The Hateful Eight (2015) Review

hateful 8

Sam Kench reviews the 2015 film The Hateful Eight written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Demian Bichir.

This review is from about over a month ago with the film was first released. Click below to watch the

The Hateful 8 is set 6 or 8 or 12 years after the Civil War in blistering cold, snowy Wyoming, and a blizzard is coming.  Bounty Hunter John Ruth is bringing his bounty, Ms. Daisy  to the town of Red Rock where she’s scheduled hang for her crimes.  Along the way he and his wagon driver Olie pick up two strangers; another bounty hunter and former union soldier, Major Marquis Warren, and a former southern renegade who claims to be the new mayor of Red Rock, Chris Mannix.  The impending storm forces them to stop at Minnie’s. Rather than being greeted by the bubbly Minnie, four strangers have taken up residence in the shop/stage coach station to wait out the storm. As the storm takes over the mountainside cabin worlds collide. Who’s fate is it to make it out alive?

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Stuffed animals inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’

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The team of Re-Cyco Dogs has been fully assemble and ready to rock their first movie trailer parody.

As you all know, S is an aspiring film maker and his favorite director is Quentin Tarantino. I started making these little guys and popped a collar and tie on one and bang, an idea was born. I asked him to recreate one of the official “Reservoir Dogs” movie trailers using these cute guys.

But of course there are more than just Mr. Pink, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Orange, Mr. Brown, Mr. White and Mr. Blue in the trailer so other characters were needed.

Joe and Nice Guy Eddie put the team together in the movie, but Sam thought they should be Bulldogs rather than Scotty Dogs. I decided to use a left over log cabin quilt block of blues and purples to make Nice Dog Eddie to sort of match the windbreaker worn by Nice Guy Eddie played by Chris Penn in the movie.

Speaking of left overs. All the stuffed animals are hand sewn using recycled materials. That’s why I call them the Re-Cyco Dogs.

There is a scene with Mr. Pink, played by Steve Buscemi, pulling a woman out of a car when he was running away from the cops. This scene was used in all the movie trailers. Below is a still shot from the movie. Below that is a photo of my version of Mr. Pink and a very surprised cat.

There is a scene with Mr. Pink, played by Steve Buscemi, pulling a woman out of a car when he was running away from the cops. This scene was used in all the movie trailers. Below is a still shot from the movie. Below that is a photo of my version of Mr. Pink and a very surprised cat.
We also needed four police officers to complete the trailer. Three that chase Mr. Pink when he makes his getaway and the one officer, Marvin Nash, who is kidnapped by Michael Madsen‘s character, Mr. Blonde.
Given we were making a spoof on a Tarantino movie where the criminals have zero respect for the cops, we made the cops pigs.
 Here’s my little handmade version of Mr. Blonde and police officer Marvin Nash with a quote from that iconic scene where he cuts his ear off. I stitched long strands of red thread for the blood where that little pig’s ear should be. Now I’ve got “Stuck in the Middle with You” stuck in my head.

Thank you Quentin Tarantino for all you do.

Vacancy (2007) – Macabre Month of Halloween Horror 2013 #4

vacancy poster

MACABRE MONTH OF HORROR #4

vacancy poster

I wasn’t expecting much going into “Vacancy“. I figured it would just be your run of the mill “gorror” film. My interest was officially peaked when I spied a particular line in the description for the movie. “A suspenseful, classic thriller, in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock“. A horror movie from 2007 emulating Alfred Hitchcock? This I had to see. Would it do the master of suspense justice, or disgrace his name just by associating him?

“Vacancy” draws influence from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho“. Both involve a motel run by a crazy killer who preys on his guests. They really shot for the Hitchcock feel with this movie. There is a cool opening credit sequence that looks and sounds like something out of an old Hitchcock thriller. The pacing and even the tone are similar to Hitchcock films. Vacancy is darker and, visually, is more modern, but it’s a nice little send off to Hitchcock. Other little references, like stuffed birds on the motel desk are a nice touch.

The basic plot of Vacancy is that a married couple’s car brakes down and they have to spend the night at a motel run by a creepy Frank Whaley. They discover that the hotel is used as the set for snuff films, and that they will become part of one.

vacancyThe two leads of the film are Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. They both do a good job, and the acting overall is above par for a horror film of this stature. The relationship between the two characters is well constructed and realistic, but they do sometimes beat you over the head with their exposition.

Mostly the exposition is cleverly danced around, but sometimes it comes off as heavy handed. A problem with many horror movies is having a protagonist the audience doesn’t care about. If the audience doesn’t care whether the characters live or die, then there is no tension. Often times you end up rooting for the bad guy, how often do you watch one of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequels and root for the teens? You don’t. You always root for Freddy, but not in “Vacancy”. You really root for the protagonists. You want to see them get out of this situation.

The brettfilm has some surprisingly good dialogue near the beginning and the actors deliver it well. The motel manager is played by Frank Whaley AKA Brett from “Pulp Fiction“. He looks like Matt Damon’s character from “The Informant!” in this, but he manages to be really creepy. He gives a strong performance. He’s no Anthony Perkins, but he’s still creepy.

The cinematography is really good. Again, above par for a horror film. Shots are framed well and the lighting is great. The film really knows how to use darkness to it’s full potential. The beginning of the movie builds superb tension before hitting you with the scares. They let you get to know the characters, establish the setting, creep you out a little bit, and then it unloads all it has on you. When the creepy stuff first begins to happen it’s at it’s strongest, by the end of the film it’s run it’s course and feels a little dragged out, and doesn’t introduce any new ideas for a while.

