Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Exorcist


Every decade has a film that absolutely rocks their world. The movie that did the job for the 1970's was "The Exorcist." Not only did it shock audiences at the time, but it continues to now, even 42 years after its original release. I first viewed this masterpiece when I was around 13, and it was way too much to process at the time. Now after watching it again last night, I feel absolutely mind blown by how great the film is. With fantastic performances across the board, a feeling of raw terror that can not be topped, beautiful filming, and powerful messages of redemption and faith, this film is not one to miss.

"The Exorcist" tells the story of a young girl named Regan and her mother Chris. Chris is an actor, and Regan is just about the most adorable girl ever. When the personality of this golden child takes a turn for the worst, Chris must begin a search for a cure, with the help of priest Damien Karras and many, many doctors. 

On the surface, "The Exorcist" seems like a vulgar, dark, and mean spirited movie, and while one could understand this perception, it does not reflect the true meaning of the film at all. This is a story of regaining faith, of being redeemed from sins, and making the ultimate sacrifice for the ones that you care about. This makes the movie one of the most beautiful, yet haunting of the genre.

It blows my mind that there weren't Oscars won for acting(the film won for writing and sound), because the performances in this film were above and beyond by everybody. Linda Blair gave a haunting and painful performance as the lead Regan, and I can only imagine how physically and mentally taxing the role was on her. Ellen Burstyn gave a stressful performance as Chris, because it was apparent that the anguish of her character rubbed off on her. Jason Miller was stellar as Damien, because one could easily tell how many demons the character was going through by Miller's expressions, and his breakdown scenes were frighteningly realistic. Max Von Sydow did a great job as Lankester Merrin, because his lines were spoken like a priest, and the faith coming from them was extremely strong. I actually felt like I was in a mass as he was saying the prayers. This kind of authenticity is very rare in a role like this, and I give him major props for it.

The special effects and cinematography were absolutely gorgeous, and they made everything feel much more realistic. The makeup on Linda Blair was grotesque and frightening, and I felt that it made her character even more convincing. It was interesting to see her become more and more battered as the film went on, as it showed how physically hard this situation was on her. The scenes where her bed was shaking and her head was turning were absolutely terrifying even by today's standards, because they were realistic in a way beyond comfort. The camera shots were pretty impressive, especially the panorama views of the desert. Every scene was intricately done, and it showed the high quality production of the film.

If you are a fan of horror, then you must see "The Exorcist." While "Halloween" is my favorite, this one is only a hair behind as the greatest horror movie that I have ever seen. It was shocking, haunting, and a thrill ride that could not be repeated by any of its rip offs.

Great Reviews to Check Out on YouTube

I haven't been a huge fan of video reviews in the past, because I prefer to see the opinions on words. My opinion was changed after watching a series called "Klimczak's Killer Collection." Hosted by Chas Klimczak, this show takes its viewers through an exciting history of the low key and famous slashers of the past. I always get very pumped when I find a new episode, because they're actually as fun to watch as the movies he's reviewing. While we occasionally(but rarely) disagree, Klimczak always makes the person at least respect his opinion with his professional conviction and knowledge of the genre. I highly recommend giving some of his videos a watch, and there is a link below.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tourist Trap(1979)



More often than not, the truly scary movies that we watch aren't the goriest or most brutal ones, but the films with the eerie atmospheres and bizarre storylines. One of the finest examples of this is a little known gem from the 1970's called "Tourist Trap." Directed by David Schmoeller, and produced by "Puppet Master" creator Charles Band, this film boasts one of the weirdest plots ever, the scariest dolls I have ever seen, great acting, and some truly terrifying scenes of horror. 

In "Tourist Trap," a group of college kids have a car breakdown, and they go on a search to find a tire. While looking, they run into a man named Slausen, and he shows them his wax museum. Things get weird when the mannequins come to life, and it starts a chain of bizarre and terrifying events. The question is, who is the mastermind of these terrors? And will the students make it out alive?

Part of what made "Tourist Trap" freaky was its bizarre nature and characters. The mannequins are some of the scariest things I have ever seen, with their flappy mouths, creepy eyes, and horrible craft. I will have to work very hard to unsee them, because they are images that stick really well. The remainder of the footage is very hallucinogenic, with objects flying, crazy camera shots, and brief slow motion. While the actual scenes of scariness are spread apart, this always makes them all the more effective. The "wax scene" in particular made me uncomfortably frightened much like scenes in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Most horror movies can go without fantastic acting, but this one didn't even make you think twice. Jocelyn Jones showed some serious "Scream Queen" talent with her role of Molly, but she also portrayed intelligence very realistically. The other young actors all did a good job with their characters, and while none of them would've been Oscar winners, I enjoyed their presence on the screen. The real cream of the crop was Chuck Connors as Mr. Slausen. He had the ability of going from an upstanding and normal guy to a creepy and severely insane man in seconds, showing some great diversity in his acting. He had me scared during many times in the movie, and I can't say that often about actors. 

