Here Comes the Devil (2012) review


Fuses the grindhouse with the arthouse into an interesting but unsatisfying hybrid.

Landscapes are scary. Their enormity makes us feel small. Their longevity mocks the brevity of our existence, reminding us that they were around before our birth and will continue after our death. They represent natural forces beyond our control, that shape our lives in ways we can barely understand, and if you stare at them long enough, you might start to imagine that these forces are not merely natural but supernatural – possibly incomprehensible and potentially malevolent. This brooding, irrational dread infuses the early scenes of HERE COMES THE DEVIL, lending an aura of uncanny menace, a la Peter Weir’s PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, that lingers in the memory long after writer-director Adrián García Bogliano has diluted the atmosphere  with a potent but rather inchoate mix of exploitation horror, revenge, gore, and sex. Fortunately, in what is either a happy accident or a clever piece of cinematic jiu-jitsu, Bogliano’s inability or refusal to formulate the disparate elements into a rational whole leaves the film itself feeling a bit like an incomprehensible artifact – a metaphoric crevasse in the intimidating landscape the film depicts so unnervingly. So score this one as a partial victory, in spite of itself.
The story follows Sol (Laura Caro) and Felix (Francisco Barreiro), parents out for a weekend excursion with their children, Sara (Michele Garcia) and Adolfo (Alan Martinez). This kids want to explore a nearby landscape on their own. Felix grants permission, because he wants a few moments alone with Sol in the car, so that they can have sex (which we are led to believe happens too infrequently since the kids came along).

You don't need to be Freud to figure out the significance of this crevasse.
You don't need to be Freud to figure out the significance of this crevasse.

While Sara and Adolfo explore a crevasse in the rocks, Felix explores Sol’s crevasse in the car. There is an orgasm and an earthquake; the kids disappear; the police are called. The children are found the next day, and life goes back to normal. Well, not so much: there is something odd about Sara and Adolfo, almost pod-like; they seem too secretive about their mysterious absence, and a child psychologist suggests they may be too close for a normal brother-sister relationship. Did something happen on the mountain? Something vile and unspeakable? And was it sexual in nature, or supernatural?
In case you didn’t notice,  “crevasse” in this context is a deliberate pun on the use of the word as a slang term for female genitalia. I wish I could take credit for this, but that goes to Bogliano, who leaves us in little doubt about the true source of horror in the film. If there is one thing more profoundly disturbing than eternal landscapes, it is sex. Bogliano establishes this in the opening scene a gratuitous lesbian coupling that leads immediately to a violent confrontation with a home invader (later revealed to be a serial killer), who is wounded and retreats to the mysterious mountain top, presumably to die (though his death throes suggest a sex act with the local rocky terrain).
Clearly no good can come of this, at least not in a film titled HERE COMES THE DEVIL.
Clearly no good can come of this, at least not in a film titled HERE COMES THE DEVIL.

The sequence has little to do with what follows, except insofar as it provides one concrete example of the mountain’s ominous reputation for evil (like villagers in Transylvania, the locals warn the tourists to avoid the cursed spot). The real purpose of the sequence is to make the initial connection between sex, violence, and death. To be fair, there is at least a suggestion that the problem is not sex, per se, but feelings of guilt over acting in ways that violate conservative social expectations: Sol fears she is neglecting the children; one of the women in the opening seems to immediately regret her Sapphic liaison. In any case, the symbolic “little death” of the orgasm leads inevitably to literal death – suggesting a dark conspiracy of primordial forces both inside and outside of us, tempting us to indiscretions with fatal consequences.
If this sounds pretentious, don’t worry. HERE COMES THE DEVIL never makes the mistake of explicating this in the dialogue; the implications simply exist like raw ore, waiting to be extracted. Unfortunately, Bogliano is not content to let his viewers mine this vein on their own; he has other, more visceral concerns that trump thematic ambition, distracting him from what could have been an effectively ambiguous tale of sexual aberration hiding beneath a veneer of the supernatural (a la THE CAT PEOPLE or THE INNOCENTS).
Sol (center) wonders what's wrong with Sara and Adolfo.
Sol (center) wonders what's wrong with Sara and Adolfo.

Let’s face it: the audience for an unrated horror film such as HERE COMES THE DEVIL is not interested in subtle ambiguity; they want to see boundaries crossed and taboos broken, and Bogliano is happy to oblige, whatever the cost to his film. Besides establishing the sex-death connection, the lesbian prologue immediately grabs attention-deficit viewers, who might otherwise tune out during the slowly building tension of the first-act disappearance and the gradually escalating concerns of the parents after their children reappear. This kind of pandering is easy enough to understand – an artist has a right to hook his audience, after all – but later developments are not so forgivable.
HERE COMES THE DEVIL goes off the rails when Bogliano introduces a subplot in which Sol and Felix track down a misfit they believe sexually abused their children. Not only does this distract from the main story; it mars an interesting variation on the either-of ambiguity of the scenario: Most films would ask, “Are the children possessed, or are the parents imagining it?” HERE COMES THE DEVIL asks, “Are the children acting strangely because they are possessed or because they were abused?” Unfortunately, instead of exploring this concept, Bogliano uses it as an excuse to stage a bloody atrocity scene.
Working on the thinnest of evidence, Sol and Felix murder the suspected abuser. The scene is staged for maximum gore – and quite nonsensically. Felix slits the man’s throat, the inexplicably grabs his legs, which doesn’t seem a particularly effective way to restrain him but does give Sol access to the man’s upper torso. Not content to let the struggling victim simply bleed out, Sol reaches into his gaping throat and tears out his larynx with her fingers. The violence is spectacular but ridiculous. Even worse, it utterly destroys any sympathy we have for our protagonists, whose fate ceases to interest us, rendering the rest of the film as an archetypal example of the dreaded “Eight Deadly Words” syndrome: I don’t care what happens to these people.
Charitably, one might argue that there is a point to the scene: Faced with a horrible reality they cannot process emotionally, Sol and Felix seek a scapegoat. The irony here is that the “horrible reality” is demonic possession, and they mistakenly target a more tangible, believable source for their troubles. Whatever the intention, HERE COMES THE DEVIL starts to become less about the problem with the children and more about the parents’ getting away with murder, as a local sheriff starts showing up to ask questions about the missing misfit.
It's not PARANORMAL ACTIVITY but an amazing simulation!
It's not PARANORMAL ACTIVITY but an amazing simulation!

