Wednesday, 2 December 2009

News: Post No More

Dear Reader,

Having given in to Count Vardulon's incessant pestering, I have migrated part of the content of Vamborgs! over to Zombots! and will no longer be updating this site. Please feel free to browse through Vamborgs! at your leisure, and I encourage you to visit Zombots! for film reviews, essays, rants, projects, and general horror miscellany.

With love from,
The Divemistress

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Musing: Halfway to Halloween

Since we're halfway through the month of October, I decided now would be a good time to rip off /r/movies and post a list of movie suggestions for Halloween. Not that it's never a good time to indulge in horror movies.

So here's a list of movies broken down by sub-genre.

Halloween Themed: Trick 'r Treat
Supernatural: Paranormal Activity
Vampire: The Lost Boys
Werewolf: An American Werewolf in London
Zombie/Infection: Slither
Alien: The Thing
Creature Feature: The Host OR Arachnophobia
Witchcraft/Demons/Arcane: Hellraiser
Religion: The Prophecy OR Prince of Darkness
Slasher: Halloween
Homicidal People: Cure
Violence/Gore: The Hills Have Eyes
Comror (comedy-horror): Zombieland
Random Foreign Horror Movie: The Cottage (British comror)

Why I said what I did: I've tried to combine some current movies with what I consider to be horror classics. I've made an effort to list films that scared me/grossed me out/made an impression and tried to think of some titles that maybe don't get enough exposure.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Picture Show: Seperated at birth...years apart!

Instead of movie posters this time, I went with people. A recent viewing of The Seventh Sign got me thinking...could Brittany Murphy be Demi Moore's long-lost twin separated at birth and 15 years in the future?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Complaint Department: Paranormal Activity Already!

I used to live in a big city and was never at a loss for films to see in theatres. Then I moved to an even bigger city that showed movies you never heard of. And then I moved to where I am now, the ass end of nowhere. I am simply aching to see Paranormal Activity, and considered just driving to a larger market--about four hours each way--but then realized I'd be reaching new, dizzying heights of fandom/geekery, to which I am not acclimated.

I'm an idealist, optimist--some might say naive. But there's also a cynical side to me, and I can't help but wonder if I'm slowly falling victim to a clever and protracted marketing campaign. I do believe the hype, that the film will scare the crap outta me (because I'm a sucker!), but what I can't believe is that Paramount is spoon-feeding one of the most anticipated movies in years to a ravenous audience.

We're talking monastic-levels of restraint.

By releasing the film one market at a time, Paramount is both creating and reinforcing demand as stories circulate in a widening pattern about how damn good the movie is. And about how it must be seen in theatres in order to fully appreciate and experience the film. I have no doubt that if the film were to go wide tomorrow, cinemas would be packed from coast to coast. But this creeping release is ensuring both Paranormal Activity's and Paramount's success. And that success is further bolstered by the fact that the movie failed all attempts at a remake. What we're seeing (or hope to see), what we're being treated to, is the original.

Though I hate the world and everyone in it because I live in a crappy town that's showing Medea on twelve screens, I can't help but admire and get swept up in Paramount's brilliant, if frustrating, distribution scheme.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Musing: Poor Taste

In spite of the fact that 2009 is not yet over, and that frightening Jim Cary animated vehicle A Christmas Carol has yet to hit theatres, Rotten Tomatoes just released their list of 100 worst films of the decade. So I decided to check it out and knew immediately that his was going to go very badly for me. I've seen the first movie on their list. Then I checked out number one, and found, to my shame, that I've seen that one, too.

So here it is, proof that I have, uh, eclectic taste in film:

100 - Whiteout
Had free passes.

48 - BloodRayne
It was on TV. And I only sat through half of it.

47 - Soul Survivors
Seriously, it wasn't terrible. Predictable, but not terrible.

42 - House of the Dead
The only reason I didn't walk out was that we'd all gone to the movies in my car. I can't strand my friends in Kanata, can I? Can I?!?

31 - The Covenant
I think my roommate chose this one.

Is this a reason to hate The Covenant or to love it?

29 - Bless The Child
Uh, pass.

28 - Rollerball
Jean Reno. Jean Reno!

19 - Half Past Dead
Oh come on. It's a Steven Seagal movie, for chrissakes.

17 - Twisted
Actually, I'm not 100% sure I saw this. I get it confused with another movie that's just like it but the title of which I can never remember.

