When Darkness Fell, He Arrived

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Halloween is about a boy named Michael Myers who grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father, a stripper mother, a rebellious older sister, and a baby sister. He spent his childhood mostly alone, spending most of his after-class hours getting bullied. All of this triggered his strange mentality about life and death. One Halloween night, everything changes as he murders his father, sister, and her boyfriend in their own home while their mother was working. He was then brought to a correction institute where a doctor/investigator named Dr. Samuel tried to penetrate the mind of the killer and alter his psychological discordance. While in the institution, his mother commits suicide, thus adding up to the compiled issues that Michael had to digest. He grows up to be much bigger and stronger and much quieter at the same time. He was able to escape as some maintenance staff were fooling around in his room. He then goes back to his hometown and stalks his younger sister just to find out that she didn’t want to accept him as a brother. After failing to keep ties with his sister, he goes back to his old self and tries to kill his sister as well.

As bizarre as it may sound, serial killers were very apparent in America that a lot of horror movies derive from real lives of such deviants. Most of their killings are results of childhood trauma, maybe from bullying or sexual abuse. In this movie, it is a mix of both bullying and filial problems that had caused Michael to act and think like he did when he turned into the Halloween killer. Though, I believe that his conscience was not completely blinded for he was still able to try to reconcile with his sister, even if everything ended up so badly. I found out from a documentary that you’d know if a killer has no conscience at all if you see no guilt or even any feeling of regret in his eyes. With Michael, I thought he has turned into a complete psycho when he brutally killed the janitor who treated him as his own son, but I felt that he still had a bit of feeling towards the notion of family when he was finally reunited with his sister.

I understand where Laurie is coming from when she decided to reject Michael’s invitation. Most obvious reason is she was too startled by the suddenness of everything. Another reason might be that she didn’t quite understand how this person who killed everyone that she loved is so eager for her to accept him.

I thought the movie was okay. It was entertaining and kind of heartbreaking. I adore the little boy’s acting skills. The documenting part of the changes he underwent in the institution gave me the creeps. There are parts I disliked, such as how Michael easily gets out of the institution because of unprofessional staff. It would be such an obvious management decision to maintain a good labor pool in such institutions. Of course, the scene where they just left the body in the pool without even double checking if he’s really dead is just a classic sign that someone’s going to get killed. I also didn’t like how Laurie tried to hide inside the house instead of running in the streets. It was a small house, and again, it’s just too obvious. It was an okay film for me. But I guess it takes the fun out of everything when you start to analyze a slasher film.

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Whatever you do, don’t go to the basement

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Innkeepers was set in The Yankee Peddlar Inn, a haunted hotel on the verge of business failure, where two innkeepers, Claire and Luke, are both interested in documenting the paranormal incidences that have occurred in the hotel. With only a few days left, the main characters are eager to get something freaky while still manning the front desk and handling the last few hotel guests. Their last few guests include a depressed mother, her son, a celebrity-turned-ghost-whisperer, and an old man who turns out to be the runaway groom of the widow of the Pedlar, Madeleine Mallory. This horror movie has a hint of romance as Luke comes out to be a secret admirer of Claire just before the climax of the movie. The ending makes the movie scarier and heartbreaking as viewers find out what really happened with the life of the widow.

Honestly, I thought that I wouldn’t really like the movie because it was borderline horror movie and romcom. But I kind of liked it. The quirky character of Claire made the film look like an interesting life of a curious teenage girl and it contributes to the building up of the story from a funny beginning to a really terrifying end. It had just the right amount of gore in the end as we see Madeleine and the old man who committed suicide. Sometimes a horror movie spoils itself when it starts off with a series of bloody murders or a terrifying ghost experience. Innkeepers was able to tickle the audience’s mind as the movie teases them little by little with bits of paranormal activities and putting a big bang of horror in the end.

Of course what’s most memorable is the classic basement scene. In horror movies, something always goes badly when someone enters a basement. Doesn’t matter if it’s your house or a hotel, some supernatural thing is hanging out in that basement. No matter how used that horror style is, it still gives me the creeps.

