Happy Death Day

Tree Gelbman, a young college student, wakes up in a guy’s room, hungover as hell and barely no memory from last night. On top of it all, it’s her birthday today, a day she is not too fond of for reasons later revealed in the movie. She leaves the guy’s room with a pissy attitude, and we see pretty quickly that this is a girl that tends to make bad choices in her life, and treat people around her like crap. At the end of the day, she gets chased by someone wearing a mask, and ends up being killed. And then she wakes up in the guy’s room again, repeating the day all over again. In a desperate fight to reveal the identity of the killer, and try to figure out how to avoid being killed by him/her, she relives the day of her birthday and murder over and over…

«Happy Death Day» goes into a concept that has been touched multiple times over in other movies and tv-series: that of reliving a specific day over and over («Groundhog Day», «Triangle» and «Timecrimes», just to mention some). So in that regard, this movie brings nothing new or groundbreaking to the horror genre. It’s a simple yet entertaining horror comedy that is best served without any expectations in mind.

Stephen King's 1922

Based on a novel from 2010 by famous horror-writer Stephen King, comes this Netflix original that was released on October 20th. It’s a story about Wilfred James, a proud farmer who conspires to murder his own wife when she wants them to move away from the farm and sell the land, which she owns because it was willed to her by her own father. Neither the father nor the son wants to move away from the quiet farmlife they’ve grown so attached to, and Wilfred convinces his son to participiate in the murder of his wife. After comitting the horrible act and dump the body of her into the well outside, Wilfred soon starts to experience that things do not go as smoothly from there on, even with his wife out of the way…

«1922» is for the most part a dark thriller, with some horror elements mixed it. There are no over-the-top weird stuff that some might be used to from certain popular works by the famous author (like «It», for example), it’s a down-to-earth thriller with some supernatural elements mixed in. Unexpectedly, when a desperate man like Wilfred decides to murder his wife due to his own desires, we all know that he won’t escape such an act unscathed…and neither will his son. “In the end, we all get caught”.

Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz) is a young medical student whose fiancee, Elizabeth Shelley, gets overrun by a lawnmower at a backyard party and gets shredded to pieces. The only thing left of her is her head, which he puts in the freezer. He’s determined to get her back in some way, and arranges his garage into a typical “mad scientist” lab. Then he drives around New York’s dark streets to pick up the finest hookers to assemble body parts for his new girlfriend.

Obviously,  troubles start right from when she wakes up, with a mentality of a whore and all the body parts stitched on her. She escapes the garage and gets loose on New York city and all she can say is: Need some company? Looking for some action? Got any money? And then she enters a bar where she meets the pimp of the missing hookers who notice a certain tattoo on her new arm..

With a title like «Frankenhooker» you may expect the worst, but if you’re familiar to Frank Henenlotter’s movies you know what you’re getting yourself into. With the limited amount of resources and small budget, he really knows how to use it and combine horror with comedy. Frankenhooker is probably his best one and the most lightened, entertaining and overall the craziest. And like Henenlotter’s previous films, the darker and sleazy streets of New York are portrayed in a authentic way. Shot without permission during the night with real hookers in the background gives his films a more realistic look.

James Lorinz is great in his role as Jeffrey. He reminds me of a milder version of Herbert West. He’s sympatethic and really feels bad for killing streetwalkers to collect the body parts, but he really wants his loved one back. The more he slips into desperation and obsession to fix his fiancee back to life, you just feel sorry for him. Patty Mullen as the Frankenhoooker isn’t bad either. She’s not as serious as Lorinz, but her facial ticks and overacting fits the tone and her scenes are entertaining  as hell.

And of course, how can you not love a movie with exploding hookers?

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

A father and a son who are running a coroner business from their own home, need to identify the body of a young woman who was found in a house full of brutally murdered bodies. The other bodies were that of the family living in the house…but in the basement, the police found the half-buried corpse of that young woman. The corpse is pristine, there isn’t even a scratch on her or any blood. As the old saying goes, however: looks can be deceiving…

When they start their “work” on her (and if you are queasy when it comes to body horror, you’ll probably be squirming in your seat while watching it) they soon find out that the girl appears to have been through extreme torture before she died. Her tongue has been cut out, one of her teeth are missing, and from the inside it appears that she’s been burned…but still, her outside is intact, like if nothing ever happened to her. The girl harbors a dark secret, however, and soon weird shit starts to happen.

«The Autopsy of Jane Doe», directed by norwegian André Øvredal (known for «Troll Hunter», aka «Trolljegeren»), has given us a really atmospheric and creepy film that easily manages to get under your skin. There are several scenes that are outright bone-chilling. Well recommended if you enjoy dark psychological horror movies.

The Babadook

«The Babadook» is Jennifer Kent’s debut movie based on her short film from 2005 titled «Monster». It’s the story about a widowed mother, Amelia, who is still struggling with trying to cope after her husband’s violent death. Plagued with nightmares and depression, she’s also having more than a handful with her son Samuel, a 7-year-old with a really needy personality with hyperactive periods and often throwing tantrums. To top it all, he’s got a fear of monsters that he believe are lurking around in the house. One night she decides to read a book for him in order to make him calm down and sleep, and she finds a book in her own home that she can’t remember having seen before. The book is titled «The Babadook”…and after reading from it, she also starts to sense what her son has been sensing: that something evil lurks around in their house…which later manifests itself as the evil spirit «The Babadook».

One could argue wether «The Babadook» is more a horror tale of a mother that is slowly going insane, or a monster movie. Seeing how the strugglig mother is trying to cope by balancing her work with her needy son and her trauma is somehow chilling by itself, because it’s so down-to-earth, even without any kind of monster mixed in. In many ways, the movie could be seen as some kind of metaphor for the pain and struggles of motherhood. There’s many ways to interpret this movie and what happens in it, especially the ending, which is also similar to the ending in the short film «Monster».

 

Oh, and the book featured in the film was actually printed as a real pop-up book where people could pre-order one in a crowd-funding campaign. Vanja actually pre-ordered one of these, and below are some photos. This is the first print run, autographed by Jennifer Kent (and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a second print run, so this is a rare gem):

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

Mister Babadoo

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