Posts Tagged ‘serial killer’

31 Days of Horror – Day 29 – The Collector

The Collector

After breaking into the business by scripting the Feast franchise and Saw 4-7, the writing team of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan went on to create a tale of a new sadistic psychopath in a film helmed by Dunstan – The Collector. The story follows Arkin, an ex-con turned handyman, who decides to rob his boss in order to pay off his ex-wife’s debt. Once he breaks into the remote country home of the Chase family, however, Arkin finds it littered with a maze of deadly traps laid by a sadistic killer who has imprisoned the family. Armed with only his wits and cunning, Arkin must find a way to escape The Collector. No doubt emboldened by their experience with the Saw franchise, Melton and Dunstan have created their own trap-laying madman who comes across as creepy and very effective in the title role. Josh Stewart delivers a solid performance as the anti-hero, Arkin, and the mood and atmosphere are extremely effective in helping to create a sense of claustrophobic tension. The gore is also present in full brutal force and serves to delineate the stark difference in criminality between Arkin’s felonious intent and the bloodlust of the Collector. In a far more personal way, Dunstan and Melton have created a far more memorable and effective horror tale than Stevan Mena’s 2004 film, Malevolence, while utilizing a similar storyline. Obviously, the pair found enough success with this 2009 entry to produce a sequel, The Collection, which is due to be released in the end of November.

The Collector on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 28 – Frailty


Aside from appreciating his performances in films like Near Dark and A Simple Plan, I was never a big fan of Bill Paxton until I saw this movie and learned how much he had invested in it to make sure that the project came to fruition. Frailty tells the story of an FBI agent, Wesley Doyle, who is approached by a young man, Fenton Meiks, who claims his brother is the serial killer known as God’s Hands. Meiks offers to show Doyle proof of his brother’s guilt and, as the pair travel to the site, Meiks imparts to Doyle a bizarre childhood wherein his father attempted to train the two boys to become “demon” slayers after receiving a divine transmission from God. The story is very reminiscent of a Stephen King tale that focuses on a loss of innocence or rite of passage as the two brothers come of age by virtue of their father’s apparent delusion. The film is also very personal and character-focused which allows Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Booth, and the two young brothers played by Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter to deliver a powerful ensemble performance that breathes life into this sordid, little Southern Gothic tale.

Frailty on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 26 – The Midnight Meat Train

The Midnight Meat Train

I’ve been a reader and avid fan of Clive Barker’s work since the late 80’s when I picked up a copy of Cabal and, any time I see his name attached to a film, I always make a point to see it. Luckily, this was the case with The Midnight Meat Train which, written in the author’s first visit to the Big Apple in his late 20’s, chronicles a dark tale of obsession amidst a dark, subterranean world. The story follows Leon, an aspiring young photographer, living with his supportive girlfriend, Maya, who works at a nearby diner as a waitress. Leon gets a break when he meets local art gallery owner, Susan Hoff, but is delayed his big break by Hoff who insinuates that Leon find a grittier edge to his work before she will display it in her gallery. Leon obliges and begins exploring the city and its subway system at night for inspiration when he breaks up a group of young thugs harassing a young woman. The next day, Leon finds a report that the woman he saved has gone missing and, upon his second nocturnal visit to the subway, encounters Mahogany, a stoic and imposing figure in a charcoal suit and tie, who triggers an obsession that leads Leon believe that he has not only found a suspect in the woman in question’s disappearance but a full-on serial killer. The film is beautifully shot and inspires a real urban gothic landscape where a monster like Mahogany looks right at home and the visual effects are, at times, absolutely stunning in the death scenes. Vinnie Jones portrayal of Mahogany is spot-on and extremely effective when balanced against Cooper’s inquisitive and furtive Leon. This is one of the truly great films based on Clive Barker’s work that will satisfy any horror fan.

The Midnight Meat Train on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 15 – Cold Fish

Cold Fish

This film is a demented, tragic, and bizarrely humorous journey of how even the meekest of us can be pushed beyond the limits of our own sanity. Nobuyuki, the docile owner of a small tropical fish store, is told that his rebellious daughter Mitsuko has been caught stealing and goes to speak with the manager along with his new wife, Taeko. The manager, Yukio, proves to be a very generous man who forgives the girl and offers that she should come to work in his huge tropical fish store. Yukio is obviously much more successful than Nobuyuki as evidenced by his Ferrari and cavernous store and begins a campaign of shame hidden behind a smile and laugh as he takes Nobuyuki’s daughter by “educating” her at the store, forces an affair with Nobuyuki’s wife Taeko, and squeezes the last ounce of humanity out of Nobuyuki as he drives the man to his breaking point and beyond. Denden’s portrayal of Yukio Murata is one of the great villains of Japanese or any other cinema as he literally steals every scene with his forceful and unrelenting performance. This is a journey you’ll not soon forget!

Cold Fish on IMDb

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