Category: Horror Films


The Christmas Tale

This little gem came on a DVD I bought quite a few years ago (2009) and unfortunately can’t find now dagnabbit!  However, we are only talking about a couple of years ago, not like, 20 so relax.  Nonetheless, I felt the need to share it with you all since A) it takes place in the 80’s and B) is pretty freakin’ awesome and more importantly C) most people have never even heard of it, which saddens me greatly.  In fact, I had a hard time finding info on it when Googled.  Now that’s a first.

Now I don’t like reading reviews before viewing a flick nor do I generally put much stock in others reviews mainly because I’ve got my own ideas, but I’ve already seen it and this Amazon reviewer nails it (emphasis mine):

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money!, October 10, 2008
This review is from: 6 Films to Keep You Awake (DVD)

Any horror fan will be plenty satisfied by this set. Of all the films 3 are good, 1 is a must own, 1 is okay and 1 is a dud. Of all the films, A Christmas Tale stands out as the most original and well made. The film is like the offspring of Silent Night Deadly Night and The Goonies. If that doesn’t perk your ears up then forget this set. The packaging is a disappointment and the extras are a bit light. However there is a making of for each film. Overall if you are a fan of horror and want to see what the Spanish directors of the genre are up to, this collection is for you.

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Now, you probably noticed that this is a Spanish film with English subtitles, so if that’s not for you — cool.  Just know that if you have any connection with the 80’s and horror movies you are only doing yourself a disservice by not watching this flick big time.  This film will survive without you.

Anyway, once again without giving too much away, there are lots of 80’s references in this film.  Toss in some awesome creepy child actors and one deranged-assed Santa you get a perfect recipe of horror goodness.  I love Halloween.  I love Christmas.  To combine them both and do it well, is movie making at its best and is movie watching gold.

If this pic doesn’t do it for ya, well I don’t know what will!

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PS — Enjoy the holiday season the right way and watch this flick!!

 The Conjuring – 2013

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Let’s face it:  going to the movie theater is no easy feat these days.  For one, ticket and concession prices are re-joke-ulous, second the previews last forever  (I used to love previews but a half hour of previews??? Really???) and third, there is always the possibility of people talking on their phone or just being asshats in general.  That being said, I made the trek to see The Conjuring mainly based on a preview I had seen a few weeks back (I immediately knew it had to be seen) and the hype surrounding the film.  It didn’t hurt that James Wan directed it either.

So let’s get to it, shall we?  I enjoyed this film for many reasons.  First, the setting in the 70’s took me back to a place I remember with a great deal of nostalgia;  you actually had to get up to turn off your TV (which was likely to be bigger than your couch), the wallpaper was tacky, everyone drove a station wagon and there were no cell phones glued into everybody’s hands.  Ah, good times.  Anyway, the film centers around two families — the family being tormented and the couple who come to investigate and hopefully help.  The first part of the movie is really a slow burn, allowing the viewer time to get to know each family, which in this horror movie fan’s opinion is sorely lacking in too many horror films these days.  Personally, I am sick of movies where a bunch of strangers are thrown at you and then die so fast you could really care less.  Call me heartless.  Whatever.  The second half of the film, however takes off like a roller coaster.  I feel a little bad that on one of the first real scares I yelled out “Holy Shit!”  After that, I said it a couple more times, just a little quieter.

Here’s the thing:  The Conjuring was a really good, scary movie that if you are a horror movie fan (and even if not) you should go see.  Was it scarier than the Exorcist?  Hell’s no.  But that wasn’t what the director set out to do anyway.  He set out to make a truly scary film (which he did) that could be rated PG-13 (which he did not — thanks to the MPAA).  The acting was great from the entire cast and there are lots of faces you will recognize — in a good way.  If you go into this movie without any preconceived notions you will have a blast and be surprised by some of the twists and turns thrown at you.  But if you read a gazillion reviews that make this movie into something it’s not, then there is a good chance you will be disappointed and share that disappointment with others.  That would be doing a disservice not only to yourself, but to a really good movie that doesn’t deserve it as well.

