A few weeks ago Ryan and Chris ventured back out to Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Monster-Mania Con 22. Last year’s Monster-Mania 19 (they do several each year) was the first event that we covered and it was a blast. I couldn’t attend, but Ryan admirably filled in. There were indie movie makers, cosplay and a lot of other stuff. Enjoy!
Remember a few years ago when there were two comedies about mall cops that came out around the same time? First, there was Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Kevin James movie from Happy Madison Productions that came out in January of 2009. Then three months later, Seth Rogan starred in Observe and Report, in which a mall cop does a large number of the same things Kevin James does, only in a much darker setting. Neither movie was overly memorable, but it didn’t help that most people couldn’t tell the difference between the two until they sat in the theater. With that in mind, why in the world are their so many animated Halloween themed movies coming out right now?
Already in theaters is ParaNorman, the PG rated comedy horror film from Focus Features. It revolves around a young boy who has the ability to speak to the dead and the misadventures that go along with it. It takes note for being just the second stop motion film to be shot in 3D (the first being 2009’s Coraline from the same studio). Coming this month is Hotel Transylvania, which might as well be a Happy Madison production since it stars Adam Sandler and his usual crew of buddies. In this computer animated 3-D comedy, Sandler plays Dracula, who runs a hotel in Transylvania (of course) specifically for monsters on vacation. Everything is great until a regular American tourist (voiced by Andy Samberg) visits the hotel and zany antics ensue blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Disney steps to the plate in October with the first stop motion 3D comedy horror comedy movie since ParaNorman, with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. In it, Burton remakes his famous 1984 short film (of the same name), and is essentially Frankenstein as a dog.
Let’s make one thing clear, I am interested in seeing all of these movies and like the idea behind each one individually. However having them all come out at the same time is just too much. Going to work I saw a big billboard for ParaNorman while standing next to a bus stop with a Frankenweenie ad just as a bus passed by promoting Hotel Transylvania. I get that you want a horror themed movie to open around Halloween but all in the same year? One studio couldn’t have the foresight to sit back and be the only animated Halloween movie in October of 2013? How many of the same notes do you think will be hit in all three of these movies?
Beating a dead horse is nothing new in Hollywood (I’m looking at you, vampires). Could there be any more superhero movies right now? There was even a trend of villain themed animated movies in 2010 with Megamind and Despicable Me. But something about the volume and timing of these movie just doesn’t sit right with me. My fear is that because they are all so similar in style and theme (with Hotel Transylvania possibly being both the most different from the other two but ironically also the least original), none of them will do well enough in theaters and therefore we will see less of this type of movie in the future. I love the Wallace and Gromits and Nightmare Before Christmases of the world and want those styles to continue. Best case scenario has all three of them make money because they are all just so good that people have no choice but to go see all three. Considering limited budgets and limited free time however, I just can’t see many people committing to see the same type of movie three months in a row. Then again almost every superhero movie made money (sorry Green Lantern and Ghost Rider) so what do I know.
By the way, Monsters University hits theaters June 21st, 2013.
As we continue to post out full archive of videos onto this site, we take a look back at the first convention we covered, MonsterMania 19 in Cherry Hill, NJ. There was plenty to do and a lot of people to see, as we spoke to Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters, Chris Sarandon from Fright Night and the Princess Bride, Alex Vincent from Child’s Play among others. We had a great time there and it definitely gave us some time to figure out what the hell we were doing. Enjoy.
Paranormal Activity 3 opened to a record $54 million dollars for an October debut. Money is great and makes the film a commercial success for sure, but was it any good?
A prequel to Paranormal Activity 2, which in itself is a prequel to the original Paranormal Activity, PA3 wastes no time getting us back into familiar territory. Sisters Katie and Kristi, yes those sisters, discover old tapes left by their recently deceased grandmother. The tapes are from their childhood, and they mysteriously have no memory that they ever existed. Before they get a chance to watch them the tapes are stolen. We then see the tapes. The rest seems like a toned down version of the first two films.
The tapes go back to a young Katie and Kristi, living with their mother Julie, and her boyfriend Dennis, who is a wedding videographer (see where we’re going with this?). Dennis and Julie begin hearing noises and guess what Dennis decides to do? If you guessed hire someone to inspect the house, I’m sorry but you are wrong. If you said film the whole thing using his all of his video equipment, DING DING DING, we have a winner!
If you’ve seen the other two movies, with the exception of plot points I won’t spoil for you, you pretty much know the drill from here. The “spirit” in the house gradually makes it’s presence more and more known day after day, culminating in a final scene that aims to scare the pants off of the entire audience. The main problem is that while the story is fairly interesting, excluding some plot holes that pop up when connecting them to the other 2 films, the scares just weren’t there for me. I can recall 5 moments that had a legit scare factor. The rest of it is just waiting for those moment to come up. Sure there is something to the scenes just telling us an entity is in the house, but those points never really amplify like they do in the first two.
Part of that could be due to the acting. While the entire cast does a fair job throughout the movie. Some of the reactions to the scares borderline on being funny instead of scary. I didn’t expect to laugh so much during one of these films. The other part could just be direction. After two movies, there is only so much that could be done. Perhaps the decision was made that suspense was the best scare left, and they put plenty of it in there. As for the ending, it definitely provides the scares, however it also completely changed the whole way that I look at the series. Unfortunately I can’t say that it is for the better either.
If you are new to the series, then PA3 delivers adequate scares with a twist ending. However if you are a Paranormal Activity veteran, expect pretty much the same movie you’ve already seen twice before, with a ending that adds a whole new outlook on the series. Overall, an okay movie. Entertaining, but I won’t exactly be having troubles getting to sleep tonight.