Friday, November 13, 2015

THE LAST WINTER (2006) Blu-ray Review



The Last Winter (2006) d. Larry Fessenden (USA)

An unscrupulous American oil company, hell-bent on drilling into the fragile Alaskan tundra, hires renowned environmentalist James Hoffman (James LeGros) to supervise and (hopefully) endorse their efforts. When the "greenie" takes a little long for comfort and profit margins (due to increasingly erratic temperature fluctuations), company man Ed Pollack (Ron Perlman) is dispatched to expedite matters, specifically to get the ice roads approved so that heavy equipment can be brought in. Camp leader Abby Sellers (Connie Britton) is caught in the middle, involved in a romance with Hoffman but intent on getting the project up and running. Just as the imminent war of wills begins its opening salvos, a supernatural presence begins to exert itself over the health and sanity of the various skeleton crew members on site, including resident mechanic Motor (Kevin Corrigan), Pollack's nephew Maxwell (Zach Gilford), cook Joanne (Dawn Russell), go-to guy Lee (Pato Hoffmann), and tech assistant Elliot (Jamie Harrold). Is Nature rebelling against its most potent enemy at long last?


Thursday, November 12, 2015

HABIT (1995) Blu-ray Review



Habit (1995) d. Larry Fessenden (USA)

The vampire of legend is eternal, and its cinematic brethren are equally durable and widespread. Even before the post-millennial pop culture phenomena of Twilight and True Blood (among others) but especially in their wake, it’s refreshing and rewarding to encounter an undead feature possessing a genuinely grounded and unique interpretation. As writer/director Fessenden’s Habit (alongside George Romero’s Martin, Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction and Michael Almereyda’s Nadja) shows, it’s not just about bringing the vampire into contemporary settings; since the 1930s, the silver screen has hosted an array of “modern” bloodsuckers preying upon hip and sensible disbelievers. What’s often missing is a true sense of personality, vision and passion, and it is here that Habit delivers with both barrels.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WENDIGO (2001) Blu-ray Review



Wendigo (2001) d. Larry Fessenden (USA)

Commercial photographer George (Jake Weber), his psychologist wife Kim (Patricia Clarkson), and their young son Miles (Erik Per Sullivan) head up to the Catskills for a winter weekend getaway, but the trip is temporarily sidelined when a wounded deer stumbles into their path. When the dust settles, the animal is dead and their car stuck in a snowdrift, while the hunters hot on its trail emerge from the woods none-too-pleased to discover their quarry damaged by the collision. The most antagonistic of these, Otis (John Speredakos), speaks exclusively in sneers and veiled threats, and while the family escape the situation unscathed, the incident casts an ominous pall over their arrival at the cabin and the rest of the evening. The next day, Miles encounters a strange Native American gentlemen (Lloyd Oxendine) in town who, after giving him a wooden totem of the legendary Wendigo, a "hungry, angry woodland spirit," promptly disappears. A tragic sledding accident follows, setting in motion a series of (possibly supernatural) events that will forever change the face of the young family.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

NO TELLING (1991) Blu-ray Review



No Telling (1991) d. Larry Fessenden (USA)

Experimental electro-biologist Geoffrey (Stephen Ramsey), hoping to develop a patent for his ethically questionable animal research, heads upstate with his artist bride Lillian (Miriam Healy-Louie) to their government-sponsored farmhouse. Settling into the small-knit agricultural community presents its own challenges for the urban couple, but more disturbing is Geoffrey’s fervent devotion to create “life” in his laboratory – cue vivisections of all creatures great, small, and furry – as opposed to planting seeds within his wife’s fertile body. Enter handsome environmental activist Alex Vine (David Van Tieghem) providing Lillian with a kind presence, receptive ear, and ample temptation, and the stage is set for violence emotional and physical, animal and human.


Monday, November 2, 2015

SCARE-A-THON 2015 FINAL RESULTS!!



EAT. YOUR. VEGETABLES.


And so, friends and fiends, we arrive on the other side of another glorious OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE. I won’t lie, this year lived up to its name, and will probably mark the last time I reach for the triple digits. As enjoyable as the binging can be, both in terms of revisiting old favorites and exploring new terrain, the task at hand often means that other tasks at hand get shorter shrift. There was a moment about a week in where I considered revising my stated goal of 100 films, but ultimately decided that it was worth pushing on through, because this year’s causes were worthy of the strain (on mind as well as eyes).

I’m thrilled to report that through our combined efforts, we managed to raise nearly $3000 for PLANNED PARENTHOOD and CHICAGO’S GREENHOUSE SHELTER. Thanks to everyone who participated, whether it be reading the reviews, pledging, watching alongside, or just stopping by to chat. Your support makes the long days and nights go by so much easier. I’ll be contacting donors directly via email, but if you are still interested in contributing, contact me at drach101@gmail.com and we’ll get you to the right place.

Below are the final statistics, as well as links to each day’s respective reviews. Hope you enjoy the walk down memory lane, dark and dangerous as it might be. As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

CHALLENGE STATS:

Total Movies Watched: 100
Total First Time Views: 34
Scare-A-Thon Donations: $2930.00

BONUS STATS:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE (10/31)


Challenge Totals to Date:

Movies Watched: 4
Total Movies Watched: 100
Total First Time Views: 34
Scare-A-Thon Donations: $2830.00

Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2015 (benefiting PLANNED PARENTHOOD and GREENHOUSE SHELTER) at any time, drop me an email at drach101@gmail.com to say how much you would like to pledge. Your donation is tax deductible and, seriously, even a penny per film helps.