I LOVE movies. One of my first jobs was at a local video store in my tiny hometown. I always put out a list of my Halloween suggestions and kept the horror section in perfect order. I don’t know how I ever survived without Netflix and Amazon Prime!! Here are some brief summaries of things I’ve been watching. Feel free to send me some title suggestions.
- Halloween Kills (2021)
Opening night, I had some time to kill before an event in PA so I took myself to see this. I avoided all trailers, wanting to go in blindly. Plenty of gore and Michael’s kills are on par with Jason Voorhees for some reason. Jaime Lee is barely in this so not much to report on her performance. Too many characters and storylines made this quite chaotic and disconnected. I loved what they did with flashback scenes- revisiting the old feeling of the ’78 original was exciting. The 3rd act was all over the place. I couldn’t understand the reasoning behind the character decisions, many seemed played just for laughs or just pure absurdity. As much fun as it was to see a Halloween on a big screen again –particularly after a cooped up quarantine – this one didn’t do it for me. Guess we’ll see how the next one resolves everything.
- Motel Hell (1980)
This cover always intrigued me as a kid. Vincent and his sister Ida run a motel and are infamous for their smoked meats. We learn Vincent is setting traps on the road to kidnap travelers and bury them in the garden. As if that weren’t sinister enough, we soon learn his victims are kept alive for a most unsavory purpose. Really hammy and over the top, this has a lot of humor despite the grisly premise. I was stunned to learn Vincent (Rory Calhoun) was a heartthrob back in the day. Worth a watch but be advised this may ruin your appetite.
- Skeleton Key (2005)
Set in a gloomy plantation in Louisiana Caroline (Kate Hudson) takes a job as a hospice nurse for an elderly couple. Wife, Violet, is set in her ways and isn’t overly welcoming to Caroline. Her husband, Ben seems terrified of something, is it of Violet or something more sinister? Can Caroline solve the mystery and help in time? Fun, twisty movie, perfect for rainy day viewing.
- Candyman (2021)
My first trip to the theater since pre-covid 2019. This deserved a big screen viewing! I am always on board with Jordan Peele’s horror endeavors. This is a culturally relevant continuation of the Candyman legend with strong performances and beautiful cinematography.
- The Initiation (1984)
Another cool 80’s cover. Kelly (played by Daphne Zuniga from “The Dorm That Dripped Blood” and “Spaceballs”) is a sorority pledge who, in between classes and parties, is dealing with some repressed childhood memories. Her parents (played by Hollywood/horror veterans, Vera Miles and Clu Gulager) seem to be hiding something. On the night of a hazing prank, the pledges find themselves locked in a mall with a killer on the loose. Will Kelly’s professor/psychologist/boyfriend figure things out and arrive in time?
- House on Sorority Row (1982)
I always liked the cover of this movie even though it has nothing to do with the film. It’s an atmospheric slasher in an old sorority house after a prank gone wrong. It has some “Black Christmas” (1974) vibes with a sprinkle of “I know What You Did Last Summer”, some cool deaths, a few jump scares, a terrible band playing the party, and an unexpected reveal at the end. Avoid the 2009 remake!
- Get Out (2017)
Chris is a young African American man, meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Things are a little off with the folks in town, a very “Stepford Wives” sort of vibe. Her parents seem a bit too enthusiastic for his arrival. No one is who they appear to be. Jordan Peele is one to keep your eye on!
- Clown (2014)
Ken rents a clown costume for his son’s birthday party. The party is truly over because he can’t ever take it off because it is cursed by an ancient demon. Really creepy concept and forget about the movie rules about sparing children.
- Beneath (2013)
A group of teens take a boat on the lake fight to survival a monstrous killer fish thing. Awesome practical effects on the creature.
- Hard Candy (2005)
Hayley is a precocious, young girl who meets up with Jeff, a stranger she met in a chatroom (remember those?). He is significantly older than Hayley. Their interaction is cringey and awkward, but it is Hayley who insists on going back to his place. We learn a lot about Jeff as we explore his fancy house/photography studio. He tries a little too hard to be a nice guy, is Hayley really that naive? I won’t spoil anything, but that 3rd act is a doozy! Another example of my favorite style of film. Almost completely shot in one location, like a play with minimal cast. Food for though: the film takes on a whole different level now that Ellen Page is Elliot Page.
