serial killer

All posts tagged serial killer

A Scary and Stranger Slice of Life

Published April 27, 2015 by rmpixie

A good horror or sci-fi movie can scare or fascinate us on the big screen, and most of us can leave the fantasy in the theater.  But what if the overly-friendly neighbour or that strange light in the sky happens in our real lives?  Some of that real life horror has been committed to film, documenting the stories of ordinary people, or seemingly so, who have lived these very experiences.  For them, especially those who lost loved ones, it is worse than any Hollywood nightmare, and for those who stand by their convictions it is a lesson in tenacity.  Here are a few titles that resonated with me, and although they may not be your first choice for a Saturday night flick, they give a voice to folks that either lived through some real horrors, or had some allegedly real, and really weird, experiences.

 

myamhorror

My Amityville Horror (2012, 1 hr, 28 mins)

This documentary focuses on Daniel Lutz who lived in the famed Amityville House with his family when he was a child a year after the gruesome murders. I missed this doc when it screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival a few years back, so I finally sat down to watch a very strange and eerie account of what he went through.  His reluctance to reveal his true feelings and the damage done to him is evident in his large blue eyes, and I cannot tell you what I believe other than his life was a tortured existence for many years during and after his Amityville experience.  It is a must see if you want some understanding of the media storm surrounding this famous haunting.

 

 

 

cropsey

Cropsey (2009, 1 hr, 24 mins)

I was completely drawn into this Staten Island, N.Y. story.  The filmmakers and natives to the area, Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, explore the small town legend of Cropsey, a crazed killer of children said to roam the wooded area around the abandoned Willowbrook State School.  Their quest to find the truth behind the Cropsey boogeyman reveals stories of missing children, heartbreak, a terrible history of mismanaged and abusive hospital facilities, and the slow but sure persecution of real suspected killer Andre Rand.

 

 

 

jefdfiles

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (2012, 1 hr, 16 mins)

Short but informative, this film, with the help of reenactments, forensic and personal accounts, shows us how a seemingly friendly but introverted man charmed his neighbour and the detective in charge of questioning him despite being one of the most notorious serial killers of our time.  Don’t expect a grand exposé here, rather it gives you a snapshot of what people thought of him, how they related to him, and how he got away with murdering his victims for many years due to the shortcomings of the police.  This documentary will definitely make you paranoid when a stranger is unusually nice to you.

 

 

 

hiddenhand

The Hidden Hand:  Alien Contact and the Government Cover-up (2013, 1hr, 20 mins)

Abductees and scholars speak on the presence of aliens on Earth in this 2013 documentary.  What may sound like loopy hoo-ha ends up coming from some more than credible witnesses like military officials and the sixth American astronaut Edgar Dean Mitchell, as well as celebrated authors like Whitley Strieber, Jim Spark and David Icke.  Several accounts of alien abduction likened to being “tagged like deer” and many cover-up conspiracies fueled by greed are discussed, and details on ties to The Vatican and Area 51 will peak your interest in this hotly debated subject.  If you follow the vein of thought, this slightly dry but interesting film will lead you to think that alien visitation is more common than you think, making the Fox Mulders of the world proud.

 

 

 

billymstory

The Billy Meier Story (2009, 1 hr, 34 mins)

“Billy” Eduard Albert Meier has been in contact with aliens for most of his life, and is known for his prophetic messages that he relays from the Plejaren alien race.  With an early life that James Bond would envy,  Billy Meier has seen other worlds and world leaders; he has opened his own organization that publishes the prophecies of his alien friends and their spiritual teachings among other things, and he has allegedly seen the future.  This documentary takes you from experts who try to debunk his U.F.O footage, to mental health officials that try to certify any kind of craziness, and testimonials from his faithful followers.  It will certainly make you stroke your literal or figurative beard and scratch your head in wonder as you listen to some compelling information.  Despite the somewhat cheesy looking spacecraft footage and drawings of his alien informants that look like the European Jesus and Beyoncé (which would explain a lot), this movie really strikes a nerve as the world goes to Hell in a hand basket, and sadly, we don’t need aliens to tell us this.

