Motel Hell

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Originally posted on http://horrorhothousereview.wordpress.com/

Motel Hell
Starring- Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod,
Director- Kevin Connor
Made- 1980
Tagline- You might just die….laughing
Fave quotes- “Meats meat and a man’s gotta eat.”
“There are too many people in the world and not enough food. Now this takes care of both problems at the same time.”

Who doesn’t love the 80s? Whether its horror movies, fashion or music, it just seems like the most fun (cheesy?) decade. I sometimes think I was born too late in the 80’s and would have preferred to live out this decade in its entirety. Alas, I have to make do with constantly visiting this time period and enjoying the shit out of it.

This brings us to the latest review, Motel Hell. This little gem found its way to my hands a few years ago when I picked up a 80s horror box set. This included Killer Klowns from outer space, Crawl space, Monkey Shines, Brain Damage, Full Moon High and more. Ten bucks? BARGAIN!
I just want to get this out of the way first. I love this movie! On average, this gets put on probably every 2 months. To me, this just encapsulates everything a 80s horror movie should be, funny, violent, twisted, corny and weird.

Motel Hell tells the story of farmer Vincent, a kindly old gentleman who runs an old motel and makes some of the best road side food around. What makes farmer Vincent’s meats so delicious? Well a nice old mix of sauces, spices, gravy and human. Whaa?

Farmer Vincent and his sister, Ida, kidnap unsuspecting guests and smoke em, grind em, mince em and eat em. After all, “it takes all kinds of critters to make farmer Vincent’s fritters.” That’s pretty much all you need to know going into Motel Hell. The rest is just a delightfully funny movie that will keep you watching until the end.

To read full review head on over to
http://horrorhothousereview.wordpress.com/

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Top 5 modern horror flicks (post 2000)

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Heyo,

Before the next review (motel hell) comes out, I thought I would do some lists featuring my favourite horror flicks. I will break them up into different headings as I think it’s a cop out and too easy to just do one all time favourite list. I will finish with that however.

To start, I’m going to go with what I feel is the hardest list, “post 2000’s”. Seriously, I’m pretty sure a lot of people would agree with me when I say the pickings get slim when it gets to modern horror. Even if someone makes a throwback genre movie in the model of a Friday film or “the burning” it just doesn’t have that same feel as what it did when they were made in the past. You may be able to chalk that up to modern film making technology, purely for money making or back then it just had all the elements for it to be “just right”.

Anyway, I’m not here to rant I’m here to tell you my top 5. So enough with the stalling and lets start.

Number 5- Halloween 2
Director-Rob Zombie
Year-2009
Wait! Before you purists get too pissed off at me about including this, can I just tell you why. Pretty much it’s the first 20-25 minutes. This is always important to me in a movie as I need to be grabbed and pulled in straight away. I do not care if it was a dream, flashback or something different, the beginning of this movie is INTENSE. The violence is top notch especially towards the ambulance drivers ( cow, cow, COW haha). I’ll admit it goes a bit off the rails as the movie goes on but I don’t think it nearly deserves the hate it gets. If I had to choose this or the original zombie remake it would be this one any day of the week.
7/10

Number 4- The woman
Director- Lucky McKee
Year- 2011
I have already reviewed this one so I won’t spend much time on it. Just want to tell you if you haven’t seen this yet please do. Dark, bleak and tense. This movie has my eyes glued to the screen every time. This ones underrated and I feel it will keep getting noticed and become a fan favourite as time goes on. SEE IT!