- Would You Rather (2012)
Iris needs money to help her sick brother. She is invited to a special dinner party by none other than genre favorite, Jeffery Combs. When money is on the table, she and the other guests must participate in a game of “would you rather”. At first the challenges are tame but as the evening progresses, things get increasingly more gruesome. Definitely a nasty, torturous kind of movie that make you question if you’d be up for the challenge?
- Hush (1998)
This is an excellent Hitchcockian thriller. Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is engaged to Jackson, played by the hunky Johnathon Schaech. He brings her home to meet his mother, Martha, played by the stunning Jessica Lange. Helen struggles with trying to win over Martha. She soon discovers the possessive and jealous nature of her soon to be mother-in-law. Things get rather shocking when Jackson is called back to work leaving Helen and Mother alone together. Martha is devious and has done some terrible things. Man, no one turns on the charm and the crazy like Jessica Lange.
- Hush (2016)
Maddie is a writer and she’s home alone for the night. She also happens to be deaf and mute and doesn’t notice the masked killer watching her through the window. He soon realizes her disabilities and decides to play a little cat and mouse with her. A great twist on the typical home invasion genre. Definitely had me jumpy!
- Don’t Tell a Soul (2020)
A young boy and his delinquent brother steal money from a house and are chased down by security guard, Mr. Hamby, played by Rainn Wilson. He falls into a deep hole and rather than help him, they run home to their ill mother, Mena Suvari. The younger brother wrestles with his conscience and secretly returns to check on Hamby. Can he be trusted? I am a big fan of Rainn Wilson and enjoy seeing his range. Good but I expected more of a horror film like “Don’t Breathe”. You’d probably enjoy it more if you don’t watch the trailer. This would pair well with “Stuck” (2007 also with Mena Suvari) and the Spanish film “A Christmas Tale” (2005).
- The House of the Devil (2009)
The cover art drew me in. This is a total throwback to the 80’s from the clothing to the music. A broke college student takes a random babysitting job. Her friend drops her off at a creepy house in the middle of nowhere and they are greeted by a very bizarre couple who admit there is no child but an elderly lady upstairs. Her friend tries to convince her to bail, but they offer her a lot of money just to stay in the house. Lots of tension and things take an evil turn. Much of this was filmed near me in CT, so I must go scout the locations.
- Scare Me (2020)
This was a Shudder exclusive. I didn’t look it up before watching and I was pleasantly surprised. I love a simple story with characters in one location, like a play. We meet a horror writer staying at a cabin, struggling with writer’s block. He encounters a young woman, who coincidentally is also a horror writer. When the power goes out, they get together to tell scary stories. Lots of fun and full of atmosphere.
- 3 from Hell (2019)
I am a huge fan of Devil’s Rejects, so this was highly anticipated. It had a limited theatrical release, so I was fortunate to see it on the big screen and get a cool promo poster. It was bittersweet seeing Sid’s brief appearance as Captain Spaulding as I knew he was ill and sadly passed away shortly after this. There are the usual horror cameos and lots of violence as we follow the Firefly family to Mexico. Richard Brake is an awesome addition to the sleazy crew. He was amazing in “31”. I didn’t love this as much as I wanted to, but it was nice to see the gang back together again.
- Lizzie (2018)
My mother worked at the Lizzie Borden house for nearly 2 decades, so we always have to check out anything Lizzie related. Chloë Sevigny was very interested in the case and visited the house many times, so this seemed promising. Once again, Hollywood skewed a perfectly horrific and mysterious true crime. The angle on this particular incarnation had Lizzie conspiring (and canoodling) with the Irish maid, played by Kristen Stewart. Not much in the way of facts, aside from the father and step mother being bludgeoned with a hatchet. I’d don’t recommend this and certainly avoid watching with your mother…AWKward! I’d like to see a telling of the story with an ambiguous ending since no one truly knows who the killer is. Do the research, let the facts speak for themselves, and visit Fall River and the house to get a better feel for the setting.