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Note:  The concept that this film was “based on a true story” really is not relevant to the enjoyment factor of the film as it works without it.  I dunno, I think I’m just jaded to that kind of hype after so many big time fakers (The Blair Witch Project — I’m looking at YOU).  Also, for the reviews I have read that bash the God versus the Devil concept of the film, maybe you should refrain from writing reviews about DEMONS until you have looked the word “demon” up in the dictionary.  In case you are too lazy (which I suspect you are), here you go: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/demon

Just sayin’.  🙂

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Days 8 – 31 Finally!

Okay I apologize.  Frankly, I’ve just been busy doing normal people stuff.  So, in an effort to make up for my shirking of duties, here are my movie favs from the 8th through the 31st.  Of course, you don’t have to watch them in order, but you definitely need to watch them even though Halloween has been lost in the turkey induced coma of Thanksgiving.  Just because we should give thanks doesn’t mean we should forget about the horror movies that make us appreciate drawing breath every day.

Remember:  These are in order from the least (but still!) scary to the most scary.  Just a friendly FYI.

Number 8:     The Descent, 2005.  Here’s the thing.  I sort of hated this movie because I had read a book of the same name (The Descent, by Jeff Long — which I found fantastic) before I saw this movie.  They are not related at all,  and so I was a bit disappointed.  However, setting aside my thoughts of the book, the movie was pretty damn good.  And creepy.

Number 9:    Wrong Turn, 2003.  Ahhh, just your run of the mill inbred, redneck cannibals attacking innocent victims.  Yes it was.  But the story line and the main actress (Eliza Dushku) really made this film pop.  Her character was badass!  Too bad the sequels sucked ba**s.

Number 10:  Resident Evil, 2002.  Fantastic film about zombies, friends and lovers.  None of it ends well.  Perfect.

Number 11:   Alien, 1979.  If you don’t know, you better ask somebody.

Number 12:  Dawn of the Dead, 1978.  Yes, this takes place after Night of the Living Dead but is still slightly better than it’s originator AND should be viewed and appreciated by anyone who thinks they know anything about DOTD just because they saw the remake.  Seriously, you don’t.  Get a clue and watch the real deal –then maybe, just maybe we’ll let you into our club.

Number 13:  Day of the Dead, 1985.  Takes place after DOTD — duh.  But still was a great film with one of the BEST evisceration scenes by zombie hands EVER.  Oh, the memories!

Number 14:  The Shining, 1980.  My soft spot here is Stephen King.  Great book, perhaps bad directing, but still visually stunning and a creep fest.  All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy…

Number 15Poltergeist, 1982.  Nice family, bad clown, child eating tree, the National Anthem (for those of us old enough to remember that) and lots of slimy pink goo.  Oh, and a swimming pool full of dead people you can’t get away from…  (Not to mention one of my favorite horror movie guys, James Karen of Return of the Living Dead fame).

Number 16:  Night of the Living Dead, 1968.  Aw come on.  Do I really have to?  Okay, mentally f-ed up chick whose brother was a douche but ended up getting eaten, a REAL douche who was too stupid to realize we need to band together in a crisis and a black guy lead who gets shot just for staying alive.  Yeah, lots of political commentary here, but still doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film.  Good job GR.

Number 17:  Saw, 2004.  Lots of  people think the Saw films are just “torture porn”.  These people are wrong.  Sorry dudes, but the Saw films (while they may be gory) do have a message — take for instance the chick who was a drug addict (thereby killing herself slowly) who was forced to do something that made her want to live?  Yup.  That’s called a message, so get over yourself.  And if you don’t like the Saw films — oh, I know — watch something else and leave the rest of us alone.  Peace.

Number 18:  Halloween, 1978.  Creepy and had Jamie Lee Curtis.  Poor thing.

Number 19:  In the Mouth of Madness, 1994.  Aw man, if you haven’t seen this one you haven’t lived!  Feels a lot like a Stephen King novel brought to life.  Flippin’ fantastic.  And the kid on the bike still haunts my dreams.

Number 20:  Jeeper’s Creeper’s, 2001.  We have yet another female heroine in this one — and I think she’s a great actress too.  Her name is Gina Philips and she was a straight up kick-ass chick in this flick!  That demon that feasts on flesh is also a badass but she’s one thing that keeps you watching the film.  The demon also has a scary ass spider head-thing, but I guess you’ll just have to watch the movie to find out what I am talking about!

Number 21:  Aliens, 1986.  No words are needed here.  Flipping awesome.

