"It Follows" horror movie

Is horror movie “It Follows” worth, well, following?

“It Follows” has gotten a bunch of hype, so much so that what was initially a limited release has turned into a full on press this weekend.

Is it worth all the hype?

The magic eight ball that is me says yes.

In a time of inevitable sequels (“Insidious 3”) and remakes (“Poltergeist”), “It Follows” gives a fresh blast of originality to the teen slasher-style and demon haunting genres.

Usually in these films, the teens have sex and, as a punishment, they die, leaving the virginal girl to survive.

In the demon haunting genre, the demon haunts a specific location.

“It Follows” mixes those genres by letting the teens have sex, but then tying the demon haunting to that sex — like a sexually transmitted disease.

This is the situation protagonist Jay (Maika Monroe) finds herself after sleeping with her boyfriend. Now a demon stalks her — slowly (it can only walk). She can run, drive or whatever, but, as the title says, it follows.

Which gives some nice scares as the demon stalks Jay and her friends. Her friends can’t see the demon, but writer/ director David Robert Mitchell comes up with some inventive ways for the demon to materialize to them.

Another interesting angle is that Mitchell doesn’t spend screen time telling us the demon’s origin. It’s all about the scares and the escapes. I love this approach, as the “origin story” is all played out.

Spider-Man, Bond, Batman — looking at you.

Secondly, the revelation of origin often harms the horror. If you know where it came from, you can kill it — and the franchise. Because it gets really silly if in movie A the wise old character tells you what to do, you do it, but in movie B you learn it didn’t work.

Rob Zombie “Halloween,” I’m looking at you. And the umpteen sequels to “we killed the slasher but he’s alive again” movies: looking at you too.

No origin? Jay and her friends are grasping at ways to escape the demon. And even after they think they’ve succeeded, they’ll never really know if the demon is really gone. Audience unnerving and franchise potential secured.

On a technical level, I do have to call out the use of the spinning camera. It seems like a good idea at the time (very Scorsese in fact), but in this movie the damned thing didn’t follow focus so the shot was out of focus.


“It Follows” is fun, creepy, and even has echos of classic horror like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (not the crappy remakes).

Seriously. Try NOT seeing the “No running in the hallways” scene from “Nightmare” when Jay flees the school as the “it” of the title follows her.

I highly recommend seeing it, particularly all you haters hating on remakes and reboots. Here’s your chance to vote with your wallet (the only currency Hollywood understands) for original content.

Check out the trailer for “It Follows” below.

They said that? – Larry Wilmore

Larry Wilmore of the Nightly Show

Courtesy Comedy Central

[Fifteen year old girls running off to join ISIS?] This is what happens in the 21st century when you’re trying to piss off your parents and there’s no Black guys in town to sleep with.

— Larry Wilmore, “The Nightly Show”

First Wednesday without “Empire”

What the hell am I supposed to do with a Wednesday night without Lucious (Terrence Howard), Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and the rest of the “Empire” clan? Guess I could pick up another show. Been wanting to get to “Arrow,” maybe the new season of “House of Cards” with Lex Luthor — er, Frank Underwood.

Or I can re-watch “Orphan Black” in prep for its season 3 premiere April 18th.

Meanwhile, guess I can just enjoy this GIF of Lucious.

Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) from Empire

Courtesy Fox

Chloe Grace Moretz as a vampire in "Let Me In"

Chloe Moretz plays a vampires audiences should let in

A&E is moving forward with a TV version of Swedish vampire film and novel “Let the Right One In.”

I figure it an appropriate time to look back at the 2010 American remake by director Matt Reaves, “Let Me In,” which starred Hit-Girl herself, Chloe Grace Moretz.

Back in 2010, Sexy reluctant heartthrobs (“Twilight”) and gun-toting Deathdealers (“Underworld”) ruled Hollywood’s current vampire movie cycle.

Unfortunately, audiences were missing another aspect of the genre, the vampires who are actually not only scary, but in a movie with an engaging plot and pitch perfect acting.

“Let Me In” opened October 1st, 201 to horrible box office. The film premiered at number eight on a weekend when only two other movies opened. This in October when horror movies should be an easy sell.

I understand that audiences may have stayed away from the film because it is yet another remake churned out by an unoriginal Hollywood. Remakes such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Grudge” series were inferior to their originals in every way, paving the way for audience disappointment in other remakes.

Fear not, vampire lovers. “Let Me In” received very positive reviews. Having seen the remake and the Swedish original I vouch for those reviews.

“Let Me In” isn’t simply a retread of the original film. Director Matt Reeves (who would go on to direct the impressive “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) brings an American sensibility to the material that matches and surpasses that of the original.

Reeves transforms one of the novel’s characters from a simple townsperson into a detective. What in the novel and the original film is a man stumbling through the vampire’s apartment now becomes an urgent search, making for heightened suspense.