Number 3- Excision
Director- Richard Bates Jr.
Year- 2012
This film needs to be BIGGER. I had never heard, seen or read a review on this film when I rented it.(yes I still rent, support the little guys!!!)
One thing I will say is I’m so glad I have seen it. To say this is a strange film is an understatement. It follows the day to day troubles of teenager Pauline (Annalynne McCord) as she deals with bullies, her sisters illness and her obsession with becoming a surgeon. She will do anything to impress her controlling mother and yes ma’am father, but at the same time, piss them off till no end. I don’t want to ruin too much of this movie but the movie works its way to an unexpected horrible and touching? Ending. If you like quirky indie, strange gore, VERY dark humor and just plain strangeness, then get on this. McCord is unrecognizable from her good looking self and steals this movie and makes it her own.
8.5/10

Number 2- The descent
Director- Neill Marshall
Year- 2005
I don’t think I need to explain too much with this movie as it is a favourite by many. The last time I can remember being claustrophobic was when I was a young kid, that was until I watched this movie. Seriously, even before the “bad guys”(don’t want to ruin it) come and turn the bad situation to an “ohhh shit” situation, I was freaked out! When they are getting stuck in those little tunnels it makes me want to get up and do star jumps so I know I’m not confined. Anyway, this follows a group of ladies who go for a weekend of caving in what they thought was an already discovered cave. Guess again. Once they find out they are first to go in this cave system, everything turns to shit. This wasn’t a huge mainstream hit but has since gained a massive following. Put a point up for the poms cause they did a bloody good job with this one.

Number 1- The Strangers
Director- Brian Bertino
Year 2008
Oh god I can hear the abuse now. WHAT, are you kidding me? Bla bla bla. Yup heard it all but it’s not going to change my mind and that is I LOVE THIS MOVIE! It’s hard for a movie to creep me out and this one does a good job. The thing that works best for me is there is always something going on in the back ground. Usually just something simple but effective such as one of the antagonists slowly walking onto the screen and back out again without liv Tyler knowing. This movie gets my blood boiling a bit like the honorable mention down there. I hate the fact that these people come in and completely destroy these people’s lives and BRAVO for the movie for getting that kind of response out of me. It might be anger but it’s still getting me invested in this film which is better than sitting there counting the clock. I’m pretty sure you have all seen this but if you haven’t, watch it at home alone at night and see what you’re thinking when you go to bed.

Honorable mention
Eden Lake.
James Watkins
2008
I back and forthed on this one. Is it horror is it not, is it better than the other 5. In the end I feel it’s more a thriller but still wanted to get it on here. I can only watch this movie every now and then as it gets me angry haha. Those punks deserve to be beat down and it never comes except for a couple of them, which I do a little fist in the air every time 🙂 the movie is about a happy couple who go to a part of the woods that’s going to be demolished soon for housing. While there, they get into an altercation with some local dickweeds (teenagers) and shit gets real very quickly. What follows is dog murder, torture, man hunting, bullying and all sorts of terrifying real life shit. Does it start with these teens or does it go back to the parents who may be responsible for the going ons throughout the movie? Who cares, make a sequel and get revenge on Em all so I can go to sleep at night not angry for once since I seen this movie 4 years ago. Kidding, sort of. Oh yeah, another point to the English. Well done lads.

What would have made my top ten
House of a thousand corpses, the hills have eyes remake, paranormal activity 1, hostel.

Anyway, that’s it. Remember this is not an all time list, just the last 13 years. Disagree or agree, feel free to abuse or yell in the comments or on twitter 🙂
Up next will be the top 5 90’s. Shit, are there more than 2?

Twitter @joshmarhoff

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Friday the 13th part 2, mini review

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Morning,

I just realized it has been a while since I put anything up so I decided to do a mini review so this place doesn’t start forming tumbleweeds and lonely western music.
I chose Friday the 13th part 2 because along with Halloween and the Texas chainsaw massacre, shaped me into the horror loving nut I am today. Halloween is already done so I guess I have to do Friday and Texas to complete my inspiration trilogy.

Pick any of the first 4 Friday movies, and I guarantee that one of these will be someone’s favorite. Whether it’s number 1 because people like that that’s where it all started, number 3 because this is where Jason really started to take shape with his hockey mask and all, or number 4 because well come on, all star line-up, awesome kills, Crispin glovers AMAZING dance, the beginning of the tommy trilogy, and I think finally Friday the 13th had established itself and it didn’t look like slowing down EVER(until the very next release, number….5. *shudder* DAMN YOU ROY).