15 - Alone in the Dark
Omigod was this ever bad! Tara Reid as an archaeologist? Christian Slater as a whatever he was almost made up for it. Almost.

1 - Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever
This proves that I will watch anything with Antonio Banderas in it. That includes ads for Marks and Spencer.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Essay: The Twilight of the Fools

I still don't get the apple.

November draws ever closer, and with it this year comes the theatrical release of New Moon, the second of the Twilight saga books to be adapted for the screen. Penned by Stephanie Meyer, the first book in the series, Twilight, came right out of nowhere and completely took over the young adult market. Releasing a book a year for four years, Meyer quickly reached J.K. Rowling-levels of fandom and made a huge impact on horror literature and television.

But Twilight is not horror. The Twilight saga is about vampires, but that’s where its connection with the genre begins and ends. Meyer herself admits to not liking horror movies, nor has she read any vampire books. Meyer has no interest in, nor is she familiar with, the horror genre, so how comes it that she’s written a horror story?

Women can't be trusted.

The answer is she hasn’t.

Twilight may be many things—a fantasy, a fairy tale, a romance—but it is not horror. Most interesting is the thing that would make Twilight horror, is the very thing that turns it against the genre. Meyer’s Cullen family of vampires are “vegetarian” meaning they don’t feed off humans—they are vampires divorced of their vampirism, living as humans live. They are, in the words of Zizek, “[the] Other deprived of its Otherness”, and it is for this reason that Twilight is not horror.

Horror brings our fears out of the dark. But Meyer’s neutered vampires prevent us from facing and overcoming those fears. Where vampirism once stood for disease, death, history, and transformation or mutation, all of which can be thwarted with an arsenal of Christian symbolism and a piece of wood, Meyer has stripped away the symbolism and weaknesses of the undead and replaced them with limitless perfection. You don’t fight against perfection, you strive for it.

Now that's a fucking werewolf!

In addition to tame vampires, the Twilight saga also features shapeshifters. Though the reading public and the media has generally labelled the shifters as werewolves, there is an important distinction to be made between the two. Shapeshifters change at will, werewolves do not. The original horror of the werewolf is an internal and ultimately futile struggle for control over the self. Meyer’s shifter, on the other hand, only struggles with his emotions and eventually becomes the best shapeshifter. So here again, the horror is eliminated, this time through the removal of the thing itself, and replaced with a coming-of-age tale of excellence.

A Mormon housewife and mother of three, who studied English Literature at BYU, Stephanie Meyer has gone on record saying that her religious values are partly reflected in her story. That’s not to say a Mormon, or any religious writer, can’t produce a horror story, but Meyer’s Twilight is not horror. The presence of vampires and “werewolves”, however, seems to be enough to make it so. The issue is one of identity and is not unlike the sex/gender dichotomy. Twilight looks like horror on the outside, but inside it’s all romance and suspense.

Google "vampire romance" and this is what you get.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Project: Reading Way Too Much Into Things - Part 5

Trailer the sixth: The Vampire's Assistant

Borrowing heavily from the Danny Phantom movie, The Vampire's Assistant tells the story of Darren, a boy plagued by teenage ennui who joins a freaky circus. The John Cryer character is replaced with a near-comatose John C. Reilly who not only invites Darren to fulfill every child's dream of running away with the circus, but also turns him into one of the lamest vampires ever, Edward Cullen not withstanding.

A sight less boring than Twilight, things actually happen in this movie as Darren embarks on a pseudo hero's quest. After first casting off the mortal bonds of family and friends, Darren must learn to harness is new vampire powers so that he has the courage to ask is mutant crush to the big dance. Guided by his Miagi-like boss Mr. Crepsely, Darren's constant shoveling of dirt helps him develop bowstaff skills which he then turns on Mr. Crepsely himself when he reveals his evil plot to turn all the teens in Riverdale into mindless drones.

The final showdown between Mr. Crepsely and Darren is a moment fraught with suspense. Will Darren free his circus kinfolk from Mr. Crepsely's iron grip, or will he, too, become another servant to the dark lord? But what could have been a redeeming ending to an otherwise pedestrian teen fantasy is tempered by studio interference when Darren's mortal friend Steve helps save the day, proving that friendship is more powerful than a thousand year-old vampire. Who can climb walls. And cut down trees with his fingernails.

DVD special feature: an audio book of Cirque du Freak read by Michael Wincott.