Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Purge: Anarchy (2014) - A Review

After having finally sat down to a viewing of The Purge, I was excited to tear into it’s wildly successful sequel, The Purge: Anarchy. If everyone was saying that the sequel was infinitely better than the inadequate first chapter, then surely I was going to LOVE it considering that I actually quite enjoyed the The Purge. Right?

Released on July 18, 2014, James DeMonaco returned to his futuristic world in which the American public is plunged into chaos for 12 hours to cleanse their souls and purge themselves of all anger, hatred, jealousy, etc., etc. Seen on a much bigger scale this time around, DeMonaco shows the events of Purge Night on a city wide level. He takes the cameras into the city to give the audience what they were left clamoring for after the credits began to roll on the first film: blood filled streets and all the chaos they could possibly handle. After all, Purge Night comes but once a year, right?  

Celebate THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR Early with Crypt TV's New Short: PURGE NIGHT

Blessed be the new founding fathers indeed, Crypt TV released a tasty new short in anticipation of The Purge: Election Year which is out in a theater near you tomorrow! The short teases another glimpse at the terrors of Purge Night, and not to sound biased, but I loved it. It's short, fun and it's a great take on a story we all know and love: "The Night Before Christmas". The short was directed by a dear friend, Miss Ama Lea, who's an amazing photographer in addition to her directorial skills. It also stars someone very near and dear to my heart, my lovely girlfriend, causing raucous in the streets, sparkler in hand and masked to boot.

Take a peek, enjoy it and I hope you all get out to a theater this weekend and catch The Purge: Election Year to celebrate the most American of all holidays, The 4th of July! If you like it, check out Ama Lea's online store here to see her artwork and purchase some of her prints, she's shot some of the most prolific names in the horror biz and her work is killer (no pun intended). Also, keep an eye out here on Nocturnal Visions, my thoughts on The Purge: Anarchy will be up shortly!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Purge (2013) - A Review

Survive the night.

We are 5 days away from The Purge: Election Year which, gauging from the trailers, looks pretty damn good. Over the past few days, I finally sat down and watched not only The Purge, but The Purge: Anarchy as well; I figured that there’s no better time than now to check them out and review them before we descend into madness yet again next Friday.

I’m not sure why I waited so long to watch these, it’s not like I was actively avoiding them. At the same time, most of the things I had heard about the films were pretty mixed. I didn’t hear any terrible things, but at the same time, I never exactly heard great things either. What I did hear a lot of people say was that the second film was better, in that it managed to capture what the first film failed to: Purge Night in the city and on the streets. The first film takes place entirely in one unfortunate family’s home in the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles. It’s a home invasion flick, and for those of you who have read my piece on home invasion horror, you will know that I just so happen to love the subgenre. And big surprise: I liked The Purge a lot more than I thought I would.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DYS- (2015) - A Review

"Home is where the hurt is..."

This review has already been published on Nightmarish Conjurings, run by Shannon McGrew. It's an amazing site full of great reviews and kept up to date on all kinds of horror news. Make sure you head over and check it out! I am a contributing writer over there as well. 

Nothing warms my heart more than to see a beautiful story of two people who love eachother, weather life's storms with their chins up and come out the other side stronger because of it. DYS- is not that kind of story at all. But that's alright! In the world of horror, it's more than okay to revel in one's torment and pain. Some call it schadenfreude, I call it any other day of the year.

DYS-, the directorial debut from Maude Michaud, is a Canadian horror film that tells the story of an estranged couple who are barricaded in their apartment after a deadly virus breaks out in Montreal. What starts as a seemingly typical zombie(esque) flick quickly becomes a harrowing look into their psyches as their sanity begins to unravel with their marriage. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Thank You to Horror - My Journey to Nocturnal Visions

I wanted my first piece on here to be something special, something from the heart, as opposed to a review or news. On my last site, I had a "Top 10 List" proudly displayed as it's own page and I thought that I should kick Nocturnal Visions off with a personal touch as well. However, a “top 10” is a daunting task to undertake. To attempt to narrow the love of an entire genre down to a list of only ten films requires a ton of thought, a pros and cons list and few rounds of “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe”. Even after all the rigamarole, I would still look back on it in a day or two and want to change it up or be upset that I managed to forget a certain film.

In all reality though, it’s almost impossible for me to pick a list of my all time favorite horror flicks. Today I like and love things that I never would have liked 10 years ago. When I was 18, I lived and breathed what many fans affectionally refer to as "gore porn". Just like my fascination with heavy metal at the time, my movies had to brutal or it was “pansy ass shit that wasn’t worth my time”. My, how times (thankfully) change. While I still enjoy a good splatter fest today, my tastes have grown and broadened quite a bit since then. For instance, I wouldn't have been caught dead talking about Killer Klowns from Outer Space or something like The Conjuring, it was High Tension or bust. That’s the great thing about life though, your tastes are allowed to change and grow as you learn who you are as a person.