For me, number 3 can be taken from the box set, along with number 5(god damn it Roy get outta here) and I wouldn’t care. I think it’s a minor hiccup in an otherwise strong beginning series. One is ok, but I need me some Jason. Number 4 is a close second fave, but NOTHING can knock number 2 from its perch as my number 1 Friday.

Set 5 years after the horrible bloodbath at camp crystal lake, the legend of Jason continues to grow. Now, a new batch of camp counsellors have come to be trained……in dying. Ha, no but seriously, Jason has grown the eff up and is pissed. Mayhem ensues. See- Bloodbath.

Friday 2 has everything I like in a slasher, the campfire tale, good fx, sub par acting, and Jason with a bag over his head. Yes I love the bag, it’s creepy and effective and it nearly makes me wanna give Jason a hug and just tell him that dude, you aren’t that ugly(he is).

Friday the 13th part 2 is one of those movies I can watch again and again and again. Sure it has it’s faults with acting and story/timeline and the confusing ending, but to me that makes it great. Hell, I even love big red Stuart Charno. Amy steel is probably my favourite final girl out of the whole series, she is a decent actor and portrays fear which is rare in an 80’s slasher. The part where it is pitch black and she screams “paul there’s someone in the fucking room” still gives me goosebumps. Roy never gave me goosebumps( I mean it Roy GO AWAY you un scary bastard)

This version of Jason I also find creepy. He seems like a normal dude, not a zombie yet, and just creeps the hell outta me. The way he hunts and kills is a lot of fun. What about the dude in the wheel chair. HELL YES!! That guy was destroyed, although I’m still confused as to why they used that bad pause and transition to the next scene :/ ah well 80’s slasher, it gets a pass.

Like most of its peers that were made around the same time, it is choc full of cheesy dialogue. My favourite however, comes very early in the movie when our head camp counselor is giving a run down of some rules and regulations. That’s all fine until he mentions a special rule for the ladies. He informs them that during menstruation if they don’t keep “clean” a bear will come :/……….WHAT?? What bear is going to come and eat them and WHY?? Lol ( I hope a bear eats Roy, ROY!!!)

Anyway, this movie is a classic and if you haven’t seen it yet, really?, you need to. It has everything to love about a Friday the 13th movie. It has everything to love about an 80’s movie. It has everything to love about a slasher movie. It’s brilliant.

9.5/10- there isn’t many movies that I will give a perfect score to, but a 9.5 is top score.
Forgive me for any mistakes as I have typed this on my iPad and right now I’m getting to the point of frustration.

Feel free to comment or hit me up on twitter
Twitter @joshmarhoff
Instagram #joshrm

P.S GO HOME ROY!
Cheers

The Woman

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The Woman (2011)

Director- Lucky Mckee

Starring- Pollyanna McIntoshSean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley CarterShyla Molhusen, Shyla Molhusen

Tagline- “Not every monster lives in the wild.”

Going into my first viewing of “The woman” I knew very little about the film. I think with a film like this, that is the best way. I just want to say that i had never even heard of Lucky Mckee before this film and now I will be certain to seek out other films by him.

Chris Cleek is a succesful country lawyer, he has a nice family, a nice house and from the outside things look perfect. But things are not so rosey, not for his family at least. While hunting, the father comes across a “feral woman” living in the wild and decides that the next logical step is to capture her, take her back to the barn and “civilize” her. That was his first and biggest mistake.

I do not want to go into the story and what unfolds too much more as just watching this film unfold with no expectations is one of the most unsettling and amazing movie viewing experiences i have had in recent times. The one thing that a film like this needs is mood and atmosphere. This movie takes both these tools and absolutely fucking nails it! The bleak atmosphere is ever present throughout the whole film. Perfect example, my girlfriend walks into the room where i am watching “The woman” stays 5 minutes and has to leave as it got to her that quick. She said she could feel the mood and knew it will be a movie with no happy ending and no light at the end of the tunnel. How right she was.

Although the violence and gore does not come along until about the last 20-25 minutes, you do not drift or start to get bored at all. The low budget seems to work to the films advantage and makes it that much more effective.(I hate fucking polished movies- MICHAEL BAY lookin at ya) Once you do get to the end where the tables start to turn, it becomes a revenge flick in the same vein as “I spit on your grave” and “The last house on the left” and when this revenge comes, you can’t help but fucking revel in the fact. The attacks are brutal, gory and disturbing.