Number 22:  The Mist, 2007.  Again, a Stephen King child.  Chilling and sleep depriving (especially the spider scene) although after reading the book I felt the ending sucked eggs comparatively.  Still a great movie — with by the way, three characters from The Walking Dead (AMC) in attendance in the film:   Laurie Holder (Andrea), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) and Melissa McBride (Carol).  Go ahead, watch The Mist and see them in TWD.  Yeah!!

Number 23:  Hellraiser, 1987.  Yes, he’s evil and has pins in his head.  However, the other guy killed his own brother and stole his skin.  Kind of makes you wonder who the bad guy is here doesn’t it?

Number 24:  Wolf Creek, 2005.  Alright, I admit this one got me on a gut level.  Some douchebag who pretends to help a bunch of nice hikers ends up torturing them in ways that even the devil might have an issue with.  There are lots of “based on a true story” films out there, but this one comes so close to the truth that it still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Number 25:  Dawn of the Dead, 2004.  Okay, okay.  For those of us who are fans of the original this one didn’t meet the mat, but it did a great job of incorporating the original with modern day concerns.  That combined with the great special effects is what made this one beat out its predecessor… slightly.

Number 26:  The Ring, 2002.  Weird ass video with a weird ass kid coming out of your TV?  Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.  Not to mention the dead niece in the beginning — that was just nasty.  Nasty and fabulous!!!

Number 27:  Insidious, 2010.  I admit that one of the reasons I liked this movie was because of it’s homage to Poltergeist.  However, they went further with this film and had that freaky song which is now stuck in my head forever!

Number 28The Thing, 1982.  Nuff said.

Number 29:  Event Horizon, 1997.  Sam Neill.  Lawrence Fishbourne.  Straight up visions of hell.  Yay!   Mr. Neill’s (Dr. Weir) line pretty much sums up this gruesome flick fest — “You know nothing. Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse.”  Love it!!!!!!!

Number 30:  Hellbound:  Hellraiser 2, 1988.  “I recommend… amputation”.  One word about this film — AWESOME!!!

Now to my most scary film of all time…

Number 31:  The Exorcist:  The Directors Cut, 1973.  Primarily because demons scare me, but that crab-walk sticks in my mind like really evil cotton candy.

I put a lot (and really I mean lots and lots) of thought into what movies scared me the most and I sincerely hope they scare the heck out of you too!  Remember, Thanksgiving is one day, but nightmares are forever.  🙂

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Days 6 & 7

Psycho (1960) and The Grudge (2004)

First, I apologize for being a day late for yesterday’s film.  In an effort to redeem myself I have included yesterday’s and todays films (it is a Sunday — what else do you have to do besides watch football?)  all in one post.

Our first fabulous film is Psycho.  Who can forget one of the most memorable films ever made which included actors Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins!?  This is the film that Hitchcock knew would push our buttons:  a beautiful woman who is a thief and  manages to find the most f-ed up motel possibly on the planet while trying to get away with her ill-gotten fortune.  Her host, who seems so kind, nice and normal when she checks in turns out not only to be a murderous lunatic but well — does this because he thinks he is his mother who hates any woman who her son is attracted to.  Talk about your Oedipus Complex gone off the rails.  Blech.  Nonetheless, as weird and haunting as this film is, I can’t help but feel Ms. Leigh sort of got hers for being a thief.  To be totally cliché, karma is a bee-otch.

Our second film (The Grudge, 2004) takes on a slightly different theme (there is no one in this film that thinks they are their mommy or has desires to  — er, you know what I mean) but it does still have a mother-in-law who is sort of a bitch and maybe insane.  She is, however, totally within her rights to be this way based on how her son and daughter-in-law leave her in a house almost all the time haunted by a creepy ass, evil spirit who is trying to kill her.

Okay, so they care so much they hire a live-in nurse (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who only ends up getting haunted and damn near driven insane as well.  (By the way, said evil spirit crawls on the ceiling and makes a noise that is so freaky, to this day I cannot get it out of my head.)  Just goes to show you that the Japanese really DO know how to scare us:  how we treat mean mother-in-laws, how to deal with nasty evil spirits, murdering your family (and the friggin’ cat for crying out loud — poor kitty) to cover up your own sins, trying to ignore weird ass noises and perhaps how we treat elders and each other in general.  Yup, that would and should scare almost every human being on Earth.  This might make me a really bad person, but the whole reason for the film you will have to watch to find out.  But I will give you a hint:  this bitch is really pissed off.  Enjoy!!