Along the way we see some paranormal activity focused on Sara and Adolfo; a babysitter recounts what sounds like supernatural sexual abuse and strongly hints at witnessing an incestuous relationship between the brother and sister; the story of the serial killer from the prologue is recounted, this time with a glimpse of his demonic visage. The clever touch here is that most effectively eerie supernatural phenomena are recounted second hand and seen in flashback, leaving us to wonder how literally to take these tales (is it real or imagination).
Just in case the title were not enough, HERE COMES THE DEVIL ultimately comes down squarely on the side of ominous occult forces, when we see Adolfo and later Sol levitating. The sequence with Adolfo is effective not only as a set-piece but also as a dramatic development driving the parents’ hysterical search for answers. Unfortunately, the later sequence with Sol leaves actress Laura Caro looking less like the helpless victim of supernatural menace than a comic relief character falling out of a hammock. In any case, after being menaced not only by her affect-less living children but also by zombie-like visions of their corpses, Sol returns to the mountain and learns the awful truth.
Not that we care by this point, but….
… it turns out that Sara and Adolfo never came out of the crevasse: Sol finds their bodies inside the cave, suggesting that they have been replaced by evil dopplegangers. Just when you are wondering what she will do about it, the film takes another weird turn: she shows the awful truth to her husband, adopting an accusatory tone (presumably because he wanted to have sex while letting the children wander off on their own). Felix shoots Sol and then himself – presumably because he cannot face the guilty truth but really so that Bogliano can hit us with the “shocking” conclusion, in which duplicates of Sol and Felix emerge from the cave and drive home, presumably to reconcile with their duplicate children and enjoy a happily demonic home life. The nuclear family has been totally subsumed by the evil lurking in the mountain, their lives destroyed by the aftershocks of the parent’s sexual dalliance (a metaphor emphasized by the fact that an earthquake occurs whenever someone dies on the mountain and is replaced by an evil double).
The downbeat ending might have had some impact if we had been in any way invested in the outcome, but by the time the film finally fades out, we have long since given up on the characters and are interested only in an explanation. The revelation about Sara and Adolfo is good enough to satisfy on a simple “What happened?” level, although strictly speaking it does not gibe with the legends surrounding the haunted mountain (which involve evil forces possessing people as vessels – not exactly what happens here).


In spite of all the narrative mis-steps, HERE COMES THE DEVIL’s gloomy aura of cynicism (which passes for authenticity in so far as it eschews Hollywood glitz) sustains itself for most of the feature length. Consequently, the usual suspects (Dread Central, Arrow in the Head, etc) have been singing praises to the film while overlooking that, far from being a radical departure, it is actually not far removed from todays’ mainstream horror film formula (in which families routinely succumb en masse to evil unseen entities).
What raises HERE COMES THE DEVIL a tad above the latest PARANORMAL ACTIVITY spin-off is more a matter of tone than content. Bogliano’s film adopts a grim 1970s exploitation tone that sets the viewer on edge. You see it in the cinematography and hear it on the soundtrack – not so much in the rapid-fire heavy metal song but in the background music, which offers echoes of Pink Floyd’s work for Barbet Schroeder’s mystical THE VALLEY and Fabio Frizzi’s work for Lucio Fulci’s gruesome THE BEYOND. (There is even a character named Lucio, though it is pronounced differently from the moniker of the Italian filmmaker.) Those two touchpoints may seem astronomically removed from each other, but they underline HERE COMES THE DEVIL’s singular achievement, which is fusing the art house with the grindhouse. The result may not be satisfying, but it is interesting.


HERE COMES THE DEVIL is currently in limited theatrical release, with engagements scheduled in Kansas City, Gainesville, Toronto, and Ottawa. Check Magnet Releasing’s website for details. You can also view the film via Video on Demand in the Cinefantastique Online Store, powered by
On the CFQ Scale of 0 to 5 stars, worth checking out if you like this sort of thing.


Adrián García Bogliano explores a similar theme in his “B is for Bigfoot” episode from THE ABCS OF DEATH, which also features a couple trying to get rid of a child so that they can engage in sex. Being a short film, “B is for Bigfoot” avoids the narrative detours the derail HERE COMES THE DEVIL. Also, the only characters who “get it” clearly deserve it, punished not so much for having sex as for cruelly terrifying a young child with a ghastly bedtime story (in order to get her to hide beneath the covers and thus put prevent further interruptions).

This babysister seems to have escaped from Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND.
This babysitter seems to have escaped from Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND.

HERE COMES THE DEVIL (2012). USA Video on Demand and Theatrical Release, December 2013 from Magnet Releasing. Written and directed by Adrián García Bogliano. Cast: Francisco Berreiro as Felix; Laura Caro as Sol; Alan Martinez as Adolfo; Michele Garcia as Sara; David Arturo Cabezud as Lucio; Giancarlo Ruiz as Sgt. Flores. 97 minutes. Not Rated.

Dario Argento's Dracula – review


Would be more accurately titled “Dario Argento’s Whatever Popped into My Head.”

