Observations on Horror...

I enjoyed Tusk (2014) quite a bit. First off, it's bizarro stuff. The lunacy at the center of the film, coupled with the sharp writing and silly exchanges between the film's American and Canadian counterparts, makes this a guilty pleasure for me. 

Throw in the frequent Kevin Smith collaborator Michael Parks, who is pitch perfect as Howard Howe, and Justin Long, whose turn in Jeepers Creepers is still one of my favorite recent horror performances, and you have a positively lovely way to spend ninety minutes. 

It's strange to see Haley Joel Osment in this role. Watch the film and you'll see what I mean. He's great--don't get me wrong. It's just...well, just watch it. 

I thought this weekend's bleak episode of The Walking Dead ("Them") was really well done. I have read a lot of negativity about it, but I think it was just what the show needed, and at the right time. With the back-to-back deaths of Beth and Tyreese, the show needed to step back and show the minutia of the survivors' plight. Look, I love character development. Like Stephen King says, character is king (he, he). I like longish films (I really enjoy that 120-minute slot) because we get to see more of the moment-to-moment experiences that color our attachment to these people. 

This show has done a really fine job of filling these characters with life while still keeping the action at full throttle. It's tricky, to be sure, and they are to be commended that, from time to time, they can step back and let us live a little in this universe as opposed to moving on to the next abandoned building...


Cold on the Mountain

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Cold on the Mountain by Daniel Powell

Cold on the Mountain

by Daniel Powell

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Dark Mountain

I was really interested in Dark Mountain (2013), right up until the third act lost its rhythm a little bit. There's some interesting film-making here, in addition to a small (but capable) cast that has believable chemistry on camera.

The real star here is the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The repetition of dirt and rocks (Paul has a memorable freak-out moment about those same rocks and dirt late in the film) is dizzying, and there's a delicious aura of menace as the trio moves deeper into the mystic unknown.

The search for the Lost Dutchman Mine is a nice piece of Western lore, and one that made me look deeper into the film's central plot carrot. There is definitely a lot of documented unhappiness up in those hills, and some of that sorrow and madness comes across nicely in this found-footage piece.

Sure, it doesn't quite pay off the investment in those final scenes, but I really think it's much better than the unforgiving appraisals I've noticed online. I'll definitely look for more by Tara Anaise, and Howard, Simpson, and Stehlin delivered fine performances in this low-budget thriller.

You Know When It's Good

If you spend any real time at the word processor, you understand that sometimes the writing flows and you just know in your heart and in you...