Finally Watched It – Challenge Edition: “Martyrs” (2008)

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In yet another movie that is touted on many lists for being super disturbing and graphic, Martyrs features two women who were at the mercy of a cult trying to create martyrs by having them survive supreme pain to transcend or transfigure to see God. The movie starts with Lucie, seeking revenge on what was done to her with the help of Anna, who hopes Lucie will move beyond the pain she went through.

Is it wrong of me to say this isn’t that bad? I mean, it’s violent and terrible. It opens with gruesome murders and features beatings and torture but… Ok, for me, a movie has to cross a line even within the narrative to ‘offend’ me or make me want to tap out of it. But this didn’t. Granted, I winced, I was shocked, it was gut-wrenching to watch the ‘chosen’ woman break over time but it wasn’t too much for me.

My bar for tapping out is ‘Serbian Film,’ however. And I’ve seen ‘Salo.’ This movie does not come close to either of those in terms of giving up on it.

I do have one kinda spoilery question… Not that I want these heartless bastards to get away with what they’re doing but if you have a cult of murder torture that you don’t want people to find out about, WHY would you set your torture den in the bunker of a house that you plant a family in THAT WOULD HAVE THEIR SPECIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS END UP IN A NEWSPAPER!? Wouldn’t you want some people that were super low key and average? Someone that would take a while to notice if they were missing and not star students in the local school who would absolutely attract attention if they suddenly didn’t show up ever again? That just really bothered me as something a super fancy evil cult wouldn’t overlook. Especially when it’s revealed that they had a bunch of old rich people who probably could pull off the “quirky old person who lives alone now” type of person.

Ugh, but that irksome plot point aside, this was a super bloody movie that’s shocking but it didn’t get me so bad that it’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. I’m kinda glad I was able to scratch this off my list. It was well shot and acted. If you can take it and like horror, I’d check it out!

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Finally Watched It: “Hellbound: Hellraiser 2”

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The first Hellraiser was one of my favorite horror movies growing up but I had never really taken notice of the sequels. Either I just assumed they would be terrible or it just passed me by but I finally decided to take a look at the sequel.

To start off I love how this is a DIRECT sequel with a recap in the beginning. It gave just enough backstory to make you excited to see what’s coming next. While I did enjoy this movie overall, there’s something off; like they’re trying so hard to be the first movie but coming off a bit sloppy in the execution. But I gotta give it credit. It’s scary, unique, and Tiffany is a true MVP. We hear about Pinhead all the time but we don’t hear much about how badass Tiffany – as well as Kirsty – is in terms of horror movie female leads.

Eventually, I’ll check out the rest of the series but I hear they get pretty bad after 2. We’ll see.

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Finally Watched It: “House” (1977)

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Having seen this movie mentioned dozens of times on crazy movie lists, I finally had the chance to check it out.

We have our set up of a bunch of high school girls (I have nicknamed them The Sailor Scouts) all go to this old woman’s house and of course, shenanigans ensue. Typical right? Hoooooo boy, ladies and gentlemen, this movie I have to come right out and say is either the scariest funny movie I’ve seen or the funniest scary movie I’ve ever seen. Everything feels otherworldly and off kilter even when things are “normal.”

When it starts, all the main characters are so damn happy and go lucky all you can think is “well, hey there, Cannon Fodder. I’m sure nothing will go wrong here.” But even as old as this movie is, gods is it refreshing to have a cast we actually root for instead of a collection of unlikable assholes you WANT to die. You actually feel for the characters as they go through all this horrific shit; all done with effects that are creepy in some parts, and ‘pause the movie because you’re laughing so hard’ parts. If done with skill, I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie remade with updated effects! As it is, I’m half tempted to watch it a few times just because it was so much fun. This movie BEGS to be watched with a bunch of friends and booze if you got it.

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Finally Watched It: Ringu

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As if this even needs a summary, this is the original Japanese movie about a woman who is investigating a cursed videotape that kills you a week after you’ve watched it.

This movie is damn creepy. It may not have aged very well in some ways but, yikes. There were plenty of moments that freaked me out. And it certainly made me feel old because heck, who has video tapes anymore?

Now that I’ve seen the original, I actually find the remake to be on par with it. They’re both creepy, both have this great tone and lingering uneasiness. I can’t say definitively one is better than the other. I like them both. It’s a shame it took me so long to get to watch this one.

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Finally Watched It: “Jack Frost” (1997)

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I don’t… I don’t know why I had this on my list and felt the need to follow through with it…

A serial killer gets experimented on and when he dies in an accident, he becomes a snowman. At first, I could excuse this movie as mindless fun but then (I don’t give two shits if this is a spoiler) there was a carrot rape scene. I could have lived a nice, long, happy life without seeing that, thanks.