The actors in the film are also superb and play the parts to a tee. You can not help but feel so much hate for some characters and so much sympathy for others. I believe that if there are characters that affect you,whether make your blood boil or make you want to jump in the screen and just fucking help them, they must be doing something right and here Lucky got the best out of his relatively unknown cast.

I wish this film got a lot more attention as i feel that it is one of the rare gems that is keeping the horror genre alive. I know that it is rather popular but not what it should be. I could ask 20 people that love horror and only maybe 5 have seen it.

This film is a little weird, a little bizarre, and very different, but it is oh so original and that is so hard to find these days in the deep shit coloured swamp that is modern horror. So well done Lucky Mckee, the cast and everyone involved in this little movie as it has restored my faith that one day i will watch just many modern movies as i do old classics.

8 out of 10

Cabin in the woods

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hhHHEEELllooo!!!
So, being situated in the great old Australia is usually pretty damn good. BUT when it comes to film and television, we are usually way behind the 8 ball. So over the last couple months I have heard nothing but cabin in the woods talks, reviews and discussions. I am sick of hearing people say “the less you know going in, the better”. Maybe so, but I still want to see it and thanks to the land down under being so incapable when it comes to film (horror in particular) cabin in the woods will not be receiving a wide cinema release, but thanks to a small group of dedicated fans they have managed to get the film into selected indie cinemas around Australia. THANK YOU!!! So this weekend or next I will be heading off to see the movie and will immediately get a review out (mainly cause my memory is shite). If anyone out there has seen it, feel free to comment with your thoughts, I would love to hear them. Cheers for now and “The woman” review will be coming shortly.
Peace!

Savages Crossing

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This will be my first run down on a movie ever. I’m not the best with getting my thoughts to word form so be patient. The movies that I will talk about are NOT recommendations, merely just my thoughts on what I have most recently watched in the horror genre.

To get this blog started, I have gone with a film which I watched yesterday after buying from a Video Ezy for $3. (first warning there maybe?) It’s a low budget film from Australia called savages crossing. Reading through the cast of the movie, you would think it would be quite a good watch. The cast reads like a who’s who of Australian film and TV, including Craig maclachlan, Sarah horler, Jessica Napier, Rebecca smart and John jarratt, who had his hand in directing and producing along with his wife Cody Jarrett (very similar surnames, not a spelling mistake).

The plot I must admit is quite original, and centers around recently released Phil,(John jarratt) on the hunt for his wife and son(jarratts real life son Charlie jarrat). After getting an early tip off of his release, the pair jump in the car and make way for a country escape. Bad storms and rising flood waters force mother and son to take refuge at a roadside stop run by Mory (mclachlan) and Kate(Napier). Here we meet some new characters who are on the road and forced inside likely for the night. All goes from relaxing to intense when Phil, saved from rising waters by mory in the truck, ends up at the same roadhouse. From there it’s your standard fight for survival with twists and turns aplenty.

Now, i am a HUGE advocate for Australian film and have a lot of love for them. Films like Mad Max, Stone, wolf creek, the reef and to a lesser extent Snowtown, are amongst my favorite films. As a matter of fact, I am constantly arguing with my partner about the quality of Aussie film. She proclaims that they are too dark, depressing and bleak. For me, that is what I LOVE about them, they are real, no bullshit films about what life is sometimes like, which means no happy ending! Savages crossing tries to put a lot of cliche Aussie charm in the dialogue, but to me comes off as trying too hard and sounds forced. Granted we do swear a lot but, this was driving me nuts to the point where it was hard to follow.

