Friday, October 28, 2016

Horrors of October - Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)

Former high school sweethearts are on opposite sides on the issue of an obnoxiously American fast food franchise being built on an Indian burial ground. The girl Wendy, now a lesbian due to experimentation in college, joins her new girlfriend on protesting the chain while her last boyfriend Arby gets a job there to spite her. There's also the problem with some weird pulsating, slimy eggs being all over the restaurant and making some people sick but everyone would rather fixate on their greasy, extra crispy dinners and sing a jaunty tune. Just another day in Tromaville. POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD is like all Lloyd Kaufman-directed films before it and delivers large bursts of button-pushing humor, gross-out gags and crude violence. However, I was very much surprised by its musical diversions, which are all wonderfully written and performed despite the limitations of the film's very low budget. Of course like all Troma films, your mileage may vary at the sight and sounds of people shitting, puking, masturbating, fornicating with food, and being gorily torn apart. You might also be dismayed by how the film does lose some steam in the second half when it finally gets to the chicken zombies and tries to come up with more and more excuses to pad out the proceedings. Plus, the ending is a glorified in-joke only hardcore Troma fans will get. Regardless, this a fun and ambitious modern exploitation film and a perfect title to laugh with some friends or make them sick.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Horrors of October - Rifftrax Live!: Carnival of Souls

Rifftrax Live!: Carnival of Souls (2016)

Similar to when I reviewed the live riffing of ANACONDA two years ago by the Rifftrax crew, this will be my immediate impressions. Once again, Mike, Kevin and Bill took an important horror movie and tore it to shreds with a consistently funny script of barbs and one-liners. CARNIVAL OF SOULS is a genuinely good film in itself but its low budget nature and slow plot progression does allow it to be easily mocked. Additionally, if the trio can make you laugh at NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, they can also do the same with this one as well. The three really mined a lot out of the wooden supporting players such as a forever-staring maid but had an absolute field day with John Linden, the main heroine's very creepy next door neighbor who's the type of guy, according to Mike, who would pleasure himself to bad video game reviews. Probably my personal favorite joke was how they took an artsy edit from a gas station to a boarding house and had the direction-giving gas attendant saying to the heroine that she needs to, "take a left at the inky pool of darkness." My runner-up would be the camera-pull close-up of a stained glass kneeling man who begs, "Please sir, may I have some plot?" My biggest issue with the live show, however, is that Rifftrax used a colorized version of the film, which hinders the great B&W photography and creepy macabre of the picture. They probably did it to bring in a bigger crowd at what still is a less known horror film with modern audiences but it didn't seem to work as my theater was filled but in one of the smaller ones. As for the shorts attached to the main feature, I was profoundly confused and laughing a lot at the one where a dirty adult witch is given a bath by a little girl and was a little ho-hum with "Masks of Grass", another ACI film that a had very problematic image of an African-American boy wearing a "grassy Indian headdress".


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Horrors of October - Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

A Japanese monster hunter goes undercover as a visiting schoolgirl at a high school located on a American military base. She is tasked by her secret government force to flush out two "chiropterans", bat-like demons that are hiding in human bodies and can only be killed by severe blood loss from a swift sword slash. BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE was all the rage during the peak years of anime popularity and distribution but I just didn't get the urge to rent it out at my local Hollywood Video. I think my valid excuse was finding out online that the DVD back cover was lying and that the film is only 45 minutes long. Upon finally watching it, my lack of believing in the hype is correct as it is very overrated. The short film is basically a pilot episode for a television series, giving you a brief sampling of what's to come and having a bigger budget than normal. Its story literally is just a girl doing some recon, taking out her two opponents, another wild demon appears, kills it and leaves without a trace. More egregiously than its small story is the sheer fact that you spend less time with the heroine Saya and more with the annoying fat nurse that keeps screaming and making the situation worse. I also couldn't accept the character design, a big pet peeve of mine with animation, as many of the characters have terrible hairdos, rigid facial construction, and big and ugly lips. Additionally, the big twist of the entire film is spoiled in its own title! That all being said, I still was overall fine with the final product. It's not a true treasure and Production I.G. has advanced their rich animation further since releasing this but I enjoyed the breezy tone and the more ambitious aspects of the product. The anime film is directed to be English-first, Japanese-second, which had my mind blown as you rarely ever see this even till today. The Japanese voice actors do a pretty good job and phonetically sound perfect with the English script and the American voice actors, including everyone's favorite Steven Blum. Additionally, I really loved that it was taking place in 1966 around Halloween, allowing the crew to flood the picture with great background material and a cavalcade of costumes. Unfortunately, the throwback design does lead to the stupidest moment of the film, namely its ending. It concludes with the nurse lady having a "deep" thought about humans killing their own kind while an American B-52 flies off to assist in the Vietnam War. To quote Jeff Bridges, "What the fuck does anything have to do with Vietnam?! What the fuck are you talking about?!" Give this a watch and then move to better anime, including other works that wisely handle the premise of a samurai sword wielding schoolgirl.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Horrors of October - Scary Disney Shorts

Disney is more widely known for their more happier fare but they have quite often took their kids gloves off and delivered some sheer nightmare fuel. These terrorizing works came in the form of their short cartoons, which would much later be mined thoroughly as part of television specials and video releases. I will eventually get around to covering A DISNEY HALLOWEEN, a televised hodge-podge of scary cartoons and movie clips which aired annually on ABC during the 90s, but I want to cover something more closer to my heart first. Way back in 1990, my parents bought me "Walt Disney Cartoon Classics Vol. 13: Donald's Scary Tales", which contained three creepy cartoons with Donald Duck as the poor sucker of various horrors. Today, I'll be reviewing those shorts as well as other famous horror-themed Disney cartoons.

The Skeleton Dance (1929)

A group of skeletons dance during the night. What more do I have to say?! Considered one of the greatest cartoons of all time, thanks in large part of being the very first cartoon use non-post-sync sound, THE SKELETON DANCE really banks on you being entertained by the sight of bone-men boogieing. This is the perfect example of the modern derision of old Disney cartoons, as it literally features characters bopping their knees up and down and playing instruments through weird means. Legendary animator Ub Iwerks does a great job with the more tricker shots, such as a 3D take of "Ring Around The Rosie", and does he ever unsettle you whenever a skeleton comes in for a close up or jumps right toward the viewer. Give it a glance or save it for background material for your Halloween party.


