The Conjuring

I'm not really sure what they conjured.
"Based on the true case files of the Warrens"

Welcome to Halloween everyone! As promised, I will continue my reign of terror, or rather terror will continue to reign over us all, with my last horror post for a little while, I hope, because I am sick of watching horror movies (I'm not that super into them to begin with so I definitely need a break). Today I will be talking about The Conjuring, which was BASED ON TRUE EVENTS AND HAPPENED NEAR WHERE I LIVE WOOOOOOooOOOOoooOO (Well it's a ways away in Rhode Island, but it's less than an hour from my hometown. Also the real life Warrens, who I will say mean things about in a little while, have their home/occult museum in Moroe, CT, which I'm also pretty close to). As always I will open by exploring the "based on a true story" angle of the movie, and move on from there. I'm not saying oh yeah this totally happened (especially considering the by most accounts totally bogus Amityville Horror case, which was also first investigated by the Warrens). So how much of this is based on things that were at least reported to have happened? Well the details evidently are very different, but the basic premise is based on reported events. The Perrons are a real family, they really lived in a house in Harrisville, and they reported a lot of paranormal stuff happening to them in the farmhouse where they lived for some 10 odd years. The Warrens really did pop up one day, and they performed a seance (not an exorcism) that by all accounts of present parties went completely fuckballs. The Warrens and Perrons in real life did not part on super terms, reportedly the Warrens being around just made stuff worse. Andrea Perron, the oldest daughter, has written two books on her experiences and has a third planned. The details of the haunting are substantially different than the movie, but unlike my reading into The Amityville Horror, there's no obvious confession that it's entirely made up. So there that is.


Night of The Living Dead Live Rifftrax Special

A million Taglines!
"They keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for HUMAN FLESH!..."

Good morning to everyone, it's the week of Halloween so I thought I would report back about my trip to the live Rifftrax show I went to see on Thursday, where the MST3K gang (That is, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett) were picking apart George Romero's original ‘zombie’ film, Night of the Living Dead. This was the cult hit that spawned what we now consider to be the modern zombie film. Featuring an ensemble cast of unlikeable jagoffs who stupidly board themselves into a rickety old house, Night of the Living Dead is as much as social commentary as it is a horror movie. Really the movie has a lot to say about the era in which it was made (at which time it was a seriously controversial film, I’ll talk a bit more about that later). It’s always interesting to watch a movie from so long ago, and read people’s reactions to it, then weighed against my own reactions, watching it long after its creation. Consider for a minute that when this movie came out, it was considered gruesomely gory and violent. It was considered to be so graphic that it was described by many censors as being 'the pornography of violence'. To a modern audience this is hilarious, the movie is black and white for starters, and the low budget (around 111,000 dollars) meant that even in black and white the effects seem silly to someone in 2013. At the time however, the depictions of people being murdered and of ghoulish, reanimated corpses devouring the remains of their victims was terrifying. Also without a standard rating system, even small children got into the theater to see this movie, and you can imagine about how well that probably went over.


This is The End

Weirdest episode of Undeclared ever.
"Nothing ruins a party like the end of the world."

Hello all, and welcome back to The Tagline! As Halloween approaches it seems only fitting that I should address the subject of demons and the apocalypse, and so following that theme I decided to finally watch This is the End, a film basically about the cast of Judd Apatow productions experiencing the end of days. The movie starts with Jay Baruchel arriving to hang out with Seth Rogen, and then going to a party at James Franco's house, despite Jay's reservations (as he isn't really into the whole 'Hollywood lifestyle thing' and Franco's party is totally out of control). After some weird encounters with Franco (who seems really obsessed with Seth Rogen) and Jonah Hill (who acts really fake nice to Baruchel) Seth and Jay go to a convenience store to get some smokes. There they experience a huge earthquake, and then witness people being carried away in columns of blue light. The two run back to Franco's house amidst the carnage, where no one has noticed. Then a giant rift opens in the Earth, and a whole bunch of people die, horribly, including Michael Cera, so that was pretty cool. In the aftermath, Rogen, Baruchel, Hill, Franco, and Craig Robinson are the only ones left in Franco's house (actually Danny McBride is passed out in the bathtub, but they don't know that). The group resolve to barricade themselves inside the house, and wait for help. As you might guess, help is not forthcoming.


The Bling Ring

Excellent choice of font.
"Living the Dream, One Heist at a Time."

Proving again that dreams can be at LEAST as boring and stupid as real life! Welcome to a new week at The Tagline, as we are rounding out the spookiest month of the year with a movie that was certainly a horrifying experience after a fashion. That is to say, I was horrified that I was watching it, and that a 90 minute run time could feel like and unending prison sentence, which is funny considering the subject matter. Today I'm going to talk about director Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, what is described as a "satirical black comedy crime film" based on true events revolving around a group of teens who burglarized the homes of a number of celebrities including Paris Hilton (They actually robbed her half a dozen times if accounts are to be believed). The movie stars mostly unknown young actors as the members of the eponymous Bling Ring, with the exception of Emma Watson, who trades being brainy Hermione for being maybe the dumbest human being alive, Nicki (Also if you watch American Horror Story Taissa Farmiga, who was the daughter Violet in season 1, is in this movie). The cast is rounded out with cameos of people who were robbed, Leslie Mann who plays Nicki's mother, and Gavin Rossdale (the frontman for Bush) who portrays a scumbag who helps teenage robbers fence Rolex watches. The movie is shot jumping between scenes of the actual crimes and of the burgling teens being interviewed after the fact. Either way.... I wasn't especially impressed.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Look at that stern ape.
“Evolution Becomes Revolution”

Hey y’all welcome to The Tagline! As promised, today I will NOT be talking about a horror movie, but you will probably be sad by the time I’m done. Today I will be talking about the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. For those of you who remember the film Outbreak, just think of that, only also there are super intelligent primates. That is basically what’s on offer here, but I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself so let’s back it up. Rise does not exist in continuity with any other Planet of the Apes movie, instead it is an origin story independent from all the others and intended to kick off a new series of films. At the same time, the movie aims to be consistent in theme with the original movies. To compare, the director Rupert Wyatt said his aim was similar to what was done in Batman Begins. How successful was he at that? Look under the cut to find out! (OH THE SUSPENSE DON’T YOU FEEL DRAWN IN)


The People Under the Stairs

"In every neighborhood there is one house that adults whisper about and children cross the street to avoid."

