Writer: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Timothy Gibbs, Michael Landes, & Wendy Glenn
Runtime: 90 minutes
11-11-11, not to be confused with the hack-job 11/11/11 which was hurried out in an effort to cash in on this flick, is the latest horror opus from Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2-4, Mother’s Day, Repo: The Genetic Opera) about a dime-store horror author who, after the loss of his wife and son and his faith, receives news of his father’s imminent death. He returns home to Barcelona to his see him one last time while he’s on his deathbed. There he encounters his estranged, devout, wheelchair-bound brother who has taken over their father’s dwindling congregation at his behest. Soon though, he starts noticing many tragic events in his life are connected by the numerals 11-11-11 which is believed to be a sign that something from the other side is trying to communicate with you. While staying there he starts having visions of demons haunting the grounds. Something is trying to open a gateway to this world. and it means him & his brother nothing but harm.
While it was a departure from his typically violent fanfare, it’s still a welcome addition to his catalogue. Influenced by flicks like Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant, & Ninth Gate, but most closely resembling the latter, one would expect it to move a lot slower than it did. But it has a lot of story to tell and a very standard 90 minute runtime to tell it in. As such it starts right from the giddy-up, introduction scenes flashing one right after the next, giving a lot (maybe too much) information in a short space of time, though it does eventually settle in, catch it’s breath, and find it’s groove. The settings, the costumes, & make-up are really what’s center stage here. The sprawling gothic cathedrals are a setting like no other, lavish functional imagery that works well setting the tone, and steeping the atmosphere for a religious/supernatural movie such as this. I wish it spent more time explaining the whole 11-11 mythos and dwelling on the various conspiracies surrounding it. It feeds you just enough crumbs to pique your curiosity, but that’s all. Instead it chooses to focus on the strained relationship between the two brothers; one a priest taking over his dying father’s chapel and the other a grieving atheist/horror novelist.
The scares were certainly in place, but were secondary to the atmosphere, and the buildup to its conclusion when it goes completely ballistic in the final 11 minutes. In the end I felt it needed more time, like another half hour, to explore more of its own legend, to brood, and to build more suspense as well. It needed to be as slow as Ninth Gate, and it wasn’t, though the conclusion was much more visually satisfying.
*Note* The “making of” extra was almost as chilling as the movie itself.
(7 out of 10)
Dave “Captain Insanity” Caroleo
Written by: Scott Milam
Starring: Jaime King, Rebecca De Mornay, Patrick John Flueger, Warren Kole, Sean Ashmore, & Deborah Ann Woll
Runtime: 112 minutes
Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2, 3, & 4, Repo: The Genetic Opera, & 11-11-11) not only outdoes the 1980 Troma flick of the same title with his remake, he beats the living shit out till it’s no longer even recognizable to its own mother.
Posted by: Krys & Dave
Also Recommended: Mother’s Day, Kidnapped, Cherry Tree Lane, If I Die Before I Wake, Straw Dogs, The Strangers, & Them
Abattoir (6 issue mini-series)
Created by: Darren Lynn Bousman & Michael Peterson
Written by: Rob Levin & Troy Peteri
Penciled by: Bing Cansino, Wayne Nichols, & Rodell Noora
Colored by: Andrei Pervukhin
Released by: Radical Comics
First one dead was the clown. For no reason Jay Mitchell picked up a weed-whacker during his son Andy’s birthday party, and butchered the whole block; grabbed the knife from the birthday cake, opened his neighbor’s face, and gutted his wife. When he was done he strolled inside, walked up the stairs, went to the crawlspace where the birthday boy was hiding and slaughtered his only son. Green perfectly-trimmed carpets of lawn, paved black-top drive-ways, seasonal decorations all year round, block parties from stop sign to stop sign, above ground pools, theme-birthday parties, close enough to peer, but far away enough not to care; good old picturesque Leave it to Beaver suburbia. The American dream soaked in a backyard bloodbath. And the first one dead was the clown.
Random violent outbursts like this were springing up all over suburbia, and the properties were almost immediately bought up by a Jebediah Crone. Richard Ashwalt, a real estate agent, first encountered Crone while doing a walk through on the Mitchell house. Creepy old fucker, complexion like a corpse came right up from behind him to hand him a card. He wanted the property immediately, would pay extra to get it that night. Richard creeped out of his skin refused the sale. That’s when shit gets weird. Through research Ashwalt finds that Crone doesn’t renovate the properties he buys, he doesn’t rent them either. He just removes any of the rooms where the violence occurred, in one instance gutting an entire driveway, and then sells it off at a loss. But to what end? For what reason? And how long has he been doing this?
Real Estate horror, if you can believe it, created by (whatever that means) Darren Lynn Bousman the guy best known for Saw 2, 3, & 4, Repo the Genetic Opera, the Mother’s Day remake, 11-11-11, & possibly the Scanners remake. So his name being attached to this project lends it an already considerable fanbase. What he does for this title other than that I’m not exactly sure, because apparently the original concept was by Michael Peterson with Rob (Netherworld, editor at Top Cow) Levin, & Troy (Letterer at Top Cow) Peteri signed on as writers. Regardless of the details of his involvement the writing is this series was true, dare-I-say, original horror crawling with twisted characters, mysterious monsters, murder-houses, torrential downpours of gore, with atmosphere to spare, it never breaks pace, never loses sight of its purpose, and feeds the reader crumbs of information to keep the gray gears turning. This one is for fans of haunted houses, fans of the supernatural, & grisly gorehounds alike. It’s like the Chips Ahoy of comics. Betcha can’t read just one issue. To say the least; Radical keeps delivering great horror in the form of FVZA, Driver for the Dead, Ryder on the Storm, and now Abattoir, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. They’re stuffing the market full of great horror, and for that I am forever grateful.
What makes the Radical label stand out above all of its peers is its art; its sleek, glossy, painted panels donning every page. For Christ’s sake every single panel feels like a portrait you could literally hang on your wall. Almost every book you buy from them, even if the writing is sub-par, is guaranteed to have not just great, but down right fan-fucking-tastic art. It feels like every comic they release was painted by Gabriel (Secret Wars) Dell’Otto or Greg Horn. The way Bing Cansino’s pencils & Andrei Perkuvian’s paints melt together, it creates a sort of magic on paper. Two magicians casting spells at once. Every page cloaked in atmosphere and dripping with style. In Issue #4 the illustrator changes hands to Wayne Nichols & Rodell Noora, but the difference in art is so minute it’s not even perceptible. Much like other Radical titles, you can tell certain characters were modeled to look like certain actors in case a movie deal should ever arise. Something that seems to be happening quite a bit nowadays (ie; Hughie of The Boys drawn to look like Simon Pegg, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and even Morgan Freeman as Moses Freeman in Driver for the Dead). To that end; keep an eye out for Bill Lumberg in the first issue of Abattoir. Bill, did you get that fucking TPS report, Lumberg!!! There are other instances in this comic where you’ll recognize certain actors, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself. The Lumberg reference stood out the most to me because I love Office Space so god damn much. I mean, just check out the covers by Tae Young Choi, and tell me you are not completely sold on this title.
Posted by: Dave “Captain Insanity” Caroleo