Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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You've given this a lot of thought!

In Scouts Guide, we saw a zombie deer and zombie cats, however that fits your theories.

Luke Blanchard said:

Since the infected ceases to feed himself, and his body loses the ability to repair itself, he begins to decay and dies. Zombies are thus dying living, not living dead. As you'd expect the combination of dehydration, starvation and decay kills zombies pretty quickly, within a couple of days. The reason zombies appear to have a prolonged life is the majority of the infected do not immediately progress to animated zombiism, but instead fall into a state of suspended animation (commonly mistaken for death). The proximity of the uninfected triggers their emergence from the coma state. Hence it is inadvisable to remain in the presence of any "dead" body during a zombie outbreak.

During the coma period insects and fungi often establish colonies in the "dead" bodies, causing a grotesque appearance. Predatory animals and scavengers are apparently repulsed by the infecteds' smell



I wrote this review of The Witch when it first came out:

Given her popularity at Halloween, in kid and YA culture (The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter), and in productions of Macbeth, the witch has been surprisingly scarce in the horror movie.1 Certainly, she makes far fewer appearances than vampire, zombie, werebeast, mad slasher, or lab-made monster.

The most discussed horror film of 2016 makes some amends by casting the traditional witch as its villain. As of this writing, The Witch has an overwhelmingly positive reputation among critics at Rotten Tomatoes-- and barely 60% approval among general audiences. Why has this film cast a spell on some, while leaving others feeling burnt?

Certainly, a film for an audience that occupies the Venn overlap among horror fans, history buffs, and festival hipsters will not appeal to everyone. The period dialect alone will alienate some viewers. Ultimately, however, I believe The Witch leads its audience to a place where not everyone wants to or even can follow.

The story takes place in the early 1600s. An isolated New England family, two of whose children have entered adolescence, experience social, psychological, religious, and supernatural malignancies. We're drawn into a worldview and world long dead. The actors speak period English, and affirm the characters' beliefs with beguiling sincerity. The mise en scène has been skillfully created, and blends natural detail with nightmarish apparitions. The imagery has been drawn from actual historic sources, testimony imagined, elicited, and coerced regarding the doings of witches. Once we accept the situation, The Witch slowly destroys the characters' understanding of their world, as it asks us to question ours.

Although the film features literal witches, the plagues that beset the family start long before the first supernatural visitation, and may suggest different social and psychological evils to different viewers. Brother Caleb, for example (and, just possibly, father William) take a little too much interest in eldest daughter Thomasin's burgeoning sexuality. After the disappearance of the family's youngest, the members of the family wonder if Thomasin has signed a pact with Satan. We know she hasn't-- but, given the choices she faces, we start to wonder if maybe that isn't her best option.

The film has been cast perfectly, a fact made more remarkable by the number of young people, and the challenges of period dialect. Teenage Anya Taylor-Joy stands out as doubting Thomasin. And while the rest of the family rightly have been lauded by critics for their emotionally-resonant performances, Bathsheba Garnett feels disturbingly real in her few appearances. (I am also somewhat curious how on earth Eggers directed young Harvey Scrimshaw in the scene where he relives his film-mother's erotic dreams about Jesus. That had to be a difficult one to fly to an adolescent boy).

The film moves slowly, and grows increasingly tense and disturbing. Writer/director Sam Eggers and his crew make excellent and restrained use of (mainly, at least) physical effects, and the soundscape definitely adds to the film's disturbing atmosphere. The Witch prefers to gradually invade its viewers' minds, making only minimal use of gore and jump-scares. It then ends with a conclusion that has become a topic of some controversy.

I actually like the ending. The film draws much of its power by taking early colonial American beliefs about witchcraft at their word. Yes, a less literal script might have been more effective but, given its premise, there were few other ways the film could finish.

But many viewers will find the conclusion, both literal and ambivalent, disappointing. The matinee group with whom I shared the theatre were less enthusiastic than most critics have been, and two women actually stalked afterwards through the lobby loudly telling complete strangers not to see The Witch, and assuring the bewildered teenage concession clerks that the film "isn't their fault."

The Witch will provoke such reactions.

 

Written and directed by Sam Eggers

Cast

Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin 

Ralph Ineson as William

Kate Dickie as Katherine

Harvey Scrimshaw as Caleb

Ellie Grainger as Mercy

Lucas Dawson as Jonas

Bathsheba Garnett as the Old Witch

Sarah Stephens as the Young Witch

Julian Richings as Governor

Wahab Chaudhry as Black Phillip

Some Old Goat as Black Phillip

 

1. The silent era gave us Häxan aka The Witches aka Witchcraft Through the Ages. Hammer Studios briefly tapped the genre in the 1960s, while the YA crowd had The Craft in the 1990s. The Blair Witch Project seems like it should count, though its central monster (apart from nausea-inducing camerawork) acts more like a malignant spirit.