 

Friday The 13th: Let’s Celebrate Jason!

Published June 13, 2014 by rmpixie

So it’s Friday the 13th!!  What better way to celebrate than to pay homage to the king of the day:  Jason Voorhees.  That poor lad who drowned at the worst summer camp in the world-Camp Crystal Lake-has become a horror icon for the ages.  Donning his hockey mask and wielding his slashing implement of the day (my fave is the classic machete), Jason chi-chi, ha-ha’ed into our hearts and nightmares, leaving an unhealed scab that horror fans will pick at forever.  For your viewing pleasure, here are some clips (in no specific order, I just dug them) from his creepy slasher career (my favourites were Friday the 13th Part VIII:  Jason Takes Manhattan and Freddy VS. Jason):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be it at Camp Crystal Lake, in space or in a thriving metropolis like Manhattan, Jason defies time and logic with his tenacious blood lust fueled by revenge.  Let’s raise a glass to the one and only king of #13 because he will live on forever!  Please let me know what your faves were in Mr. Voorhees illustrious career!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stinkers I Have Known Vol. 1

Published May 7, 2014 by rmpixie

I don’t usually like to trash films, as I have worked on a few film sets in my day, seeing the blood, sweat and tears that go into a production regardless of how bad the script, acting or sets were.  What is tragic is the hype associated with not-so-great films or a stellar performance in an otherwise terrible movie.  I have come across many in horror movie land, and can stay silent no longer, so pinch yer noses and hold yer breath because here are just a few to hold at arm’s length:

 

i am bad

I Am Bad (2012, 1 hr, 24 mins)

Well where do I start?  Taking a page from the brilliant and horrifically gruesome Maniac (2012), we are subjected to a shoddy version of the P.O.V. serial killer film.  This fella grew up with an abusive, nut job of a mother who only wanted him to be happy.  She is unfortunately hit by a car when she chases him out into traffic after an argument.  Her dying wish?  “You better be happy or mommy will hate you!”  With that to fuel him through his formative years, this guy (who remains nameless and virtually unseen throughout the film-and that’s probably for the best if he wants to work again) goes on a killing spree starting with his absentee father, a teenage girlfriend and countless other unsuspecting victims.  He finally decides to get help from a psychiatrist that his mother ironically recommended when he was a child, but the good doctor dies. This leaves his attractive assistant and PhD student, Anne, out of a job and apparently in need of a friend, which our serial killer is more than ready to be for her.  In fact, he falls in love with her and struggles with killing, which makes him happy, and not killing Anne, who makes him happy.

I was attracted to this film because the love interest was an African-American woman and hoped it would be an interesting take on the serial killer genre.  Boy was I wrong.  So what can I say about it? That it was a bad rip-off of an already classic slasher film?  That it was unsuccessful as a tongue-in-cheek comedy?  That the acting was substandard?  That the story had so many holes in it I expected moths to be flitting around?  And explain to me the cameo appearance from 80’s singer Taylor Dayne please, because I am puzzled by it.  The only redeeming aspect of this movie was Anne played by Caprice Crawford, a beautiful African-American actor based in Germany for some time.   Aside from Crawford’s engaging performance, and Jessica Makinson who played Tasha, a hilarious love interest for the killer, this movie was a stinker.  You have been warned.  As per the title, it is bad.

 

the quiet ones

The Quiet Ones (2014, 1 hr, 38 mins)

I went to see this movie with high hopes.  Some real life paranormal experiments, conducted in my home town Toronto circa 1972, was reworked into the story of a professor determined to prove Jane, a frail young woman, is suffering from mental illness instead of possession and to cure all occurrences of the supernatural.