DARIO ARGENTO’S DRACULA (as the title appears on screen) is nowhere near as laughably ridiculous as his previous foray into costume bedecked Gothic Horror, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1998), but that is still a long way from good. Fans who take a look out of a misguided sense of loyalty may find a few drops of gory glory in Luciono Tovoli’s luscious cinematography, but like the titular character, the film itself presents a handsome appearance hiding a corrupt, empty soul – animated by blood but devoid of any true life.
The screenplay, loosely cobbled together from Bram Stoker’s novel, feels as if it were written by someone who had read the original text, then scribbled down some fragmentary notes while half awake after suffering a fever dream in which bits and pieces of the source were jumbled together with other adaptations. That may sound off-the-wall enough to be interesting; unfortunately, the finished film feels as if it did not go before the cameras until the fervid dreamer’s mental state had been counter-acted with a heavy dose of valium. Dario Argento’s DRACULA is not only insane; it’s insanely dull.
The story restricts itself to the environs surrounding Dracula’s castle, including a village that owes its prosperity to the Count (though at a terrible price). Jonathan Harker (an unimpressive Unax Ugalde) shows up to catalog Dracula’s library (a plot device lifted from 1958’s HORROR OF DRACULA), but it turns out that the vampire is not really interested in getting his books in order. What he is interested in does not emerge until various other stuff has happened, little of which shows Dracula acting in a way designed to bring about the goal he eventually reveals: getting Mina Harker to his castle because she is the reincarnation of his lost love.
That’s right: Argento re-roasts the old garlic-laced chestnut previously used in DARK SHADOWS; SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM; Dan Curtis’s 1974 telefilm version of DRACULA; and Francis Ford Coppola’s overwrought (and embarrassingly mis-titled) BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA. That, however, is not the real problem.

Exactly why did Dracula need to seek victims in Van Helsing's mental hospital? Don't ask!
Exactly why did Dracula need to seek victims in Van Helsing's mental hospital? Don't ask!

The real problem is the same one that plagued THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Argento randomly inserts a series of expository scenes and violent set pieces that overshadow the original narrative. You would think that a story about blood-drinking vampires that can be destroyed only be staking and decapitation would provide ample opportunity for sanguinary delights, but that is not enough for Argento, who takes time out to show Renfield splitting someone’s head open with a shovel and another Dracula acolyte hacking someone to death with an ax. As if that were not enough, Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer) is given a back story via flashback, in which he first learned about vampires when he witnessed Dracula attacking the patients of his mental hospital (um, why?); and later Dracula manifests as a giant praying mantis that impales a human victim on its pinchers before eating his head – a scene whose irrelevancy suggests the film should be retitled “Dario Argento’s Whatever Popped into My Head.”*
Consequently, when the scenes from Stoker’s Dracula do arrive (such as the staking of Lucy, played by Asia Argento) they are anti-climactic, their impact diluted by the gore that came before. At times, these bits seem simply shoe-horned into the film at random, as when the famous scene from the book of Dracula, scaling the castle wall like a lizard, flashes by for a second – just long enough for us to wonder why it’s in the film. (For dramatic effect, he pauses to hiss – at nothing in particular, unless perhaps it is the audience.)
It’s not only the onscreen blood that’s thinned by this approach; Stoker’s narrative beats are dulled as well, rendered as obligatory after-thoughts. A major element of the novel is Lucy’s transformation from innocent British lass to sultry vampiress. Argento’s DRACULA, however, begins with a local village girl, Tanya (Miriam Giovanelli) bitten by Dracula and turned into the vampire bride who greets Jonathan Harker when he reaches the castle. Since we have already seen this human-to-vampire transformation take place once, when Lucy’s turn arrives it has a been-there-done-that quality to it, with Argento tossing it off as quickly as possible.
It hardly helps that Argento goes out of his way to sexualize Dracula’s female victims before they fall under his spell: Tanya gets lusty sex scene with her married lover; Lucy and Mina Harker (Marta Gastini) get a nude bathing scene (yes, Dario films his daughter naked once again).  With the women already sexy, there is no opportunity for a startling transformation from virginal innocence to voluptuous wantonness, further undermining the story. (This might have worked if Argento had deliberately inverted expectations, suggesting that the more sexually liberated characters are less likely to be seduced by Dracula’s erotic allure, but no such luck.)
All of this underlines one of the film’s major failings: the story has been ripped out of its original context, robbing scenes of their effectiveness, and little if anything substantial has been added to replace what was lost. Stoker’s Dracula is about an ancient evil that invades modern London, transforming everything it touches with a bloody version of the Midas Touch, spreading a contagion that could potentially sweep the entire country. Argento’s DRACULA is about some guy who wants to get back together with his old girlfriend and doesn’t mind who he has to kill to do it.
This Dracula is a sloppy eater. (The grizzly effect recalls a similar moment in Argento's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.)
This Dracula is a sloppy eater. (The grizzly effect recalls a similar moment in Argento's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.)

