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."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Fifty - "The Mist!"


Yes, it was bound to happen - twice! I missed both yesterday's blog and feature film but with good reason. I had to run around all day to pick up a tux, attend a rehearsal dinner and also my regular daily activities. And then finally, the copy of "House of Wax" that I have looks like it has been used as a hockey puck. The underside is so scratched the xBox won't even

I have to say, I am not too upset about it - I hate Paris Hilton.

But ... I loves me some Stephen King! And what a perfect film for the halfway mark, too!

After "The Shining," this may be my favorite King film. So I hope you can enjoy "The Mist" today. I am watching it this morning to accommodate the wedding I am in this afternoon. Enjoy!

The Mist (2008): Directed by Frank Darabont. Starring Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden, Marcia Gay Harden and Andre Braugher.

The Skinny: Based on Stephen King’s “Skeleton Crew” novella of the same name, and directed by frequent King collaborator Frank Darabont, “The Mist” follows a group of people trapped in a grocery store after the titular mist rolls into town – and with it, creatures of a weird and disturbing nature.

What’s Good: As I said a while back, this is one of the best horror movies of the past 20 years, and I stand by that opinion. Because what is really scary to us? Do we really fear Freddy Kreuger or Jason Vorhees? No, we’re terrified of cancer, old age, death … and in many circumstances, the unknown. And that’s what this movie and its bank of creepy mist is about – the unknown. The unknown causes people to break down and panic, to the point of believing the rantings of a religious lunatic who thinks of the mist and its beasties as the herald of the endtimes. The unknown causes factions to appear among the 30-or so survivors in the store – the rational people and the ones swept sup in Marcia Gay Harden’s Ms. Carmody’s religious fervor. And it is the fear of the unknown that causes Jane’s character to make a horrible sacrifice in the end that is almost guaranteed to break your cold fucking heart.

What’s Bad: Frankly, some of the special effects are not so good, particularly in the CGI department. But from what I understand, that is somewhat on purpose, since Darabont claims he was trying for that 50s-era monster movie motif – to the point of wanting to release it in black and white. In fact there is a special edition DVD of the film with a black and white version included on a second disk. Also, some of the characters are stock characters, but that is actually a King signpost – religious nuts and backwoods rednecks populate just about every one of his books, and “The Mist” is no exception.

Why We Like It: Like I said, I love this movie; it’s in my all-time top ten. There are moments of true horror, especially when you catch a glimpse of a lobster-clawed monstrosity through the mist as it cleaves a man in half, or as the survivors make a valiant run at the end and spy a six-legged creature so massive it towers in the air just out of sight. The cast all do a fantastic job selling the material, too, especially Thomas Jane and Laurie Holden (Marita Covarubias of “X-Files” fame). And the always steady Marcia Gay Harden takes a typical King archetype and pans the shit for pure insane gold. Depending on your view, her Ms. Carmody will either have you hurling the remote at the screen in disgust or dropping to your knees to follow her into Armageddon. Either way, it is a compelling movie – true, it’s no “Shawshank” or “Green Mile” – two other Darabont-helmed King adaptations – but it is a solid entry in the genre and in the director’s milieu. And the end … oh my god, the end. In the original story, the survivors drive on until they pick a distant radio stations – a note of hope that the mist hasn’t spread to the whole country. But in Darabont’s movie … dear god, let’s just say that it is a nightmarish conclusion that is simply just … horrific.

Memorable Stuff: The aforementioned creature that looms over them in the fog during their escape is – in my view – the creepiest visual of the movie. It squirms with bizarre tentacles that twist and curl, bringing to mind a Lovecraftian creation. And the scenes where Ms. Carmody whips the believers into a frenzy are tense and gut-wrenching, particularly when she starts screaming about a blood sacrifice and expiation and starts clawing at Drayton’s son (played wonderfully by Nathan Gamble).