The Mad Doctor (1933)

Mickey sees a cloaked figure stealing Pluto and he ventures through a dark castle in order to save his dog. This short was so frightening at the time, some theaters refuse to show it and apparently Britain banned it for a short time. Even today, it is drenched in haunting imagery and gory details. I mean come on, the villain Dr. XXX literally wants to cut Pluto and a chicken in half and stitch them together in order for the possibly of "it" asexually reproducing their mutated breed. The B&W artwork is just gorgeous, with the showstopper being an amazing pseudo-3D sneaking scene. Everything is pumping on all cylinders, the gags all work, and it grows darker and darker in tone up until the lame ending where, you guess, it was all Mickey's dream. Regardless, it still a great watch and the perfect material to scare your unsuspecting little kids with.


Pluto's Judgement Day (1935)

Pluto suffers through a nightmare where he's on trial for crimes against cat kind. The odds are stacked against him as the judge is a cat, the prosecutor is a cat, and the jury are all cats. Yep, we have another "it was all a dream" scenario but here the makers spoil it early by literally showing Pluto's dream figure exiting his body to chase after a baiting cat. This short is pretty disturbing in how much detail and great animation was put into creating a hellish courtroom. The scariest moments come whenever the prosecutor is barking at the chained up dog, especially with the extreme closeup on his eyes at one point. Unfortunately, there is one thing that really hurts the overall quality of the short and that is plain old racism. There's a segment where three black kitten with badly braided hair sing a tune about their Uncle Tom. Yeah, you can't get anymore racist than that. Also, I can't end this review without mentioning how adorable the little kitten at the end is.


Lonesome Ghosts (1937)

A group of ghosts living in a haunted house sucker in paranormal investigators Mickey, Donald, and Goofy so they can have some fun. The playful nature of the short, along with the eye-catching color and design of the ghosts, has sustain this as one of the most popular Disney cartoons ever. However, despite seeing it many, many times, I just do not have very strong feelings about it. The animation is really good, especially during the gag with Goofy and the dresser, and I do like the final joke where the trio unexpectedly defeat the well-dressed spirits. But the overall comedy doesn't work wonders with me and I always feel a little disappointment as it progresses. Also, fun fact: Many viewers point to this short as the inspiration of GHOSTBUSTERS, particularly when Goofy says a variation of "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!"


Donald's Lucky Day (1939)

Superstitious delivery boy Donald has a hard time avoiding a playful black cat and not realizing that he's delivering a ticking bomb. The only creeps this short gave me as a kid was the evil piercing eyes of the sender behind the door. Outside of that, the short never really warrants any spooks whatsoever, as it focuses more on the somewhat lame slapstick between the duck and the cat. I will say that the cat's purr is the true highlight, as I just find it very cute. A fine enough watch but not something I will go back as much as I once did.


Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944)

Donald and his nephews have to contend with an escaped gorilla running wild in their house. This short has one of my all time favorite jump scares: Huey, Dewey, and Louie are laughing their faces off after pranking Donald with their gorilla costume, only to cut straight to a random window and a lighting flash reveals the animal to be outside. I also love the constantly interrupting radio announcements from a bored reporter, who states helpful hints at serendipitous moments. The short loses some steam in the middle when the duck family have a random slapstick segment to themselves but it quickly gains it all back with a fantastic chase sequence to close out on.


Duck Pimples (1945)

A dark and stormy night at home causes Donald to be physically and mentally tormented by pulpy media. I could write a whole essay about how amazing and demented this cartoon is. I point to this short as the genesis of my love for psychological thrillers as this just freaked me the hell out as a child. I still laugh at its jokes and can quote it verbatim but it gives me the creeps even to this day. For example, there's an early gag where a seemingly romantic radio drama suddenly turns into a crime show, as a woman is pushed off a cliff. The bloodcurdling scream is both funny and frightening but the lady's cry at her hubby Harold takes it to a dark turn, as it just reminds of the news story last year where a guy literally named Harold killed his wife by the doing the exact same thing. The short then moves into total surrealism, as it just throws out a ton of disturbing imagery amid all the humor, the backgrounds change on a dime, and Donald is rendered mute and threatened with police brutality. The dark antics get so off the rails that an author surrogate walks in and quickly gives an unfortunate resolution to the central mystery. And then the short ends on a disturbing final note, with a new sinister voice bellowing out at Donald and the poor tortured duck just stands in total shock. I absolutely adore this cartoon.


Trick or Treat (1952)

Donald gives his costumed nephews a nasty trick when they come to his door, causing a witch to intervene and show that two can play at that game. This is the perfect Disney short to watch every Halloween, since its one of the few if not only one to center around the major holiday. It also has that delightful earworm title song that will have you humming for days. To further help its case, you have legendary voice actress June Foray playing the sorceress Hazel and employing her witch voice two years before applying it to the witchy Looney Tunes character also named Hazel. My only setbacks with it is that the theme song really overshadows the magic-based comedy and the moral of the story is pretty hammered into you.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Horrors of October - Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988)

Literally cursed to run a public business and do good deeds or else losing his recently acquired fortune, Daffy Duck opens up a investigation agency that specializes in the paranormal. DAFFY DUCK'S QUACKBUSTERS holds a very special place in my heart, as my parents taped it off of HBO when I was really young and I would rewatch it over and over again. The film itself was one of several theatrical releases where Warner Bros. would take a bunch of their classic Merry Melodies and then animated an original story for the wrap-arounds. Notable shorts featured here include "The Prize Pest" (where Daffy's monstrous "split personality" terrorizes Porky), "Transylvania 6-5000" (where Bugs magic battles with a vampire), and "The Abominable Snow Rabbit" (where Bugs and Daffy contend with a Lenny-like creature). It also contains two new Daffy-themed shorts: "The Night of the Living Duck", where he sings like Mel Tormé to a crowd of famous monsters, and "The Duxorcist", where he woos and battles a possessed duck dame. The biggest issue with the feature isn't the dated references (Joe Miller Joke Book and Billy Beer, anyone?) or the severe downplaying of the shorts featuring the giant red monster Gossamer but the voice acting of Mel Blanc. This was the last time he gave life to his animated animals before his death in 1989 and he's sounds very old. Whenever his contemporary voice for Daffy or Bugs is coupled with his older voices in the shorts, it is way too jarring to fully accept; even when I was a wee lad I could easily tell the difference. You could just pick and choose the individual horror-themed Looney Tunes shorts on YouTube but if you want to avoid the trouble, this is an easy alternative.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Horrors of October - Garfield's Halloween Adventure