- The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2009)
Part of the After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For, The Butterfly Effect 3 holds up pretty well on its own. No need to see the first 2 to understand it- in fact, skip 2 altogether. Chris has the ability to “jump” back to specific points in time to witness crimes being committed. He works with the police in present to identifiy and bring criminals to justice. He breaks his own rules about interferring when he jumps back to save his murdered girlfriend. This unleashes and unstoppable chain of events, changing his own future. Rachel Miner, who was great in Bully and Penny Dreadful, is great here as his sister.
- Rubber (2010)
Rubber is about a killer tire with the telepathic ability to blow things up. There is a built in audience “watching” the action through binoculars. As long as someone is watching the movie, the movie exists. There is no real plot. The tire doesn’t speak, it just rolls around wreaking havoc at a seedy motel in the desert. Sounds silly right? The point of the movie is that there is no point. It really is a different movie and I really liked it enough to give it another watch.
- Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs is a french movie-I think there may be a dubbed version, but I dealt with the subtitles. This one left me in a really weird mood, definitely needed to chase it with a light comedy! I don’t want to give too much away because this movie takes some sharp turns. Lucie is a young girl, chained to a chair, tortured and beaten. She escapes and ends up in an orphanage dealing with the trauma and the guilt of not helping a fellow captive escape. She befriends Anna, also a victim of abuse. 15 years later, Lucie seeks revenge on her torturers and shows up at a house with a shotgun. Was it the right house or was Lucie just crazy? Anna soon learns the truth and relives Lucie’s pain and suffering. Definitely a messed up movie, but worth a watch.
- Jack Frost (1997)
I remember when this came to the video store I worked at. It had a cool hologram cover and looked too cheesy to pass up. Jack Frost is an aptly named serial killer who gets sprayed with some chemical goo that gives him the ability to turn into ice, water or snow. Full of bad puns and corny one liners worthy of Elvira or Freddy, this is a hilarious Christmas horror flick. Also Shannon Elizabeth’s film debut, although she saved the T&A for American Pie.
- iMurders (2008)
Kane Hodder introduced me to this movie. Apparently one of the punks he terrorized in Jason Takes Manhattan wrote/directed iMurders. Harry Manfredini (composer of the soundtrack for the original Friday the 13th and the sequels 2-7 and X) scored this little baby as well. I was definitely struck by the awesome cover art and the stellar casting. I mean Tony Todd (Night of the Living Dead, Candyman, Final Destination) and William Forsythe (Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween) AND Billy Dee Williams?! A fun “of the times” horror movie about a group of people that meet regularly in a chatroom via a networking website similar to myspace/facebook. Each individual has a skeleton or 2 in the closet and one by one each of them is murdered. I’d compare this to a cyber 10 Little Indians. It’s definitely a relevant fear that you never know who you are talking to on the internet. The final reveal was kind of clever. Not really scary but mildly entertaining.
- Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
Hobo With a Shotgun stars Rutger Hauer as a hobo living in a road warrior type environment run by corrupt gangster psychos. All he dreams about is owning a lawnmower. He earns the money by chewing broken glass for an exploitive bumfight video series. At the pawn shop, he crosses paths with a gangster holding up the place. He makes the decision to purchase a shotgun on the wall and MOWS down the gangster with bullets. HA! He makes filmmaker eat his own video tape before going on a vigilante justice spree to rid the town of corrupt scum. This movie has everything and is so over the top. It rocks!
- Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
The introduction to the film shows the body in the aftermath of a brutal murder and allows the viewer to speculate how horrendous the act must have been. The film is based on the true story of a serial killer with a twisted childhood that turned him into a crazed woman killer. Henry lives with another former convict, Otis, who is equally disturbed but not as cautious. Otis’ sister, Becky, comes to live with them, escaping her own traumatic childhood and abusive husband. Henry is very protective of Becky and is alarmingly “normal” when he’s with her. At night he and Otis perform sick, perverted murders on random victims and bring along a video camera to document the violence. I wouldn’t say this movie is overly graphic, but definitely disturbing, particularly because it is a true story.
- Hell Night (1981)
I watched this as part of my Linda Blair-a-thon. This is a classic scooby doo-esque horror movie. Four college students must spend a whole night in a haunted mansion as part of their initiation. Before being locked in for the night, they are told that the previous tenant killed his wife, three deformed children and hanged himself. Allegedly the mansion is still haunted by the fourth child. Throughout the night someone or someTHING keeps trying to scare, but is it really a prank? Who will survive Hell Night? MWAHAHAHHA!
