Shocktoberfest 2017! Day Seven: Demon

Demon (2015)

Written by Pawel Maslona & Marcin Wrona / Directed by Marcin Wrona

Pictured Above: Not the Demon.

Pictured Above: Not the Demon.

Arthouse horror and mainstream horror more often than not tend to butt heads, but Marcin Wrona's intense polish supernatural thriller does a masterful job of walking the line between the two worlds.  Stylistically, the film is akin to Robert Egger's The Witch, except narratively it's a tad bit formulaic in its approach to a big wedding gone wrong and the hosts' desperate attempts to keep a possibly possessed groom away from the happy partygoers, blissfully chugging down vodka like it's water at the reception.  There's a slight bit of pitch black humor thrown in for good measure as well.  The landscapes and geography of the film are as important to the story as the human characters, the foggy, silent hills of Poland creating a dense, humid atmosphere.  Never a dull moment to be seen, this is one of those movies that makes you gawk at the fact that more people haven't seen it.

Five & A Half out of Five Buried Family Secrets

Shocktoberfest 2017! Day Two: The Midnight Meat Train

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

Written by Jeff Buhler / Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

Broodley Cooper

Broodley Cooper

Unfortunately on the day of this entry, the world is in a dark, sad place, so much so, that I even felt guilty about writing a post for today.  But I believe that stories and movies in particular are cathartic and are meant especially for dark times like these.  They can be mirrors to the world around us, or they can be windows into another one, serving as a brief escape to keep us from going crazy.  Even a movie with as twisted and as bizarre of a sensibility as The Midnight Meat Train can be a cathartic form of escapism.  Midnight Meat Train certainly is twisted, and it certainly is bizarre, but it takes a little while to get there.  Just like The Black CatMidnight Meat Train is very loosely based on a short story by a horror legend, in this case, Clive Barker.  The film does its best to flesh out the simple premise of the original short story, which is probably its biggest misstep, causing the first half of the film to play out like a Twilight Zone episode directed by an alternate dimension Alfred Hitchcock who specialized in making nu-metal music videos.  Pre-Fame Bradley Cooper plays a struggling photographer in New York who is obsessed with finding the gritty underbelly of the city he lives in.  When his midnight strolls lead him to discover a possibly murderous butcher played by Vinnie Jones, Mr. Cooper takes a sharp left turn from Normal Guy Highway onto Crazy Conspiracy Nutjob Road and it's only downhill from there.  Ryuhei Kitamura has a fascinating visual eye and creates some genuinely dreamy atmospheres, although they're hampered down by early 2000's "edgy" editing.  The screenplay is absurdly silly, and that only starts to work in the movie's favor after it throws off the shackles of trying to make everything make sense and just embraces the batshit insanity of Barker's world.  In the end, it's a fun ride. The end destination is worth the trip, even if there are too many stops along the way.

Three out of Five Surprise Ted Raimi Cameos