The direction is solid. “Vacancy” was directed by Nimrod Antal, who besides having an awesome first name, is more than competent when it comes to building tension. I remember the marketing for this film making it out to be a trashy, gory, unintelligent, generic horror film, when in actuality it’s a well constructed dark thriller. The marketing for this movie was terrible and was probably why the movie didn’t do so well.

“Vacancy” really blew away my expectations, that being said though, there are some problems. The film starts to run out of steam towards the end. “luke wilsonVacancy” falls into quite a few horror cliches seemingly by total accident.

One major drawback of the film is that there are a group of people who attack the main characters, but outside of the Frank Whaley, none of them are very threatening, they just seem like mindless goons and that really takes away from the film. The tension immediately drops when you get a good look at them and realize how non-threatening they are. Luke Wilson probably could’ve just beaten them up, he looks tougher than them, and that’s a big no-no for horror movies.

Something that sets Vacancy apart from other horror films of its class is its capacity to be subtle. Most horror films is recent years feel the need to shove everything in your face, but vacancy understands the unknown and the obscured are often more frightening than what is presented to you.

One of the best shots of the movie is when one of the snuff films is playing on the TV, except Luke Wilson’s head is blocking the TV, so you only see the very edges of the video and you hear the sounds of chaos. That is a brilliant and well chosen shot that is much more effective than it would’ve been to just show the TV. Vacancy also makes use of literary devices that horror films often neglect. There is some excellent foreshadowing in the beginning that is reincorporated later on.

Owen Wilson spent his early career making appearances in bad horror movies, his brother Luke Wilson managed to star in a good one.baddie

They went on to make a Vacancy 2 and in 2010 there was a blatant rip-off of the film called Terror Trap calling itself “a reproduction of Vacancy.” Unfortunately the film stars Michael Madsen who I really wish would get the chance to make good movies again. He is a good actor who just hasn’t had a good role in a while.

Vacancy far surpassed my expectations. It’s no Psycho, but it’s still a damn good movie. Vacancy is currently free on Crackle so definitely check it out and keep checking back all month long for the rest of this year’s MACABRE MONTH OF HORROR.


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“The Killing Jar” Movie Review by Sam

Director: Mark Young

Stars

Michael Madsen as Doe

Amber Benson as Noreen

Harold Perrineau as Smith

The Killing Jar” has both Danny Trejo and Michael Madsen, two cool guys, in a horrible movie.

Danny Trejo

Before I say anything else,  let me talk about Danny Trejo’s role in this movie. First thing I thought when I saw him was; man he looks like he really doesn’t want to be there. I think he lost a bet and was forced to be in the movie. I later found out that he wasn’t there during shooting. Trejo’s scenes were filmed separately
and then edited into the film after, that must be the reason why he is in the kitchen behind the counter the whole movie. That really shows how bad the director was. Danny Trejo couldn’t give a good performance because the director completely sucks!

Anyways time for the plot. A semi-psychotic man kills a bunch of people in a diner that is the entire movie. I just saved you an hour and a half. The story is uninspired and a waste of time at best.

The title has almost no relation to the movie. When you hear “The
Killing Jar” what do you think of? Definitely not a slaughter in a
diner. During the main title sequence which also has no relation to
the story by the way, the title sequence shows grainy footage of jars. I guess maybe that’s where the title comes from but that doesn’t make any sense. I suppose the diner could be the “Jar” but that’s a stretch. In the jars are butterflies, which again, have no relation to the movie

The acting is bad, very bad, but I do not blame the actors, again I
blame the director. In the beginning of the movie it seems like one of those found footage movies, but that idea quickly disperses and the audience is left with no pay off or any real reason for including it in the first place. The rest of the movie is filmed regularly.

The movie does a lot of pointless things, such as the killer repeatedly putting a bag on a guys head then taking it off and putting it back on again, there is absolutely no point he already saw his face, and he kills him anyway so it’s pointless.

Amber Benson

The writing is as bad if not worse than the directing. Forget about the bland, uninspired story and the horrible (multiple) endings and just focus on the characters. The characters are horribly written and completely stupid. This is terrible because the movie rides on the characters.

The characters say and do things that nobody would ever say or do. For example; a guy walks into the diner and asks where the bathroom is, the waitress points to the bathroom, the guy repeats “Is there a bathroom?” (i guess he doesn’t believe her pointing) the waitress say’s “yeah it’s over there” and she points again. The guy goes “Over here?”and he points again, the waitress points again, the guy points like he’s asking then walks away.The movie is filled with these moments, the characters do things that
people would never say or think to do.

Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen is revealed as a killer immediately when the movie starts, then the movie tries to act like it’s a mystery who the killer is. The opening shows the climax of the movie and then cuts back in time. The scene where the killing actually happens is the best part of the movie, which isn’t saying much. There is no real motive for the killing either. Any possible reason is denied by the killer. You may think he’s insane but no they prove that wrong. You may think that he is just a sick twisted guy but they deny that as well. The killer actually say’s that it was just a moment of weakness, which takes away any threat brought on by the killer. It also doesn’t make sense either. He doesn’t just flip and kill them, he leaves and goes outside
then he comes back in with a shotgun and kills them.

This movie was horrible filled with stupid pot twists and characters
that are completely unbelievable and dumb. Just ignore the movie you probably never heard of it anyway. The writing and directing are both God awful and the movie is a complete failure!