Unlike London in the novel, the European setting of the film, the village of Passburg, is mere background; Dracula’s impact on it barely registers. There is talk of a pact between the villagers and the Count – presumably a non-aggression pact, though what the villagers get out of it is not clear, and the idea seems to exist only so that there can be a scene wherein some villagers talk about breaking the pact, whereupon Dracula kills them all, providing another opportunity for carnage not related to the main story (including a grizzly throat-ripping and a nicely rendered though completely gratuitous scene of the Count telepathically inducing a victim to blow his own brains out with a gun).
I know what you’re saying: It’s a Dario Argento film – who cares about the plot? It’s the bravura visuals that count! Aye, there’s the rub. Argento’s DRACULA superficially simulates the look and approach of classic Hammer horror films, with a familiar narrative dressed up in colorful new accoutrements, erotically charged and splashed with blood, but the similarity ends there. The staging of the action is lethargic, lacking the gusto of director Terrence Fisher’s work in HORROR OF DRACULA (compare the Count’s interruption of Harker’s brief encounter with vampire bride in both films, and you’ll see what I mean).
In fact, with its more overt sex and nudity – not to mention directorial indulgence – Argento’s DRACULA more resembles a Ken Russell film, but the flamboyance here seems more scatter-shot than enjoyably excessive. The same pictorial beauty is there, the same unfettered urge to overthrow MASTERPIECE THEATRE-style reticence in favor of explicit eruptions of disreputable imagery that would be proscribed in more “respectable” fare. The difference is that, as wild as he was, Russell usually seemed to have a point, and unlike Argento, he knew when he had overstepped the boundary of outrageousness into deliberate camp, inviting the audience to laugh along with him at the material (e.g., THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM).
Argento, on the other hand, seems merely clueless. As a result, DRACULA feels like a more lavishly produced version of 1970s Euro-trash, or a more beautifully photographed version of a Paul Naschy film (think FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR) but without the joyful exploitation energy that made that kind of cinema fun, regardless of whether it was “good” by conventional standards.
Perhaps it’s needless to say that this approach drains the actors of any dramatic blood. Not only do the English-language vocal performances sound phoned in by bored thespians; the cast tends to act as if they never read a script but simply had it explained to them over the phone, after which they arrived on set and Argento simply said, “Do that thing we talked about.” If you hadn’t seen Thomas Krestschmann, Rutger Hauer, and Asia Argento doing better work elsewhere, you might think they were the most untalented actors on the planet. Krestschmann (who was frighteningly deranged in Argento’s THE STENDHAL SYNDROME) is most ill-served, rendering a static Dracula who lacks the hypnotic seductivness of Bela Lugosi, the predatory dynamism of Christopher Lee, and the romantic allure of Frank Langella; hell, he even makes Gary Oldman look good!
For all the film’s faults, DRACULA does feature Claudio Simonetti’s best non-Goblin score, an orchestral work that ditches the composer’s usual synthesizers in favor of theramin and violin solos; sadly, he squanders the dramatic effect of the background music by adding a goofy song over the closing credits, “Kiss Me, Dracula.” which borders on the embarrassing.
Forget the quality of the CGI. The sudden appearance of this praying mantis suggests it wandered in from the set of a sci-fi film.
Forget the quality of the CGI. The sudden appearance of this praying mantis suggests it wandered in from the set of a sci-fi film.

Also, there are a few nice old-fashioned effects – simple jump-cuts and dissolves, used to depict Dracula’s appearances and disappearances – mixed in with more modern computer-generated imagery that turns the count into an owl, a wolf, and an insect (but never a bat, strangely enough – guess that was too old hat). The computerized effects are variable, at times bad. Probably the best use of the digital process is that it allows Argento to fool around with the visual palette in a way we haven’t seen since the post-production Technicolor trickery of SUSPIRIA. On this level only – creating a surreal dreamscape of wooded forests worthy of an adult fairy tale – can Argento’s DRACULA be reckoned a success.
Argento’s career has been hit and miss since the mid 1980s (starting with PHENOMENON). After the dreary low-point of the 1990s, he at least somewhat returned to form in the new millennium, with SLEEPLESS (2001), THE CARD PLAYER (2004), and MOTHER OF TEARS (2007). If we can take any solace from this erratic trajectory, it is that a sharp downswing need not be permanent. If Argento could recover from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, then perhaps he can recover from DRACULA.
On the CFQ scale of zero to five stars: a strong recommendation to avoid.

Click to view on demand
Click to view on demand

If you ignore our suggestion, you can view the film via Amazon Video on Demand, or purchase it on Blu-ray or DVD through the Cinefantastique Online Store.


For those interested, here are some bloody bits that Argento’s DRACULA culls from other Dracula movies – not from Stoker’s text:

  • Dracula wears an outfit that suggests NOSFERATU (1922).
  • Jonathan Harker comes to Castle Dracula not to wrap up a real estate transaction but to catalog the Count’s library. This happened in HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).
  • Jonathan Harker is bitten by Dracula in Transylvania. This happened in HORROR OF DRACULA. Something similar happens in DRACULA (1931), but it is Renfield rather than Harker who travels to Castle Dracula.
  • Jonathan Harker is turned into a vampire who is destroyed by Van Helsing. This happened in HORROR OF DRACULA and in the 1974 telefilm DRACULA with Jack Palance.
  • Count Dracula has only one vampire bride instead of three. Taken from HORROR OF DRACULA.
  • Count Dracula is seeking the reincarnation of his lost love. This happened in the Jack Palance telefilm and in BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992). The concept had previously been used in DARK SHADOWS and SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM. Its origin goes back to THE MUMMY (1932), a sort of unofficial remake of DRACULA, starring Boris Karloff.
  • The action never moves to England, instead remaining in Europe. Again, from HORROR OF DRACULA.


  • This is not entirely a joke. In my interview with Argento regarding MOTHER OF TEARS, he summed up his goal as a filmmaker by saying, “This is my purpose really. To [make] real my imagination, my fantasies.” As if his goal were simply to take what was in his mind and put it on the screen.

Dracula shows Mina the tomb of his lost love, Dolingen of Gratz (a name taken not from Stoker's novel but from the short story "Dracula's Guest")
Dracula shows Mina the tomb of his lost love, Dolingen of Gratz (a name taken not from Stoker's novel but from the short story "Dracula's Guest")

DARIO ARGENTO’S DRACULA (a.k.a., ARGENTO’S DRACULA, DRACULA 3D, 2012). U.S. Release theatrical release in October 2013, home video release on January 28, 2014; distributed by IFC Midnight. Directed by Dario Argento. Screenplay by Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Antonio Tentori; based on the novel by Bram Stoker. Music by Claudio Simonetti. Cinematography by Luciano Tovoli. Cast: Thomas Krestschmann as Dracula; Marta Gastini as Mina Harker; Asia Argento as Lucy Kisslinger; Unax Ugalde as Jonathan Harker; Miriam Giovanelli as Tanya; Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing. 150 minutes. Not rated. In 3D.

V/H/S review

VHS poster

This low-budget 2012 horror film seeks to squeeze a few more pixels out of the “found footage” style by combining it with the anthology format. The result is consistently intense but inconsistently satisfying: the film-making is impressive, even innovative in its attempt to pack relentlessly downbeat horror into 20-minute packages, but the consequence is a narrative monotony that is only exacerbated by a couple of non- sensical twist endings. One or two episodes emerge as genuine blood-stained gems in a film unapologetically filled graphic violence and sleazy sexism.
In short, V/H/S/ is essential viewing for hardcore horror fans, but its reach exceeds its grasp – or, more appropriately, its vision exceeds its focal length.

