:: The Mist (2007)

The Unspeakable Challenge: day 30, movie 30.

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Commercial artist and family man David Drayton (Thomas Jane) goes into town after a strange storm wrecks his home.  While there, a mysterious and seemingly deadly mist billows through, trapping dozens of people in the local supermarket.  The mist contains grotesque, alien life-forms, and within moments those in the supermarket find themselves under siege.  However, the supermarket itself becomes threatening when religious maniac Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) begins to turn survivor against survivor, demanding human sacrifice to appease her dark, vengeful God…

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The Mist, adapted from Stephen King’s short story by Frank Darabont, who also directed is a top quality monster movie.  Darabont’s script is very good, and the direction is dynamic without losing the intimate nature of the story.  The acting in the film is exemplary: there isn’t a poor performance in the whole piece.

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You’ll see a lot of Darabont regulars (Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride) as well as some familiar movie faces (William Sadler, Andre Braugher, Francis Sternhagen).  There are also some great character actors, chief among these Toby Jones as Ollie the assistant manager, who is wonderful.  The plot itself is also very good: the mist is a narrative MacGuffin, a means to explore some human problems.

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The survivors split into three factions: the realists, lead by Drayton; the rationalists, lead by Brent Norton (Andre Braugher); and the religious, lead by Carmody.  For the realists, this is an exercise in dealing with the problem; for the rationalists, it is a denial of the problem; and for the religious it is a sign of the End Times, and they hijack the situation for their own warped reasons.

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This gives a microcosm of real world problems, denialism and religious fanaticism will stop humans from approaching a situation with a clear head. 

:: Grabbers (2012)

The Unspeakable Challenge: day 29, movie 29

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A meteor splashes down off the coast of the small Irish community of Erin island, and whatever came down with it begins to eat it’s way through the locals.  Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle), an alcoholic policeman, has to shepherd his new colleague Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley), an ambitious new garda, around the usually sleepy village.  They meet marine ecologist, Smith (Russell Tovey), on the beach, where a large number of pilot whale corpses have washed ashore, all bearing deep wounds.  As they investigate, more locals are attacked, and the town falls under siege from the tentacled monstrosities they come to dub “grabbers”…

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Grabbers, written by Kevin Lehane and directed by Jon Wright, is excellent.  There is a fine line that has be trod when attempting a comedy horror, and it is so easy to fall.  Grabbers never falls.  It plays the gory horror against a level of whimsy that shouldn’t work, but does.  That can only be down to a perfect match of script and direction, with some amazingly solid performances.  With a more serious script, this could have been one of the best horror films of the last 10 years, but it would have still lost most of the fun aspects, and it is the level of humour that fuels most of the romantic subplot.  The performances are all very good, with Richard Coyle making a great leading man.  Ruth Bradley plays off him well, making their blossoming romance quite believable.  The only mistake is allowing Russell Tovey to play his character with a ludicrous posh British accent, which renders his performance cartoony and disruptive to the film.  Now and then he lapses into his own voice, and it is at these moments his character comes to life.

:: Netflix Sneak Peeks Marco Polo

Coming December 12th to Netflix is the original series “Marco Polo.”  It looks very pretty and heavily influenced by series like Game of Thrones.  It also looks fairly lush and expensive in comparison to say, Orange is the New Black.  I would say Netflix is expanding nicely between this and their contract with Marvel.

 

:: Marvel’s Big Day! Here’s the recap for you!

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So Marvel’s big announcement day did not disappoint.  We got confirmation on some things that we knew were coming, surprises we had no idea were coming, and sadly confirmation that Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch is in fact NOT confirmed yet.

First the Surprises!

CAPTAIN MARVEL!

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The big surprise is the unexpected and VERY WELCOME Captain Marvel movie.  Coming July 6th in 2018, Captain Marvel will be the first female led super hero flick from the studio (as well as anywhere really for a long long time.)  Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel is a massive favorite of many comic fans and this news made a LOT of people happy.   While there is no word yet on who may be cast as Captain Marvel, might we suggest:

 

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Yeah her that could never work though right?

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BLACK PANTHER

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While this has been hinted at throughout some of the films here and there, a full length feature dedicated to the character was a surprise.  Even more was the fact they’ve already cast him with said actor in attendance.   Chadwick Boseman is to play T’Challa in not only Black Panther’s stand alone, but many of the upcoming films in the studios lineup.  He’s to be a focal point of the upcoming storylines.

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Those paying attention in regards to filming for Age of Ultron noticed that South Africa was a location for the film to take place.  Wakanda, the advanced kingdom that Black Panther is the king of lies within Africa.  The also have a store of adamantium which is no doubt why Ultron is interested in it.  Black Panther is another character that is making fans freak out with happiness as it is yet another diverse entry into Marvel’s hero roll call.  