Garfield's Halloween Adventure (1985)

Realizing that Halloween Night allows him to get free candy, Garfield and his bud Odie dress up as pirates and go door to door. GARFIELD'S HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE was one of many TV specials centered around the popular orange fat cat but the very first one to be holiday-themed. Though it isn't my favorite of this specific lot (that would the Christmas one), it is a breezy and funny affair. Much of the short run time is focused around songs sung by famous crooner Lou Rawls and Garfield's own voice actor Lorenzo Music. They are all cute but the real highlights come from the always amazing performance by Music, who clearly had a lot of fun playing the role and quite often likes to improvise in the sound booth. The special had to have some kind of final act so a boat ride to a haunted island and the appearance of some ghostly pirates are rushed in for a spooky conclusion. Fun Fact: When this original program was later adapted by Jim Davis in comic form, this part was expanded upon and had the two pets constantly being stalked due to the pilfering of some hidden treasure. I know this because I once had the book, in all of its lopsided, vertically challenged glory. An enjoyable animated romp and a nice diversion from the annual airing of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN. Seriously, can we get this back on broadcast television instead of overdosing on all things Charles Schulz?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Horrors of October - Death Spa

Death Spa (1989)

A fancy fitness center becomes a murder factory when a series of unfortunate accidents run wild. Could it be the computer system that runs the joint, the snarky programmer who operates it behind closed doors, corporate saboteurs hiding in plain sight, or the ghost of the owner's ex-wife? What not have all of them because that's how DEATH SPA rolls. This movie is absolutely bonkers, saturated in the sheer indulgence of 80s chic and goofy exploitation. One minute you're watching a hunk deny a girl by saying, "I'm beta and you're VHS", the next minute he's getting his ribs burst out by some malfunctioning press arms. There are nude females a plenty and a lot of unexplainable gory demises, including one hell of a head explosion. The story is very incomprehensible, developing a whodunit in the beginning stages only to thrown in elements from PSYCHO, only to then craft some bizarre mixture of body possession and cyber-supernatural evil so it can have a CARRIE-like finale. I would go to task on the film for this but it doesn't really matter when the proceedings are so kitschy and playfully violent. The cast are all having a lot of fun as they exercise, get naked, read off some pulpy barbs and suffer terrible fates. The people behind the camera relish all the B-movie prowess they can deliver but they also make sure to bring some brilliantly creative touches to the film, as evident by the very impressive opening tracking shot and several more scenes that employ a Steadicam. DEATH SPA is a perfect midnight movie and rightfully proclaimed as one of the best good bad films.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Horrors of October - Dolls

Dolls (1987)

A group of strangers all end up with car trouble and stay the night at a mansion in the woods, whose maze-like hallways and plethora of handmade dolls leads to a long nightmare. DOLLS is practically a 77 minute stretching of the famous Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll", for better or worse. It's overall enjoyable to watch if you're in the mood for a good haunted house flick but the majority of the characters are pretty one note. The parents are beyond unlikable, the kid is "ain't I precious?" levels of annoying, the dated Madonna-looking punks just squeal in British slang, and the child-like salesman is a bumbling Shaggy. The only two characters I wished to see more of are the mansions' elderly English owners, played by Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason, who obviously have something up their sleeves but remain pleasant to their heartless guests. Of course the main reason to see this is the sight of murderous toys and the film does that in spades. Though helmed by Stuart Gordon, the film feels more like it was entirely supervised by its producer Charles Band, as it is very much a precursor to his PUPPET MASTER series and his other tiny villain works. DOLLS doesn't have a lot of substance on its bones but it's a quick watch and perfect for those you want to a simple scary movie.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Horrors of October - Wolfcop

Wolfcop (2014)

A boozed-up deputy receives no respect in his small town until a group of devil worshippers forcibly transforms him into a werewolf. Now brimming with fur, violent rage, and more liquor, he's ready to horrifically take out those who wish to do harm. WOLFCOP thankfully lives up to its cult film aspirations and delivers a rollicking wild ride. Director Lowell Dean and his small cast and crew all clearly had a lot of fun making this flick and expertly handle the "can't miss" potential out of a chaotic good werewolf. The film runs at a quick clip so as not to spoil its delicious fruit but the makers do cram a little too much in the story, to the point where many subplots are left unanswered. The reason for the creation of a werewolf is laid out in a whole storyline involving the real puppeteers of the town, which is very easy to solve but leads to an odd reveal where even more supernatural players are involved. The practical transformation effects are eye-popping in the amount of vicious detail, going the route of "the beast inside" instead of the more easy choice of a very hairy man. The liberal usage of CGI effects, however, are noticeably and glaringly woeful to look at. Also, this is movie is extremely Canadian, to the point where the protagonist's name contains a pun for the viewers in Quebec. If you're in the mood for gory police work and crazy low-budget horror antics, check this out next time on Netflix.


Rob Zombie's 31 - Review

Five carnival workers are kidnapped and thrown in a hellish playpen for the amusement of some British aristocrats. They have to survive 12 hours and content with the intruding presence of killer clowns. 31 is just another severe misfire from Rob Zombie, the rock star turned auteur who has squandered his talent in film simply so he push his wife some more and piss off the viewer. His twisted take on THE RUNNING GAME, which he states in a post-film interview as being a coincidence, revels in its endless cavalcade of nihilistic imagery and extreme crude language and forgoes any standard narrative elements like fleshed out characters or a coherent plot. There's no strict style to the film, switching from black-and-white to hyper surrealism to comic book to filthy exploitation on the dime. The main battleground where are heroes are stumbling around through is never established in a sane manner. The whole place is apparently a bunch of random sound stages and factory corridors that Zombie though would look cool if they were littered with offensive graffiti and blood spray. Those going into this solely for the gory violence will end up royally incensed by the handling of it. The camerawork and editing is more chaotically shakier than a Paul Greengrass joint, give you no chance to understand what's really happening. Couple that with the low lighting and one instance bathed in a strobe light, it becomes physically painful to watch. You can tell it will be a heinous viewing experience right from the starting conflict, where three minor characters are quickly killed off in succession and you have no idea it happened until there's a cut to their bleeding corpses. Speaking of issues with dying players, Zombie at one point has one guy keel over after two nail bat blows to the gut but another one who's been a human pin cushion throughout the film, covered with open stab wounds and bleeding profusely, somehow survives far, far longer. Even simple things like basic continuity and proof-reading the ending credits fail in Zombie's hands. More egregiously, if you have ever seen one of his previous films, you'll absolutely know who will be the "true champion" of the game and how the film will end before frame one. I hated a lot from 31 but the film ends up being so forgettable that you can't really dwell on the ire. Probably the only thing that will continue to irk me is the meaning of its title. I'll give you a hint: Zombie couldn't give it an accurate name because he already soiled that specific designation to a dreadful remake.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Horrors of October - Grizzly

