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SDCC Reveals Pacific Rim Goodies

PACIFIC RIM FANS BE PREPARED TO EXPLODE IN GLEE.

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Straight out of SDCC and NECA come? More Pacific Rim action figures! Photos courtesy of NECA Toys and http://www.theouthousers.com/. Looks like we can look forward to whole mess of new figures including Otachi, an 18″ Cherno Alpha and more Gypsy Dangers. And if you’re lucky enough to be at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend? Head over to  booth #3920 and you may get a chance to get on the Jaeger simulator. Let us know how it was. We will be forever jealous.

Stay tuned for more #SDCC horror news as it’s announced!

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Cannibal (2014)

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I love a good well written thought-provoking story. I seek out the kind of horror that sits just on the edge of reality; plausible enough that you pause to look at your neighbor and wonder what lies just below the surface of the people you think you know. These are the stories with little to no actual gore, but you know what’s happened. You know without being told what happened to the girl who got into the car even though the last you see of her is the drive into the night. With its international critical acclaim, this was the kind of hope I had for Cannibal.

Cannibal is a film hailing from Spain that is the story of an everyday man and his hidden demons. A prestigious tailor by day, Carlos harbors the dark secret of murder and a refrigerator full of nothing but meat. Human meat. When his beautiful Romanian neighbor goes missing after requesting his assistance after a fight in her apartment, her sister Nina comes looking for her. Carlos and Nina find themselves drawn to one another while Carlos struggles to cope with a remorse he’s never felt before.

The premise of this story is striking. It has a painfully authentic human feel to it as we see the world through Carlos’ eyes and journey with him on the evolution of his love for Nina and the reality of the darkness inside of him. We aren’t given any background on him. We aren’t told what made him this way. There are only hints of a woman having deeply hurt him, clearly to the point where he is driven to murder and cannibalism. It’s sickening, but it’s fascinating in that he seems so flipping normal on the outside. Reclusive, but normal. It almost whispers to us that we are all capable of incredible atrocity, while still driving us to pity and even seek to understand the villain. It’s quietly terrifying and that’s my favorite kind of horror.

That being said, the cinematography was quite painful. The first 3 minutes of the film are a distant shot, in the dark, of a gas station. That’s it. A gas station with a car, filling up with gas. For three very long minutes. It was like watching someone’s life in real-time. The entire film moves at this pace which after a while just gets mind numbing to watch. We watch Carlos go through his day of getting up, walking to the tailor’s shop, cutting out fabric, going home, and eating a human steak. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s broken up here and there by the story limping along. I don’t expect or want huge action scenes in movies like this, but I at least hope for forward momentum. Even at the film’s climactic peak, it seemed to fall flat.

I don’t in any way blame the acting for this. The acting was actually quite brilliant. Carlos is played by Antonio de la Torre, who gives an amazing performance. The depth of his expressions, drew me in and I could see the character’s inner struggles as the story progressed. I knew what he was feeling. I could see the evolution of his character’s emotions towards Nina (Olympia Melinte). For her part, Olympia Melinte also plays her dual characters of Alexandra and Nina beautifully. She adds enough variety between the two characters that I didn’t actually realize that it was the same actress playing both until the credits. In reality, the acting was nowhere near the problem with this film.

Overall, this one fell flat for me. It’s very choppy which makes it difficult to watch. I would have liked to see the story progress without having to sit through three minutes of a nearly empty gas station or two minutes of watching a man eat a steak along in his kitchen. Even if it was a steak of human meat. I found myself hoping for a teensy tiny bit of gore, just to break up the monotony. Fantastic story. Not so fantastic execution.

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Funeral Home (1980)

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Funeral Home is available for viewing on Amazon.

Deep in the recesses of the Amazon video library lies a gem of a 1980′s horror flick called Funeral Home. It’s a Canadian film about a girl named Heather (Lesleh Donaldson) who goes to live with her Grandmother Maude (Kay Hawtrey) for the summer to help her turn the family home into a bed and breakfast. It doesn’t take long for Heather to start hearing strange voices coming from the basement at night and for guests to start disappearing or turning up dead. Her grandmother is secretive about the mysterious voices and the disappearance of her husband, the undertaker. The house was once a funeral home and there are rumors that strange things occur there as part of that past. Predictably, it’s Heather’s 1980′s dream-boat love interest that pushes her to explore and get to the bottom of this small town mystery with the help of his police officer brother.

Pretty much the extent of the gore.

Pretty much the extent of the gore.

This movie tries. It tries really, really hard. It made a Farrah Fawcett reference though, so it gets points for that. I went into it really hoping it wasn’t a slasher films (because those really aren’t my cup of tea) as the impression I got from the synopsis hinted it might be. The ‘trailer’ gave me no clue, as it was basically just the opening 40 seconds of the movie. So I took my chances. While there is a bit of gore, this is another one of those wading into the shallow end kind of horror flicks. If you’re trying to build up your horror endurance? This one is definitely tame enough to fit the bill.

Ahh, Love. 1980's style.

Ahh, Love. 1980′s style.

I found the acting to be pretty typical of this era in film. There are a couple of (what I hope are purposefully obnoxious)  characters, and it’s definitely a bit laughable but has its genuinely amazing moments. And as I said earlier, a Farrah Fawcett reference for the win. The impressive performance in this really does go to Kay Hawtrey and her portrayal of Maude Chalmers, the wife of the old undertaker who disappeared a few years before. The plot is definitely on the predictable side (as in I figured it out 10 minutes into the film) but her progression as a character makes this one worth sitting through. It definitely moves slowly in the beginning, but the last 15 minutes of the movie show a depth of character acting that I found just brilliant.

Aside from Ms. Hawtrey’s performance, this does have some cheese factor. I would have liked to see a little bit more development of the funeral home aspect of it though. For a movie that is titled Funeral Home, it says surprisingly little about it. It comes into play a little bit as the plot takes its inevitable turns (definitely not much twisting), but it really is used as more of a background for the story.

Overall this is another one of those movies that is worth watching with a group of friends, a tub of popcorn and a light heart. Where you know that you can laugh and make fun of it, while still being at least mildly entertained. And if you get off track and get lost in a conversation? It won’t take much to catch up. This is another one that I’m going to file under give it the good ole MST3K treatment if you’re a veteran horror fan. If you’re a beginner? Definitely enough cheesiness for you to splash around in the shallow end while still getting a decent story line and a healthy dose of crazy.

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We can always count on crazy.