TAPE 56 – Written by Simon Barrett, Directed by Adam Wingard

Calvin Reeder in Tape 56
Calvin Reeder in Tape 56

V/H/S begins with this wrap-around segment, in which a gang of hoodlums take time off from their usual pursuits (vandalism, attempted rape) to do a job for an unseen employer, who wants them to break into a house and steal a videotape. Told only that they will know the tape when they see it, the gang members wind up inside a house with a stack of cassettes and a corpse sitting in front of a row of monitors. Searching for their target, they watch the different tapes, each offering a bizarre, horrible story. Although the shaky camera work makes it hard to keep track, it seems as if the gang is losing members as each story unfolds; a shadowy presence is glimpsed in the basement, and finally, the gang leader finds himself alone, the chair that held the dead man now empty…
The hooligans are an unpleasant lot, and we spend more time with them than necessary to set up the story, but “Tape 56” effectively sets the tone for what follows.

AMATEUR NIGHT – Written by David Bruckner & Nicholas Tecosky, Directed by David Bruckner

Hannah Fierman in "Amateur Night"
Hannah Fierman in "Amateur Night"

A group of young men equip one of their number with spyglasses – apparently ordinary eyeglasses that record everything he sees – and set out to videotape themselves having sex with a couple women they pick up in a bar. Unfortunately, the pick the wrong woman, in the form of the ethereally creepy Lily (Hannah Fierman), who extracts karmic comeback from these sexists pigs.
The first complete episode of V/H/S is also its best, setting a standard that none of the others can match. “Amateur Night” builds to an insane climax, but does so in such a step-by-step fashion that the conclusion seems completely logical and believable. The episode is gruesome as hell but strangely satisfying; in a crude way, everyone gets what he deserves, at the hands of a psycho-bitch from Hell (and we may mean that literally).
Note: David Bruckner previous co-directed THE SIGNAL (2007), also a remarkable achievement.

SECOND HONEYMOON – Written and directed by Ti West

Stephanie (Sophia Takal) gets a prophetic fortune.

A couple videotape their second honeymoon, but their joy is mitigated by a strange woman (described but not seen) lurking outside their hotel room. Later, their video camera records footage while they are asleep – presumably handled by the strange woman – but the couple never notice the additional footage. A later intrusion turns deadly, but the outcome offers an unexpected twist regarding the survivors.
Ti West (HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) knows how to do a slow build as well as anyone, but the twist ending borders on being silly. (SPOILER: the strange woman kills the husband; then she and the wife run off together. Was this planned all along, or did did the wife and the strange woman meet somewher on vacation? Why videotape the incriminating murder? The closest thing we get to an explanation is a card the wife received from a mechanical fortune teller, stating that she would reunite with a loved one. It’s not enough to make sense of the conclusion, even on a second viewing. END SPOILER)
Whatever the narrative faults, the scenes of the camera prowling the hotel room while the husband and wife sleep are nerve-wracking.

TUESDAY THE 17TH – Written and directed by Glenn McQuad

Horror masked by video tracking problems
Horror masked by video tracking problems

The archetypal group of friends (two guys, two gals) head out to the archetypal cabin in the woods, where (you guessed it) the archetypal serial killer lurks, awaiting new victims. The twist here is that one of the victims, Wendy (Norma C. Quinones)  is actually the survivor of a previous trip; she has brought her friends to use them as bait in her effort to slay the killer in the woods.
The twist defies credibility. Even if we believe Wendy is ruthless enough to sacrifice innocent lives in her quest for vengeance, why does she risk putting her friends on guard by announcing up front that they are all going to die?
Regardless of this narrative slip-up, “Tuesday the 17th” works very well, toying with the cliches of the slasher genre (Wendy laments that the police didn’t believe her story about an indestructible killer who was everywhere at once – a common trope in the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies, wherein Jason seemed to be able to teleport from one are to another in search of victims).
The presentation of the killer is also remarkable. Apparently, the character (identified as “The Glitch” in the credits) cannot be photographed on tape; his appearances are blurred by tracking errors, suggesting that Wendy is hopelessly outmatched against an opponent who is no normal human.

THE SICK THING THAT HAPPENED TO EMILY WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER – Written by Simon Barret and directed by Joe Swanberg

Helen Rodgers and Daniel Kaufman
Helen Rodgers and Daniel Kaufman

Emily (Helen Rogers) chats on Skype with her boyfriend James (Daniel Kaufman), who is away at medical school. (How these conversations recorded with contemporary Skype technology ended up on outdated VHS tape is a mystery that is never considered.) Unfortunately, Emily’s new apartment seems to be haunted; she also has some kind of lump on her arm that she would like to dig out with a knife. James tries to reassure her, but she wakes him up at night to transmit video images of the spectres darting in the shadows of her rooms. One night, their shocking appearance ends up with Emily unconscious, giving birth to a mutant baby; later, when she is somewhat recovered, she vaguely references a similar incident in her childhood.
This is another creeptacular episode marred by a goofy twist. (SPOILER: The ghosts are apparently aliens, and James is in league with them, quickly popping over to deliver Emily’s baby after she falls unconscious. Are we really supposed to believe that Emily never notices her “boyfriend” is not only in the same city but literally right next door? Or that the emergency room doctors would not notice that a C-section had been performed on Emily, just because James broke a few bones to make her condition look like an accident? Why is James in league with aliens, and why do they even need a med student to deliver the baby they presumably implanted into Emily? Don’t ask – the film has no intention of telling you.)
There is a poingnant sadness to this episode – a sense of a frail, helpless creature caught in a terrible web that afflicts her body and her mind, the real reasons for her suffering clouded behind a loss of memory, leaving only vague paranoid fears. Deeply disturbing but unfairly manipulative, which negates the impact, somewhat.