Although the cinematography and SFX were commendable, I got lost when the ghost and the old man started to go and try to kill Claire. Why did they want to kill her? Is it because she got in their way? But Luke also participated, so why her? Maybe it was all in Claire’s mind. She had this great love for the paranormal that maybe she found  it hard to separate what’s real and what’s not. If this is the case, then Claire must have died of an asthma attack, knowing that she dropped her inhaler before her final appearance. That unclear part of the plot made the movie less appealing to me. I would have wanted more action, a bigger bang. The psychic also seemed like a fill-up role, meaning she just filled up the role of a person who is tasked to tell more about the story of the ghost just because she can communicate with her. It was just so strange and random that from a celebrity she turned to a far different career. Maybe it’s just part of Claire’s imagination.

Whether or not Claire actually seen everything, Innkeepers gave me goosebumps. I had a few jump-scares, but I think it would have been better with a more dynamic plot.

To understand is not to understand

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Pontypool is one of those films that will leave you confused and devastated at yourself for not being able to understand the main point of the story. Although I found it hard to understand, Bruce McDonald’s very unique take on the zombie film genre made the film more interesting and entertaining.

The film was set in Ontario, Canada, where a deadly virus was rumored to be spreading through the English language. This rumor was confirmed by a radio station, where most of the story took place. The main character in the story, Grant Mazzy, was a radio host who had bad work ethics that led him to getting rejected by big-time shows, thus leading him to work in an early morning show in CLSY Radio in Pontypool. It started with a pre-recorded tape of Grant playing on the radio about a missing cat. Grant arrives in the station and started to report ordinary news that seemed to not interest him at all. What made everything strange is that incidences of riot and chaos were reported to the station by their traffic reporter and they also received calls from listeners about it. For a boring old town, everything just seemed to change dramatically for Grant and his producer, Sydney Briar.

Weird thing about this film is that the zombie virus was spreading through language, and one of its symptoms were endless and repetitive phrases blurted out by the infected. Once infected, the person attacks just like any other zombie. The root of the problem I seem to not understand. Some foreign authority and a foreign doctor just vehemently tells us that the infection is caused by the English language. But why? What’s even more perplexing is the scene at the end of the credits. I just left the room feeling brain-damaged.

At first, I thought that the film was trying to make a point about how people nowadays use the English language to prove shallow and unimportant things that it led them to being cursed to say non-sense for the rest of their lives. This makes sense because it’s the French language that seems to be more powerful in the movie for not being vulnerable to language virus. Way before the modern era, language was a vessel for art. It was used to express abstract emotions by philosophers, politicians, poets, and other artists. Now that modernity has heightened our use of material things, we resort to using our language as a means of simple communication and not as an expression of deep thoughts and emotions. Artistry now is always associated with the European culture, like French. Since the English language is a universal language, this tendency to use the language to speak and not to express has led the people to the infection. This may be true but I have this strong feeling that it’s not. The movie is just too different and ambiguous, that I think that is the point of the movie. If the transmission of the virus was caused by understanding the language, then one must not understand to avoid infection. The audience, in this case, is actually part of the story. For me, the whole point of everything is for us not to understand in order to live, which is quite funny but enlightening at the same time. The last spiel of Grant Mazzy prevented the prolonging of the virus as he says:”Well, what the fuck happened today folks? Someone took a buzzsaw to your middle, and they pulled out a wheeling devil, and they spilled it right across your anthill. But you know what folks? We were never making sense. We were never making sense.”

Now that I understand, I don’t know. Know. Know. Know. Know. Uh-oh.

Still A Better Love Story Than Twilight

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Let The Right One In revolves around the relationship between a young, sweet boy named Oskar and a very innocent-looking, peculiar girl named Eli, who turns out to be an old vampire. Oskar lives with his mother and only from time to time visits his father. He was frequently bullied in school by a group of boys who kept on teasing him to be a “piggie” (which makes no sense because he is quite thin.) He always practiced stabbing using a knife, which was always with him, and reenacts situations when he was bullied, as to somehow prepare for revenge. He met Eli during one of those practice days and he somehow found interest in her, although she acted and smelled strangely. They clicked immediately, became friends, and at one point went “steady.” Håkan, the older man who Eli lives with, plays a significant role in the vampire’s life as he obtained blood from random civilians and delivered them to Eli. In the end, Håkan voluntarily gets bitten by Eli after getting caught by the police. Eli leaves town for she grew too fond of Oskar and she was afraid he might be her next victim. Though, the last scenes show how their relationship stayed alive when Eli saved Oskar from the bullies by ripping their body parts apart. Due to his love for the vampire, Oskar goes away with Eli.

