100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Friday, July 30, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Seven - "The Happening!"


Hey there you ravers and shavers.

Well it's a latte-less Friday for Yours Truly, which just really sucks. But what can you do? I can only beg my compassionate friends at Starbucks for so many freebies before I am exiled to the land of Dunkin Donuts. And that ain't happening on MY watch, mister or missus. That dawg won't hunt.

And enough of all that ...

Indeed it is Friday and it is also Day Seven of the 100 Days of Horror. Truth said, I am shocked I made it a week; I've wanted to give up all along, frankly. I am starting to really question this thing, because it isn't attracting any attention - not on Facebook and not on the blogsphere either. I have maybe five people following on FB and ZERO FOLLOWERS at my blogspot blog. Halfway through "30 Days of Night," I started getting a tight feeling in my guttiworks. And when I later said, "Why bother?" the wife said, "No, no, stick to it!" I was so exasperated I didn't even start in with an argument. I am very appreciative that those you who are reading and even trying to play along (all two of you ;)), but I think in my head I pictured massed legions of people bowing at my feet to sample my wisdom.

Maybe the problem is I have no wisdom to offer? Hm, yes. Let us ponder this.

Okay, no more pondering ...

Today's selection comes from M. Knight Shyamalan (yes, I spelled that from memory), his attempt at making a cheese-filled delight called "THE B-MOVIE." "The Happening" was sort of lost on audiences who wanted either blood and gore or another twist ending like "Sixth Sense" or "Unbreakable," the latter of which still gives me chills ("It was the kids! They called me Mr. Glass!").

I advise you, if you are watching along, NOT to have expectation and just be open to things like bad dialogue and wooden acting - because that's what he was aiming for.

Or so he says ... check The Skinny below and thanks again for reading!

The Happening (2007): Directed by M. Knight Shyamalan. Starring Mark Walberg, Zooey Deschannel, John Leguizamo,

The Skinny: After posing himself as the successor to Hitchcock with “The Sixth Sense,” Shyamalan started going downhill fast. But he tried a rebound effort with this modern take on the corny B-rate movies of the 50s and 60s. When a rash of mysterious and violent suicides plagues the east coast, the first inclination is that terrorists are launching an attack. The truth, however, is that Mother Nature is trying to take back control of her planet by eliminating its most virulent pest – man!

What’s Good: See? When you put it that way, it sounds half interesting! The problem was that no one knew how to market this film, so the cheese factor was lost in a sea of faces awaiting a plot twist worthy of “Unbreakable” and “Sixth Sense.” So much hype effectively ruined this mild horror/thriller that needs to be watched with tongue firmly in cheek. You’re supposed to groan and roll your eyes at the dialogue and the half-baked effects (intimidating breezes, anyone?). Roger Ebert put it best in his Chicago Sun Times review (three out of four stars): “It is no doubt too thoughtful for the summer action season, but I appreciate the quietly realistic way Shyamalan finds to tell a story about the possible death of man.”

What’s Bad: Again it’s all hype, hype, hype. If you go in expecting “The Sixth Sense,” you will be utterly disappointed. But if you understand that the director was intentionally shooting for the very cheesiness you find yourself saying, “THAT’S CHEESY” over, then you just might enjoy it. Forget that Marky Mark is kind of a douche and that Deschanel looks hypnotized half the time. And try to find the glee in watching a band of survivors run from a breeze as it glides through the grass just at their heels (it’s assumed that the plants are the cause and the wind its vector). Also, the violence is stylized and graphic and includes such scenes as teens getting two barrels of buckshot in the face for snooping on the wrong porch.

Why We Like It: I watched it initially because I love Shyamalan’s work so far (I kind of even liked the dismal “The Village,” but I cannot bring myself to watch “The Lady in the Water). However, after a second viewing I started to get what he was after, and since then I’ve come to have some affection for this understated thriller. The suicides are wild and varied – knitting needles in the neck, lying down in front of a lawnmower, and bodies dropping nonchalantly from a construction sight are just a few of the bizarre images. Once he settles into the story, however, is when you have to say to yourself, “Okay … this is SUPPOSED to suck!” The director said himself, “We're making an excellent B movie, that's our goal.” Well put, sir. Well put.

Memorable Stuff: The suicides at the beginning are inspired. Also, as previously mentioned, when the survivors run ahead of a breeze, I crack up every time. And anytime Wahlberg looks tense and disturbed, you can count me in! The shot in Jersey as a group of survivors searching for their relatives discover that the entire town of Newark has succumbed to the attack is intense – dozens of bodies hang from trees lining neighborhood boulevards. This stuff keeps me smiling in the wee small hours of the morning.