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It’s been three months, but the Macabre Brothers are back with all the gruesome, gritty, gratifying horror you can handle. And even if you can’t handle it, we’ll keep churning out lengthy reviews and meandering opinions because that’s what the Internet is for: rambling self-indulgence. We just hope our brand of ego masturbation is a bit better than the rest.

To welcome the New Year in our trademark tardy fashion, we’re also introducing a new feature, the appropriately titled “Basement Ramblings.” Each month – or whenever we feel like it, really – we’ll take a quick and dirty look at the horror equivalent of amateur porn: the films Chris and I pick up in bargain bins, dollar stores and supermarket sales. As the schlockiest of the schlock, they’re hardly worth a full-length review, but since we likely wasted $5 that could’ve gone to a better cause, we’ll let the world know if such impulse buys are worth it. You’re welcome.

Our first installment in the series, the curiously star-studded slasher Dark Reel (2008), brings together legendary character actor Lance Henriksen, original Candyman Tony Todd and Edward Furlong of Terminator 2: Judgement Day fame. It’s already up and ready for your viewing pleasure..

As usual, these short features exist to whet your appetite for our full-length reviews. Look for two or three each month, beginning in March with our “Where it all began” series, followed by a surprise choice (as in we haven’t decided on a film yet). The lineup:

The Shining (1980)
The Shining is made for winter. Few things say snowy wonderland like the blizzardy hell of The Overlook Hotel, and what better way to celebrate the season than watching Jack Nicholson go apeshit and chase his family with an ax? As the first installment in our “Where it All Began” series, we visit Phil’s first horror film, Stanley Kubrick’s unhinged take on Stephen King’s most psychologically intricate novel. It’s a claustrophobic film that’s teeming with uncertainties – it’s alternately sparse and lush, off-putting and magnetic – and deviates in several key ways from the source material. We’ll look at how those changes affect the final product, as well as performances from Nicholson and Shelley Duvall that are described as both genius and melodramatic. We’ll also look at Kubrick’s undeniable influence, including a fierce and somewhat troubling penchant for brutalizing his female leads.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
It’s been delayed by a month or two, but we’re finally getting around to Chris’s first horror film and the second (also final) installment in our “Where it All Began” series. If you’ve scoped our “About Us” page, you know he was duped into believing witches and stick bundles haunted the twisted forests of Maryland, thanks almost wholly to a prepubescent viewing of The Blair Witch Project. On the budget of an Axe commercial, first-time filmmakers pioneered the “found footage” sub-genre – typified by queasy-cam and bare-bones plotting – and influenced an entire generation of horror directors. Neither of us have watched it in quite some time, and we’ll do our best to separate the film from its troubled legacy.

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