10/31/98 – Written and directed by “Radio Silence” (Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin)

Tyler Gillett in "10/31/98"
Tyler Gillett in "10/31/98"

Four costumed friends head out to a Halloween party, without quiet knowing their destination. One of them is conveniently dressed as a teddy bear with a hidden “Nanny Cam,” recording everything that happens. Searching for the party in an unfamiliar neighborhood, they wander into an old, empty house. At first they think the guests must be outback, but as briefly glimpsed bits of paranormal activity begin to manifest, they suspect they are inside some kind of haunted attraction. Moving upstairs, they find a ceremony going on, with strange incantations read by men surrounding a tied-up woman. Helping her escape, they flee the house but not before more obvious signs of the supernatural emerge, including disembodied arms protruding from the walls. They drive away with the woman in their car, which stalls on some train tracks. After a flash of darkness, the woman is outside the car; a train is coming, and the men realize they cannot unlock the doors…
The initial scenes of “10/31/98” are a bit slack as we wait for the friends (played by the writing-directing quartet who go by the name Radio Silence) to find the party. Things pick up a bit when they start to believe they may be victims of a Halloween prank – while we in the audience have already begun to suspect that the house they are in is truly haunted. The ceremony in the attic and the sudden intrusion of more blatant supernatural phenomena escalate the scares to another level, leading to a frantic conclusion.
This is another episode that leaves questions unanswered (Who is the woman? Were the men in the attic invoking evil or trying to purge it?), but these questions do not raise any logical objections to the way the story plays out, and the mystery enhances the supernatural aspects, suggesting what it might feel like when mere mortals encounter forces beyond their comprehension.


10/31/98 from VHS
Ghostly appendages protrude from the walls in "10/31/98"

On a simple narrative level, V/H/S suffers from the problem that affects all films of this type. It is the modern equivalent of the question that plagued readers of old first-person horror stories in which the narrator met a grizzly fate: Why didn’t the fool drop the pencil and run like hell – or in this case, drop the camera? “Amateur Night” and “10/31/98” deal with this fairly well; in both cases, one character is “wearing” the camera, not holding it in his hands. “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” (great title) also handles the problem fairly well. “Second Honeymoon” avoids the problem by having the killer wield the camera, which raises other questions: Why film the murder, and why not erase the incriminating evidence? This leads to another question: how did the recordings of “Amateur Night” and “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger,” both of which had to have been recorded on digital media, end up on old-fashioned analog VHS tape?

These questions do not destroy the effectiveness of V/H/S, but they do undermine the attempt to present a series of vicious vignettes as if they actually happened. It’s as if a horror story had been presented as a message found in a bottle, only to reveal that the message had not been written in ink on paper but carved into granite with a chisel.
As effectively disturbing as its individual episodes are, V/H/S as a whole is not equal to the sum of its parts – which despite a wide range of topics (slashers, demons, aliens, etc) suffer from an underlying similarity: it becomes clear very quickly that nothing good will happen in any of these stories; the characters are doomed from the outset, and viewers are encouraged by the predictability to sit back and enjoy the carnage for its own sake.
Fortunately, the anthology format obviates the need for sustained narratives, allowing the filmmakers to focus on horror rather than plot. All of that shaky camera work and deliberately bad lighting sustain a remarkable sense of dread from start to finish, and the film is technically impressive in its ability to present gruesome shocks and supernatural scares in the context of what appears to be a single-take amateur effort.
V/H/S is marred by an exploitative approach to sex and nudity that borders on sexism. More than once, you get the sense that the filmmakers are playing with their cameras like a bunch of boys playing with their new toys. Give a young man a video recording device, the film says, and inevitably he will try to coerce his girlfriend, his wife, or even a total stranger to reveal her breasts on camera. One could argue that the fault lies with the characters, not the filmmakers, but the people behind the camera do little to distance themselves from the sleaze; you get the feeling they identify a little bit too closely with their on-screen counterparts.
The masked killer briefly films her reflection in the mirror
In "Second Honeymoon," the masked killer is briefly photographed in a mirror - revealing a woman.

On the other hand: Having said all that, one must acknowledge that the interesting thematic element underpinning V/H/S is that the female characters as likely to be victimizers as victims. The body count of the men far outnumbers that of the women. “Amateur Night” and “Second Honeymoon” feature female killers; one could argue that “Tuesday the 17th” and “10/31/98” do so as well, although the victim-victimizer roles are less clear.
Whether deliberately or not, V/H/S seems to present a sort of female rebellion against the sexist exploitation doled out by the male characters, who in at least one segment are literally emasculated. Male domination of women gives way to male fear of women, who turn the tables in some particularly repulsive ways. Even if the film does not come to grips with its own misogyny, the presentation is ambiguous enough to be interesting: are the filmmakers expressing their own desires and fears, or is all this stuff bubbling up from the unconscious, awaiting psychoanalytic evaluation by critics and viewers?
Hannah Fierman as Lily (or is it Lilith?)
Hannah Fierman as Lily (or is it Lilith?) - turning the tables on male sexist pigs?

Either way, V/H/S taps into a dark vein of troubled thoughts and imagery that have more to offer than just gratuitous shocks. Inconsistent as it may be, V/H/S emerges as a kind of statement, worth evaluating. As good horror often does, the film shines a light on aspects of ourselves that normally remain in the shadows. We can hardly expect these demons to emerge with fully formed clarity; it is enough that we get to look at them and decide for ourselves.
Whatever its flaws, the people behind V/H/S know their craft, and they use it in ways you will not see in mainstream cinema. These filmmakers (and those like them who have worked on V/H/S 2 and THE ABCS OF DEATH) are probably the future of horror – a prime example of the “Vulgar Auteurism” discussed in this New Yorker article) . Now if they could just mature a little bit and trade in some of the vulgarity for variety.
On the CFQ Review scale of zero to five stars, a moderate recommendation.
V/H/S (Magnet Releasing, 2012). Concept by Brad Miska. Screenplays by Radio Silence,Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid. Directed by Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and Adam Wingard. 116 minutes. Rated R. Cast: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard, Hann Fierman, Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Jas Sams, Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, Helen Rogers, Daniel Kaufman, Norma C. Quinones, Drew Moerlein, Jeannine Elizabeth Yoder, Jason Yachanin, Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Paul Natonek, Nicole Erb.