Great premise.  Great actors, including a maniacal, riveting performance by Jared Harris as Professor Joseph Coupland, the ring leader of the whole gig.  Only problem was the story itself meandered through some salacious affairs and plodding scenes with Jane played by Bates Motel‘s  Olivia Cooke and the naive cameraman Brian played by The Hunger Games‘ Sam Claflin.  I really wanted to like this film too because I love me a Hammer film and I’m glad the studio is being revived.  There were some good jump scares that kept popping up until they started to become predictable, and some of the effects were good, but as a whole, it really put me off as I was expecting more scares, more plot and, well, just more.  If you read about the real story of the Canadian parapsychologists (which would have made a much better movie), this film is nowhere near the original experiments.  And if you miss the opening credits, you miss a good chunk of the story.  The Quiet Ones should just stay mum since this big budget stinker gets a mere “meh” from me.

 

nurse 3d

Nurse 3-D (2013, 1 hr, 24 mins)

This rambling film brings us a very enticing nurse Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta), who is bent on bloody, gory revenge on men who cheat.  She also wants to control young nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden), who she is mentoring/obsessing over and who also becomes a threat when she finds out what Abby is up to.  These two tasks collide in a crazy, murderous plot filled with camp, blood and lots of Abby sashaying around town in some really hot outfits or in the nude.

I loved that Paz de la Huerta  played the psychotic Abby.  She is a unique actor with interesting range, and was cast really well in this film.  Not to mention the fact that a lot straight men out there would keel over watching her in various states of undress.  I just got tired of her sleepy Betty Boop voice.  The rest of the cast was really interesting too, with Kathleen Turner in a cameo alongside B-movie king Judd Nelson, Boris Kodjoe, the always fun Niecy Nash and Michael Ekland whom I love.  The problem was the script which missed the mark trying to meld a pulp fiction/drive-in/campy slasher type storyline.  As a result, the film became too convoluted to gain any momentum and to keep a proper pace.  And that sucks, because I think Nurse 3-D had real potential as a sexy slasher flick.  To sum this stinker up, if you are a straight dude with a penchant for Playboy, this movie is definitely a work of art.  If you are a gal like me, who is pretty tolerant of weird stuff on film, this gets a resounding P.U.!  And there is a rumor that a sequel is in the works.  Guess the defibrillator is going to get a workout if it becomes a franchise!

You can breathe easy now, because my list is short and sweet.  I want to believe that at some point, these films will become a late night favourite, or part of some film festival honouring movies that are so bad that they are good (ugh!).  At any rate, someone somewhere is going to love one of the above stinkers, and I think that’s o.k because nobody’s perfect.  To each his own, but I got me some standards.  If you have seen some recent time wasters, please let me know.  I may check them out when I feel like punishing myself!  Until next time dear reader, until next time…

Silent Retreat TADFF 13/Clean Break BITS 13

Published December 10, 2013 by rmpixie

silentretreat2

Silent Retreat (2013, 1hr 35 mins)

I saw the Silent Retreat world premiere during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.  The premise of the film came from an idea director Tricia Lee came up with after being at a meditation retreat where there was no talking.  She wondered what happened to a fellow attendee when she left without notice.  Her experience gave birth to this gothic tale of wayward girls forced to stay at a unique retreat in the woods.  They are forbidden to speak and are under a regimented schedule of meditation designed to rehab them into submission, leaving their personalities, emotions and rights in the past.  The retreat is run by a severe and sinister doctor (Robert Nolan) and his two creepy sons Paul (Mark Buck) and Albert (Matthew Romantini).  An unlikely champion comes in the form of Janey (Chelsea Jenish), a new recruit and a headstrong young woman, who is suspicious of the goals and methods at the retreat.  She aims to get to the bottom of some weird secrets, and an even weirder fear of the surrounding woods.  Throw in a creature, an underlying girl power message, some great performances from Jenish and Nolan, and you have an interesting and suspenseful film that elevates the teen horror flick to an exercise in gender equality.

