Monday, November 11, 2013

The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews



When Paranormal Activity first came out, I thought it would be fun to get a DVD copy, switch off all the lights and watch it with my boyfriend Stewart. Since he doesn't scare easily, I told him that those were REAL footage we were watching.

The film must've been super convincing because he believed me. And then something happened during the scene where Katie was dragged out by an unseen entity - one of our bedroom doors slammed shut! By then, I was frantic, and insisted that he switch on all the lights!

Look out for that door! A scene from Paranormal Activity.

Try as we might, we couldn't determine what might have caused the slamming of the door. At the end of the day, it was me, not Stewart, who spent the next few days or so suffering from sleepless nights. -- LOUISA "DANCING ZOMBIE QUEEN" LIM


Many years back, the favourite late night show for my sister and I was The Exorcist. We grew up watching a lot (and I mean a lot) of horror movies, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary for us to watch reruns of The Exorcist almost every week.

While I was quite used to the disturbing physical transformation that Linda Blair goes through for her role as Regan, there was just this one time, during a scary scene, my sister sneezed loudly into my ear. You can bet I had the shock of my life!

Talk about getting up on the wrong side of the bed... a scene from The Exorcist (1973).

That incident has since been ingrained in my mind. So now, every loud sneeze I hear would immediately remind me of Regan's demonic eyes as well as "split pea soup"! -- "SADAKO" LEE MEI LI


My scariest horror movie experience was listening to The Exorcist. It was projected on the side of one of the buildings at my boarding school on open-air movie night. The only one too afraid to watch but wanting the others close by, I stayed in my second-floor classroom and heard every blood-curdling sound even with my fingers jammed into my ears. I sat scrunched up in the same position the entire 122 minutes. -- "THE JINX" JANE F. RAGAVAN


Undoubtedly, The Evil Dead, the 1981 film directed by Sam Raimi, is very schlocky, even by 1980s standards. But that's what makes the film so great.

The low-budget quality gives The Evil Dead a whole level of fun - there's snappy dialogue, amateur acting and inexpensive (but ingenious) effects to balance out the number of disturbing scenes, which have all made the film a cult classic.

It's probably not a good idea to hide in a hole in the ground when the Evil Dead come for you. Just sayin'.

(Like all classics, there have been many carbon copies of Raimi's debut feature but the best one so far is Cabin In The Woods by Joss Whedon.)

It tells the story of five friends travelling to a cabin in the woods for a getaway. There, they discover a book, which they read outloud, and voila! they release flesh-possessing demons.

Yeah, this basically means the good times are over for the gang, but has just begun for the audience. -- MUMTAJ "MUMM-RA" BEGUM


It's never easy for me to pick a "favourite" something, so I'll talk about three horror movies that I like instead - A Nightmare On Elm Street, Candyman and Clive Barker's Hellraiser.

Elm Street was a wonderfully scary film that left me sleepless for days (because, you know, if you sleep then you'll dream and it is in dreams/nightmares that Freddy Krueger will come for you with his sharp, pointy fingers).

Candyman made me cover the mirror in my bedroom because I feared that the murderous Candyman might suddenly "walk" out of it and terrorise my life.

Finally, Hellraiser - Pinhead , king of the Cenobites. 'Nuff said. -- MELODY "HELL." GOH


I don't watch horror films. Nay, I hate watching horror films. I don't like the feeling of dread that creeps up on me as you watch them, knowing that at anytime, something is going to JUMP OUT AND SCARE YOU.

I also don't like being scared, period. It's not like I've never watched a single horror movie before, I just would prefer NOT to watch them. Yeah yeah, I'm a 'fraidy cat, so sue me.

No hotdogs needed for THIS scene. Ripley faces off with the Alien queen in James Cameron's Aliens.

Anyway, my earliest memory of watching a movie that really scared me was Aliens, which I watched in the cinema with my mum and sister.

Before the show, my mum bought us a hot dog each to eat in the cinema, but mine remained uneaten until the end of the show because I was too busy using it to cover my eyes to actually eat it ... -- MICHAEL "PSYCHO POTATO PEELER KILLER" CHEANG


During my secondary school years, Friday was absolutely the best day of the week as it was reserved for movies. Right after school, my best buds and I would rush to the closest cinema. Our favourites were horror flicks.

Never mind that some of them scared us out of our wits, screaming with your friends, I say, is the best part of any movie experience. Hence, if I were to name my all-time favourite horror movies, they mostly be from the 1980s. Co-incidentally, my top three picks are all from 1987.

Prince Of Darkness by horror maestro John Carpenter was critically-panned. Watching the trailer online now, the special effects are cheesy and the acting is laughable. But boy, oh boy, did I love it then. I even watched it twice.