2012 Roundup: CFQ Spotlight Podcast 3:52

The Faces and Feats of 2012.
The Faces and Feats of 2012.

The future is a bottomless well, its mysteries yet to be revealed. The past is the road that stretches behind us, a strange and twisted route littered with ghosts, demons, hobbits, hostile aliens, Dark Knights, the gods of myth, and far too many teenagers lugging amateur camcorders. 2012 is over, a year that, as with many before it, failed to keep all its promises but in compensation offered up enough surprises to remind us why we so love the films of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. So as the calendar rolls over, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons offer up their lists of the top-ten genre releases of the year, with more than a few surprises in the discussion. Click on the player to hear the show.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – film review

What's missing from THE HOBBIT poster? The Hobbit! Sort of a metaphor for the film itself
What's missing from THE HOBBIT poster? The Hobbit! Sort of a metaphor for the film itself

If you are a fan of Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, good fortune has smiled upon you this weekend, because THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY contains more of what you enjoyed before – much, much more. In fact, there is so much LORD OF THE RINGS that there is barely any room for THE HOBBIT. Unfortunately, instead of simply adapting J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, Jackson has opted to use the story as a jumping off point for a convoluted prequel that threatens to do for Middle Earth what George Lucas’s STAR WARS prequels did for a galaxy far, far away.
The strategy yields a schizoid mess that buries Tolkien’s simple tale beneath an avalanche of expository dialogue and CGI action  – the former intended to tie the events into the previous films, the latter intended to pad the story into an action-adventure epic. The problem is that, unlike before, this story is not big enough to support the epic length. Whereas THE LORD OF THE RINGS felt dense, even with each film clocking in at over three hours, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY feels thin – a good first act (of what should have been a two-hour movie) stretched to interminable length in order to fill a feature-length running time over two and a half hours.
The result is strangely disengaging – a virtual remake, hitting all the beats of its predecessor but missing the emotional resonance. The similarity is certainly inherent in the source material (when Tolkien wrote his sequel to The Lord of the Rings, he reused many story elements from The Hobbit), but Jackson has deliberately emphasized the echoes in an effort to recreate his winning formula of expanding the author’s literary prose into stunning cinematic visuals.
For example, like THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY begins with a massive battle in which monster-thingy smites a king whose heir must set things right, and it ends with our heroes standing on a hill looking into the distance at a forbidding mountain to which they will travel in the next installment. The images look just as spectacular as before, but this time they feel like empty spectacle.
Which wouldn’t be so bad if the spectacle were a little more…well – spectacular – but Jackson seems to have lost sight of how to build thrilling action scenes in which characters are caught in dangerous situations but manage to find a way out through ingenuity or perseverance. There is a surfeit of CGI long-shots of animated characters running around toppling bridges but less of the eye-level live-action camera work that drew the audience into the action to build suspense. The aesthetic here is less LORD OF THE RINGS than it is the silly T-Rex trapeze sequence in Jackson’s KING KONG 2004 remake. In a weird way, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY even recalls Toho’s giant monster films of the 1960s, when less and less live-action was filmed, reducing the city destruction to a series of crumbling miniatures bereft of any human scale.
Gollum (Andy Serkis) wonders "What has it got in its pocketss!"
Gollum (Andy Serkis) wonders "What has it got in its pocketss!"

Every once in a while, a scene comes alive in a way that makes a viewer yearn for what might have been. Gollum’s riddles in the dark with Bilbo are creepy and funny – the scene works as a stand-alone moment in in this film, and it foreshadows events that will happen later in LORD OF THE RINGS – without any heavy-handed cinematic threading to tie the incidents together. Ian McKellen is wonderful as ever as Gandalf: when he delivers his message in favor of mercy to Bilbo, he really does seem to be channeling a higher wisdom worth remembering. And Bilbo’s explanation of why he decides to help the dwarves is genuinely moving (Bilbo yearns for home – something the dwarves do not have).
Too bad THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY could not have focused on these considerable strengths instead of drowning them in a sea of CGI set-pieces and ill-conceived ret-conning. Tolkien’s tale is a fairly straight-forward children’s fantasy about Bilbo Baggins joining the wizard Gandalf and a dozen dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. His Lord of the Rings sequel trilogy is much deeper and darker, and Tolkien himself had to do a little revamping to stitch the two together (rewriting substantial portions of Gollum’s appearance in Chapter 5 of The Hobbit). However, when Tolkien later sat down to do a complete rewrite of The Hobbit, to bring it more in line with Lord of the Rings, he abandoned the task after three chapters, when someone told him “It’s not The Hobbit anymore.” Sadly, Peter Jackson did not heed the lesson of this anecdote. The humorous antics of the original (e.g., the three  trolls arguing over how to kill and cook Bilbo and his companions) remain, but the tone of these sequences jars with the grizzly, quasi-horror material that has been added.
In the appendix to Lord of the Rings and in various post-humously published stories, Tolkien laid out the connections (particularly in “Quest for Erebor,” in which Gandalf explains that, while the dwarves may have been concerned only with reclaiming their homeland from Smaug, Gandalf was eager to prevent the dragon from becoming an ally of the dark lord Sauron). Apparently, Jackson’s goal is to incorporate these ulterior motives and behind-the-scenes machinations into his prequel trilogy. Consequently, non-essential bits of business (e.g., the Necromancer – originally conceived as a plot device to get Gandalf off-stage for a while and later re-imagined as an incarnation of Sauron) end up being over-emphasized. Saruman (Christopher Lee), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Eldrond (Hugo Weaving) also show up, so that Gandalf can voice to them his concern about the evil brewing in the east. As interesting and admirable as it is to use the cinematic format to synthesize these elements together in a way the novel never could, the unfortunate side effect is that poor Bilbo, the little hobbit who could, gets pushed too often to the sidelines, obscuring what should be the main narrative.* And for all its attempt to satisfy the geeks audience by maintaining continuity between the films, Bilbo’s acquisition of the Ring plays out quite differently here than in the prologue from THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is not a complete disaster. There is still a good little movie in there, wishing it could escape from the epic aspirations forced upon it; the production values and special effects are excellent. The cast give it their all: Andy Serkis is as fun as ever as Gollum; and as Bilbo, Martin Freeman is a serviceable replacement for LORD OF THE RINGS Ian Holm (here seen only in a prologue to set up the flashback to earlier times). However, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY continues the downward slide that has afflicted all of Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations. It bodes ill for the future films – an omen neither from Mordor nor the Lonely Mountain but from the accounting office in Hollywood that demanded another tent-pole franchise from source material ill-suited to support one.
Bilbo's "warrior face" is a bit unconvincing.
Bilbo's "warrior face" in this poster is a bit unconvincing.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warner Brothers, December 14, 2012). Directed by Peter Jackson. Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, based on Tolkien’s novel. Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy, Lee Pace, Barry Humphries. 169 minutes. PG-13.

