Needless to say, the gap between this latest and our last episode hasn’t been all that… brief. It wasn’t helped by the fact that The Pelican Brief is an overwhelming passable but unremarkable film, and one that pales a bit compared to some of the other John Grisham adaptations that were filling multiplexes in the mid-90s. Still, it gives us a chance to dive into Grisham’s fascinating background and the types of movies that his books inspired, even if this one doesn’t entirely adhere to his distinctly Southern flavor. Continue reading
We end this Shocktober (for the most part) with a movie that’s hard to even categorize as a horror movie, even if it tackles one of the most iconic movie monsters. 1994’s Wolf sees the odd pairing of Mike Nichols’ actor-centric directing with modern-day werewolves and the results are… pretty fun if you’re willing to overlook everything that doesn’t quite work about it. Which is quite a bit. But come on, where else are you going to see Jack Nicholson as a werewolf book editor? Also, if that wasn’t enough, John has fun relying on AI to concoct a version of this movie that stars Robin Williams (surprise, it’s not that great). Continue reading
The Russell Crowe funny accent era is here and I love it. Just a little while ago, Crowe was cast in Thor: Love and Thunder to play Zeus with the same vaguely English accent he used in Gladiator a couple decades ago. Crowe protested this and eventually got his way by agreeing to shoot every scene in the movie twice, once with a “faux upper-class” accent and once with an hilariously over-the-top, effete Greek accent. Boy, sure sounds like the production of that movie went great, doesn’t it? Anyway, he won in the end and I guess not satisfied with one huge swing, Crowe went and made another one: he gave himself just two months to perfect an Italian accent for The Pope’s Exorcist. And that performance once again elevates an otherwise forgettable film.
A few Shocktobers ago, I was particularly taken with the first Conjuring movie, enough that I eventually sought out the sequel, despite not being someone who seeks out horror sequels very frequently. So I was happy to catch up with the Warrens again, even if I’m still very behind on catching up with the larger Conjuring universe that has developed over the past decade. While The Devil Made Me Do It isn’t a complete revitalization of the series or anything (though it does pivot slightly away from ghost stories), it still leaves me curious to check out whatever Annabelle and that Nun are up to, perhaps against my better judgment. Continue reading
It’s funny that the whole idea of doing “Possession” films for this year’s Shocktober was inspired by Exorcist: Believer when there were so many other (better) possession films released this year. I loved Evil Dead Rise, and I haven’t seen The Pope’s Exorcist yet (Expect a review from Sean later this week) but even its unimpressive 48% RT score is double Exorcist: Believer’s paltry 22%. Then there’s Talk to Me, a low budget, Australian Indie from a pair of YouTube creators, and it’s arguably the best horror film of the year.
The second half of my PG-13 horror week is 2010’s The Last Exorcism directed by Daniel Stamm. A German filmmaker, Stamm directed this and another low budget indie found footage movie before he kind of disappeared in Hollywood. The Last Exorcism‘s success cast Stamm into M. Night Shyamalan’s orbit just as the cinematic universe trend was taking off, setting in motion the now familiar story of the low budget filmmaker suddenly thrown into a massive studio opportunity. In this case, he was to direct “Reincarnate,” a movie that would have formed the middle chapter of “The Night Chronicles” a series that apparently began with Devil, the scary elevator movie also from 2010. Except “Reincarnate” never got off the ground (although also it apparently hasn’t officially been cancelled) and instead Shyamalan had to make a bunch of movies to rehabilitate his own reputation, leaving Stamm to spend last decade plus grinding it out.
Considering it was already reviewed on this blog when it came out in 2012 and was also featured on John’s favorite horror movies of the ’10s, the praises of Sinister have already been sung around these parts. One thing that stuck out to me about John’s original review is that he mentioned not seeing Ethan Hawke show up in things very often. That seems quite true of the period in which this film was made, as Hawke hadn’t quite rebounded with his Oscar-nominated role in Boyhood yet and was toiling in lower-budget obscurity. It perhaps speaks to Hawke’s current status that he doesn’t have nearly as much screentime in his more recent horror collab with Scott Derrickson, The Black Phone, but at least at this moment, we get a lot of Hawke doing a great job of grounding a movie with plenty of supernatural elements. Continue reading