 

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Day 5

28 Days Later, 2002

I know — I know — there is a huge argument about whether or not this is a “zombie” film.  Let me settle this fight for you — yes, it IS a zombie film.  I don’t care what the director, actors or anyone else says, we all can recognize a zombie film when we see it — and we did with 28 Days Later.  First thing that comes to mind with this flick is that poor guy waking up and having no clue that the world has literally gone to shit and finding some kind people willing to school his ass on the new world.   Add to that some sort of “rage” virus (I guess that was supposed to be some sort of commentary on the world today), a few crazy ass chimps and voila!  The end of the world!  Well, whatever side you fall on this movie still rocked.  Mostly because of the lead actress Naomie Harris who not only carried Jim’s ass during literally most of the movie, but in my opinion — the entire film.  Go ahead with your bad self Naomie, we want to see more of you!!!

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Day 4

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984

So many of us have had a sleepover where we sneaked (snuck?  whatever.)  our boyfriends or girlfriends into our homes and bedrooms unbeknownst to our parents — or we did so when our parents were dumb enough to trust us while they were gone.  Yeah, that would be all of us troublemakers.  This movie not only capitalizes on that, but also takes a shot at our dreams — that time of night when we are all vulnerable whether we like it or not.  The truth is that we are all, at least on a subconscious level, very afraid of the serial killers we hear about on the nightly news and that fear manifests in our dreams.

The wonderfully frightening thing about this film is that it uses not only our fear of wanting to make our friends happy no matter what, but we are also able to put the idea of the crazed killer out of our minds — until he/she comes for us in our nightmares.  Add an alcoholic mother and a domineering cop father and we have quite the set up for really, really bad dreams of a pedophile lunatic with knives for fingers who wants to kill us for our parents doing the right thing — no matter how flawed they are.  Because let’s face it, the parents did the right thing — they just didn’t know how it would affect their children.  Wait?  Isn’t this how it all started?

If you are like me and have a nightmare pretty much every time you close your eyes, this film will certainly stay with you and perhaps make you drink just a bit more coffee…

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Day 3

If you are any sort of normal human being, you were at least somewhat freaked out by our last film, Jeepers Creepers.  That weird, spider head thing with teeth that attacked those poor kids should have left you not only worried about that crazy-ass driver on the road, but also arachnids and whether their teeth can actually penetrate your skin. Personally, they all gave me the creeps, but I was even more disturbed by those nasty, slime covered, bacteria infested teeth.  Yuck.

Our next film is a throwback, and some of you may assume that because it had numerous bad sequels that it isn’t worth the effort of even watching.  You are wrong.  The first installment of this film was scary, and albeit low budget, it scared the heck out of a lot of people.  So much so that the powers that be (Follywood — that’s my made-up term for the F-in  idiots that run *ollywood) went ahead and made really bad replicas of it — all in the name of money.  This is the thinking persons opportunity to view what was a really scary film and at the same time poke those idiots who have no clue what is really scary right in the eye.

Friday the 13th, 1980

Okay, yes.  There were horny teenagers, there were booze and drugs.  We have all had moments where we were just a little less — let’s just say “aware” — of what was going on around us.  We never would have intentionally left children in compromised situations.  But that is exactly what this movie exploits.  Our very human fears of letting go mentally and bad things happening as a result.  So yeah, this movie does play with our fears about that, but then they had the audacity to bring in Mommy!  Who isn’t afraid of their own mother?  Much less a mother with an axe?  Tee-heeeeeeee….

31 Days of the Best Halloween Movies — Countdown Day 2

Ahh.  Hopefully, you watched House of Wax and really got a feel for the hot, melting feel of Halloween.  Okay, maybe you didn’t but Phyllis Kirk certainly did.  Mwuahhahhha!  Ahem, moving on.