When the film ended, I can’t help but to think that, like many of my classmates did, the story was so similar to Twilight. Though, for me, it’s better. First and most obvious reason is that the characters are much more admirable with both their appearances and acting skills. It was also quite different from other vampire movies that I’ve watched because the characters are very young. It was also able to tackle issues such as bullying, separated family, self-realization, and unconventional relationships. One more unique aspect is that, apparently, invitation is a per-requisite for a vampire to walk inside rooms and build relationships from friendship to love. This makes it so much better than Twilight, because of uniqueness, and also I found it quite creepy for Edward to easily enter a girl’s room and stare at her all night.

I really liked the character of Oskar. There’s something strange about him that made me more interested in the film. The environment that Oskar grew up in obviously contributed a lot to his behavior and attitude. Growing up without paternal guidance hindered him from building a strong and fighting self-esteem, thus making him vulnerable to bullies. He was also very fond of this town murderer, who might be Håkan, that he collected newspaper articles about all the killings that took place. I think that although Eli was the strange one in nature, Oskar was strange in the psychological sense. He was quiet for his age, and he spent a lot of his time alone before meeting Eli. I think this unusual behavior has made him more willing to be with Eli, even if she was not a girl as she always emphasizes. Oskar didn’t have anyone around who accepted him wholly. Although, when he hit the bully when he was about to get pushed, his father was more gentle and understanding, Oskar still was not able to vent out his inner grievances to his father. Only when Eli came to his life was he able to open himself to another person. The interest he had for the murderer was also an indication that despite being quiet most of the time, he had anger and vengeance within him that eventually came out when he got the confidence brought about by Eli.

Eli changed Oskar’s life dramatically, but I think that it was not love that made her so thoughtful in the first place, it was just in her nature to manipulate human beings to follow her wishes. Oskar might just turn out like Håkan later on. I have this theory that it was not about the relationship that Eli went back, it’s that she needed him to live more like a human than a supernatural being. It’s actually a reciprocal relationship, but it’s more damaging on Oskar’s part for he had more chances of living a normal life without Eli but he was too afraid to indulge in the normal for all the experiences he had gone through in it. Despite this friends with benefits kind of notion, I still think that their relationship was so adorable that I find it to be better than Twilight.

Though, I did not quite feel the horror in the film aside from having a vampire as a character. But I guess that horror is not all about the scare factor.

(LOOK HOW MUCH THEY’VE GROWN: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/66292299.html)

“If you can’t find a friend, make one.”

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May is about a girl who grew up living with her doll best friend, Suzie. She found it hard befriending people because of her shy nature and introversion. Just when she realizes how amazing it is to have someone who simply accepts her for who she is (her friend, Adam, liked her weirdness), that’s when she also faces the fact that this imperfect world is full of people who will always leave when faced with unfamiliarity. Not having enough experience with relationships whatsoever, her mind was startled and started to find obsession with creating the perfect friend.

This movie may be the saddest horror film I have watched so far. It had its comedic parts, but I think it’s still so sad. It is true that people tend to walk away when they don’t like the experience anymore. This can apply to various relationships, from simple friendship to marriage. There are people who give up right away without even realizing the good that this certain something or someone has brought to them. This film, though disturbing, showed a part of reality that I fear the most. That’s why I like it. I don’t know if I’m just weird or what, but I got really emotional watching this movie. I felt so much empathy for this girl. I felt so angry with the other characters. First, I think her parents are bad at parenting. How can they not realize that their daughter had no friends? Also, Adam, who looks like John Travolta, is such a typical douche-guy-in-a-movie. How can he stand leaving May all desperate without giving her closure? Basically, I find it hard to like the people around May, because they didn’t help her live a normal life.