Grizzly (1976)

Terror strikes a popular forest resort when a 15-foot tall grizzly bear comes down from the high country, mauling and eating whatever prey comes into its path of destruction. Only a park ranger, an animal researcher and a willing hunter with an appropriate vehicle can stand up to the carnivorous creature. Sounds a bit familiar? Why yes, GRIZZLY is a total rip-off of JAWS, to the point where it was famously summarized as "Jaws With Paws". Everything is stolen wholesale: the policing protagonist, the animal POV shots, the owner who refuses to close down his tourist attraction, a vicious attack of a child, a spooky nighttime story about ruthless animals, and the final third of the film having only a trio doing battle in an open environment with the predator. Plot elements it brings to the table such as the growing media obsession and a timid romance between the ranger and a photographer are barely developed, making the whole plagiarism even more apparent to spot. Despite all of this clear evidence to boo this movie, none of it really stops it from being a fun "when animals attack" romp. It is a very 70s action horror flick, with tough men who smoke and drink and get the job down and where the PG rating means that there will be plenty of blood and gore but not a significant amount to earn a R. Plus, Spielberg really dropped the ball with his animal take because the makers here wisely know that the climax should have the usage of a bazooka. A perfectly cheesy movie to burn an afternoon with.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horrors of October - The Church

The Church (1989)

The new librarian at a respected cathedral goes snooping around its corridors and dislodges a religious seal in the floor of the basement. This tampering causes unholy spirits to spring out and mysteriously sets off a mechanism that forces the building to go into lockdown. THE CHURCH is like most Italian horror films where you have to focus on the dark imagery and harsh brutality rather than the story in order to have some enjoyment. The first half of the film spends way too much time on the main characters, all of whom are barely developed and have plot lines that don't matter at all once the doors are locked and they and a bunch of other dead meat are trapped. The proceedings do pick up once everyone starts to mentally fall apart and suffer great tragedies but again, you don't care about anyone's fate especially since you'll be well aware of a secret backdoor and where to find the self-destruct button far before the dullards eventually take notice. While partaking with the main conflict, I was decrying the movie as being just a shameless knockoff of DEMONS, which director Michele Soavi starred in. Post-viewing, however, I found out that this movie was originally set to be the second sequel to the popular flick, hence why a lot of the same creators including producer Dario Argento are on staff. But if we really need to discuss shameless plagiarism, look no further than the sex scene that steals wholeheartedly from ROSEMARY'S BABY. Though the script sucks and his "homages" are blatant, Soavi does a fairly good job with the camera, such as the many great tracking shots through crowded environments. He's also great when it comes time to show off the vicious violence of the picture. Several characters really bite it in fantastic ways, with the highlight being a tie between a suicide by jackhammer or the surprise appearance of a subway train. THE CHURCH isn't going to win over a lot of people but it does fit as a barely serviceable late night watch.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Horrors of October - Queen Of The Damned

Queen Of The Damned (2002)

Lestat (Stuart Townsend) wakes up from a 100-year nap to make shitty nu metal, piss off his vampire brethren, and eventually come into contact with Akasha (Aaliyah), the unholy mother of vampire-kind. QUEEN OF THE DAMNED is absolutely wretched in every possible way. Other than holding on to the rights of Anne Rice's prize book series after the success of INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, what in the world did Warner Bros. see in this product? Practically all of the plot is virtually worthless, as the whole story doesn't matter in the slightest or have any tension at all until Lestat and Akasha meet in person. Before that, you have to dine on nearly a hour and a half of competing narrators, an origin story, dueling fiddles, a lot of frightful early 2000s attire and a lot of ear-splitting metal music from Korn's Jonathan Harris. All of this awful substance just so we can witness a brief awkward vampire sex scene set to Deftones' "Change (In The House of Flies)" and a limp finale where people are sucking off someone? But more importantly, what in the hell was up with the female protagonist played by Marguerite Moreau? She was a blank slate the entire time and if you really pay attention to the material in front of you, you will notice that nothing, not one thing she does matters in the scheme of things. Moreau may be duller than dirt but Townsend is so uncharismatic and unable to carry this picture in the slightest. I can't really say much about the late Aaliyah, as she just vamps up a pathetically overpowered seductress. Everything else is just so bad and boring, from the tedious direction by Australian nobody Michael Rymer to the dreadful special effects whenever a vampire moves really fast or even flies. I would gladly sit through TWILIGHT again and again before I ever come back to this because at least that product had purpose and a plot.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Horrors of October - The Fury

The Fury (1978)

An ex-CIA agent (Kirk Douglas) searches for his kidnapped son after being burned by his protege (John Cassavetes). Venturing all over Chicago, he finds a lead in the form of a teenage girl (Amy Irving), whose undeveloped psychic powers can lead him to his goal. THE FURY is best known for one thing only: its explosive ending, which is still impressive after all these years. In order to be satisfied by the great coda, however, you have to sit through an impressively directed film that is unfortunately burden by an unwieldy script. Despite the best efforts by master auteur Brian De Palma, you can feel the clunky handling of the story by John Harris, who's adapting his own now and then forgettable novel. Instead of just focusing straight on Irving's plight, her mental instability and her accelerating abuse by scientists and unknown officials, we have to spend a good chunk of the film following Douglas and his comedic and violent thrills. The two protagonists take forever to eventually meet up and when they do, we are treated to a fantastic slow-motion action sequence (classic De Palma) but then only have 15 minutes of the film left. Though the actors all do a fine job making this a fun and dark adventure, save for the bland angsty Andrew Stevens as Douglas' son, it really is De Palma who deserves all the acclaim. He pulls his usual tricks of sweeping camera movements, deep focus shots, and ultra quick edits while also employing a few new ones, such as making great use out of fast one-shot pans on multiple targets. It's not a great follow-up to CARRIE, which must have caused him to receive a lot of scorn by contemporary critics, but it does have some worthy things to it beyond that great ending.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Horrors of October - Ouija

