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."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Ninety-Eight - "The Blair Witch 2!"


Can you smell that? (Sorry, i just had lunch). No no, it's the thrill of excitement in the air as we come down to our Final Three movies in the 100 Days challenge!

Let's skip the bullshit and get to doing what we came here to do! Love you guys!

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows (2000): Directed by Joe Berlinger. Starring Jeffrey Donovan, Kim Director, Erica Leerhson, Tristine Skyler and Steven Barker Turner.

The Skinny: A group of young adults hoping to "experience" the "Blair Witch Project" get far more than they bargained for, as a blackout in the deep woods leads them to murder and witchcraft.

What's Good: The first "Blair Witch" was groundbreaking in its innovation, and really scared the living shit out of people. People were convinced that it was real - that the town of Burkittsville, Maryland, was truly the place where a witch was once prosecuted and banished to the woods, and that a group of filmmakers hundreds of years later got caught up in the haunting. Enter "The Blair Witch 2." It's a good idea - kids trying to recreate the chills of their favorite movie - and it has some true moments that are both terrifying and disconcerting. It also has a great cast that actually gives their all - including Jeffrey Donovan, now of "Burn Notice" fame. The story becomes a sort of "folie a deux" except it's more like FOUR instead of two. The problem, however ...

What's Bad: ... is director Joe Berlinger, a talented DOCUMENTARY filmmaker responsible for the film "Paradise Lost" about a group of goth kids accused and convicted of murder. So he must have seemed a likely choice for a film about weirdos that's supposed to mirror "reality." What a mistake. The man was forced to go back and ADD SCENES literally weeks before the premier; the results of those reshoots equate to the opening scenes in the mental hospital and a few other silly jolting scares throughout. I can't say whether or not it was an improvement, but it's done and we'll say no more. And by that same token, is this a movie ruined by studio meddling? Were the original producers sitting over his shoulder, telling him it wasn't scary any enough? Who knows. Well, Berlinger knows, I guess, but he ain't talkin'. Anyway, the shitty direction robs this movie of what it could have been - a worthy sequel to a top notch film. Instead, it's a bit of a muddled mess, with a few scary scenes and a lot of head scratching moments that have you wondering if you've spent too much money on this fucker.

Why We Like It: I love it. Yes, it's shitty. Yes it's boring in spots. Yes it's a confusing mess right up until the end. I still love it. I owned the soundtrack and I saw it twice in the theaters, without utter expectation for something that would be superior to the original. I was expecting bad - there was no way they could top "The Blair Witch" or even come close to it. And in that frame of mind, it was an enjoyable experience. Now, that doesn't exactly mean I am recommending it to you all - it surely isn't for every taste. You have to have an eye for subtlety and a mind geared towards sociological things, because it's really an experience in and of itself. Because you KNOW - YOU KNOW - that plenty of people did this exact thing, invading the tiny town of Burkittsville (population 171 in the 2000 census), and flooding the woods of Seneca State Park to try and get caught up in the hype. If I were a young dumbass when I saw that movie the first time, I would have likely done the same thing. There is something oddly visceral to this film, something that resembles a college booze party that gets out of control. You get to watch people argue, try and hook up and get wasted. And I enjoy it on that level. Plus, Marilyn Manson's great "Disposable Teens" comes screaming out of the screen at you during the credits - and at the time I was obsessed with Manson, so it was kind of synergistic. It felt right. And it was.

Memorable Stuff: The introduction is great because of the camerawork and the musical selection, and this is actually one of those movies where they actually use the songs on the soundtrack IN the film, so if you know them both well you can pick them out (and yes I enjoy doing that), so I enjoy several of those moments. But my favorite scene in the film is when the kids are in the woods partying their asses off and wake up to a blackout, their film equipment destroyed.