In the same scene, the original film has main character Oskar very quickly shutting the door on a horrific element to the scene. In Reeves’s version, the victim reaches to Oskar (now Owen) for help.

Owen appears to reach to help the victim – only to grab the nearby door handle and close the door instead.

Much more suspenseful.

To this add Chloe Moretz’s performance as the young female vampire, Abby. She conveys innocence and violence with a twitch of her eyes. That’s impressive for an actress not old enough to see the original R-rated film.

“Let Me In” deserves the praise it has received. It also deserves better box office respect. I don’t expect the film to reach the tween masses who swoon for Teams Edward or Jacob, but those claiming to be devoted fans of the vampire genre – and horror films in general — should see the film in droves.

Otherwise, unoriginal Hollywood will feed us a steady diet of “Twilight,” “Underworld” and “Tru Blood” knock-offs instead of searching for a touch of originality in their bloodsuckers.

To learn more about the TV version, check out the article from Collider.

Here’s the trailer for “Let Me In.”

Julia Dietze as Renate Richter

“Iron Sky” brings Nazis from the moon!

Admittedly, the premise of “Iron Sky” is silly as all Hell.

Back in 1945, the Nazis somehow established a base on the dark side of the moon. Without the rest of the world knowing.

Flash forward to the present. A team of American astronauts returning to the moon stumble on the base. The moon Nazis capture the African-America astronaut. The moon Nazis use the technological power of his cellphone to power their battle cruiser and prepare their attack on earth.

Silly, right?

Unlike the intended silly and crappy film-making style of the “Sharknado” movies, the “Iron Sky” team, led by director Timo Vuorensola, treats their silly with a level of professionalism some studio films would envy. The CGI effects (of which there are plenty) look as good as a studio film — and better than most of “Jupiter Ascending.”

(For the record, I did like what the Wachowski siblings were trying to do with “Ascending,” but it didn’t work for a myriad of reasons.)

The acting is usually where the silly cheese factor will reign supreme, but the cast holds it down fairly well. Genre staple Udo Kier gives us the perfect ailing fuehrer. Julia Dietze is plucky as the Nazi “Earthologist” who soon realizes she knows nothing of the Earth and its potential, having been born on the moon. Even Götz Otto manages not to chew all the scenery as the wanna-be fuehrer sent to earth as a prelude to invasion.

Meanwhile, Christopher Kirby, Peta Sergeant, Stephanie Paul play up the Velveeta of their characters.

Kirby is the captured African-America astronaut, speaking in as much ebonics as he can before his Nazi tormentors. He’s driven insane when the Nazis bleach his skin, making him what they believe is the perfect Aryan. When he gets back to earth, Kirby’s character becomes a bum on the streets preaching about moon Nazis.

No one believes him, of course.

That is, until the moon Nazis invade. Then he teams with Dietze, who has a change of heart about Nazi psychology, to save the planet.

Sergeant and Paul play a over-sexed publicist for the president and a Sarah Palin-clone president respectively. They know they’re here for camp and play it to the hilt.

The production team behind “Iron Sky” produced the film through crowd-sourcing, with input given by the masses and focused by the production team. You’d never know that many hands were in the pot as the movie is a cohesive piece of entertainment. It even takes things beyond the norm of a mid-level budget, utilizing leitmotifs from Wagner in the soundtrack and tying historical Nazi events to the dreams of the moon Nazis.

And did I mention the space battles?

“Iron Sky” wouldn’t have been my first choice for a movie to see, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was over. A sequel, also crowd-sourced, is on the way for 2016. Catch the “Iron Sky: Director’s Cut” on Netflix. Let me know what you think, because I’m just thinking out loud.

Black Widow should have a movie – but she won’t

Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow from "Age of Ultron"

Courtesy Marvel Studios

As much as we all love Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow (though admittedly I was initially skeptical), don’t get attached to the idea that she’ll receive he own movie. Her story’s been told over the course of four movies, with more information coming in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

For Hollywood, that’s enough.

Plus, Marvel Studios has already declared that “Captain Marvel” will be their first solo female lead film.

I cry foul on this, but Widow is in good company. Where’s the “Wonder Woman” solo movie after, I don’t know, nearly seventy-five years? They say it’s coming, but the virtually unknown outside of the geek scene will get a movie before her.

Hell! Catwoman got a movie before Wonder Woman. (If you could call that piece of turd a movie.)

Personally, I’d love to see a $20 million Netflix movie featuring Black Widow, Daredevil and maybe Mockingbird and Hawkeye. Straight up spy thing, no big explosions or crap like that. Old school. Think “The Raid” meets “The Bourne Supremacy.”

But that’s just me thinking out loud.