Stuff I’ve Been Watching (ghost house edition)

seventh moon
i kinda enjoyed seventh moon, but that may have a lot to do with its story hitting pretty close to home. it’s about a couple on their honeymoon in an exotic locale which turns against them. having just gotten back from my own honeymoon (which was my first trip out of the country), it wasn’t hard for me to identify with the main characters. the documentary visual style (very similar to that used in open water) further heightened the creepy factor. the first half of the film worked better for me than the last half because, once the threat is revealed (see the cover), i realized i’m just not all that scared of skinny, bald, pasty-white chinese guys. still, while i wouldn’t recommend it as highly as the children (the best of this year’s four ghost house film releases), i’d still suggest checking it out.

the thaw
the thaw really isn’t all that bad, but i would probably like it a lot more if it hadn’t stolen 90% of its story and ideas from the classic x-files episode “ice” (which, admittedly, stole many of its ideas from john carpenter’s the thing). the thing, “ice” and the thaw all revolve around a research team uncovering a parasite frozen for centuries that infects one or more of the team, leading to a panic and anger-filled game of “who’s infected and who’s not”, followed by a thrilling round of “should we leave here or quarantine ourselves for the betterment of the world.” the thaw throws in val kilmer, some gore and wraps it all up in a silly little eco-terrorism bow, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.

this is, by far, the worst of the four recent ghost house pictures offerings. based on a jack ketchum novel (which, i believe, is a sequel to a novel that hasn’t been filmed yet), the story revolves around a lighthouse keeper’s children who went native for some reason and started living in caves and wearing really cheesy tarzan outfits. occasionally they get hungry and wander away from their caves (situated along the new england/canadian border) to invade people’s homes and eat them. and steal their babies. a few insulting movie cliches get thrown in for good measure (the “so-evil-it’s-ridiculous” abusive ex-husband, the overweight alcoholic villain-obsessed ex-cop, etc.), but mainly the film is about a bunch of kids in flintstones costumes grunting and pulling out fake intestines from people’s tummies. despite what the boxart may tell you, it’s not compelling, it’s not frightening and it’s not controversial… it’s just silly.

clive barker’s book of blood
clive barker adaptations are usually hit-or-miss, but book of blood falls mostly into the ‘hit’ category. watching it “feels” more like reading barker’s prose than anything i’ve seen before, largely due to the bbc quality of the video and the undeniably british-ness of just about everything. the majority of the scares are of the amityville-esque paranormal researcher ‘haunted house’ variety, which may not satisfy hellraiser fans more accustomed to the ‘chains ripping people into a million pieces and giant penis demons’ variety of horror. that said, book of blood does feature one of the more grotesque facial removal scenes i’ve ever witnessed. ick! the climax of the film doesn’t really live up to the setup, but overall i quite liked book of blood.

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