I will give this movie two good points: They did make it more difficult than simply melting him to defeat him and the exchange when the scientist guy says something like “You’re immortal! How does it feel!?” and the guy growls “It feels… COLD!” was kinda cool.

Overall, this is a dumb movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s about a killer snowman; not meant to be Shawshank Redemption. It killed some time and knocked another movie off my list.

I wouldn’t bother to revisit it, though.

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Finally Watched It: “The Amityville Horror” (1979)

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This is one of those classic horror movies that just sorta flew under my radar until I started my little Finally Watched It list. If you don’t know the story, it’s about a newlywed couple who moves into a house that’s haunted.

I wouldn’t call this movie subtle by any means but it is more subtle than the remake. If I had to pick between the two, I would pick the older one because I personally feel the atmosphere is better here; especially with the father character who is slowly being driven mad. Neither version is bad, I just feel the older one had more charm to it. It was more menacing than outright scary and I think horror can do with more of that than jump scares and gore. I’m glad I was able to cross this off my list.

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Finally Watched It: “The Haunting” (1963)

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Dr. John Markway in an attempt to gather research on the paranormal gathers people who have claimed to have supernatural encounters to stay with him in a haunted house and document what happens. Among them are Luke; a skeptical underachiever who hopes to sell the house one day, Theodora; a clairvoyant, and Eleanore; a psychic who becomes attuned to the spirits in the house.

Now, that I’ve seen the original, I can see why the remake was a flop. This version is subtle and unnerving; relying on the slow build of the character’s backstories to prepare you for what’s to come. The people are relatable and I love how it’s shot. This is just wonderfully done.

Rather than rely on jump scares, this movie instead blurs the line between what is supernatural and what is inside Eleanore’s head. I think I prefer a horror movie leaving me unsettled and off balance rather than going out of its way to startle me. There’s also this sadness to it and expects more from the audience.

Smartly done, I’m glad I went back and watched this one!

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October Loot Crate: Horror

  • Interior is Walking Dead (insert gasp of shock here)
  • Camp Crystal Lake pennant
  • Leather Face plushie
  • Freddy Glove Chopsticks
  • Regrettable Supervillians book
  • Halloween pin
  • Negan slugger tshirt

Yeah, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you are familiar with my opinion on The Walking Dead. Doesn’t mean that shirt didn’t give me a giggle. But to me, the real stars of this crate are the Leather Face plushie and Freddy chopsticks. I want to eat everything with those chopsticks. Those are just damn hilarious. I didn’t even look at the book yet!

Despite Walking Dead being overrated, predictable, nonsense at this point, this was a well put together crate. It covers all the best franchises and whoever came up with those chopsticks needs to know they just made my day. Absolutely brilliant.

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Finally Watched It: Cube

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A group of people wake up in a prison with no memory of how they got there. Each new room they enter reveals horrible traps and they try to figure out the mystery of why there are there and how they can escape.

This movie struck me as a nerdy version of Saw; focusing more on strategy and math as opposed to outright gore. The way this movie is constructed with minimal music and believable actors make it more tense to me than the Saw franchise or most horror movies I see these days, honestly. I totally understand why this became a cult classic. It was smart, eerie, and bleak. I wish more horror movies took the time to really get inside people’s heads like this movie does. I’m glad I watched it and I have the sequels ready to go!

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Finally Watched It: One Missed Call

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Whenever there’s an American remake of a foreign movie, I make it my business to track down the original; which is how I found out about the REC series. When I heard about the American movie, I skipped it and went for the Japanese version. I just assume it’s better on principal now.

The premise of this movie is that this group of young people start getting calls from their own numbers. Upon listening to the voicemail, its the audio of their own deaths; essentially making it a call from the future bout how they will die. Obviously, they all run around trying to avoid their fate and solve the mystery.

What I like about films like this is the slow build, the quiet, the dark lighting, and thoughtful dialog. It is just simpler and – to me at least – more frightening than all the fancy CGI, slow-mo, and dramatic music. It makes everything feel so much more unsettling. It can drag a little sometimes but it’s nice to see any media take it’s time with you rather than inundate you with images for instant gratification.

I don’t particularly want to inflict the American version on myself to compare the two but if repeatedly asked, I may do so.

As I work through these movies (I have a list!) I am hitting more good movies than not, and I’m grateful for that. I’m sure I’ll come across some duds but seeing these has been awesome.

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