You might want to ease up on those tanning bed sessions, my dear. From John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness.

It's about a priest (Donald Pleasence) who invites a group of academics and students to join him in the basement (nothing ever goes right in the basement) of an abandoned Los Angeles church. He requests their assistance in investigating a cylinder containing a swirling green liquid, which turns out to be a demonic force.

I also like The Lost Boys which made vampires sexy way before Twilight, and Evil Dead II. The latter saw a remake recently, but while it was more gory, it lacked the humour and scare factor of the original series. I like it when the "Boo!"s are accompanied by "Ah-ha-ha-ha"s. -- WILLIAM "KRAZY KILLER" KEE


My most memorable horror movie experience was an unintentionally funny one a few years ago. My then boyfriend (now husband!) and I had gone to the cinema to watch Visits: Hungry Ghost Anthology. This was a local production and featured four short stories centred around the "Chinese Halloween" or hungry ghost festival.

Actress Tay Chin Fie in a scene from the local supernatural flick Visits: Hungry Ghost Anthology.

Although the movie had not received good reviews from the critics, we had gone to watch it because a friend was acting in it. Well, needless to say, we did not find the movie that scary.

Instead, when our friend emerged in a scene (his face all powdered up to look pale, since he was supposed to be dead), it was so unexpected to see him in that state that we burst out laughing, and rather loudly too.

And though it was dark in the cinema hall, we could feel all the eyes shifting from the big screen to glare at us! -- MING "SPOOKY SHAPESHIFTER" TEOH


Every now and then a horror movie comes along to leave you, well, horrified ... for days. For me it was after watching The Exorcism Of Emily Rose. Honestly, any movie that has got anything to do with the bible truly freaks me out. Who are we to say that the devil does not exist!

In the movie, it was explained that the "witching hour", which is 3am, marks an hour where evil spirits use to mock the Holy Trinity. In the movie, Emily wakes up at that said time.

What is it with exorcisms and people levitating in funny positions? A scene from The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.

I, too, started to wake up at that witching hour after the movie! I kid you not, call it whatever you want, a coincidence or a cry for attention.

Despite that strange occurrence, I've actually seen The Exorcism Of Emily Rose four times. It was a brilliantly crafted movie and was played extremely well by Jennifer Carpenter as Emily. -- GAYATHRI "SCARYTHRI" NAIR


Sure, there are scarier horror movies than An American Werewolf In London. And there are funnier comedies. But John Landis's 1981 horror-comedy has got to be paws-down one of the slickest, most entertaining "total packages" in the genre.

From the spooky scene where David Kessler (David Naughton) and his pal Jack (Griffin Dunne) are stalked on the moors to its startling CGI-free Oscar-winning man-to-werewolf transformation, from David-as-werewolf's initial night of slaughter to the side-splitting detour into an adult film theatre and the climactic mayhem in Piccadilly Circus ... this one really has it all.

David Naughton in An American Werewolf In London's groundbreaking transformation scene.

Watching this was actually the most fun I had being (mildly) scared - hey, the nightmare sequences were quite unsettling at the time - because I could LOL so often at the twisted humour and the deadpan way the characters delivered lines like "I am a victim of your carnivorous lunar activities" or "I didn't mean to call you a meatloaf, Jack!"

Best viewed in its entirety (uncensored lah!) for the full impact of Rick Baker's pioneering makeup effects, the transformation as well as the bits where the werewolf victims come back as the living dead, in ever-yuckier states of decomposition. Oh, and so we can also (ahem) appreciate Jenny Agutter's performance and the funny adult flick See You Next Wednesday playing while David is confronted by his undead victims. Owooo-oo! -- DAVIN "HEAD CAVED IN" ARUL


The British director behind 12 Years A Slave is developing a new drama series for HBO.

After making a name for himself as a video artist and feature film director, first achieving international critical acclaim with Hunger in 2008, Steve McQueen is now branching out into television. For HBO, the director is developing a drama series centred on an African American who covers up his background to better fit in on the New York social scene.

According to, the still untitled series will tie in themes from the John Guare play Six Degrees Of Separation and from Shame, McQueen's critically acclaimed film on one man's struggle to hide a sex addiction.

McQueen will author the screenplay for the series in tandem with Matthew Michael Carnahan (State Of Play, World War Z). HBO will then decide whether to move ahead with the project, for which producers are already considering their casting options.

Currently in theaters in North America, McQueen's third feature film 12 Years A Slave is expected to garner multiple Academy Awards. This historical drama, produced by Brad Pitt and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, tells the true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery for over a decade. -- AFP Relaxnews

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