  • In a similar way, the 1994 INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE film adaptation marred its narrative by incorporating scenes and ideas that appeared not in the original text but in its literary sequels.

The Collection: November 30

LD Entertainment releases this low-budget horror film from the writing team behind FEAST, PIRANHA 3DD, and several SAW sequels. In this sequel to 2009’s THE COLLECTOR, a Jigsaw-type madman has kidnapped the daughter of a millionaire. The father hires a mercenary team, led by the maniac’s only surviving victim, to go on a rescue mission into the madman’s lair.
Marcus Dunstan directed from a script he co-wrote with Patrick Melton. Cast: Josh Stewart, Christopher McDonald, Navi Rawat, Johanna Braddy, Lee Tegesen, Erin Way. Rated R. 82 minutes.
Release Date: November 30, 2012
IMDB: Click here
The Collection poster resize

Frankenweenie in theatres October 5

Walt Disney Pictures releases this stop-motion family-friendly horror-fantasy from the Tim Burton Animation Company. Based on Burton’s 1984 live-action short subject, FRANKENWEENIE tells the story of a young boy who brings his beloved pet Sparky back to life after a car accident. When the neighbors find out, they fear that the resurrected pooch is a zombie dog from hell. However, it turns out there may be scarier creatures afoot than Sparky…
Directed by Tim Burton. Screenplay by John August,from a story by Burton & Leonard Ripps, based on Burton’s characters. Voices: Martin Landau, Christopher Lee, Martin Short, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder.
Theatrical Release date: October 5, 2012.

V/H/S/ on demand 8/30, in theatres 10/5

Magnolia Pictures releases this independent horror film via VOD on August 30, before beginning it’s theatrical roll-out on October 5. V/H/S generated interest at the Sundance Film Festival, where critics proclaimed that V/H/S/ breathed new life into the moribund “found footage” genre. The anthology format has a group of misfits hired by a mysterious client to break into a house and acquire a rare tape. Inside the house, the gang discover a corpse and a series of strange video, each sequence created by a different cast and crew.
David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, and Wingard, and the four-man team collectively known as Radio Silence (Matt Brettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Chad Villella) directed and wrote episdoes; Simon Barrett and Nicholas Tecosky also contributed to the scripts. The cast includes Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes, Adam Wingard, Hannah Fierman, Mike Donlan, Joe Sykes, Drew Sawyer, Jas Sams, Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, and Kate Lyn Sheil.
VOD Debut: August 30
Theatrical Release Dates:

October 5

  • Berkeley, CA: Shattuck Cinemas 10
  • San Diego, CA: Ken Cinema
  • San Francisco, CA: Lumiere Theatre 3
  • West Los Angeles, CA: Nuart Theatre
  • Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre
  • Washington, DC: E Street Cinema
  • Chicago, IL: Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema
  • Indianapolis, IN: Keystone Art Cinema 7
  • Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square Cinema 9
  • Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema
  • University City, MO: Tivoli Theatre
  • New York, NY: Sunshine Cinema 5
  • Portland, OR: Hollywood Theatre
  • Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse
  • Seattle, WA: Varsity Theatre

October 12

  • Mobile, AL: Crescent Theatre
  • Atlanta, GA: Midtown Art Cinemas 8
  • Brookline, MA: Coolidge Corner Theatre
  • Kansas City, MO: Screenland Crossroads Theatre
  • Omaha, NE: Dundee (Art)
  • Pleasantville, NY: Jacob Burns Film Center

October 13

  • Rochester, NY: Little Theatre

October 19

  • Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa, Bijou Theater

October 25

  • Charlotte, NC: Movies @ CrownPoint 12

October 26

  • Maitland, FL: Enzian Theatre
  • Keene, NH: Putnam Arts Lecture Hall
  • Toms River, NJ: Traco Theatre
  • Albuquerque, NM: Guild
  • Tulsa, OK: Circle Cinema

November 2

  • Columbus, OH: Gateway Film Center 8

VHS poster Calvin Reeder in Tape 56 from VHS Hannah Fierman in Amateur Night from VHS Kate Lyn Sheil in the Second Honeymoon episode of VHS Helen Rodgers and Daniel Kaufman in THe Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger episode of VHS Tyler Gillett in the 10-31-98 episode of VHS

Hotel Transylvania Trailer 2

Second trailer from Sony Pictures Animation’s fantasy-horror-comedy about a monstrous hotel run by Count Dracula.

Hotel Transylvania opens September 28

Columbia Pictures releases this 3-D effort from Sony Pictures Animation. Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world’s most famous monsters – Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more – to celebrate his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem – but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
Director: Genndy Tartokovsky. Written by Robert Smigel, David I. Stern; story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman. Voices: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Fran Drescher, Jon Lovitz, Molly Shannon.
Release Date: September 28, 2012