- Happy Birthday to me (1981)
Happy Birthday To Me is a little gem from 1981 starring former House on the Prairie good girl, Melissa Sue Anderson. A killer is on theloose targeting a clique of private school teens. Virginia (Anderson) is having flashbacks to a traumatic event in her past and is doubting her sanity. Could she be responsible for the deaths of her fellow students? This movie has some decent acting, good gore, an interesting plot twist, and some terrible early 80’s music (think Prom Night). Anderson has quite a set of pipes on her earning her way into the ranks of her fellow scream queens.
- Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Trick ‘r Treat is one of the best Halloween movies I’ve seen in forever. After my initial Netflix rental, I went out and bought it. I waited over a year for this movie to be released on DVD since it never ran in theaters. It’s pretty much a Creepshowesque version of A Christmas Carol for Halloween. Through four intertwining storylines we learn about the traditions of Halloween and the consequences of neglecting them. This movie has it all, gore, vampires, werewolves, ghosts. NOT for children.
- Zombie Strippers! (2008)
I only rented this because I just met Robert Englund and wanted to stay up to date on his movies. It starts off ok. Englund is hilarious as the obsessive compulsive/germaphobic owner of a strip club. Jenna Jameson, in her attempt to go mainstream after retiring from porn, plays a stripper. She won’t be winning any Oscars here, but the girl can certainly work a pole- pun INTENDED Jenna gets bit by a zombie and becomes uber zombie stripper. The crowd goes while and the other strippers get jealous. One by one they each turn into zombies and start devouring the clientele in the champagne room. Movie gets rather boring and loses steam towards the end.
- Witchboard (1986)
I remember seeing this as a kid and it scared the hell out of me, so now that I’m all grown up I thought I should try it again. Witchboard stars Tawny Kitaen (the redheaded babe from the Whitesnake videos and Bachelor Party). She and her ex boyfriend Brandon whip out a ouija board when the party gets dull. Tawny gets a bit obsessed and starts using it on her own. Big no no. She manages to piss off and summon some evil spirit who doesn’t seem to like her current boyfriend, Jim. Suddenly people around them are dying vicious, violent deaths and the police are inclined to believe Jim is responsible. He has to start believing in order to save his girlfriend and himself. Solid acting, decent effects. Yup this movie STILL makes me want to avoid ouija boards. I’ll stick to Monopoly.
- Tourist Trap (1979)
Featuring Tanya Roberts (Sheena, View to a Kill, and That 70’s Show), Tourist Trap is a bit like the remake of House of Wax (2005) meets Texas chainsaw Massacre with a supernatural element. The teens get stranded when their jeejp breaks down and end up at this mannequin museum. The owner, Mr. Slausen, is recluse and definitely a bit off. He tells the teens not to go in the main house, but naturally they don’t listen and must be punished for snooping. He supposedly lives with his brother, who we see running around in a creepy mask. We soon learn he IS his brother and he is all alone with his mannequins which he manipulates through telekinesis to keep him company. Pretty freaky stuff.
- The Rite (2011)
The Rite is about Michael, the son of a funeral director who joins a seminary to begin a new life in the priesthood. At the last minute he changes his decision based on lack of faith. In exchange for acceptance of his resignation, he is sent to Italy to meet with Father Xavier, played by Anthony Hopkins, to observe exorcisms. Soon Michael’s faith is put to the test to save Father Xavier. I’m not a big fan of religious/exorcism movies. This was pretty decent, for the genre, but nothing particularly new or different.
- The Old Dark House (1963)
Old Dark house is one of my mother’s favorite William Castle films, so we took a trip down memory lane together. Tom Poston stars as a young American invited to his eccentric British roomate’s family home for a weekend. The house is full of quirky relatives and one by one each is killed. Tom has to dodge the killer and try to solve the mystery. It’s more comedy than horror. Reminded me of High Spirits or Clue. Very cute.