Ouija (2014)

Devastated by the sudden suicide of her best friend, Lane (Olivia Cooke) thinks the best way to move on from it is for her and her other buddies to use a spirit board. Stupidly believing that they are talking to their beloved Debbie, the gang of five later realize that they are dealing with someone more deadlier. OUIJA is the mutated baby from three of the most hated movie companies today: toy company Hasbro, the Michael Bay-led horror remake machine Platinum Dunes, and the cheap-and-churn modern horror outlet Blumhouse. Despite having the easy ability to spin out a story from a overrated board game, the film apparently went through many production problems, including having half of the film being reshot and the addition and subtraction of major characters. What we have in the end is a misguided, non-scary, defanged PG-13 horror flick that will bore you to tears. All of the characters have pitiful mental capabilities, often stating the obvious or sucking air through their mouth, and are clearly played by TV actors in their mid-20s. Of the lot, Cooke sadly is the worst as she marble-mouths all of her dialogue and doesn't exhibit any real emotion when other people close to her began getting bumped off. Stiles White, a screenwriting nobody who co-wrote the guilty pleasure and laugh riot THE POSSESSION, steps in the director's chair and clearly shows us with his tedious camerawork and blocking that he should continue remaining in the shadows, whipping up more forgettable dreck with his wife. Oh and hey White, how about you cut out the religious Mexican nanny stereotype next time, okay? The only thing pleasing from this dumb film is Lin Shaye, who pops in and steals the pic as a locked up, unstable helping hand. Other than desperate kid viewers, I can't understand why anyone would want to see this true blue "camel", let alone give it 10 times its budget at the box office. I also can't understand why anyone will want to see the upcoming prequel when the entire back story was spelled out and told to you in this tripe.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Horrors of October - Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013)

Back in 2009, director Daniel Farrands helmed HIS NAME WAS JASON, a limb look at the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise that barely spent any time on the beloved slasher entries and put all its energy into pushing the then upcoming awful reboot. After hitting a home run with NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, the mammoth exploration of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series, Farrands and the crew of 1428 Films went back to the dark woods of New Jersey in order to give the watery maniac his proper respect. CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES is an amazing horror film retrospective, vividly detailing the main 10 films, the TV series, the lifetime-in-the-making crossover with Freddy, and of course the mess created by Platinum Dunes. An adaptation of the humongous tome from Peter M. Bracke, the viewer is treated to all of the good times and bad times surrounding each and every flick. You get to learn the process of developing and casting, the tricks the directors and craftsmen employed to get the best shot, how the gore effects and death scenes were achieved, the publicity and critical/commercial reception, and sadly the creative missteps, the fights with the MPAA and the backstage politics that hurt the franchise. And yes, you get to hear how composer Harry Manfredini came up with the famous theme and what the voice is actually saying. Though it is mostly a happy look back at the films, the interviewees don't pull any punches on the things that they disliked. PART V: A NEW BEGINNING gets put through the ringer for its sleazy direction and fake Jason, the only strict defender for JASON GOES TO HELL is its pompous director Adam Marcus, JASON X is a sour affair due to the powers that be, and FREDDY VS. JASON may have earned the most money but suffered from a bad script and the loss of Kane Hodder behind the hockey mask. I can go on but you really should just experience this mighty epic for yourself. Just clear your schedule if you plan on binging it because it has a whopper running time of 6 hours and 40 minutes!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Horrors of October - The Collector

The Collector (2009)

In order to pay off some loan sharks that are breathing down the neck of his wife, a recently sprung jailbird heads out to rob the rich estate he's been fixing up during his day job. While casing the joint, he realizes that the house has been turned into a deathtrap dungeon and that its murderous creator is sadistically abusing the occupants. THE COLLECTOR is a very impressive cat-and-mouse thriller/torture porn flick. I am shocked, shocked to realize that this cult gem's creators, director Marcus Dunstan and his co-writer Patrick Melton, are the same guys behind the FEAST series, the movies which made me explode into furious rage during last year's Horrors of October. Unlike those loathsome films, here we get to have likable heroes, a smart script, well executed harsh violence, a killer soundtrack and brilliant establishment of all the rooms, nicks, and crannies of the house. Make no mistake, the brutality on display is amazing but quite queasy, even making me wince at all of the trick wire, fish hooks, hidden razor blades, bear traps and savage dentistry. The titled villain may be normal looking with his average black wear and sporting some tighty whities but he's menacing with his glowing contacts, his handling of weaponry, and the twisted mask he hides under. His wheezing could have been subtracted or toned down though. I do commend Marcus Dunstan's direction but there are several moments of sheer pretentiousness. When he's not cribbing from SEVEN, he's pulling off dumb creative decisions such as zooming into the empty chambers of a gun or showing how a random lighting strike is created and executed. And seriously, did we really need to have a extreme closeup of a spider right at the end? Speaking of, the film does lose major brownie points with its obvious, depressing coda, which you can easily expect once you find out the antagonist's real agenda. If you're willing to venture back into the sub-genre where Eli Roth was the self-proclaimed king, this devilish surprise is worthy of a watch.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Horrors of October - Mystics in Bali

Mystics in Bali (1981)

A witchcraft researcher travels to Bali in order to write a book about the Leyak, a mythical vampire-like entity consisting of a floating head and organs. She comes into contact with a Leyak witch and during the course of learning her ways becomes a Leyak herself. MYSTICS IN BALI has spread like wildfire on the internet among horror fans due to its sheer WTF factor and bringing into light one of the weirdest creatures imaginable. Over the course of the film, you bare witness to the unholy sight of glaringly bad special effects done on video, disgusting transformations, an old lady turning into a pig woman complete with floppy breasts, a woman vomiting up live mice, a triple threat match between flying flaming balls on strings, and a pregnant woman having her newborn baby sucked out of her and dined on by, again, a floating head and organs. All of that plus a magic showdown finale should have made this a fantastic watch. Unfortunately, the film is a dull ride from beginning to end. You have to sit through an endless loop of a magic training scene followed up by a non-romantic scene between the brain dead main actress and her friend-zoned Indonesian buddy. Additionally, you must tolerate the incessant laughing of the witch, which gets aggressively annoying after her first appearance, and the sheer confusion of random characters intruding into the frame or stating the obvious. The ending also kills any chance of fun with its suddenness of saying "ah, screw this" and having the sun come out, which is bad for these type of vampires I guess, and quickly cutting to black after barely any resolution. Stick with the online clips of this bizarre film and avoid any chance to actually partake in its full tiresome form.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Horrors of October - The Corpse Grinders

