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Non-Review Review: Grabbers

Grabbers is a fascinating little premise, executed in a delightfully quirky and off-kilter manner. Very much an affectionate homage to classic creature features (you can spot Night of the Living Dead playing in the background of one early scene), director Jon Wright and writer Kevin Lehane are sure to give the story a delightfully stereotypical Irish twist. While the Americans might defeat a potentially hostile alien invasion with moral certitude and superior firepower, or the the British might best those otherworldly monsters with a stoic stiff upper lip, the inhabitants of the even stereotypically named “Erin Island” take on their visitors using the sheer unmitigated power of the pub lock-in.

It’s a premise that could easily collapse under its own weight, or become one joke extended well past the point of hilarity, but it’s to the credit of Wright, Lehane and the cast that it flies through its hour-and-a-half runtime.

Catching them off-guard…

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Does Whatever a Spider Can: How Sam Raimi “Got” Spider-Man…

This is a post as part of “Raimi-fest”, the event being organised by the always wonderful Bryce over at Things That Don’t Suck.

Watching all three of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy back-to-back, it becomes increasingly obvious that the director harbours an honest and genuine affection for the source material. In fairness, it’s hard to believe that the cult director seemed like a safe option for a multi-million dollar movie franchise, but it worked out remarkably well – just look at the box office figures and the critical acclaim (of at least the first two films). So what is it about Raimi that really “clicks” with Spider-Man? How does the director get the character so well?

Goblin it all up…

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Non-Review Review: The Wolfman

The Wolfman was clearly intended to kickstart a relaunch of Universal’s Monster Movie franchises, updating them for a whole new generation of movie-goers. It was intended to call back to a whole generation of horror films, starring Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff and so on. However, director Joe Johnston’s attempt to update the monster movie for a new generation is a muddled affair, simple and straight-forward, but clouded with unnecessary blood, gore and CGI.

No escape claws...

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Are Zombies the Monster of the 21st Century?

They say that horror movies and (before that) ghost stories reflect the unconscious fears of the time. So, for example, vampires allayed the fear of burying members of the community alive – if there were scratch marks on the inside of their coffins, it was because they were monsters, not because your doctor made a mistake. Or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a cautionary tale for a society just on the cusp of the age of reason – a warning not to dive too far into that pool labelled ‘scientific progress’. Monster stories and ghost stories allow us to put aside our fears even for a moment by expressing them in their most ridiculous forms – I don’t think that facet of human nature has disappeared over the past century or so. If we accept this line of reasoning, are zombies the current expression of our deeply buried fears? And, if so, of what?

At least they are taking good care of their teeth...

At least they are taking good care of their teeth...

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Detective Abberline, I Presume?

The second trailer for The Wolfman hit the interweb yesterday. I’m still on the fence about this one. On one hand, there’s a classic monster movie, Anthony Hopkins and Benecio del Toro. On the other hand there’s Joe Johnson (the dude who directed Jurassic Park III) and what looks like fairly dodgy CGI. The twice pushed-back release date isn’t filling me with confidence for this kick-start to the monster movie genre either. Still, one aspect of the film intrigues me, amid all the forest scenery, interesting make-up and scenery-chewing going on. It’s the ever-fantastic Hugo Weaving appearing as Detective Francis Abberline. Don’t worry if the name doesn’t ring any bells, I’m fairly sure you’ve seen him somewhere – he’s been played by Sir Michael Caine and Johnny Depp amongst others. The problem is he’s constantly upstaged by his most frequent co-star:

Jack the Ripper.

On the scent...

On the scent...

 

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Non-Review Review: The Mummy

Maybe there’s a reason I’ve got ghosts and ghouls on my mind despite the fact that Halloween is approaching and the first Nightmare on Elm Street trailer was just released. I happened to catch The Mummy playing on Sky movies on Sunday night and it was one of those rare films that the family just dropped everything and started watching, despite the fact we’ve seen it before. Ignoring the law of diminishing returns that affected the sequels, The Mummy is solid action-adventure-horror romp that stands equally well as a companion to Raiders of the Lost Ark as it does as a subconscious herald of the coming wave of remade creature features.

Oh, mummy!

Oh, mummy!

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The Monster Movie Genre – It’s Aliiiiive!

Well, if Hollywood is going to aggressively continue its campaign of remakes in a 3D era, I suppose there are worse genres to resurrect than the old “Universal Monster Movie” horror sub-genre. We really should have seen this coming with the impending release of The Wolf Man later in the year, but there are confirmed remakes of The Bride of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon in the works. It seems that Hollywood is as keen to cannibalise its trashy glories as it is to remake its celluloid classics.

Something fishy's going on...

Something fishy's going on...

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