This movie was released in 2009, so it was following in the footsteps and the success of “Wolf creek” and it shows. The movie is pretty much John Jarratts baby, and I think he might be riding on the coat tails of wolf creek too much as he was the villain in that film too. Throughout the short 82 minute running time, Jarratt channels the Mick Taylor character A LOT and sometimes takes it and makes him even more batshit crazy. It was disappointing seeing so many big names in the one film looking like z grade actors. I’m not sure what to put it down to exactly, but I’m sure the directing, dialogue and low budget did not help at all. I’m all for indie, low budget films as many of my favorite films are very underground and cheap, but when you have competent actors and a somewhat original story line, you expect much much more.

There were many opportunities for this movie to redeem itself and use violence and action as a positive, but as usual it tries to explode and have you on the edge of your seat, but the poor acting just takes you straight out, and back to being bored as shit. I don’t know if this film was meant to be humorous but I sure as hell found some parts quite funny. I’ll keep it spoiler free and won’t tell you the twist ending (if you can call it that) but it has to be one of the most cringe inducing parts of the whole thing. Way to leave me with a super bad taste in my mouth! On the plus there were a couple of decent performances by Rebecca Smart and Mclachlan did have his moments.

I just can’t recommend this film as I know that while someone was watching because of me, I would be feeling so embarrassed. After so many good Aussie efforts, I think it will be ok to let this one slide and brush it under the mat. If you want to watch a good Australian thriller just go straight to Wolf Creek as it’s in the same vein and 20 times better. I heard there’s a wolf creek 2 slated for 2013 so I hope John jarratt just sticks with playing Mick Taylor and stop trying to cash in on the disturbed individual he has pulled off so well in the past. As far as a rating goes, I hate being harsh as it’s better then I could ever do, but in saying that I watch movies to be entertained and this just failed on all levels. I’ve gone to the defense of Australian films time and time again and now you do this to me? COME ON!!! 2 out of 10 is all I can muster up for this one. I better go as the cats trying to eat the disk….. Ah whatever cat has a new toy.

Thanks to anyone still reading ha, I could imagine this was pretty frustrating to read as it’s my first ever. But any comments or criticisms or even just to talk about the film, I’m all ears!

Peace, Josh

Follow on twitter @joshmarhoff

Halloween (1978)

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Halloween (1978)

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Title- Halloween

Starring- Jamie lee curtis, Donald Pleasence, PJ Soles, Nancy Loomis

Written by- John Carpenter, Deborah Hill

Year- 1978

Tag-line- The night Michael Myers came home

OK, OK, I know im taking the easy way out here reviewing “Halloween”, but this movie is single handedly responsible for opening my eyes to the world of beautiful horror! You know how everyone has that movie that they will always remember, always watch and always love? Well for me this is it. I was first treated to a viewing of this at the ripe old age of 8 by my excited father. We had just returned from the local video store in which he had seen the VHS on the shelf and told me i needed to see it. Now, still to this day i think that John Carpenter and Deborah Hill created one of the most suspensful stories ever put to film. So, as you can imagine, watching this at the age of 8 DESTROYED my sleep for the next few years. I still swear that back then, Myers was standing in my closet, walking up and down my hallway, tapping on my window and HIDING UNDER MY BED(thanks dad)!! So before i begin, i guess i better give a quick rundown of the plot.

Nearly 15 years ago, Michael Myers brutally stabbed his older sister Judith to death on a “black and unholy” halloween night. Since then, he has been locked up at Smith’s Grove insane asylum and people have been safe in the knowledge that he will never be free, or so they thought. Michael has escaped and is heading to the only place he knows, Haddonfield, to turn another halloween night in to a bloodbath.

I really like the opening to this film. It shows everything happening through POV shots of a young Michael. They manage to do this using 2 shots. It follows Michael outside the house, looking through the windows at his older sister getting cosy with her boyfriend. Once the couple are done upstairs, and quickly done i assure you, little mikey grabs the biggest damn knife in the drawer and proceeds up the stairs. Without hesitation, michael drives the butchers knife home several times until his sister is no more. One down!

