30 Day Film Challenge Day 22 – Your Favorite Horror Film

Film Nerd’s Choice: The Thing

Rationale:

I needed some help from the IMDB on this one.   I am a person who does not keep restricted to watching one genre, but I must admit, aside from drinking nights with friends over Freddy and Jason marathons, I have never actively considered which horror films strike me as the best.   The IMDB top rated horror films as of this time are Psycho, Alien, The Shining, and The Thing, in that order.   I jumped to number four on the list as I consider Psycho more of a thriller, Alien more of a sci-fi thriller, and though I appreciate the quality of the Shining, on a personal scale I rate The Thing higher.

For my review of The Thing, click here.

Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd

First of all thanks to Urban Fantasist for that awesome post.   Consider my appetite whetted.   As you referred to yourself though, there are certain tastes of mine that were not catered to, so here is a preview of 2011 from the perspective of someone who collected comics in high school.

I will be using the same list as Urban Fantasist from io9, but I will extend from there a little bit from a post by blastr featuring the top 55 trailers for films coming out in 2011.   I will of course avoid overlap between these lists.

The Green Hornet (io9, blastr)     January 14

A remake of the series that first captured hearts on radio serials then on television, featuring a rich guy turned vigilante.   The character was created by the guy who brought us The Lone Ranger, and at one point in the radio series it was indicated that the Hornet is descendant of the Ranger.   Directed by Michael Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, it could prove interesting.

I Am Number Four (io9, blastr)     February 18

A group of nine aliens hiding out as teenagers on Earth are hunted down for extermination by the government.   With three down, this film follows the story of the fourth to be targeted.    Based on a novel of the same name.

The Adjustment Bureau (io9, blastr)     March 4

Matt Damon plays a congressman destined for big things, before he meets and falls for Emily Blunt’s ballerina.   He was supposed to never meet her again, but somehow does, and falls in love with her.   The mysterious agency of the title steps in to prevent the relationship, and put our heroes life back on the set path.   Escaping, running, and hiding ensues….

Battle: Los Angeles (io9, blastr)     March 11

Gritty war film with hand-held camera work with visceral closeups, etc.   Oh yeah, and humans are fighting aliens.   Sounds like a great big B-movie, but with a cast headlined by Aaron Eckhart, may prove a hidden gem.

Red Riding Hood (io9, blastr)     March 11

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman star in this retelling of the classic tale, with the wolf recast as a werewolf connected the past of she with the hood.   Don’t know how Urban Fantasist missed that one, sounds like her cup of tea!!

Paul (io9, blastr)     March 18

Comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as two mates on an American road trip that meet foul mouth alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.   Some of the gags on the trailer are foul, but delightfully so!!

Sucker Punch (io9, blastr)     March 25

A film by Zack Snyder, who previously brought us 300 and Watchmen.   He does have a talent for absolute visual splendour on-screen, and the trailers indicate this will be no different.   It is hard to get a grasp on what it is about, but seems to be the story of five girls attempting to escape the clutches of evil authority in a mental asylum…or is it a war zone???   Or a bordello??

Super (io9, blastr)     April 1

Okay, so the concept of this sounds very similar to Kick-Ass… average bloke dons a costume to fight crime.   So lacking in originality on that count perhaps.   Just watch the clip posted on blastr though and I dare you not to show some interest!!

Hanna (blastr only) April 8

Eric Bana’s ex-CIA agent trains daughter Saoirse Ronin to be the perfect assassin, with the goal to target Cate Blanchett.    A lot of talent there in that sentence, and a pretty cool concept to boot.    The trailer also kicks butt!!

Your Highness (io9, blastr) April 8

Danny McBride and James Franco reteam with the director of Pineapple Express to star as royal brothers on a rescue mission… a comedy that drags Natalie Portman and my favourite Zooey Deschanel along for the ride.   I am still giggling at the trailer… “What a coincidence, I was just about to finish thinking of you!!”   Hehe.

Thor (io9, blastr)     May 6

The Norse god is exiled to Earth, as reimagined by Marvel Comics.   Mjolnir was spotted after the credits to Iron Man 2, resulting in my second Nerdgasm for that film.   Those that don’t know that this is part of building towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers should be stripped of their geek badge immediately!!

