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Jun. 15th, 2011

try and fucking remember

sunsetsred

Movies/Book: Låt den rätte komma in



I've been planning on covering this story since Archica started up the community, and I've been on a Let the Right One In tumblr kick, so I suppose now is as good a time as any.

Låt den rätte komma in (2008), known best by the English title Let the Right One In and recently remade as American horror Let Me In (2010), is by far my favorite film, and one of the most beautiful stories I know of.



Originally a 2004 novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In is the tale of 12-year-old Oskar and the strange girl who moves in next door, Eli. Its backdrop is a chilling vampire horror story, addressing serial murders, bullying, and pedophilia, but at the heart of it all it is first and foremost a love story, and therein lies its beauty. It is about the bond between two unlikely and equally lost and unloved individuals, and the subtlety with which their story is told is its strongest point.



I am still making my way through the novel, but if anything it's even more chilling than the film, filling in the pieces of the story the movie only touched upon. Oskar's creepy fascination with serial killers is definitely fleshed out more, as are the thoughts and background of Håkan, Eli's guardian.

Like most readers are guilty of, I've cheated and peeked ahead, and some of the writing honestly blows me away. Oskar and Eli's relationship is most moving in its honesty and simplicity, its innocence in the midst of such a horrible world. The contrast between that innocence and its backdrop is both striking and sweet.



Alternatively, the remake Let Me In is a great horror flick. The way it translates the story to America, changing around the characters and settings to fit 1980s New Mexico, works well. It is, however, anything but subtle, and completely loses the innocence of Oskar and Eli's relationship that makes Let the Right One In such a strong story. Let Me In relies heavily on American-loved gimmicks and special effects, and while some scenes are enhanced (quite possibly its strongest translation is the infamous pool scene) so much of the heart of the story is lost. Eli's counterpart, Abby, is by no means a sympathetic character, nor does she carry the simplistic horror of a 12-year-old unchanged girl feeding on her innocent victims. In Eli's place we have a manipulative half-demon, complete with altered appearance, voice, and badly-CGIed movements in her monster state. Intended to be scarier, perhaps, but what is more disturbing than horrifying acts carried out by a mere child?

The film is extremely well cast, however, and it was definitely enjoyable to watch. I will say there were plenty of moments of narm when it came to a particular issue that was brought up often but never addressed directly (not entirely "written out" as some have said, by my impression). The movie is about as subtle as a brick to the face in true American fashion, which can be good or bad depending upon your tastes. And as I stated before, some scenes were even stronger, such as the way Owen's character was established, and the events at the pool.



The 2008 Swedish film met with vast critical acclaim, including the Tribeca Film Festival's Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Méliès d'Or for Best European Fantastic Feature Film. The 2010 American remake received much praise from critics and a handful of awards, especially for Chloë Moretz's performance as the dark and disturbing Abby.



All in all, all three incarnations of the story bear my recommendation, but it is the original film and novel Let the Right One In that I carry close to my heart. It is an incredible story of the innocence of unconditional love set against an absolutely chilling horror backdrop. If you have yet to see or read it, I hope you will, and that you enjoy it as much as I have.

Jun. 5th, 2011

No Running in the Hallway!

archica

Movie: Jaws (1975)



If you haven't heard of this movie, you must have been living under a rock your entire life. Most people can easily hum the Jaws attack tune, or can recognize the "We're gonna need a bigger boat" line as being from Jaws. But surprisingly, there are a lot of modern horror fans who have not actually watched the movie. This is nothing short of a tragedy, as the film is a classic in every sense of the word.

I think most people would agree that sharks are pretty darned scary. Would you want to meet one while you're out boogie-boarding? Jaws capitalizes on this fear perfectly with a huge, imposing shark brought to life with some mighty convincing effects. It also displays the ease with which a shark could actually wreak havoc at a beach. And therein lies the true horror of Jaws. This could happen. This could really freaking happen. To you.

Scares aside, the characters are great. I had a certain love for Hooper and Quint, who were both incredibly well written and acted. Quint in particular just exhumed awesome from every pore in his body. He's a badass professional shark hunter. How can he not be awesome? The onscreen camaraderie between Hooper, Quint, and Brody is really what makes the film.

There are three sequels. Jaws 2 is basically a continuation of the first film and is definitely worth checking out. Jaws 3 gets a little sillier but is still a lot of fun. Jaws 4 (called Jaws: The Revenge) has a silly premise but is worth watching for the lovely scenery and the fact that the protagonist is a pretty cool middle-aged woman (rare!).

All four Jaws films are available on DVD.

May. 31st, 2011

Khaleesi Smile

khaleesi

Bloodline (Book: 2009: Maggie Shayne)



This book is really good. It's about a woman who wakes up under a bridge and doesn't remember who or what she is. She feels a very strong pull towards a house on a hill, so she takes off that direction. When she gets there, she runs into a man who seems to know a lot about her. They start talking and he tells her a lot of things that she can't really remember. Or believe.

Someone is creating vampires. For the sole purpose of hunting down what they call "rogue" vampires. They are being taught and created to hunt, kill, and track. And to blindly obey their creators.

