Monday, November 4, 2013

The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

WHEN senior editor Ann Marie Chandy suggested - well, "instructed" more like it - that the entertainment team do a Halloween issue, I was apprehensive. Are our readers interested in all things scary?

Apparently, the answer is yes. When we sent out a message to the other writers in Star2 to get them to tell us their favourite horror films of all time, the response was overwhelming!

I was a big fan of horror films growing up. I'd watch everything on haunted houses and scarred-faced demons, to slasher flicks and torture porn. Because I had an overactive imagination, I'd be frightened during bedtime - what if Freddy Krueger turned up?

So, I made a pact with myself: no more horror movies when I move into my new place and start living by myself. I've managed to keep the promise for five years ... but I had to break it a few months ago in the name of work.

I had to interview horror master James Wan, which meant I had to watch The Conjuring. I had my eyes closed half the time at a special preview in San Francisco for journalists. The group I was with (which included someone who has never watched a horror flick in his life and another who lives in a haunted apartment in Singapore and is prone to "see things") had a good time at the movie.

This is an indication of why the horror genre is doing brisk business - we just love to be scared silly.

"(Audiences) get so into it in horror movies. They scream, they laugh. It's like a roller-coaster ride," said Wan who directed recent horror box office successes Insidious: Chapter 2. It is true what the director said. At campfires, we tell ghost stories and at amusement parks, we make a beeline for the haunted house.

After The Conjuring, I have stopped watching horror movies because I don't want any sleepless nights. But have I banned everything spooky? Not exactly. I still park at Basement 4 at the office even though I've been told that there's a ghost (in a colourful shirt!) lurking about.

My friend Leonardo, who is an avid fan of horror films, summed it up best: "Every day, our life is filled with comedy, action and drama. You either experience it yourself or you read it in the papers. As for horror, you don't experience the supernatural on a daily basis. That's why some of us gravitate towards scary stuff."

With that, here are our scary treats for you this Halloween.


STAR2'S YOUTUBE PLAYLISTS:1. JACK TORRANCE (The Shining) - A writer takes the job of a caretaker at a hotel during winter when it's shut down. Built on a burial ground, the hotel has - within its four expansive walls - a lot of unsettled spirits looking for the next person to join them permanently. Poor Jack never knew what hit him; he slowly loses his sanity and gives in to the ghosts' deadly wishes. Winter is here to stay for this Jack.

2. VENGEFUL SPIRIT (Ju-on) - Convinced his wife is having an affair, a man kills her and their son. All that rage has caused a curse to remain in the home where they died. Anyone who comes in contact with the location is affected and soon starts to see a creepy kid and his cat. This, ultimately, signals their imminent end.

3. BRIDE IN BLACK (Insidious: Chapter 2) - Josh Lambert has had this old woman in a black wedding dress shadowing him since he was a child. Finally, the "Dark Bride" gets access to him when Josh enters the other side to retrieve his lost son. As it turns out, the spirit is that of a serial killer. Now that it has possessed Josh, it gets to terrorise every member of the Lambert family.

4. PAZUZU (The Exorcist) - This 1971 release is one of the most horrifying films to depict demonic possession. After moving to her new home, 12-year-old Regan MacNeil turns into a foul-mouthed little girl. Regan 2.0 also develops a really bad skin problem - with cracks and unhealthy colour on her cheeks that no make-up can hide. All these changes are no thanks to a demon named Pazuzu that has conveniently made her its new home.

5. CHUCKY (Child's Play) - This is the first film in a string of many featuring the possessed doll named Chucky, which has put a fear in many younger audience. A red-haired, blue-eyed doll comes to life when a homicidal maniac's soul is transferred into it, so he can escape the death sentence and continue killing. Even in a body of doll, Chucky remains a menace and a killer.

6. DAMIEN THORN (The Omen) - Say hello to Damien, the spawn of Satan. His parents may have been happy to take him home from hospital - after their own was stillborn - but soon they are having a tough time as the unruly boy is sullen to a fault. Things take a turn for the worse when his governess commits suicide. Later, gleefully, he knocks his mother off the balcony with his tricycle. A black hound (might as well be from hell) seems to have taken a liking to him too.

7. BATHSHEBA (The Conjuring) - The Perrons move into their new house at a countryside, only to discover that the original occupant - (spoiler alert!) a witch who killed her own child before committing suicide - is still living there, haunting the house. This evil spirit plans to do harm to every member of the Perron family, starting with the mother.

8. PENNYWISE, THE DANCING CLOWN (It) - No one really remembers much about the plot of this film but everyone remembers the sadistic and wisecracking clown called Pennywise. Its main weapons are candy and balloons; with these, it lures children and consumes them. And with this film, the fear of clowns becomes truly justified.

9. SADAKO YAMAMURA (Ringu) - Anyone else covered their TV set with a cloth after watching this film? This Japanese horror resuscitated the genre, unleashing many knock-offs, besides scaring the bejeezus out of us. The plot is simple: Whoever watches the cursed video is dead within a week. When her son watches it, Ryuji has no choice but to find the truth about the cursed tape. There is a tragic story behind it, but this doesn't take away an ounce of shock at seeing the spirit (with long, unruly hair and staggered movements) coming out of the TV to claim its victim.

10. FREDDY KRUEGER (A Nightmare On Elm Street) - Freddy Krueger creates the most horrific nightmares, one that usually ends with the dreamer's death. A few children on Elm Street are too afraid to go to sleep as they don't want to meet the badly burnt man in a red-and-green striped sweater, wearing gloves with razor sharp knives and a penchant for twisted nursery rhymes. We totally understand.>> CHECK OUT OUR PLAYLIST OF "TOP FIVE MONSTERS/GHOULS/FREAKS YOU DON'T EVER WANT TO BUMP INTO"THE GROWN-UP HARRY POTTER STAR IS SET TO PORTRAY BRITISH SPORTSMAN SEBASTIAN COE.

Daniel Radcliffe is to play British athletics great Sebastian Coe in a film about his rivalry with fellow middle-distance runner Steve Ovett, filmmakers announced recently.

Gold will examine the tussles between countrymen Coe and Ovett, who exchanged titles and world records during the early 1980s.

Ovett beat Coe over 800m at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, but Coe claimed revenge in the 1,500m final six days later and successfully defended his title at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Coe went on to head the organising committee of the 2012 London Olympics and is the current chairman of the British Olympic Association.

The film is expected to focus on Coe and Ovett's preparations for the 1980 Olympics, but it has not yet been announced who will play Ovett.

"You were either an Ovett person or a Coe person and that's what makes it such a great character piece as well," said the film's producer, Vicky Licorish.

Filming for the movie, which was first announced in February 2010, is expected to begin in April next year.

The screenplay will be based on an account of the rivalry in a book called The Perfect Distance by British athletics journalist Pat Butcher.

Radcliffe, 24, shot to fame by playing the title role in eight film adaptations of J.K. Rowling's blockbuster series of books about child wizard Harry Potter. -- AFP Relaxnews

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