- The Howling (1981)
I was inspired to watch The Howling in honor of the latest Monster Mania convention. I only ever knew Dee Wallace Stone from E.T, Cujo, The Frighteners, and Hills Have Eyes. I’m not much of a werewolf movie fan but this was something different. It had this underlying sadness that just put me in a weird mood afterwards. The special effects were not like American Werewolf in London but still had an impact. I think I will avoid the sequels, but this was truly a great story.
- The Hills Run Red (2009)
Tyler is a young and horny college kid becomes obsessed with a banned horror flick that was said to be “the scariest movie ever made”. All copies of the film and those involved in its making vanished. Tyler sets out on a road trip with his girlfriend and best friend to track down the film’s origin, simultaneously filming a documentary. He finds the deviant daughter of the director working at a strip club and its all downhill from there as he interviews locals and uncovers the truth. Hills Run Red was a bit predictable for this horror veteran, but it didn’t lack imagination and gore and a creepy villain. (there’s also some nudity in there if that will seal the deal for you pervs).
- The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)
Molly is a troubled girl starting over at a new school. I find it extremely hard to believe that Chace Crawford, one of the popular boys, would be interested in her. Her spidey sense should be tingling like Carrie White!! Particularly, since her own mother tried to kill her. Was Mom nuts? Or is there a reason Molly shouldn’t survive past the age of 18? The weirdo religious nuts in the town all want to “save” her but is it too late? The trailers were intriguing but unfortunately, the movie falls flat.
- The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
This is definitely a great follow up to the first film. Sarah was the only one to survive the spelunking expedition from hell and is now in the hospital with no memory. The other girls are still missing and the police want some answers. Naturally the best way to get them is to bring Sarah back to the cave right? It works, but not before some of those cave creatures make a hot lunch out of a few officers. Sarah is the only one who knows how to maneuver around the monsters and find the way out. More of the same gore and effed up situations that make you savor daylight and the ability to breath. If you enjoyed the first, definitely check this one out.
- The Cottage (2008)
The Cottage is a light horror movie- if such a thing exists. Two brothers kidnap a young woman for ransom money. They’re not professional thieves and run into some issues. Things go awry when their hostage escapes for help, taking one of the bumbling brothers with her. They come across a cottage in the middle of nowhere (always a great place to go for help right??). They soon discover that a deformed psychopath lives there and he’s non too thrilled with unannounced company. Great gore, laughs, and British accents. Something a little different for those fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Shaun of the Dead. The ending is pretty amusing.
- Tenebrae (1982)
Tenebre is an Argento film about a killer who is murdering women using a fiction novel as a guideline. Naturally, the book’sauthor is the main suspect or at least expected to be able to shed some light on the murders. This isn’t s much a horror film as it is suspense, although there are some very stylish death scenes. Not my favorite, but John Saxon is great and I am looking forward to exploring his filmography further.
- Silver Bullet (1985)
I’m not a big werewolf movie fan, but was told this was a classic based on as Stephen King book so I gave it at shot. Corey Haim is not my favorite Corey, but he holds his own against (pre rehab) Gary Busey who plays his uncle. Haim plays a crippled kid who drives around in a suped up wheelchair his uncle built. He discovers a werewolf in the town and with the help of his uncle and sister (Megan Follows from Anne of Green Gables) discovers the werewolf’s human identity, destroys him and saves the day. Really liked this. Good acting, great suspense, and decent special effects. Also stars Everett McGill, the creepy guy from The People Under the Stairs and Twin Peaks.
- Re-Animator (1985)
I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a kid and I remember it freaked me out. A young scientist named Herbert West (Jeffery Combs) has discovered the secret to reanimating dead flesh. Very Dr. Frankensteinesque with a bit more style and gore. West has concocted a glowing serum that he injects into dead things to bring them back to life. It works, but what comes back isn’t necessarily civilized. He moves in with Dan Cain, a fellow student and resident at the hospital with access to lots of dead bodies. West plays up the mad scientist role, testing on cadavers and his roommate’s cat! When Dr. Hill, a lobotomy-happy doctor at the university tries to steal his secret formula, West cuts off his head and injects it with the serum. Seems like a good idea until Dr. Hill’s body and severed head walk out with the formula and Cain’s girlfriend and go back to the lab for some experimentation. Filled with melodrama and humor this is a classic horror movie.