The movie never explains Michaels motives or reasonings behind his blood lust and desire to kill. The most back story we get about Myers is given to us through the deteremined, but slightly crazy Dr Loomis(Donald Pleasence). When watching Halloween the first few times, Dr Loomis was my favourite character. Everytime Loomis appeared on screen you just knew that there was going to be some kind of awesome one liner informing you of just how “pure evil” Michael Myers is. Dr Samuel Loomis (say his last name repeatedly and hear how funny it sounds) plays Michaels Psychiatrist, and has been the only one that has spent one on one time with Myers. Looking back now, watching Donald Pleasence run around town, scaring the locals, yelling at the policeman and just nailing one liners, it kind of makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, without Loomis there is NO Halloween, but in some parts it is just taken to extremes. I’ll finish talking about Dr Loomis with one of his legendary qoutes.

” I spent 8 years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because i realised what was living behind that boys eyes was purely and simply…..”evil”……Just great!

There is often complaints about Halloween regarding the pacing and amount of time it takes to get cracking. Now, most of my favourite movies are quite quickly paced and have very high body counts, and if this was any other movie i would be bored to tears. But somehow with Halloween, John Carpenter and Deborah Hill manage to create the perfect amount of tension in the beginning of the film and from there it steadily rises and keeps you gripping until the final climax. There is very little blood in the film, whether that’s because of budgetary constraints or chosen stylisitically, but it works to the movies favour. Also, just because there is no blood, doesnt mean it isn’t violent! Once the pace is turned up, Michael goes into overdrive and starts killing everyone who gets in his way. He will not stop until he gets to our lead girl Laurie. Introducing:

This is Jamie-lee Curtis’ debut film, and already here you can tell she could act very well and would go on to bigger things. Curtis plays Laurie, the shy, smart girl who is always helping out her friends and not confident enough to ask out all the cute boys. Laurie is the lead girl, so obviously she is a virgin, which means she will live the longest and maybe, just maybe, defeat the boogeyman. Remember kiddies, SEX KILLS, well if you listen to slashers it does along with drinking, smoking and drugs. Is it possible that slashers are made by overprotective parents trying to scare their kids straight?….mind blown.

Of course, i can’t finish up a review without pulling out a couple of negatives, so i will force myself to vomit a few up on the page. Keep in mind, these negatives will just be nit picky things, as i don’t like to look to hard for them in my fave flicks, and thats the way it should be, if you like a film, like it and don’t go searching! I will mention though, that one thing that kind of does bug me is the acting of Lauries two main supports. Don’t get me wrong, i have seen worse but at times it comes off as incredibly cheesy and fake. If you are an impatient person, you may start to let your eyes wander, but believe me IT PAYS OFF. Just stick with it and you will see. Also as i mentioned before, soometimes Dr Loomis and his one liners regarding Michael will occasionally make you explode with laughter. Just in case you are one of the 4 people on the planet that has not seen Halloween, keep in mind that it was a movie made in the 70’s and in some parts it really shows. For the most part Halloween has held up well and still remains suspensful to this day.

Halloween is one of those films that you can go back to again and again and again and uh again. Since seeing this for the first time 16 years ago, I can’t count how many times I have sat down put it on and just enjoyed. It’s scary when it’s supposed to be scary, it’s suspensful when it’s supposed to be suspensful and its FUCKING intense when it’s supposed to be intense and for this i can’t fault it. Two of my top 5 films were made in the 70’s and the 80’s pretty much takes the rest of the spots, and it’s films like these that keep horror as my favourite genre. So many times these days i am left feeling angry by the promise of the latest horror movie that will scare the shit out of you, or disturb you until your sick. FUCK THAT, why can’t we go back to basics and give us good old fashion scares like this movie does. No over the top CGI, just a man, a white mask, a jumpsuit and one night to carve the shit out of some kids.

Please, PLEASE if you haven’t seen this movie go out and dont rent it, BUY it, turn the lights off, turn the volume up and appreciate fine film making. Even if it does not scare you these days, just appreciate the fact that halloween probably made way and inspired so many of your favourite modern movies.

Well then, sorry about the rant but this is one of those movies that gets to me and I love when I can convince just one more person on its greatness. I guarantee that once the score starts, you WILL know the tune. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

Thanks for reading guys, feel free to comment to correct me on anything or just tell me how awesome this film is.

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