At the Q & A after, Lee and the film’s writer Corey Brown explained that they wanted to illustrate how women are silenced and how we need to use our voices to stand up for ourselves.  The creature itself was female, representing nature and female rage.  I might be getting too bookish here, but from my female perspective, I thought was an interesting concept because the Doctor character controlled the girls but was actually afraid of the creature, who to me was an embodiment of the girls’ rage.  He appeased her by leaving offerings to keep himself and his sons safe.   Some felt the creature was problematic, but it reminded me of how some men who are still in the dark ages dominate women in order to hide their fear of them. Suppress us enough, and Hell hath no fury…I must mention that Silent Retreat won a Specialty Award for best Canadian Feature Film at the festival.

Clean Break (2012, 1hr 25 mins)

The next film Lee premiered was at BITS Fest called Clean Break.  Still utilizing gender issues as a forum, this sassy and cleverly written film really made me a fan of this director and writer team.

Cam (Samy Osman) is a player.  Successful and handsome, he has a new lady in his bed almost nightly.  He shares a house with his two roommates, Scott (Sean Kaufmann) and Dan (Serge Plourde), and things work well between the three of them.  Scott is a bit lost, with very little confidence and life not working out as he wanted it to.  At Cam’s office event, Scott meets Tracy (Tianna Nori), a pretty, prim and proper woman who sees Scott’s vulnerability and latches on real quick.  You see, Tracy’s last boyfriend didn’t work out because he didn’t adhere to her plan, and Tracy has to be obeyed. Or else she will cut you.  Deep.  Like, deadly deep. With renewed hope that her life will get back on track, Tracy works on Scott’s life with intense purpose.  Like a black widow, she weaves her conniving web.  She re-invents him and takes charge of many things in his life, including the relationship with his best buds.   This in turn, alienates the guys from Scott, especially Cam, who develops a hatred and mistrust of Tracy.  So begins a war that becomes increasingly nasty and dangerous, with deadly results.

I can’t say enough about Clean Break.  This pixie loves a fresh and clever movie, and I thought it was slick, sinister and fun.  The setting was distinctly Toronto, which I loved because this city never gets the acknowledgement it deserves.  I loved the style of the film-it was sharp and minimalistic, and the performances were spot-on. Osman really captured the typical Torontonian player:  Handsome, smooth, and wily.  I felt like I’ve met guys like Cam in my heyday.  Nori played the hell out of Tracy.  She was intense and driven with a large helping of seething crazy.  And you’d better watch out if she puts her hair up in a ponytail!

The chemistry between enemies Cam and Tracy was really great.  Their growing hatred created tension and suspense and added to the dark comedy element.  They represented extreme versions of the male and female perspectives.  There was a real war of the sexes between macho bravado and the desperate gal who just wants true love; stereotypes brought to life and pitted against each other for a new take on a slasher flick.  What balanced the stereotypical portrayal of male and female roles was Cam’s love interest Cassandra, played by Leora Morris.  She was on to Cam’s player ways and took her chances.  A woman of the times, she struggled with being her own person, gaining respect and wanting love just like Tracy, just not in a crazy, psycho killer sort of way.

Lee and Brown answered some questions from the audience after the film.  When asked about the concept for the film, Brown told us that he went with the idea that you can choose your roommates but not who they date, and the story evolved from there.  The movie was made before Silent Retreat on a super-low budget (the main set being Lee’s parents’ house).  It took 12 days to shoot, but around 2 years to edit.  Nori really wanted the role of Tracy and it was her first lead in a feature film.  I asked about Tracy’s look, because it was distinctly retro and polished.  I wanted to know if they had that look in mind when they were developing the character.  Brown revealed that the character was supposed to be a brunette but when they saw Nori, they knew right away she was right for the role.  Lee explained that they wanted a Stepford Wives type of look, controlled and clean.  It really played a great opposition to her maniacal personality.

Silent Retreat and Clean Break are two fun and creepy (but not frivolous) contributions from Lee and Brown.  They make smart horror films that give you a decent scare and food for thought.  I can’t wait for what’s next!

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