- Piranha 3D (2010)
I didn’t expect much of this movie and can’t say I was let down. The first 15 minutes are incredible, especially for Jaws fans like myself. After that its just a gratuitous gore that will make your skin crawl and a LOT of T&A. There aren’t a lot of 3D scenes, but the ones that are there are definitely gimmicky. There were lots of laughs, jumps and “Awwwwww no way dude” moments. Elizabeth Shue is pretty badass and Christopher Lloyd is more over the top than Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis in “Halloween”. Lots of disposable characters and pretty predictable. Judge this for yourself, but I don’t think I’ll be watching it again.
- Pieces (1982)
Ok this is a cheeky little grindhouse movie with some pretty bad dubbing. At first I wasn’t sure if it was filmed in english but apparently some of the sound just doesn’t sync up in places. The opening sequence shows a young boy putting together a puzzle of a naked lady, just about to put in the final piece when his mother storms in and flips out on him. He grabs and ax and hacks her up and finishes his puzzle. Ha! Flash forward to the 80’s and some maniac is hacking up pretty girls on campus with a chainsaw and piecing together his own perfect woman. Kind of reminds me of the 2002 movie, May. Some good gore, pointless nudity, random karate scene that makes NO sense, and lots of red herrings and the weirdest/funniest ending EVER.
- Phenomena (1985)
I first noticed this movie on the shelf as a kid when it was entitled Creepers. The cover alone grossed meout and I didn’t actually watch it until2005. The cover art is different and the title is now Phenomena. Jennifer Connelly is wonderful as always. She has this haunted quality about her that I was always drawn to since I first watched Labyrinth. Here she plays Jennifer, the daughter of a famous director sent to a Swiss boarding school. She is an odd girl with a telepathic connection with insects. There is a psycho killer on the loose and Jennifer teams up with Donald Pleasance, his monkey and an army of insects to help track them down. There is some bizarre rock music blaring in a few scenes that make this seem like a surreal European music video from the 80’s. Pleasance and Connelly give strong performances in this dizzyingly dark fairy tale. Probably my favorite Argento film so far.
- Pet Sematary (1989)
This is one of my favorite Stephen King movies. Dr. Louis Creed moves his family move to a small town in Maine. There seems to be an odd vibe in the town, definitely some history that he is about to become a part of. Their pet cat, Church, gets hit by a truck. Ominous neighbor, Jud, brings Louis to a gravesite behind the Pet Sematary to bury it. The next day, the cat is back, a little creepier than before, but the rest of the family is none the wiser. During a picnic, their baby boy, Gage, is playing with a kite and ends up running towards the road where he is plowed over by a tractor trailer truck. (This scene always breaks my heart, he was the cutest kid on the planet. I always wish it could have been the obnoxious daughter.) Grief stricken, Louis buries his child in the Pet Sematary. Big mistake. Gage isn’t so cute when he comes back and certainly not as lovable. Can Louis stop the evil before its too late or has he dug himself in too deep?
- Night of the Demons (2009)
Night of the Demons (2009) is about a group of teens invited to a Halloween party at a creepy house when suddenly people start turning into demons and killing off the guest list. My favorite was a cameo by the lovely Linnea Quigley wearing the crazy tutu outfit she wore in the original. Also the recycled “lipstick” scene. A fun remake but not an improvement on the original, just a bit more glamorous with its starlets.
- My Name Is Bruce (2007)
Bruce plays himself as a pompous B-list actor. He is abducted by an obsessed fan boy when a small town is terrorized by an ancient Chinese demon. Naturally, only a hero like Bruce can defeat the demon. Thinking this is a birthday gag, Bruce plays along. When things get a little too real he flees like a wuss. Bruce chews up the scenery in this horror/comedy delivering corny dialog and jokes. This is a pretty amusing movie for fans of Bruce Campbell/Evil Dead.
- Frozen (2010)
Frozen is a chilling story about a trio of teens bonding at a ski resort. They bribe the ski lift engineer to let them take a late night run. Unfortunately for them the chair lift breaks down, leaving them stranded hundreds of feet in the air. The resort is closed for the weekend, so no one is around to hear them scream for help. Will they find a way down before frost bite or starvation kicks in? This movie is along the lines of “Open Water”, leaving you to question what you would do to survive when its just you vs. nature. Great movie, but keep a warm blanket handy!
- Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield (2007)
Ed GeinThis isn’t the first movie made about Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. You know, the one that killed women and made little outfits out of their skin. I watched it purely out of fan loyalty to Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7,8,9, X, Hatchet). It’s great to see him in front of the camera without a mask. Personally, I had a hard time differentiating him from his character. That being said. I think he did a great job. He certainly plays the intimidating brute well. He shares some screen time with Michael Berryman, another horror icon (The Hills Have Eyes, Devils Rejects). As far as historical accuracy goes, I think I preferred the 2000 version called “In the Light of the Moon”
- Dorian Gray (2009)
I have never read the book or seen any previous film versions but this one seemed attractive to me. Dorian Gray is a young, unsophisticated man who moves to London to claim his inheritance after his abusive father passes away. He is naive and is easily corrupted by his new friend, Harry. He is envious of Dorian’s youth and introduces him to the finer things in life like scotch, opium dens, and prostitutes. Dorian has his portrait painted and realizes his youth will forever be preserved on the canvass while he faces his own mortality. He makes a proverbial deal with the devil and soon overindulges in sinful behavior, sacrificing his soul and losing his first love. He remains young and beautiful while his portrait decays, revealing Dorian’s true ugliness. Eventually, all his friends age while he remains youthful. Everyone wants to know his secret, but if he tells you, he’ll have to kill you. I really enjoyed this movie. The acting is top notch and there’s a bit of everything, sex, murder, love, betrayal. You sympathize with, envy, and despise Dorian all at once. Its a classic fable with moral undertones. Is it worth selling your soul to be young forever?
- Donkey Punch (2008)
I don’t know what I was expecting with this movie. Not much, and that’s just what it delivered. Firstly, this situation never should have happened. Nothing but trouble when a bunch of drunk, horny, drunk, drugged out teens take a boat out. Oops one of the girls is accidentally killed and now everyone is turning on eachother. Should they call the cops or should they all agree this never happened and move on to the next party? Lame. I think Open Water 2 had a more compelling storyline than this (but less sex and nudity). Skip.
- Don’t Mess with My Sister! (1985)
I picked up Don’t Mess With My Sister because it came with I Spit On Your Grave (by the same director). The combo was $6.99 at FYE, couldn’t pass that up! I was expecting it to be completely disturbing but not so much. It’s about a man who has an affair with the belly dancer his wife hired for his birthday party. The wife finds out through a nosey friend and then sics her Italian brothers on him. Now the title makes sense ::rolls eyes::: The movie pretty much just ends abruptly after the the husband chases off the brothers with a shotgun. Pretty boring. The cover is misleading in its excitement. Skip it.
- Devil (2010)
M. Night Shyamalan’s “Devil” is about a detective whose wife and son were killed in a hit and run who. He is sent to investigate the suicide of a person who jumped from a skyscraper. In the same building, a group of people is trapped in an elevator. One by one people start dying. Who’s doing it? Everyone is a possible suspect with a shady past. Very cool movie. with a creepy ending.
- DarkWolf (2003)
I always seem to miss straight to DVD movies. Dark Wolf stars Kane Hodder as a biker guy who transforms into a werewolf on the prowl for his mate and will wreck anything in his way. Cameo by Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie) who knows all about werewolves, but that doesn’t seem to aid in her survival for long. A detective takes the hot babe/female werewolf into hiding to protect her, but her scent lingers on anyone she’s touched and she and her friends are in BIG trouble. There is a really odd, lengthy and unnecessary nude photography session with 2 chicks in body paint. Kane shows up nude at the door looking for his woman (afterall, werewolves shred their clothes when they transform). I found the CGI transformations to be cheesy, but then after spectacular effects like in American Werewolf in London, I suppose I’m spoiled.
- Children of the Corn (2009)
Children of the Corn is a remake that is supposedly faithful to the book. Having never read the book, I was happy with the 1984 version. Instead of that guy from Wings and whatsherface from Terminator we have a black girl and a redneck just back from Nam driving across the country. She’s kind of a bitch and nags too much. They end up in the town where there are no adults because the creepy kids have murdered them all. They obey their leader, a Bible spouting kid named Isaac. We still get our ginger minion Malachai who is still pretty dark and evil but no Courtney Gains. There is no happy ending in this version. Only thing I liked about this version was that Isaac was actually played by a kid, which made him that much creepier. Other than that, pass.