Part of the problem lies in determining which films qualify. Do Satanic cult flicks, such as Rosemary's Baby count as witch movies? I also wonder about the various incarnations of Carrie and Ringu, movies depicting the popular concept of a witch in all but name.

aptain Comics said:

Watched The Witch. I liked it, but I probably would have liked it more had it been subtitled. Not only was the dialogue in stilted old English, but the rhythm and cadence was, I assume, also from five centuries ago -- questions spoken as statements, anger spoken in monotone, and so forth.....

I can't speak for everyone, but it was a satisfying denouement for me.

Great minds think alike, JD!

I liked The Witch as well but don't have much to add.

A few other horror type films I've seen lately:

Triangle

I don't want to give anything away but I thought this was a pretty interesting mind bender with some clever twists starring Melissa George.

Lazarus Effect

A sort of updated version of Flatliners featuring some medical students trying to play god and getting in over their heads. Not great but at least it stars Olivia Wilde.

The Conjuring 2

I really liked the first Conjuring movie. This tries to repeat the formula with diminishing returns.

Lights Out

This is kind of a gimmick horror movie but it's fairly well done.  The gimmick itself brings something new to a familiar plot structure and makes it worth watching.

Don't Breathe

Another fairly gimmicky plot device is used here but this movie is so well done that it really doesn't matter. I highly recommend.

31

Rob Zombie's latest is kind of like a Grindhouse version of The Running Man. I'm a big Zombie fan but this didn't rise to the level of his best stuff for me.

Recent study says a zombie would last about 20 days and at the rate they'd spread as they claimed victims would reduce the human race to around 200 within 100 days, with plenty of zombies left to hunt them down.

I haven't had a chance to see The Witch yet, but two of this year's horror movies I really enjoyed were Siren and Creepy. (Reviews at the links.) Creepy, in particular, is really unsettling. Siren's just a ton of fun.

I'll look for those on Netflix/Amazon Rob.

Meantime, watched Solomon Kane last night. Sad, sad, sad.

I know nothing about direction, absolutely nothing, but even I could tell this was badly directed. There would be interminable set-ups, where the camera moves closer, closer, closer ... and would take so long that my wife was shouting "COME ON, ALREADY!" And then you'd get there and get like a two-second shot of ... something ... for the payoff. Terrible.

It's an origin story, which of course is unnecessary for Solomon Kane. I don't think REH bothered with one. Nevertheless we get one, which goes on and on and on and ends up not making much sense. He's a killer! No, he's a man of peace! If he kills, he'll go to hell! But it's OK, he can kill as much as he wants, as long as he saves the girl! What happens if she gets killed? Stop asking questions, it already doesn't make any sense!

Evidently, it is always pouring rain or snowing in England. Every. Day.

Kane feels guilty for accidentally killing his brother. Turns out the ultimate bad guy is ... his brother! No, just kidding. It's even worse than that. His brother is the bad guy's second in command. The ultimate bad guy is somebody we've never met, who first appears in the third act and is pretty easily dispatched.

There's one "it's that guy again" actor, but other than that, the whole cast is a bunch of nobodies. Except for Kane, who is played by James Purefoy (Rome, John Carter), whom I usually enjoy. He didn't really seem to click with this character, though. Maybe because the script didn't make any sense. Purefoy played him as ... angry? Tormented? Constipated? Not sure. I got the impression from the books that Kane was serene except in combat, where his murderous joy came out. Unsettling. But in this movie he's just a blank most of the time he isn't clenching his teeth really, really hard.

And it's never established that he's a Puritan, which is pretty central to his character, just that he was in a monastery for a while. He is called "Puritan" once by a bad guy, but otherwise you wouldn't know. Puritans had a pretty specific set of beliefs, most of which were contrary to the prevailing religions in Europe at the time, which is why they had to flee to the New World. We just don't see that here.

Ah, well. It's a shame. It could have been much better. But it would have to be twice as good to be mediocre.

Stop asking questions, it already doesn't make any sense!

I've seen press conferences like that. 

A monestary doesn't make sense for a Puritan either.

I think it's important that Kane is a Puritan. Not only was it a very strict and dour version of Christianity, which fit his personality, but it made him an outsider as well even to other Christians.

Watched Kevin Costner's  Open Range last night and really enjoyed it. It's kind of a deconstructionist western that plays like a cross between Unforgiven and Dances with Wolves. Costner can be really good at this kind of no nonsense, straightforward storytelling. The cinematography is beautiful. And it features Robert Duvall basically doing his character from Lonesome Dove which is definitely not a bad thing.   Also we get a very young Diego Luna, who I recognized from Star Wars Rogue One. I'd recommend this to any fans of westerns who haven't seen it.