The vampires in this story are different. Daylight will still kill them, but something new happens when daylight hits. It's nice to see a new take on them. They have awesome powers but they have a few weaknesses, too. Not to mention, they sound sexy.

You can find Bloodline on Ebay or Amazon.com.

May. 30th, 2011

Komui - No words needed

archica

Movie: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Sorry we've been a little slow lately! We lost two writers right around the same time and we're in the process of recruiting more!



My Bloody Valentine is a tight little 1981 Canadian slasher flick that perfectly represents the best of what 80's slashers had to offer. You have a masked killer who is effectively creepy, a fantastic setting perfect for the various stalking/chase scenes (a coal mine), and three leads that are fairly well developed considering the kind of movie this is. You also get some gloriously imaginative and gruesome kills (including a scene involving an old lady and a dryer at a laundromat that you won't soon forget) and the traditional convoluted backstory for the killer that actually works here.

The biggest highlight has to be the real life coal mine that a large portion of the movie was filmed in. It provided a certain sense of dark claustrophobia, of being trapped in a maze. It can be quite pretty in certain scenes, as the characters look around in wonder, before they realize there is a killer in their midst. Another plus point is the fact that the characters are all 20-somethings, rather than wild teenagers. As such, the relationships between them seem a little more meaningful, their problems a little more real. The ending is pretty great too, the final shot being nicely creepy and satisfying while (of course) leaving things open for a sequel.

There was a remake made recently. I haven't seen it but the reaction to it has been very mixed. On one hand, the changes I've heard they made to the central characters are a little disappointing, but on the other, I uderstand the need to switch things up to prevent viewers of the original from being sure of who the killer is. Also, the 3D effects were supposedly very nicely done. A sequel was planned by the makers of the original film, but it never panned out and chances of it being made are slim. If a sequel appeared, it would mostly likely be to the remake.

My Bloody Valentine is available on DVD.

May. 24th, 2011

Khaleesi Smile

khaleesi

Video Game: Dracula Origin (PC 2008 Frogwares)



Dracula: Origin is a point-and-click adventure game for the PC based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Released by Frogwares in 2008, it follows the company's catalogue of action-adventure games such as the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series.

The game follows Professor Abraham Van Helsing as the protagonist through a unique take on origin of Dracula. His adventures span several locations, such as London, Egypt, Austria and Transylvania, through various puzzles and logic problems, individually interacting with over 40 characters.

This game is amazing. The graphics will really draw you in, not to mention the characters. :D I got this game a while back and really enjoyed playing it. Dracula looks really good. The music is cool, too. The puzzles will really make you think, too. Not to mention there are some creepy things going on as well.

I recommend this game for those who are vampire fans and who love beautiful graphics/music in their games. :) You can find Dracula: Origin for the PC on Amazon and Ebay.

May. 23rd, 2011

Brigitte

archica

Movie: Night of the Demons (1988)



Night of the Demons, a crazy little 1988 horror gem, is not for everyone. If you don't like cheesy, cheap, gory horror movies full of nudity and gross humor, skip this. It's very much an acquired taste. But what this movie lacks in class and depth, it more than makes up for in pure, brainless fun. It centers on a group of wild teenagers having a party at a closed mortuary, who unwittingly awaken a slumbering demon that possesses them one by one.

The real charm of this movie comes from Amelia Kinkade, who plays Angela. The unique thing about Angela (besides being a female horror villain who lasted more than one movie) is that she really does just want to have fun. Of course, her idea of fun is slaughtering teenagers, but the fact remains that she's a party girl. Her motives are not rooted in revenge, world domination, or anything crazy like that. She's just looking for a good time, and usually finds it. Oh, there's also Linnea Quigley being her bad self again.



There are two sequels, both of which are worth checking out if you enjoyed the first. Amelia Kinkade reprises her role in both, but the stories could both stand on their own (so watching them out of order is okay). They're very similar in style to the original movie, so you're really just getting more of the same. But if that "same" is Angela running around in a black gothic wedding dress stirring up trouble, there's nothing to complain about. There's also a remake, which I have but haven't gotten around to watching yet. Responses to it have been mixed.

Night of the Demons, as well as its sequels, are available on DVD.

May. 21st, 2011

Chane - Dagger

archica

Anime: Mirage of Blaze (2001)



Mirage of Blaze is a 13 episode anime tv series that began airing in 2001. It is based on a series of light novels by Mizuna Kuwabara. The series focuses primarily on Takaya Ohgi, a high school student who discovers that he is a "possessor", a spirit who possesses a new body every time his current one dies. He is in fact Lord Kagetora, a powerful warrior who has been locked in a supernatural battle with various other "possessors" since the 1500's. As he reunites with allies and foes from his previous lives (including the handsome and powerful Nobutsuna Naoe, a former enemy who is both a great threat and a great help), his abilities to exorcise spirits awaken and grow in power. As enemy clans begin raising undead samurai zombie armies and endangering the modern world, those abilities will be put to the test.



