March 20, 2013 A pair of horrible gems; XTRO and Pontypool
There’s no fighting the 40s and I choose to age gracefully. That means coming to terms with; I’m no longer in DC Comics target demo, cholesterol is not my friend, and I’ll never be scared by a movie again.
Actually, horror movies haven’t scared me in a long time because most are written for teenagers and I’ve written them off as such. But I’m trying to appreciate horror the same way I do other media. As jaded as I’ve become I now find satisfaction in the pleasant little surprises. The stories that impress me now are the ones that make me think ,”Where’d they come up with that?”
Here are two:
I discovered this one from a segment on Red Letter Media where they go looking for the worse movies for mocking diagnosis. They had to admit that XTRO was a pleasant surprise.
And who can blame them for thinking that this was 100% bad. Judge that movie by it’s poster. Instead XTRO is a well conceived, crafted and really creepy film about abandonment by a father. If they had bigger effects and promotions budgets this would be considered a classic.
There’s no messing around from the start. Dad is abducted by aliens in front if his son. Years later he returns as a psychic parasitoid, like you do, with a plan to take his spawn to the stars. The father rapes himself back to his human form by way of an innocent woman who just wanted to feed her dog and steps back into his old life so casually it makes him more alien rather than coming across like sloppy storytelling expediency.
I’m burnt out on zombies. But this is an excellent execution of Our Zombies are Different… well I don’t want to spoil it.
What if Talk Radio was a horror movie? And like Talk Radio this movie owes a lot to its lead, Stephen McHattie, as the charismatic Don Imus type.
The setting is a news radio station in a small Canadian town. Which makes for a locked room horror movie. Instead of excessive rampaging hordes the news is trickling into the scene. Calls from listeners, reports from their helicopter reporter. Like the shark in Jaws they don’t show the monster too soon.
But the spin isn’t pure novelty and by the end you see why a man with a mic is humanities best hope.