A three-day celebration of gore, goth and frightening fun

ORONO A celebration of all things scary is coming to the New Balance Field House on the University of Maine campus in Orono. The second annual BanGoreFest is set to take place Oct. 28-30.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 10:20

Into the woods again - 'Blair Witch'

Sequel fails to capture groundbreaking spirit of original

Whether you loved it or hated it, there's no denying that 1999's 'The Blair Witch Project' proved to be a groundbreaking film. The microbudget found-footage horror thriller was a game changer not just in stylistic terms, but in marketing terms as well. It offered a new path to making movies and to selling them.

Published in Movies
Friday, 09 September 2016 14:53

'The Disappointments Room' accurately titled

Dull, derivative horror movie fails on every possible level

2016 has been a strong year for the horror genre. While many of the blockbuster releases have fallen short of expectations, studios have seen a fair degree of success both critically and commercially with smaller-scale horror movies. There have been a lot of good ones.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 11:11

Jumping at shadows - 'Lights Out'

Smart horror film offers story and scares in equal measure

Perhaps no film genre is quite as hit or miss as horror movies. The nature of horror is such that it allows for a wide range of levels of execution. That is, you can drop a big budget on a horror movie, but you can also make one for a relative pittance. However, the resulting quality is wildly variant; in short, there are a lot of mediocre and flat-out bad horror flicks made every year.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 14:13

Bewildered and bewitched The Witch'

Indie horror film doesn't quite live up to the hype

One of the great things about genre films is that they often provide fertile playgrounds in which budding filmmakers can hone their crafts. Take horror movies, for instance if you have a scary story to tell and an interesting way to tell it, your film will be a success. Ask the kids who made 'The Blair Witch Project' or someone like Oren Peli, who parlayed 'Paranormal Activity' into an empire.

So when you hear rumblings about an independent horror film from a first-time writer-director that pulled a directing award at Sundance, you take notice. And when the film gets its scariness bona fides confirmed by none other than Stephen King, you DEFINITELY take notice.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:22

The Conjuring' offers old-school frights

Horror film filled with terror and tension

Hearing the words 'Based on a true story' connected to a film is always a mixed bag at best. You're always curious as to just how much is true and how much is trumped up to make for a better movie. It's probably worst with horror films not only did we have classics such the original 'Amityville Horror' and 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' with their supposed toeholds in reality, but you've got stuff like 'The Blair Witch Project' that goes out of its way in an attempt to convince us of the truth inherent to its (very) fictional premise.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:54

Crying home to Mama'

Film offers creepy children, old-school scares

The recent trend in horror movies has been toward extremism. So many supposedly scary films have floated their frights on wave after unrelenting wave of over-the-top gore. And those that aren't devoted to mindless gore are gimmicky 'found footage' films that rely on 'gotcha' moments and not much else.

I had high hopes that 'Mama' might be that present-day rarity a genuinely scary movie. And while it isn't a home run by any stretch of the imagination, it succeeds more than it fails.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:20

Texas Chainsaw Massacre' gets a requel'

Film tries and fails to reinvigorate classic franchise

Few genres inspire multiple franchise offerings quite like horror. There are the big ones, of course series such as 'Friday the 13th,' 'Halloween' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street' but almost every horror film that has experienced even a modicum of success has produced a number of increasingly terrible sequels/prequels/reboots.

For instances, we have the new 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' film; did you know that this is the seventh (!) installment of everybody's favorite chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface?

Published in Movies

People sometimes forget that you don't have to shock to scare.

You can scare with shock if you choose, of course, but too often, we forget that sometimes subtlety can be just as scary or even scarier than overt in-your-face tactics. In fact, some of the most frightening tales ever put to page rely on a subtle intensity designed to draw you into their own world rather than shock you out of your own.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:40

Dear Diary - This movie is terrible

Chernobyl Diaries' bland, boring and uninspired

You know you're in for a long one when you're 15 minutes into a horror movie and you realize that you're already rooting for the heroes to die.

That, alas, was my lot upon watching 'Chernobyl Diaries.' The film's pedigree has been pushed pretty hard writer Oren Peli was the brains behind the 'Paranormal Activity' films but that comparison only serves to remind us how thin and gimmicky the 'PA' films turned out to be. Add to that the fact that the film was never screened for critics and you get a film that the studio is obviously less than enthused about.

The lack of enthusiasm is warranted.

Published in Movies
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