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How to: Make a Horror Movie I Will Pay Money to See

If you’re even remotely connected to civilization, you can probably name about 30 horror movies made in the last twenty years that were not worth the time it took to watch them, let alone the 5-10 dollars (depending on whether you rented it or saw it in the theaters) you had to pay for the privilege of finding this out.

bad horror movies
I’m not naming any names, but…

You know the kind I’m talking about. They seem to be made according to a set of golden rules that go as follows:


1. Monster creatures/bad guys must spend as much time on-screen as humanly possible regardless of special effects quality and should never enter a scene unaccompanied by a loud blast of music.

2. Human characters must be as boring, whiny, and/or stupid as possible and explode like a bag of blood with a grenade in it when so much as grazed.

3. “Surprise” endings must be neither surprising nor the end of anything at all.

Getting a whiff of any of these tenets via the trailer is enough to send me and my money in the direction of another (ANY other) theater. (Congratulations, Midnight Meat Train you made me watch The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)

In the interests of securing better entertainment for myself and my fellow moviegoers and more money for filmmakers (though only as a byproduct) I thought I would make this guide on how to make a movie that I will pay money for, using two films from 2007:

… as examples of what to do and what not to do, respectively. Rogue, despite its thoroughly generic poster, was surprisingly good. AVP:R also surprised me. Not by being bad, but by the depths of its horribleness.

Spoilers follow for AVPR. I consider this a favor to you, the reader. I’m saving you from having to waste two hours of your life watching it when you could stare at a blank wall instead and feel that your time was better spent.

I won’t spoil Rogue, however. That one you need to watch.

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A Perfect Getway Review, or Why, if…..

Perfect Getaway poster

The other day, I was looking for a perfect getaway from my normal boring life. Since I couldn’t find one, I opted to watch the movie instead. As you can see, it stars Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovitch, and three other people I’ve never heard of. If you squint, you might even see that it was written and directed by David Twohy.

A Perfect Getaway, for those of you who found the trailer as forgettable as everyone else I’ve talked to, is a thriller about an ordinary couple who go on a vacation to a secluded beach in Hawaii with two other couples and one of said couples turns out to be a pair of serial killers.

The couples are as follows (referring to the poster):

TOP ROW: Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez)
MIDDLE ROW: Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich)
BOTTOM ROW: Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton)

I will refer to them as Tim and Gina, Steve and Milla, and Kale and Cleo. This is a mixture of real and character names and makes no sense, but just go with it.

While I wouldn’t call it perfect (obviously) I did enjoy myself. Timothy Olyphant was in it, the scenery was pretty, and there were several helicopters. Only one of these factors is required in order to warrant a “not a waste of two hours” rating, so three of them rates a “pretty good.”

the three key elements of a good film
mathematically expressed as follows: Beaches + Timothy Olyphant + Helicopters = Good

And now, on to the questions I would like to pose to this movie. They all start with “why, if” and some of them will spoil you on the ending, so I’m warning you now. You should probably wait to read the rest until after you’ve seen it.

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How to be Killed

From watching a multitude of horror films, I have learned that there are certain steps one needs to take if one wants to be killed in the goriest possible fashion. I will share these with you, so that one day you too can go out in style.

1. Trust everyone.
You never know who’s a killer and who’s not, so the best way to find out is to let each person get you alone and see whether or not they kill you.

2. Whenever possible, be alone with strangers.
They’re more likely to be killers than your friends, whom you have probably already been alone with without anything untoward happening.

3. Do all your traveling alone at night in bad weather.
This decreases the chance that there will be anyone around to help you should you be targeted by a killer.

3. If you must travel by vehicle, take the most unreliable one you can find.
Thus making sure that when it breaks down, whoever stops to “help” you will have other plans in mind.

4. Make sure to tell everyone you’re going out of town.
This way, when you are kidnapped and held in a dank basement for days, no one will be looking for you.

5. Make sure not to tell anyone if you go out in the dark by yourself.
Then it will take them longer to realize you are missing.

6. If receiving threatening messages or dead animal parts in the mail, or if your friends are disappearing, do not talk to the police.
This may deter the killer.

7. When you are first attacked, concentrate solely on staring into the killer’s masked face and screaming.
This is more likely to get you killed than trying to escape, fighting back, or calling for help.

8. Panic.
This ensures that you will make foolish decisions.

9. When running away indoors, head for a basement or bell tower.
Because there are no exits.

10. When running away outdoors, head for the woods.
Do not run toward populated areas. People there may try to help you.

11. While you are running, make sure to look back as often as possible.
So you will trip over something in front of you.

12. Scream as much as possible and knock things over.
This will make it easier for the killer to track you while you try to escape.

13. Take a very circuitous escape route.
So as to allow the killer to follow you at a walking pace.

14. In your final moments, do not scratch the killer.
This may result in samples of his/her DNA getting under your fingernails. If your body is found it may lead them to the killer.

This concludes the “How to be Killed” manual. Now get out there and put your new knowledge to good use. With any luck, your liver could end up as a trophy in the freezer of a killer near you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Meyers has written numerous completely fictional novels detailing the inner machinations of the mind of a serial killer. He has been married and widowed 357 times. He and his current wife Audrey currently live out of telephone contact with the 911 system. Michael enjoys hunting, paint-by-numbers and playing dress-up. His favorite food is liver.


Photo Credit: Jack McKillable (deceased)

Buy Some Horror DVDs

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