So, in lieu of everything I’ve just said, I will not be doing a list of my Top 10 Horror Films, however, I will be compiling a list of the 7 horror films that made me who I am today. These are the films that had the biggest impact, be it drawing me into the genre initially or changing the way I view the horror landscape in general because, let’s be honest here, my favorite films could potentially change on pretty much a monthly basis. In many ways, this is my journey that led to this site, and a little bit on why horror is such an important factor in my life.

Scream (1996) – Wes Craven/Kevin Williamson

Unfortunately I was born 20 years too late to experience the true heyday of the slasher film. I never got to experience Michael stalking Laurie, or Freddie turning Glen into a human puree on the majesty of the silver screen. One thing I will never forget though is when Scream was released in 1997. Scream was more than just another average slasher movie, it challenged the conventions of the horror film not through subtle symbolism but by bringing the overused cliché’s, that seemed to be the genre’s downfall, to the front and center of the plot. It was aware, it knew what it was doing and more importantly it knew what it was trying to accomplish. It was visceral, it was wonderful, it was Wes fucking Craven at the top of his game.

The entire Scream franchise is in fact on my top 10 list, I love these films. It is the only franchise that I love top to bottom, and the first entry is the reason that I love slasher films in general. I may not have been lucky enough to live through the glory days of the original baddies, but my generation has Ghostface and that’s just fine with me.

Event Horizon (1997) – Paul W.S. Anderson/Philip Eisner & Andrew Kevin Walker

Most people have their “first memory” of something pleasant, like a Christmas morning, or their birthday. Maybe it’s getting their first puppy; something along those lines. One of the very first memories that I have, if not the first, would be my father taking me to see Event Horizon when it was released in theaters. I remember screaming and crying, begging to be taken out of the theater where I sat in the hallway until the movie ended. I even remember going back into the theater, and the sound design alone was enough to send me back into a fit of teary-eyed convulsions ultimately leading back to the safety of the popcorn scented hallway.

It seems like most people who grow up to be life long fans of the genre have one thing in common. There was that one film that they came across when they were little that petrified them on a subconscious level. I think that this kind of thing is ultimately what led me to be such a massive fan of the genre. I now own Event Horizon, and it is one of my favorite flicks to toss on when there’s nothing else to watch. I may have a very severe case of “nostalgia goggles” with this film, but I love the mythology behind it and I think it’s a pretty underrated flick in the grand scheme of things. You can read my review here.

Friday the 13th (1980) – Sean S. Cunningham/Victor Miller

Come to think of it, a lot of these entries are in here due to my father. I don’t know what that says about him, but he showed me a shit ton of horror films. I think that, partially, he liked to laugh at my fear but I also like to think that he wanted to find some way to bond with me. Regardless, when mom went out of town, dad showed me horror films and Friday the 13th was at the top of his list. For many people when asked what comes to mind when they think of a horror film they will rattle off one of three names, if not all three. I don’t think I need to name them, but up until I was about 10 years old Friday the 13th or Child’s Play summed up the entire genre for me.  While Friday helped give birth to the modern slasher genre as we know it (in league with Halloween of course), the first film played more as a whodunit than a traditional slasher film, leading to one of the greatest twists the genre has to offer. To this day, when I think of classic American horror, Friday the 13th is the first film to pop into mind. 

The Omen (1976) – Richard Donner/David Seltzer

What’s more terrifying than any serial killer, vampire, werewolf, monster or zombie? How about Satan himself? And what’s even scarier than that? Satan in a handbasket, in the form of an adorable British child in the cutest little hat you’ve ever seen.

Yet another film that I credit the first viewing of to good ‘ol pops, The Omen sparked a massive change in the way that I viewed the horror genre as a whole. Going from morbid curiosity, and viewings spent glimpsing through meshed fingers, I began to grow curious about these films. I began to realize that they didn’t terrify me quite as much and after I first watched The Omen, I found that I wanted to watch it again. I wanted to learn everything I could about it. I purchased the film, I watched the special features repeatedly, and that was when the roots of a life long fascination (and obsession) began. The Omen is one of the most important films in the history of the genre, and I will definitely be writing an entire piece revolving around the impact that the film had on the world, as well as the genre itself.

The Exorcist (1973) – William Friedkin/William Peter Blatty

Shortly after my first viewing of The Omen, I had an insatiable urge to watch as many films as I could. Next up on dad’s list was the most infamous of them all, The Exorcist, which mom had strictly forbidden me from watching (and him from showing me). Of course, the next time she went out of town he came home from Blockbuster with a copy in tow and we settled in for a viewing. The excitement was palpable, I can still remember thinking that I was about to watch something that was going to change my life and in many ways it did.