- Buried (2010)
Buried is filmed so simplistically and is so compelling. Ryan Reynolds is a truck driver working Iraq. He wakes up in a coffin with only a lighter and a cell phone. On the other end of the phone is a terrorist demanding money for his release. The movie is a breathless race against time to find a way out. I don’t think I could watch it again as it is so claustrophobic and his struggle is agonizing. Great movie though.
- Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)
I don’t even know what to think of this movie. Definitely twisted. A freaky bald guy with a creepy beard and a sadistic black little person sidekick puts on “artsy performances” of torture porn. Little does the audience know, he really kills the girls on stage and has an entourage of naked slave girls he has tortured into submission. The ones that can’t be broken are locked in a cell in the basement and fed scraps of what’s left from the stage show. When a popular critic gives a negative review, he kidnaps him and a prima ballerina for his new show. The ballerina’s boyfriend hires a P.I. to find her. When they go to save her, they discover this sick subculture and she is too brainwashed to get out while she can. The movie ends with the crazy slaves girls being released from the basement and mutilating all the men. Final scene before the credits shows them dancing around eating various body parts- I’ll spare you the graphic details but considering the women have reigned over the men I’m sure you can imagine….. Blech. This movie is vile and really turned my stomach.
- Blood Song (1982)
Blood Song came out in 1982 and is included on a double feature DVD with 1983’s Mausoleum, complete with “grindhouse experience” trailers. Since the only good thing about Mausoleum was the cover art, I am only going to review Blood Song. Donna Wilkes is a familiar face from Jaws 2 and Angel. Here she plays a young handicapped girl that receives a blood transfusion from Frankie Avalon, who just escaped from a mental institution. After serenading his victims with the world’s most obnoxious instrument, the recorder, he hacks them up with a hatchet. Some nice over the top psychotic behavior from Avalon- definitely a far cry from Beach Blanket Bingo!
- Black Christmas (1974)
Starring the amazing Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon, Black Christmas set the standard for slasher flicks. This is where many of the familiar horror cliches were born- don”t answer the phone, don’t go upstairs, don’t stay in the house, don’t have sex, don’t drink, don’t do drugs… This movie is about a maniac that targets the girls of a soriority. There are nice side stories going on and great character development. This isn’t a mindless T&A flick like most sorority horror movies. The 2 things that creeped me out the most are the brutal suffocation of young girl who sits in a rocking chair looking out a window in the attic and is never discovered and then the unsettling shrieks and profanities of the “obscene caller” that torments the residents of the sorority. This movie is a classic must see for any horror fan and the remakes are just appalling so avoid them at all costs.
- After.Life (2009)
After.life stars Christina Ricci as a young woman disenchanted with her relationship with her boyfriend played by Justin Long. After a misunderstanding over dinner, she drives off with a fury and gets in a car accident. She awakens on a mortician’s table. Liam Neeson plays a mortician with the ability to talk to the dead. As he prepares her for her burial, she argues that she is not dead. He assures her she is in fact dead and should perhaps not have taken her life for granted when she had it the chance. Really cool movie. Visually gorgeous and just a chilling story line.
I just watched [REC] not realizing it was the original version of Quarantine which I saw last year in the theater. Hard to believe this zombie/sickness genre is still so popular. Since the plot is the same for both movies this is a double review. A young female reporter is shadowing some firefighters for a news documentary. She and her cameraman follow them to an apartment building in response to a call about a sick person. Sick is an understatement. When the alleged infirmed start rabidly biting people we know somethings up. The police quarantine everyone to the building to prevent the infected from escaping. Lucky for us, the cameraman films everything and we soon learn survival is looking bleak. There is a big reference to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead when an adorable little girl with “tonsillitis” suddenly turns zombie and starts attacking. Filmed in a documentary style with a shaky handheld camera, this is face paced and engaging. You feel their isolation and hope someone comes out of of this alive. the last 10-15 minutes are the most intense so wait for it. I happen to think the Spanish version is better but if you can’t deal with dubbing or subtitles just watch Quarantine. Same effect.