The Corpse Grinders (1971)

Cats are suddenly thrown on to people, I mean, attacking and munching on people all over the city. A flirty doctor and his nurse have too much time on their hands so they go searching for the reason behind the attacks, eventually stumbling across a local cat food company with a deadly secret recipe. THE CORPSE GRINDERS is courtesy of Ted V. Mikels, one of the most shoddiest exploitation directors of all time. Better known for directing the MST3K favorite GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS, Mikels here produces another one of his spaced out stinkers. It's a hoot for cult fanatics but practically unbearable for normal viewers thanks to its rancid acting, dismal storytelling, unfocused camerawork, laughable props and pathetic editing. The movie consistently jumps from one warped individual to the next, mainly just to play up the poorly produced camp aspect of the film or tell a lame doctor's joke. Several important scenes are atrocious to sit through thanks to cat cries that override the rest of the audio or sudden jump cuts of a grinder running. It doesn't care about explaining why the police or the wandering Robert Goulet-looking detective aren't do anything to stop all the desecration of human flesh. Instead, it would rather spend a few minutes following a random secretary as she leaves work, walks home, take out some groceries, strips to her undies, awkwardly pour out some Budweiser, lay in a stiff sexy pose on the couch and slowly slip her drink while watching her stories. If you handle that plodding diversion and need something quick and easy to watch with some friends and some drinks, this no budget flick could do the trick.


Shin Godzilla - Review

An enormous nuclear-powered creature sprouts itself from the bottom of Tokyo Bay and heads toward land, much to the chagrin of government officials and ordinary citizens. Did you really expect anything else plot-wise from Toho Studios with their latest installment/rebirth of their most prolonged and prized property? Actually, SHIN GODZILLA does in fact have something to say, namely a stinging satire of the torturous bureaucracy and outdated thinking that plague the Japanese political world. Resident anime provocateur Hideaki Anno has used the giant monster movie model in order to spin out a quite vicious and blunt tale of how a group of free-thinking and cooperative outsiders, politically and scientifically, must do battle against the rigidness of endless meetings and leaders afraid of doing anything, even helping out the public, before then dealing with a literal beast of destruction. This is all told in super rapid-fire editing, a lot of walking-and-talking, and an immeasurable parade of subtitles. Seriously, watching the subtitled version of this version is exhausting, as every name, job title, law, meeting, group, town, city, area, weapon, and vehicle is bolted on to the moving frames. This is all thought-provoking and very intriguing, especially its clear parallels to the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima disaster, but what about Godzilla? He's here alright with a brand new frightening appearance but Anno really keeps his time on screen to minimum, shockingly even more so than Gareth Edwards' version. This odd strategy does work for the most part because it leads to an absolutely fantastic showstopper at the end of Act Two that had theatergoers erupt out of their chairs and a great realistic take of a final battle between the irresistible human force against the immovable scaly object. However, looking over at the kids in the audience who like myself grew up with the older and more visually entertaining films, the severe lack of the Big G and over-reliance of human plot caused a lot of squirming and pouting. I was in complete euphoria watching a real Godzilla film in theaters again but some of it did quickly evaporate once the puzzling final shot lead to a smash cut to ending credits. Nevertheless, this is a mighty Japanese answer to THE HOST but like that great monster movie, if you're heading into this expecting a lot of kaiju action, you'll be less than pleased.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Horrors of October - Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

NYC constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent off upstate to the titled town in order to solve a rash of murders via decapitation, which the townsfolk believe to be the work of The Headless Horseman. SLEEPY HOLLOW was a video favorite of mine in 2000 thanks to its dark take of the legendary folk tale and the quirky touches of director Tim Burton. Upon re-watching it today, I have found that I am no longer a fan of the Burtonesque stylings. The film's unnecessary deluge of jokes tend to all end with the same punchline: Depp pulls a small grimace, Depp gets blood sprayed on him, or Depp faints. In fact, the movie should have benn called "Fainting: The Movie", considering how many times it lazily utilizes a prat fall to end scenes. But the worst contribution Burton brings to the table are some brief awful usage of cartoonish CGI, as in eyes and other appendages bugging out like it was supervised by Tex Avery. This is highlighted in the worst scene of the film, where Crane visits a random witch in the spooky forest in order to get directions, sits through a lot of kooky behavior, before then walking off to the right plot point and never bringing up the weird lady again. Andrew Kevin Walker's script does address why this dumb moment is important, as it eventually plays into a wicked conspiracy of deception and further implementation of witchcraft. Unfortunately, this rampant duplicity is easy to figure out if you know the horror movie law of billing actors, plus the whole plot is dropped entirely in the third act solely for some popcorn theatrics, an unnecessary windmill explosion and an extended chase sequence. Though my current fatigue with Burton has hampered my viewing of this past love, I still was enraptured by the gorgeous production design and art direction. I especially took more notice of Emmanuel Lubezki's brilliant cinematography, who was able to make a beautifully dark and stormy movie but made sure that the audience can see everything, unlike may camera operators nowadays. Additionally, I still enjoyed the richness of the cast and re-partaking in the delicious sight of a bunch of people getting a nice trim off the top. As the film's tagline proudly and accurately stated, "heads will roll".


