Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Society (1989, Brian Yuzna)

Ever felt as if you didn’t belong, even though you had it all? Bill is rich and is at the top of the world, yet he he has these sweat causing nightmares that convince him nothing is okay. Something is wrong. Very wrong. Unfortunately for young Bill he is about to discover just how correct he is about his fears. What lurks beneath the shinny happy life that Bill is a part of in the upper class suburbs. The truth is far more disturbing that he could ever realize.

Brian Yuzna was responsible for some of the Re-Animator films and he jumped at the chance to create a unique film. Despite Society being a soap opera it is still an eerie movie that works fairly well. Billy Warlock is great as Bill, playing the character straight and conveying his youthful terror and suspicions quite well. Also Yuzna can’t help but include body horror and a scene that is one of the most disgusting of all time. I won’t even try to figure out who the villians of the movie are. Worm people? Beings from another world?

Well at the very least I would prefer lizard people over them. That’s for sure. For our sakes I hope it’s all fiction. Also you can’t hate on a horror movie with special effects done by Screaming Mad  George. Too bad that there wasn’t a franchise made out this film since Yuzna had some interesting, if obvious, ideas. He also is not afraid to go to dark and gross places, which is a plus.



Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Mimic (1997, Guillermo del Toro)

Despite years of camping experience and being out in the wilderness, bugs still creep me out. Insects are different from humans, and they truly rule this world for they far outnumber us mammals. Mimic starts out with scientists desperately creating a new bug to wipe out a child killing plague ravaging New York City. In the process they unleash a monster that only presents itself years later, coming back to haunt the scientist couple that was responsible for its existence in the first place. Dr. Susan Tyler and Dr. Peter Mann begin to realize that the the so called “Judas Bug” has mutated into something bigger, something truly frightening. After all, the characters along with Leonard, a local transit cop, are forced to journey deep into the underground beyond and beneath the subway in an attempt to prevent the bugs, which can now mimic human behavior, from emerging to take over the city.

The creature effects are fantastic, and this movie is really entertaining. Particularly when the film moves to below the city, as the humans end up becoming prey for gigantic bug creatures. del Toro utilizes the damp, dark setting to create an eerie atmosphere while also playing with genre conventions. Although this film does have cliches such as the noble cop who proves handy in the end, the scientist partner who is sarcastic and ends up as bug food, and the adorable little boy raised by the kind old man that may be the key to what is really going on. Still thanks to del Toro’s direction and the really good script such elements fit the movie well, although it helps that the film itself is a really good monster film.

Although on further research it seems that del Toro has disowned the film and was not happy with the finished product. I can’t say I blame him since it was his movie, but I still liked Mimic all the same. I wonder if the film could not have been truly great instead of merely good however had they allowed del Toro to fulfill his vision. I would like to see the Director’s Cut, and there was supposed to be a different ending according to IMDB.com’s trivia section-an ending that sounds creepy and fantastic to me. Too bad it didn’t happen, although I guess there have been many films butchered or altered by film studios over the years.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Pumpkinhead (1988, Stan Winston)

Special effects wizard Stan Wizard unfortunately only directed a few films, chief among them being Pumpkinhead. Its dated as most 80s movies are, yet its also rather well made and rather creepy. The monster itself is beyond ugly and murders its victims in a horribly gruesome and violent manner, operating on the orders of people who have summoned it for revenge. However as real life and many films attest to, revenge is not a clean and easy matter. Usually it possesses people, turning them into primitive beasts hellbent on getting retribution at all costs. Lance Henriksen’s farmer, a simple man who makes his living off the land, witnessed the unholy creature Pumpkinhead at an early age, and after suffering a fate worse than death proceeds to go to an evil woman and force her to bring forth the beast to get him justice.

The problem is though that what happened was an accident, and only too late does Henriksen’s Ed Harley understand why others warned him against bringing to life an undead and foul monstrosity. Although the creature effects are old school 80s style, Pumpkinhead itself still looks fantastic and disgusting, inspiring fear and terror. Considering how the movie ended I’m surprised there were sequels, although it seems that the horror genre creates franchises out of just about everything. This is more like one of the darker 80s films instead of the usual entertaining horror ones, and it benefits from playing the material straight.

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