You need to be aware that Mirage of Blaze is a shounen ai (boys love) series. If you don't know what that means, well, perhaps this isn't the anime for you. The shounen ai elements are somewhat tame (excluding a rather surprising scene in the separate OVA) and take a backseat to the action and the complex plot. Takaya is an interesting protagonist, mostly because he's sort of a "two for one" deal. Lord Kagetora and Takaya have very different personalities, and despite the fact that, as a "possessor", Kagetora should have effectively killed the real Takaya at the time of possession, it often seems that the two of them are wrestling for control. Naoe is also a highlight. There's something dangerous and, at times, frightening about him as he always seems to be on the verge of snapping. When his past is revealed (including a secret so terrible that it caused Kagetora to seal away his memories), he's even more disturbing. The action sequences are great, with some flashy supernatural powers being thrown around. There's also some rather scary imagery from the samurai zombies and various other creatures. The whole series has a dark, foreboding vibe that permeates every scene.

Mirage of Blaze is available on DVD. The OVA series, Rebels of the River Edge, is also available on DVD. None of the novels have been released in English, but fan translations are easy to find online.
Khaleesi Smile

khaleesi

Paranormal Activity (2009-Movie by Paramount Pictures)



Paranormal Activity is a 2007 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Oren Peli. The film centers on a young couple, Katie and Micah, who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. It is presented in the style of "found footage," from a camera set up by the couple in an attempt to photograph what is haunting them.

First off, there have been a lot of mixed reviews on this movie. Some people said it scared the crap out of them, and others laughed at it and turned it off without finishing it. Myself, I was scared crapless! I'm very gullible, so when my husband said this was based on a true story when we started watching it, I was creeped out! It was like they took my worst nightmares (and believe me, I have plenty!) and made a movie out of it.

It all depends on what scares you. If you like seeing the monsters in movies or tv shows, then this won't scare you. But if the idea of some evil spirit wandering around your house while remaining invisible freaks you out, then you really have to watch this movie. I was literally in tears and screaming throughout the majority of it. The things that happen to this couple just really scared me silly. By the end, I was so terrified that I didn't want to watch anymore, but I couldn't stop without seeing the ending.

I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't watched it, but to me, it was by far the scariest thing I have ever watched. It still gives me goosebumps to think about what happened in it. I still get a catch in my voice when I try to talk about certain scenes. Even though I know how it ended. Even though I know it wasn't real. It still upsets me.

You can get Paranormal Activity online, rent it at movie rental stores, or from Netflix.

May. 19th, 2011

Khaleesi Smile

khaleesi

The Vampire Diaries (TV Show 2009-current on CW) (LJ Smith)



The Vampire Diaries is an American television series developed by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, based on the book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith. The series premiered on The CW Television Network on September 10, 2009, and has currently finished its second season on May 12, 2011. The series follows the events in the town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, a fictional small town haunted by supernatural beings. The main focus of the series is the love triangle between the female protagonist Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan and Damon with dark pasts.

This show is amazing. I personally, have never read The Vampire Diaries books, though I have read several other series by L.J. Smith. This show has it all: Gorgeous stars (male and female), scary story lines, fights, love triangles, and deep characters. Not to mention some of the greatest music EVER in a tv series. I've been a fan since the premiere and I can't wait to see what happens in season 3.

You have a lot of horror elements in this series: vampires, werewolves, and witches. Not to mention, other people with "abilities" of some kind. (Don't want to spoil anything.) One of the main reasons I like the show is the dynamic between Damon and Elena. Throw Stephan in the mix, and you have some awesome scenes! The fight scenes are really brutal to watch. There is a lot of blood. There is a ton of anguish, too.

In the end, I highly recommend this show! Check it out if you like vampires, werewolves, witches and sexy stars. I don't think you'll be disappointed. :D There's pretty much something for everyone.

You can find season 1 on Amazon.com on Blu Ray or DVD. I'm pretty sure Netflix would have it as well. Season 2 just stopped airing, so it should be released later this year. Season 3 starts this fall on the CW.

May. 17th, 2011

Khaleesi Smile

khaleesi

Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented (Video Game PS2) (Tecmo 2005)



Fatal Frame III, known in Japan as Zero: Shisei no Koe and in Europe as Project Zero III: The Tormented, is the third installment in the Fatal Frame video game series.

This is by far my most favorite game out of all the ones I've played. It comes in second only to Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood. The storyline is amazing! The graphics are great as well as the music. The backgrounds are really pretty and creepy. The characters are so well thought out and you can't help but be sucked in by them. I was hooked after just like 20 minutes in. The ghosts that you have to fight are scary. I jumped and literally cried out many times during the course of this game. Just for kicks, play it at night with the lights turned off. ;) See if you can make it through part of the game without looking over your shoulder.

I recently just beat this game for the first time and it's pretty much all I can think about for the past week. The storyline was THAT GOOD. And the ending will break you. I won't spoil it, but pretty much everyone that has played it (that I can find online) can't stop talking about the ending. Rei is a very easy character to like. Heck, even the GHOSTS have stories.

You can find Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented for PS2 on Ebay, Amazon.com and possibly local video game stores. Pick it up! You won't regret it!!

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