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Horrors of October - The Flesh Eaters

The Flesh Eaters (1964)

Bad weather causes a charter pilot to land his plane and his female passengers on a remote island that is surrounded by ocean water containing deadly bacteria. THE FLESH EATERS is a pulpy b-movie that is both quite entertaining and amazingly gory. It may be in black-and-white but the violence is quite gruesome, from a guy getting a chunk of flesh cut off his leg to an intestinal meltdown to a dissolving man putting a bullet in his brain, just to name a few. It's all very shocking to behold and most certainly caused a lot of late night TV viewers to freak out. The film is pretty low budget with its small cast and easy sets of natural land but director Jack Curtis makes the most of the limitations. There are several genuinely creative shots executed, with the highlight being a deep focus shot where the main hero's profile is in focus along with a couple of characters in the background, which then pans over to a grisly discover. The acting is that right kind of cheesy fun, though character actor Martin Kosleck does a swell job as a multi-faced scientist who isn't a Nazi but was perverted by their studies. Even with its high carnage and fairly risqué sensuality, the movie does get a bit tiresome trying to pad out a feature length running time, most notably when a boat-driving savior is introduced only for the dumb idiot to get splashed by the carnivorous liquid and die in short order. Those seeking a combination of 50s sci-fi horror and early 60s splatterfests will want to check this one out.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Horrors of October - Jaws 3-D

Jaws 3-D (1983)

SeaWorld is getting ready to kick off the seasonal rush with a ton of new attractions only to find that their biggest one is an intruding great white shark. JAWS 3-D isn't the most laughably executed entry in the franchise but it is the most tedious to sit through. Spielberg's prized production designer Joe Alves, who crafted the infamous "Bruce", steps in as the director yet he clearly has no idea how to make a proper film that makes sense. The actors aren't reigned into following their specific character types, Dennis Quaid is allowed to speak in a Texas accent despite playing a man from New England, the editing is often choppy, there's a dreadful day for night scene, footage of the shark swimming is sped up, and all of the famed 3D shots are shot poorly and follow the cringeworthy model of sharp points coming at the viewer. The script is an entirely different mess in itself, despite being co-written by famed writer Richard Matheson. I don't know what's the worst: a whole subplot involving the youngest Brody sibling coming to visit which is rendered completely pointless; the lead female scientist who wants to tranquilize and save the shark who tried to kill her twice and possibly killed a missing diver; or how Lou Gossett Jr.'s character, who flip-flops between a head asshole and a likable boss, has to consistently enact stupid maneuvers out of the blue solely for the shark to run wild. The only good twist it possesses is that the shark they capture is just a baby and that mama shark is patiently waiting in the wings to go on a murder spree. Once she does, the film does pick up as the people flail about or get viciously turned into chum, all before a goofy but entertaining death scene. I'm glad that I finished this aquatic franchise by finally watching JAWS 3-D, plus seeing Lea Thompson as a bikinied sex kitten, but if I want to have real fun with this series again, I will just stick with the masterpiece (JAWS) and the disaster-piece (JAWS: THE REVENGE).


Friday, October 7, 2016

Horrors of October - Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In (2008)

Bullied 12-year-old Oskar finds some comfort in his next door neighbor, a 12-year-old "girl" named Eli who happens to be a straight up vampire. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN has consistently dogged me for many years now, hailed by exuberant critics as one of the best horror films ever but away from my sight chiefly due to a controversy with its DVD release. Upon finally sitting down and seeing it, I walk away with a stinging sense of disappointment. Make no mistake, the film is a real treat to behold, as director Tomas Alfredson plans out a slow melancholic journey through the ups and downs of two peculiar kids, who bare their animal instincts to each other in order to find some warm love within the always snowing Stockholm. The cinematography is great, often utilizing the depth of field or the reflections of mirrors, and the acting all around is pretty good, with Lina Leandersson being the obvious stand out as Eli. Plus, it is finally great to watch the famed pool scene, which does live up to the hype. Unfortunately, though this all sounds like it's a truly great feature, I was often left cold by the proceedings. I never really believed the main romance and felt it was more awkward and fumbling than a courtship between tweens really is. The score is fine but too heavy-handed at times, desperately hammering into me how beautiful and poetic this relationship is. And then you have the cat scene; this moment was kinda spoiled for me but even with the full context, the scene is laughable in a very bad way thanks to the dreadful CGI and bad execution. Maybe in time the film will grow on me and be as majestic as others say. Or, maybe I should just check out the American remake and see if Matthew Reeves had a better handling of this interesting twist of a vampire tale.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Horrors of October - Re-Animator

Re-Animator (1985)

Medical student Dan (Bruce Abbott) seems to be doing alright for himself: He's got a full scholarship at Miskatonic University, he's secretly sleeping with the dean's daughter (Barbara Crampton), and he's being taught by leading brain surgeon Dr. Hill (David Gale). Unfortunately, new student turned roommate Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) brings total chaos with his personal research and creation of a serum that can revive the dead. RE-ANIMATOR still remains as one of the best cult classics of the 1980s, brewing a perfect mixture of extremely gory practical effects and gallows humor. It helped introduce some of the top names in the modern horror scene, from its demented director Stuart Gordon to the entertaining likes of Combs and Crampton. I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the film this season in order to see if it really stacks up and gets better with age. Additionally, I wanted to see if movie critic/podcast host Devin Faraci is correct in stating that it is worthy to be inducted into The Canon of Greatest Films of All Time. After sitting through 86 minutes of glowing green syringes, raging zombies, and a sex scene with a severed head, my results this time have revealed that it is pretty damn entertaining but severely flawed in a couple of areas. Scenes seem to be missing or cut from the final reel, as there are many jumps in the story, such as how we're supposed to be well aware of Dan's cat after having only one brief scene with the animal, simply for a lame jump scare. Then, there's the confusing moment where West's feud with Dr. Hill comes to a head (ha ha), in which he oddly conducts some new research solely for the movie to have a proper third act. However, the most egregious element of the film has to be Richard Band's score, which often rips off Bernard Herrmann's music from PSYCHO but changes a couple of notes here and there so its themes can be "original". It may not be standing side by side to EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS in my opinion but it's still a very fine horror-comedy.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Horrors of October - Vampirella

Vampirella (1996)

An alien vampire (Talisa Soto) sporting a very skimpy battle bikini arrives on Earth in order to seek and destroy Vlad (Roger Daltrey), an escaped prisoner who killed her stepfather and now strives to conquer the world while also doing rock shows at seedy dives in Las Vegas. I love a lot of comic book crap and other geeky material but the character of Vampirella has never really worked for me. My main grip begins and ends with her superhero outfit; I can accept many questionable female garb in comics and also enjoy fan service but I just can't believe a female badass would want to wear a red, thinly layered, no-banana hammock with giant white collars. Here, in this direct to video adaptation, they made it more form-fitting but still garish to look at. As for the film itself, it's pure 90s b-movie drivel that is highly entertaining whenever a new bad element pops on screen. Producer Roger Corman literally spared no expense, as director Jim Wynorski works his exploitation magic to make a barely put together feature filled with colorful bare bone sets, poor fight choreography, and delightfully bad acting all around. Soto is sheer dreadful during her opening dramatic moments but once she reprises her flat, cold Princess Kitana attitude to the character, she can be slightly more forgivable. Daltrey on the other hand, dear lord, is an absolute ham and never comes across as an intimating force. To make matters worse, he dons three pathetic outfits: a washed rock star with ruby lipstick, a wilted pompadour, and a sideways dyed orange ponytail; a squeaky leather bodysuit; and a baby's first Dracula getup taken from a local Party City. VAMPIRELLA may have problems in every department, plot holes galore and the worst bat transformation effects ever but it's a very fine good bad flick to laugh and cheer at.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Horrors of October - Terror Beneath The Sea