Those of us who were born long after the release of the film have all grown up hearing about The Exorcist; the legends and tales of people passing out in theaters and vomiting in the aisles. I vividly remember when The Version You’ve Never Seen was released into theaters. The lines of people waiting to see it and quiet whispers made me all that much more curious about the film. In all reality The Exorcist was a spectacle, it was and is so much more than a film. While I can ramble on and on about this, I’ve already written a review (that pretty much turned into an appreciation piece) that you can read here. It goes further into depth as to what this film means to me as well.

Se7en (1995) – David Fincher/Andrew Kevin Walker

As the years progressed I watched more and I read more. I continued to fall in love with the genre, and when I was in high school a friend recommended that I rent David Fincher’s 1995 flick, Se7en. At the time, I had a deep fascination with serial killers, which my father also helped foster. As a man from the FBI, he kept me stocked with books on the topic; it was another way that we could bond. I don’t know what I expected when I sat down to watch the film, but it certainly wasn’t what I got and I was instantly hooked. Se7en was when I went from viewing horror as films strictly about ghosts and demons to realizing that horror could showcase perhaps the most terrifying thing of all, the human psyche. From there I began to dive into a whole new world of horror, which quickly became my favorite subgenre. To this day Se7en remains one of my favorite horror films and even my horror-obsessed girlfriend finds it strange that I ask if we can fall asleep to it.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) – Tobe Hooper/Kim Henkle

As I just mentioned with Se7en, there came a time when my tastes began to shift a little bit. While Se7en put the shift into place, there was one flick that carried me to the next level, and that was The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I don’t think that I will ever have an experience like I did when viewing this film for the first time. Raw, visceral and borderline voyeuristic, it’s akin to watching a gang of killers film their evil deeds and shove the footage in your face, whether you want it or not. I distinctly remember watching the credits begin their crawl, unsure of how to feel. The only thing that I knew is that I needed to clean my bedroom and everything else I owned. To put it lightly, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a film that stays with you.

Texas Chain Saw is one of my godfather films, along with The Exorcist and The Shining, that are untouchable in my eyes. No matter what films come and go, these three will never be topped. TCM has resonated with me in a way that I find hard to describe, and to this day I still get a chill down my spine every time I watch it. It’s one of the few horror films that I would call a perfect film, from beginning to end and as a proud native of Texas I love it all the more.

While I could continue to ramble about horror movies that I love and the various ways that they’ve made an impact on me, I believe that this list sums it up the best. Also, I’m bordering on novella-length and I know that nobody has the time to read that long of an article. Again, I can’t describe how excited I am to be back, writing about one of the biggest loves in my life, and I want to thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more updates!

Keep It Spooky,

Ryan Wilkins

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hello, hello, hello! I am very, VERY excited to be here today. I've been working my ass off the past several months preparing for the launch of this; culling old posts, toiling in photoshop, editing, writing, brainstorming, etc. etc. Some of you may remember me as Rg Lovecraft, unfortunately due to some major issues that effected my personal life I had no time, nor the energy to write. Sometimes life gets to be too much, and while I was on the verge of drowning in the muck of it for a long time, I'm ready to dive back in and get back to writing and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm back and I'm better than before, and I'm honored to introduce you all to: Nocturnal Visions. 

While I may have stopped blogging, I never stopped loving the world of horror with all of the crazy and insane things that it has to offer. I was still watching and commenting with friends, keeping up to date on various news sites, but that was about it. There was however a hole in my life, and I came to realize that so much of the beauty of this world is not only in the films but in the community that surrounds them. This has never been a genre that is backed solely by studios. It is built on the love of fans, the love of filmmakers, actors and writers; this is what makes the bedrock that horror stands on. It is literally a community. I could write essays (and I will) on how beautiful this genre is, inside and out, but this has been a huge part of why I love horror so much and why I want to be involved in it, in whatever capacity that I can be.

My life has taken such an amazing turn over the past year. I've finally found myself in a job where I not only have the time, but I can afford the mental sanity to really dive back into writing and reviewing. I've found the love of my life, who is not only beautiful (and far too good for the likes of me), but shares the very same love of ghastly ghoulies and creepy crawlies that made me want to start writing and reviewing in the first place. She may not know the extent of it, but being with her reminded me how much I love being here and she has driven me in ways that I didn't think possible. I love you baby.

So, life is good. And with that, I no longer want to write under a moniker. You may possibly remember me as Rg Lovecraft, but now, I'm simply Ryan.

It's with humbled excitement that I welcome you to Nocturnal Visions, now, let's get spooky.

All posts preceding this were redirected from the archives of my previous site, Lovecraft Reviews. While formatting has been corrected, comments may have been deleted in the transition. Apologies.