X-Men: First Class (io9 only)     June 3

The second Marvel movie for 2011.   With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones on board, and Kick-Ass’ Michael Vaughn directing, can we put the travesty of X-Men: The Last Stand behind us???

Green Lantern (io9, bkastr)     June 17

A film based on a DC universe second tier hero.   Ryan Reynolds is good casting, but the CGI costume is still a little off-putting for me.   However, has the potential to be the next Iron Man, whom was one of Marvel’s second tier heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (io9, blastr)     July 15

You really want a synopsis for this one?

Captain America: The First Avenger (io9 only)     July 22

The source of my first Nerdgasm in Iron Man 2 was spotting Captain America’s shield partially constructed in Tony Stark’s work room.   Like Thor, this is building to Whedon’s The Avengers, and has Chris Evans donning the tights in what can only be called great casting!

Cowboys and Aliens (io9, blastr)     July 29

James Bond and Indiana Jones!!   The old west!!   Aliens!!    Daniel Craig waits from unconsciousness with a strange device on his arm.   Harrison Ford plays the villain of the piece, that teams with Craig when the bigger threat arrives.   Why didn’t they think of this earlier???

The Thing (io9 only)     October 14

Prequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original.   Stars Joel Edgerton, and personal favourite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (io9, blastr)     December 16

Downey Jr. and Law return to 221B Baker Street, this time to face the infamous Professor Moriarty.   Be warned, blastr screwed up, the trailer from the first film, not the first trailer for the second!!

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (io9 only) December 23

Steven Spielberg directs his first fully motion capture film.   Peter Jackson produces.   They will be swapping roles for the sequel!!   Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.   Some writing was even done by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffatt!! Add that element of retro charm and I am sold!

Man, that is a lot of movies…. I hope Bride of Film Nerd doesn’t kill me when we need a second mortgage!!

 

The Thing – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat

Synopsis: A group of scientists in an isolated research facility are surprised by hostile actions of a neighbouring Norwegian camp.   It turns out what spooked them so much was a creature they dug up from the ice, a shape-shifter that has now infiltrated the American camp.

 

A review by Film Nerd.

This is one of the film’s that has been a thorn in my side for some time.   A self-proclaimed film nerd that had never seen John Carpenter’s The Thing???   It is a state of being unheard of!!   Okay, it is not the only prominent film in the history of cinema that I have missed.   Prior to this film I had only seen 296 of the 1001 films you must see before you die.   But this being a prominent sci-fi horror film, the sin was particularly heinous in this case.   Especially when you consider a Carpenter approved prequel is soon due for release, now has to be the time to correct an oversight.

So, after picking up the BluRay (for a steal of a price), i popped it in for my first viewing a few nights ago.   I was surprisingly without the company of Bride of Film Nerd.   She just loves horrors so much… it just is not the same with one arm being black and blue from finger imprints afterwards.   And yes, I am sure that would have been the reaction, given that this film successfully made me jump on more than one occasion.   Carpenter has a very tight grip on the progression of this film.   It is very slow to begin with, establishing an atmosphere of isolation which hints at something akin almost to claustrophobia to come.   Tension is realistically built, up until the reveal of the shape-shifting creature, and continues to mount as no-one knows whom they can trust.   And following this scares are not quite as clearly sign-posted as many of today’s more modern paint by numbers scare flick.

Of course, a director is lost without a credible cast.   Some may write of Kurt Russell, but his helicopter pilot MacReady is believably taciturn and capable in  a pinch.   He dominates the cast, his screen charisma being at full wattage.   Yet do not be fooled, the supporting cast are not lost, especially as every one of them is a suspect at one point or another.   Each has at least one bright moment to shine, as the crew gets steadily decimated over the course of the film.

Purely and simply, i love this film.   It is no heart wrenching drama, nor is it an Academy-friendly weepy or educational piece.   It is a sci-fi horror, it knows what it is, and yet it never descends into over the top antics, never breaking the tension of the transportation into this different world.   If you are already a convert, pick it up and enjoy it again, if not, follow my lead and clean this oversight from your slate!!

5 stars (out of a possible 5)


The Thing on IMDB

The Thing on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbtUjskfyA0]