I saw Solomon Kane a while back and felt the same way you did Cap. It seems like there's a lot of potential there, but the story was just too mediocre and the director didn't seem to understand what makes the character interesting.

I just watched The Witch, thanks to the discussion here. I liked it, and thought the slow build had a good payoff. The ending worked for me.

JD DeLuzio said:



I wrote this review of The Witch when it first came out:

Given her popularity at Halloween, in kid and YA culture (The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter), and in productions of Macbeth, the witch has been surprisingly scarce in the horror movie.1 Certainly, she makes far fewer appearances than vampire, zombie, werebeast, mad slasher, or lab-made monster.

The most discussed horror film of 2016 makes some amends by casting the traditional witch as its villain. As of this writing, The Witch has an overwhelmingly positive reputation among critics at Rotten Tomatoes-- and barely 60% approval among general audiences. Why has this film cast a spell on some, while leaving others feeling burnt?

Certainly, a film for an audience that occupies the Venn overlap among horror fans, history buffs, and festival hipsters will not appeal to everyone. The period dialect alone will alienate some viewers. Ultimately, however, I believe The Witch leads its audience to a place where not everyone wants to or even can follow.

The story takes place in the early 1600s. An isolated New England family, two of whose children have entered adolescence, experience social, psychological, religious, and supernatural malignancies. We're drawn into a worldview and world long dead. The actors speak period English, and affirm the characters' beliefs with beguiling sincerity. The mise en scène has been skillfully created, and blends natural detail with nightmarish apparitions. The imagery has been drawn from actual historic sources, testimony imagined, elicited, and coerced regarding the doings of witches. Once we accept the situation, The Witch slowly destroys the characters' understanding of their world, as it asks us to question ours.

Although the film features literal witches, the plagues that beset the family start long before the first supernatural visitation, and may suggest different social and psychological evils to different viewers. Brother Caleb, for example (and, just possibly, father William) take a little too much interest in eldest daughter Thomasin's burgeoning sexuality. After the disappearance of the family's youngest, the members of the family wonder if Thomasin has signed a pact with Satan. We know she hasn't-- but, given the choices she faces, we start to wonder if maybe that isn't her best option.

The film has been cast perfectly, a fact made more remarkable by the number of young people, and the challenges of period dialect. Teenage Anya Taylor-Joy stands out as doubting Thomasin. And while the rest of the family rightly have been lauded by critics for their emotionally-resonant performances, Bathsheba Garnett feels disturbingly real in her few appearances. (I am also somewhat curious how on earth Eggers directed young Harvey Scrimshaw in the scene where he relives his film-mother's erotic dreams about Jesus. That had to be a difficult one to fly to an adolescent boy).

The film moves slowly, and grows increasingly tense and disturbing. Writer/director Sam Eggers and his crew make excellent and restrained use of (mainly, at least) physical effects, and the soundscape definitely adds to the film's disturbing atmosphere. The Witch prefers to gradually invade its viewers' minds, making only minimal use of gore and jump-scares. It then ends with a conclusion that has become a topic of some controversy.

I actually like the ending. The film draws much of its power by taking early colonial American beliefs about witchcraft at their word. Yes, a less literal script might have been more effective but, given its premise, there were few other ways the film could finish.

But many viewers will find the conclusion, both literal and ambivalent, disappointing. The matinee group with whom I shared the theatre were less enthusiastic than most critics have been, and two women actually stalked afterwards through the lobby loudly telling complete strangers not to see The Witch, and assuring the bewildered teenage concession clerks that the film "isn't their fault."

The Witch will provoke such reactions.

 

Written and directed by Sam Eggers

Cast

Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin 

Ralph Ineson as William

Kate Dickie as Katherine

Harvey Scrimshaw as Caleb

Ellie Grainger as Mercy

Lucas Dawson as Jonas

Bathsheba Garnett as the Old Witch

Sarah Stephens as the Young Witch

Julian Richings as Governor

Wahab Chaudhry as Black Phillip

Some Old Goat as Black Phillip

 

1. The silent era gave us Häxan aka The Witches aka Witchcraft Through the Ages. Hammer Studios briefly tapped the genre in the 1960s, while the YA crowd had The Craft in the 1990s. The Blair Witch Project seems like it should count, though its central monster (apart from nausea-inducing camerawork) acts more like a malignant spirit.

Part of the problem lies in determining which films qualify. Do Satanic cult flicks, such as Rosemary's Baby count as witch movies? I also wonder about the various incarnations of Carrie and Ringu, movies depicting the popular concept of a witch in all but name.

aptain Comics said:

Watched The Witch. I liked it, but I probably would have liked it more had it been subtitled. Not only was the dialogue in stilted old English, but the rhythm and cadence was, I assume, also from five centuries ago -- questions spoken as statements, anger spoken in monotone, and so forth.....

I can't speak for everyone, but it was a satisfying denouement for me.

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