Our next installment of “get you in the mood” Halloween flicks is none other than:

Jeepers Creepers, 2001

This is one of those movies that you really aren’t sure how to categorize because it is so just — out there.  However, in this original installment we have two siblings (Gina Philips and Justin Long), traveling alone in a car only to have their innocence disrupted by a devilish fiend come out of nowhere and try to eat them.  The acting is fantastic, as are the plot and visuals as the monster is one of the creepiest things I have seen in a long time.  Keep in mind that you may not want to remember those visuals after all… or the song Jeepers Creepers.  Trust me on this, after seeing this movie that song will forever remind you of this gruesome flick — and that dude with the teeth.

31 Days of The Best Halloween Movies — Countdown:  Day 1

In order to really get into the Halloween spirit, I always find myself wanting — scratch that — needing to watch movies that put me in the mood for all kind of ghouls, goblins, ghosts, zombies, and whatever else makes we wake up shaking in the middle of the night.  So this year, for every day in the month of October, I will post a film that is in my top 31 of the scariest of all time, starting with the least scary right down to what really makes me need a nightlight.  However, be warned — they are the 31 scariest of ALL horror movies ever made so none will be an easy viewing experience.  Keep in mind that I;  A) Am not including any films with any sort of funny aspect to them and B) Some younger viewers may not be able to fully appreciate the older films no matter how aweseomely awesome they are.

So, without further ado, the first film you should watch to get thyself in the Halloween mood is:

House of Wax, 1953

First of all, it’s Vincent Price people.  Vincent Price!  However, the story is fantastic as well as the special effects.  For those of you who grew up with no idea what these guys had to go through before CGI and color films — educate thyself.  This movie is a classic that every horror fan should have in their repertoire.  The rest of you who do have an idea just how wonderful this film is — do yourself a favor, rent or download and enjoy!

Movie Review:  Prometheus  2012

I must start this review by explaining that I had two problems while contemplating writing this review (and remember that I never give away the plot or any other details, you must see the film on your own and draw your own conclusions):

1) I love the Alien franchise.  And when I say love, I mean make your spouse (and all other loved ones) sit through innumerable hours of watching everything Alien until they want to throttle you.  This love however, pretty much ended with Alien3 (even though it was somewhat watchable) and totally died with Alien4 – Resurrection (whose existence still pisses me off when I accidentally see its name while scrolling by the SyFy channel at night.)  Heck, Alien vs. Predator was 10 times better than Resurrection and it wasn’t even that great.  Maybe now you get how much I loathe Alien Resurrection.  Anywhoo…

2)  I was aware before seeing Prometheus that it was supposedly a “pseudo” prequel to the Alien franchise but didn’t know what the hell that really meant.  Now that I have seen the film, I unfortunately have a very clear idea of what the hell they were talking about.

So now, on to the review…

First, I went out of my way to see this film in 3D — it was my first 3D movie in theater (not counting “A Bug’s Life” at Disney World) and I have to say I was impressed.  The visuals were stunning and through a lot of the film I felt I was right there with the characters so I have to give big props for the fact that Mr. Scott shot this in 3D and did a great job of making the audience feel like they were actually a part of the film.

Also, the acting was great with only one exception — and I am not sure if this was due to the director or the actor, although I suspect the former.   All of the actors seemed very capable and in the case of Janek — his poor performance seemed forced.  Janek (Idris Elba) seemed to have no feelings whatsoever in this film until the very end.  One wondered if he was actually an android in the film.  I must also give honorable mention to two other characters that other critics ignored, Eilizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Fifield (Sean Harris).  If it were not for both their superb acting I honestly don’t think that I would have been so drawn in while watching.

Now on to the bad news:  the plot of this film was horrible and I directly blame Damon Lindeof.  The truth of the matter is that for some ungodly reason (perhaps studio pressure and — just my opinion because I have no proof — perhaps some form of nepotism) it was  decided that he was allowed to change the script originally written by Ridley Scott and Jon Spaihts –two people waaaay more talented.  If you really want to know how big of a hack Mr. Lindeof is (who clearly has no clue about what Alien fans really want), just take a look at that stupid hat he wore at WonderCon 2012.  Need I really say more?

Anyway as I always say, please don’t let my opinion of this film deter you from seeing it as it is certainly worth a few hours of your time.  You should ALWAYS make up your own mind about films, books, or any art form for that matter.  My job is simply to give you a heads up and perhaps shine a small light on the subject matter of which you are interested.

Let me know what you think of my reviews anytime.   In the meantime, please enjoy the imagination of others and always give them mad props for their effort.

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