Presumably on Wes Craven's street that is his house! Welcome back to The Tagline everyone, today I will keep the ball rolling with more sort of horror, brought to you from the master of poor timing and genre confusion, Wes Craven! To be honest, I had previously not seen enough Wes Craven movies to entirely connect the dots. I had seen the Freddy movies, I'd seen Vampire in Brooklyn (more on that disaster here) and I'd watched cumulatively maybe like 2/3rds of a Scream movie (of which I believe there are approximately 700 thousand). Looking back now, I can see a common pattern of terrible timing, intermixing scenes of gruesome brutality and child abuse, with goofy Home Alone style kid's movie humor and slapstick. So just as we saw in Vampire in Brooklyn, so too shall we see today in The People Under the Stairs, a heartwarming tale about a young boy nicknamed Fool, who goes on a mission to steal gold from the cruel rich landlords trying to evict his family from their tenement in the ghetto. That sounds like a kid's movie right? Well hold on, let me add a little more context and then we'll see if you still feel the same way.



No probably not.
"Was Shakespeare a Fraud?"

Welcome to Thursday at The Tagline! Because I'm sure everyone else in the world is as interested in movies about conjectural British History during the Elizabethan Era, I thought today I would review Anonymous, which finally made its way to the top of my "Stuff I'll Watch Some Day" list over the weekend. Starring Rhys Ifans (He was Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man) as Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who if you know your English history was notable as a patron of the arts during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, and also was notable as a general fuck-up, who was born as heir to the second oldest and perhaps richest earldom in the kingdom, and died having lost his entire estate and fortune, over a long life of mishaps, intrigue, and failed ventures. The movie puts forth, as a number of people have since the late 1920s, that Shakespeare was not the author of his works. Instead, Oxfordian theorists suggest that Edward de Vere was the true author, and that for various political reasons he chose to remain anonymous. This historically real and factually tenuous theory is the central conceit in the movie, and Oxford's love of poetry and theater (which is a matter of historical record) at odds with the puritanical views of the ruthless Cecils (well they're played as the villains in the movie) serve to propel the tragic events of the plot forward. I beg everyone to forgive me, because I am incapable of divorcing my experience with this movie from both literary scholarship and English history (and really if you are aware of either I don't see how you could) and so this post may end up being a history lesson in addition to being about a movie. 


World War Z

God that's stupid looking.
The War is Here (IN IMAX 3D!!!!!!!).

Hey everyone welcome back to The Tagline! It's October, and I've been listing into the horror genre since early September, so I figured I'd keep the ball rolling and finally watch World War Z, a movie I'd previously avoided because it had some of the shittiest trailers I had ever seen. Were I to judge based solely on the trailer, I would assert that World War Z were the shittiest movie about zombies ever made, and let's be honest here, that is a pretty damning statement all things considered. Fortunately, this movie isn't THAT stupid, so we're all spared from me having to compare it unfavorably to a movie called zombie poledancers from hell or something. Let's all at least take solace in that. World War Z is a zombie movie made by Brad Pitt, with Brad Pitt, and for Brad Pitt, cashing in on the best selling book of the same name. Allow me to assert an important point however, which is that this movie has little to nothing to do with World War Z, save that they both involve some variety of 'zombie' and also sometimes guys call zombies 'zekes' I guess. In order to get anything but rage and chagrin from this movie, you must forget that there is a book by the same name. Taken as an adaptation World War Z is a ridiculous failure. Taken as just an action movie about zombies, it fares considerably better.


The Hole

"School is out, Terror has begun."

Welcome to The Tagline: Part 2! Last time I explored the fucked up head of Rob Zombie, who likes making his wife do weird sex stuff on camera, which is cool I guess if that's what they're into. Today we'll be exploring the fucked up head of the most twisted individuals who exist in the world. That's right, students at British prep schools! (DUN DUN DUUUUN!) Today I'm going to be continuing my in depth coverage of movies you can watch on Netflix, with The Hole. Contrary to what it sounds like, The Hole is not a minimalist porno, rather it is a 2001 film about some prep students who get stuck... down in a hole. Well okay that's a bit of a simplification too. Starring Thora Birch as Liz Dunn (of course you all remember Thora Birch as the little sister in Hocus Pocus right? No? Enid in the Ghost World movie? Anyone?) a girl who at the beginning of the movie stumbles into her prep school covered in blood, clearly intensely messed up. She recounts to a police psychologist the story of how she and three other students locked themselves into an old bunker, so that they could have some "alone time" (i.e. do drugs and have sex. Only teenagers would find the idea of being locked in a derelict bunker appealing). This is part of Liz's efforts to draw in her crush Mark (Desmond Harrington, you probably know him better as Quinn from Dexter. Yeah how weird is that shit), and Mark's friend Geoff's efforts to bang Liz's best friend Frankie (Kiera Knightly, who was actually 16 at the time damn she's younger than I thought she was). Sounds like pretty normal teenage bullshit, until the door slams shut and doesn't open back up.

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