made it special.  It was the marketing that made it work.  But that’s an article for another day.  The film studio needed to follow up the film with a sequel in order to capitalize on the first films success.  I think most expected the film to just reuse the concept of the first film and have more kids go missing trying to find the truth behind the Blair Witch legend.  But that’s not what happened at all.

(more…)

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Read Haunted Attraction Magazine Issue 58 for FREE!

by  on Oct.27, 2013, under Uncategorized

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As some of you may already know I am now the co-publisher and art director for Haunted Attraction Magazine!  We’re all digital now which means you can only view the magazine on your Ipad, iphone, Android tablet or Android phone or you can view it on your PC or Mac.  Haunted Attraction Magazine is the oldest regularly published magazine in the industry and we’re making an effort to bring it back to its glory for the Digital age.  While the magazine might have been very haphazardly published in the past, we’re setting out to publish 4 issues a year and be punctual about it!  Best of all this new Special Halloween Issue featuring a video interview with Rob Zombie is available for FREE!  Yes FREE! So visit the all new HauntedAttraction.com to download the version for your device!

The New issue also features the TOP 31 Haunts in the USA, an interview with composer Chris Thomas, an article by me, and so much more!! Get yours Now!

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The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride 2013 Trailer

by  on Oct.21, 2013, under Canon 5D Mark III, haunted house commercials, Haunted Houses, HDSLR Filmmaking, trailers

Check out our new Trailer for The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride in Pennsylvania!

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Brighton Asylum Haunted House Official Trailer 2013

by  on Oct.16, 2013, under Canon 5D Mark III, haunted house commercials, trailers, video

We shot this back in June of this year and edited it into a kick ass trailer for a Haunt in New Jersey

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Official 2013 Dent Schoolhouse Trailer

by  on Oct.15, 2013, under Canon 5D Mark III, haunted house commercials, trailers

The latest trailer creation for The Dent Schoolhouse.  Shot and edited entirely by Rogues Hollow Productions.

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Official LA Haunted Hayride Trailer (2013)

by  on Sep.25, 2013, under Canon 5D Mark III, haunted house commercials, trailers

Just wrapped up editing on the official memory lane trailer for Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.  I shot all the video in this video and can tell you that hayrides are very tricky to shoot compared to haunts.  It was a big learning experience.  Check it out!

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Video For Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare

by  on Sep.11, 2013, under haunted house commercials, Rob Zombie, trailers

A while back I made a video for Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare and it finally dropped to the public yesterday.  Today its everywhere and its kind of overwhelming!  Its on Rob Zombie’s website among many others and as of this post its at nearly 14,000 views in less than 24 hours.  Seeing something I worked on getting this type of publicity is pretty trippy.  For something that is mostly pieced together with clips from Rob’s movies and stuff I’ve shot myself its came out well!  I’m flying out next month to shoot the actual haunt so there will be more photos and videos of this event coming by October 13th!  So stay tuned for that in the coming weeks!

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