Terror Beneath The Sea (1966)

Two scuba-diving reporters are captured by an egomaniacal underwater overlord, who wishes to create a new world order by creating an army of mutated fish-men who are also somehow cyborgs. A plot description like that easily tells you that TERROR BENEATH THE SEA is sure to be one kooky Japanese B movie. Alas, it takes a while to get going, as you have to sit through a lot of swimming sequences and watching the heresy that is a wimpy Sonny Chiba. You also have to bare with the poor production values on both sides of the Pacific: The English distribution company severely fudges up the opening credits, with titles placed upon other titles or disappearing all together, but have to make chicken salad out of the jarring scene transitions and poorly thought-out scenes crafted by director Hajime Sato. But like many a Godzilla film, the real substance and cheesy schlock come out in full force during the last third, where you get to bare witness to rubber-suited fish-men firing off silenced pistols at people or the rare unscientific sight of snow falling and rockets firing under the sea. And the glorious amount of close-ups and pulled faces, particularly at one climatic point where a naval commander bugs out his eyes and barks, "And I'M GOING IN!" I would bump up the grade since I'm a huge fan of weird Japanese flicks but I need to give it a fair judgment. It possesses a lot of dumb fun but most will find it too tedious, even at 79 minutes.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Horrors of October - Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn (1984)

A young couple driving through the endless cornfields of Nebraska suddenly and hilariously plow through a dying kid that has run on to the road. They head towards the small town of Gatlin to seek help, only to find that it is now lorded over by weapon wielding children, who have killed all of the adults three years ago and pray to an demonic deity known as "He Who Walks Among The Rows". CHILDREN OF THE CORN is a great example of a delectable horror plot that is ravaged and ruined by a bunch of makers that have no idea what they're doing. It takes nearly half of the running time until the kid bleeding like a stuck pig is turned into roadkill, thus finally kicking off the main action. We get some backstory about the kids and their new fangled religious order but we barely scratch the surface on the two main antagonists, preacher boy Issac and older enforcer Malachi, and it's never explained why they need to make gasoline. There's also the huge plot hole everyone can spot of how no one has reported this uprising in Gatlin already. The film is partly narrated by the sole cute boy of the cult, who just states what is obviously on screen and intrudes several times until being completely dropped. Director Fritz Kiersch thinks its wise to constantly cut between two parallel events, with one event featuring someone in immediate peril while the other event has a character doing something banal. Linda Hamilton is utterly wasted as a walking doormat while Peter Horton constantly aggravates the viewer with his naive demeanor, inability to not run like a dork, refusal to disarm or beat up a kid, and his amazing non-selling of a deep knife wound to the chest. However, it is the finale that takes the cake, where the Big Evil being revealed to be an underground creature one minute and a dreadful special effect the next. And what better way to end your horror film with the hero hooking up hoses to fight off a mild windstorm and then lamely knocking out someone while "The End" is placed over him? Stephen King had the right mind to disown this bad produce.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Horrors of October - April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day (1986)

Rich girl Muffy invites her socially and economically different college buddies to her inherited island mansion for a prank laden, sexually raging weekend, only for someone to crash the party and kill them off one by one. APRIL FOOL'S DAY is more famous for its iconic movie poster, which made it a true standout in video stores, than as an average slasher. The movie follows along the normal beaten path of "joke, sex, kill" throughout and possesses that always hilarious problem of everyone being oblivious to the strange behavior of one person. However, all of these issues are clearly intended by the makers and leads to a twist ending that you can safely guess; at the time of release and during the VHS heyday, the finale was fairly groundbreaking but now comes as an expected outcome to a horror-comedy. That's right, the movie is imbued with humor to a significant degree, allowing the film to serve as a foreshadowing of future slasher films, as it blends a self-aware tone to the murder mystery. If you want to kill an afternoon with a safe slasher or just want to see Thomas F. Wilson in an 80's film where he's not playing Biff Tanner, this is a serviceable choice. And yes, I'm aware that having this review would have been better to be posted on the 1st of October but considering that the film doesn't really take place on the April holiday, not to mention that it happens over the course of two days, special attention was not needed.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Horrors of October - The Babadook

It has begun!

That's right, the return of Horrors of October, where I watch and review a horror-themed movie/other form of media each and every day up until All Hallows' Eve. I always have a lot on tap but for this year my personal goal isn't to follow normal procedure and run a series but to watch at least five films from my list of horror movies I still haven't seen. And wouldn't you know it, we kick off the festivities with one of them, #4 to be exact!

The Babadook (2014)

A widowed mother is slowly falling apart due to seven years of grief from the car accident that killed her husband and the untethered, unstable son that was born from it. The surprise appearance of a picture book detailing a hooded and hatted boogeyman further causes the dysfunction. THE BABADOOK twisted me up like a pretzel and held me firmly in place, grasping with all of the tension and frights it generates, before finally allowing me to breathe once the ending credits hit. It's an amazingly directed debut film from Jennifer Kent, who expertly knows how to make you be scared beyond belief with brilliant visual design, uncomfortable editing, and an excellent selection of soundscapes that always toy with your nerves. Going into detail about the story will lose some of its charge so I highly recommend that you go into blindly. All I can and will say is that the film loves to showcase the horrors that plague our natural being more so than an demented man in the shadows. It does get at little long in the tooth during the finale, handing out several possible story conclusions one after the other like it was handled by Peter Jackson, but it can be forgiven how terrifying they all are. I honestly can't end this review until I give some well deserved love to Essie Davis, whose performance as the beleaguered mother is simply astonishing. Pick a day this month, load up Netflix and curl yourself into a bind with this terrorizing feature.