:: Clive Barker Imaginer Volume 2

Hey Fangirls and Boys,

We LOVE Clive Barker here at Fangirl Magazine and right now you have a chance to help contribute to Clive’s legacy of brutal beauty with the second volume of Clive Barker Imaginer.

Below you will see the video for the Kickstarter which has another 5 days left.  Donate now to help them reach the stretch goal of 50,000.

:: X-The Unknown (1956)

The Unspeakable Challenge: Day 28, movie 28.

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In Scotland, a group of soldiers are practicing using Geiger counters when there is an earth tremor, and a fissure opens up.  Several of the soldiers suffer radiation burns.  At a nearby atomic facility, American scientist Dr Adam Royston (Dean Jagger) is conducting experiments into a means to destabilise nuclear materials.  Royston is consulted on the strange fissure, but he can throw no light on the subject.  Until, that is, his own lab is broken into and one of his sample containers is rendered radioactively inert.  After more deaths and more radioactive materials going missing, Royston and his fellow investigator MacGill (Leo McKern) come to the conclusion that something that feeds on radiation is living in the fissure…

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X- The Unknown, was written by Jimmy Sangster and directed, for the most part, by Leslie Norman.  It was Hammer studios second film, as was supposed to be a Quatermass sequel, but Nigel Kneale refused to allow the character of Quatermass to be used.  It really feels like a Quatermass film in all but name: instead we have the very able Dean Jagger as Royston, and the excellent Leo McKern as MacGill doing the various jobs, and doing them pretty well.

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Most of the bit-part actors are fairly wooden, but you can see the usual Hammer stable being trotted out in the form of Michael Ripper, William Lucas and Edwin Richfield.  The film feels like a British take on a typical “atomic monster” story, with little subtext or cultural resonance.  However, there is a very slight 50s style fear of what nuclear power could bring, given that the hero is a man trying to design a way to neutralise radioactivity.

:: The Beyond (1981)

The Unspeakable Challenge: day 27, move 27

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In 1927, warlock painter Schweik (Antoine Saint-John) is brutally murdered in a Louisiana hotel by angry locals.  In the present day, the hotel comes into the possession of Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl), who hopes to renovate it.  Unfortunately, the hotel has been built on one of the Seven Gates of Hell, and the sinister force that dwells in Room 36 is not lying quietly.  A series of deaths plague the hotel and those who are associated with it.  Time and space appear fluid.  All the tragedies that befall the hotel have something to do with the mysterious “Book of Eibon”, and Liza, with the help of her new friend Dr John McCabe (David Warbeck) begin a path of investigation that can only lead… beyond

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The Beyond was written by Giorgio Mariuzzo, Lucio Fulci and Dardano Sacchetti, and directed by cult horror favourite Fulci.  Like all of Fulci’s Italian gore-films there are problems with script, plot, acting, voice-over work, and again like all Fulci horror, you can pretty much overlook them just because the ride is so much fun.  Fulci directs with his usual lack of subtlety, giving us bombastic zooms and massive close ups of eye-gouging, popping, scraping and various levels of gore.  All of the characters apart from McCabe and Liza are deeply creepy and bounce around the plot in terms of motive and personality.  But this is normal for a Fulci movie.  They tend to vacillate between no emotion and histrionics even within one scene.  This is fine… just go with it.

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The plot jumps around, but if you are paying attention you may just about be able to follow it, even with whole scenes of exposition missing. 

:: Die Farbe (2010)

The Unspeakable Challenge: Day 26, Movie 26

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A young man searches for his father, who had been a medic after the Second World War, who has gone missing in Germany. On his arrival, he finds an old man who once knew his father.  Armin Pierske (Michael Kausch) tells him a tale of what happened to the now blasted farmland in the year leading up to the war: a strange meteorite, with stranger properties, fell to earth and blighted the land with a strange malevolence.  Crops grew large, but rotten, and his neighbours, the Garteners became oddly afflicted…

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Die Farbe, directed by Huan Vu as an adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out Of Space” is shot in sumptuous black and white, with nods to German Expressionism in several places.  As an adaptation, the shift in local from the States to Germany works very well.  There is something about the German language with really fits the telling of the tale, and more of Lovecraft’s works should be filmed in German.  It’s almost a perfect lyrical match.  The acting is pretty much dead on: Michael Kausch is great as the old Pierske, and they’ve cast his younger self extremely well in Marco Leibnitz.

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Together they provide a perfect narrator to the story.  The Gartener family is likewise extremely well cast, from the mother who goes insane (Marah Schneider) to the father, Nahum (Eric Rastetter) trying to keep his family together in the face of a calamity.  These characters really make the story, giving real gravitas to the proceedings.

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The special effects are minimal, but when they turn up, they pack a punch: the manifestation of “the colour” is particularly effective, and Vu manages to impart a sense of menace from the moment it arrives. 

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