Though, a part of me insists that May was really just mentally ill. That no matter what the people around her do, she ends up doing the same thing. She ends up driving people away from her or distancing herself from them. Or maybe her obsession with perfection started when she was still young, and it hindered her from accepting people who seem lacking to be the right friend. She may also seem trying too hard to keep her relationships perfect that she ends up creating scenarios in her mind that would seem appealing to the other person. Just like when she imitated the characters in Adam’s movie and bit him really hard on the lip. She wants everything to be perfect. Her only friend, Suzie, seemed perfect for her, because this doll did not hurt her because it cannot hurt her in the first place. I don’t know exactly if Suzie’s role is a possessed doll or just a figment of May’s imagination, but I think Suzie is a symbolism of May herself. When Suzie was still in her box, everything was just okay. Nothing went wrong, she was not damaged, she just remained there. Like Suzie, May used to be really quiet and just alone in her little world. But when May started to break out of her shell, that’s when bad things started to happen. She carried a lot of pressure trying to make more intimate connections with the people around her. She got hurt, her heart was broken, everything changed. Suzie’s box dropped on the floor because the blind children were forcing May to bring Suzie out of it. There’s this outside pressure that led Suzie to come out. By the time she escapes, she got destroyed and the shattered glass hurt the other children as well. May hurt the people around her too. Although I expected Suzie to be a demonic doll, I think her importance in the movie is to symbolize the character of May.

I really enjoyed the movie. It is very disturbing and gross, but May’s character is really loveable and scary at the same time. If I were to put myself in her shoes, I would understand how hard it is to have something taken away from you when you’re just trying to make a good impression. I also know how tempting it is to find perfection in the things that we possess and the people we let into our lives. It’s part of reality and it is scary to think that there are people, like May, who are desperate enough to do unimaginable things to gain attention and acceptance or get revenge on the people who hurt them.

Escape the Fate?

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Getting annoyed by the main character has been a typical reaction of mine whenever I watch horror movies. I always roll my eyes whenever the character enters a room alone or go to random adventures without telling their relatives or close friends. Watching Triangle was nothing different. I rolled my eyes and got annoyed at Jess, more so when she realizes that everything is happening all over again and she ends up doing the same things and landing in the same situations. But the ending of the movie made it all clear to me. Jess was trying to save herself and her son from death, but something kept her from getting what she wanted. That certain something is what we call life.

In our Philosophy 103 class, our professor discussed something about predestination being a hindrance to practicing our human freedom. I do believe that a higher being, may it be God or some other powerful being, has set out choices for people in different situations and that what is chosen will lead you to a certain path that will lead to other choices, and so on. We have the freedom to choose among the options, but we don’t really have control of the path we choose nor are we capable of changing the decisions we have made in the past. I guess that is what Triangle is really all about. Jess wanted to escape death, but the decisions she have made in the past have led her to death and there is no turning back. I believe in fate and how it works its way in life. Jess was trying to defeat fate and fate just answered back with a Macbeth quote, “…what’s done, is done.”

Going back to the earlier parts of the movie, the myth about Sisyphus escaping death was something that really stood out for me. It was such a random story that I researched about it as the movie was finished because I knew it would be important. I found out that in Greek mythology, Sisyphus tried to outwit Zeus by tricking Death and was eternally punished by doing so. He was commanded to roll a boulder up a hill, but it eventually rolls back down, thus he has to repeat the same process. This myth is somehow related to what Jess is experiencing in the movie. Although it is unclear why she has to be punished, it might be because of her cruel personality shown when she hurt her son or not, the repeating factor was the same. Jess and Sisyphus also had the same encounter with death – they both wanted to escape it. Jess wanted to change things because her son’s death hurt her. She felt she was to be blamed. But trying to repeat the process, even with the changes, will only lead her to face, once again, what had hurt her in the first place.

We can never predict what life has got to offer, but sometimes we just have to accept and move on. No life can ever be perfect, even if we were capable of changing the past, I bet it will never be perfect still. If we ever try to escape rather than accept, we just end up like Jess: We try to protect ourselves from hurting, but we end up hurting ourselves even more.