The final climax was very unsettling as the villain was revealed. While I didn't come as a complete surprise to me, the reactions of the characters still made it intense. Following this, there was one of the most bizarre final shots that I have ever seen. The dark comedy of it made me question whether I should laugh or shudder, and it was an amazing ending. 

While "Tourist Trap" is not at the level of "Halloween," it is a very freaky and worthwhile horror flick that I recommend to everyone. So definitely give it a watch, and feel free to comment your reaction below. 



The 80's had their fair share of monster horror flicks, but in 1985, an Italian film by director Lamberto Bava and producer Dario Argento called "Demons" revolutionized the genre. With an exhilarating heavy metal soundtrack, nauseating gore, laughs, and truly scary scenes of terror, this movie scores. 

"Demons" tells the story of a group of people seeing a mysterious horror movie that they were given a free ticket for. As they view it, things become too frightening for many of them to stomach. After one of the attendants is scratched by a mask she was wearing, she slowly turns into a flesh eating demon. As more and more of the people are cursed, the remainders must fight for their survival with no limits. 

A humongous factor to this film's success was its soundtrack. With bands like Motley Crue, Saxon, Accept, Scorpions, and many others, your blood will be rushing because of the adrenalizing tone that the songs bring to the movie. The greatest moment of the film's duration was when "Fast As A Shark" by Accept played as the people were running and biking away from the theater like crazy. It actually felt as if I was there during this scene, because the song brought so much emotional authenticity. 

Italian horror has always been known for being relentless with its graphic violence and gore, and this movie is no exception. With throats being slit, eye gougings, scalpings, dismembering of body parts, and gallons of blood and guts, this movie will nauseate and intrigue simultaneously. To make things even more amazing, the gore does not look dated at all, and it could be a strong competitor to many of the modern horror films. 

Another thing that the writers and Bava did was blend funny scenes with terrifying scenes. Every part with the metal head druggies in their car will have you laughing crazily, and the scenes of threat will actually leave you shaking. This was definitely one of the most successful horror-comedy hybrids, because neither end of the spectrum felt forced in any way. 

As I watched the film, I almost got the same feeling as when I watch "Night of the Living Dead." This stemmed from several plot points throughout. First off, the people of the theater really team up, almost like the protagonists of its predecessor. Second off, the film had an equally shocking ending to Romero's masterpiece. While both movies were very different, it was nice to have that refreshing feeling of watching such an impactful horror film. 

"Demons" is one of the best horror movies I have ever watched. Behind the original "Halloween," it may be my current favorite. I definitely recommend it to all fans of cinema, because it is a piece of art that hasn't been topped by any of its imitators. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Gunnar Hansen Dead at 68...

It is very sad to say that iconic horror star Gunnar Hansen has passed away. He lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on Saturday, and was 68 years old. While the star of many classic horror and scifi movies, he will always been remembered as the frightening killer Leatherface in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Rest in peace...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Evil Dead(1981) Review


Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" tells the story of a group of college kids that rent out a cabin together. While on their vacation, they uncover a tape called "The Book Of The Dead," and it unleashes spirits in the woods that wreak havoc. As the young adults are now possessed, the normal ones must fight for their survival with no limits at all. 

The camera-work of this film was very important to the finished product, because it helped bring a mysterious mood. Cinematographer Tim Philo used the camera to capture the movements of the "Deadites" by doing quick turns and following the characters around. He also used tricks like slow motion very appropriately, making a visual triumph. 

Visual effects and gore are what have given this movie the reputation it has. This NC-17 bloodbath does not hold back on impaling characters, ripping off body parts, and chopping monsters with axes and chainsaws. Even with this brutality, it was done in a way so over the top that it wasn't too dreary. The makeup effects by Tom Sullivan were also gruesome, and the zombies looked convincing and fantastic. 

As I watched "The Evil Dead," I exposed myself to a masterpiece of the horror genre that I would have never expected. With a fantastic performance by Bruce Campbell, scenes that will have you laughing uncontrollably, and others that will leave you psychologically boggled, this movie hit a spot in the heart that not many others could. I totally recommend this film to any fans of horror, because it is truly the canon of its kind. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

RIP Christopher Lee....

It is extremely sad for me to announce the death of my horror hero Christopher Lee. Lee has passed away at age 93, and this news has shook the entire world. He was the actor behind my favorite version of Dracula, amongst many other characters of all genres. He had such a hooking ability to his acting, with a sense of darkness that no one else has matched. I give my regards to his family and friends, and to all of his fans that will never forget this legend of cinema. RIP.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Wizard of Gore Revisited

After watching that scene in "Juno" yesterday, I just had to put on "The Wizard of Gore" for kicks. It was a nice viewing last night, as I understood the movie a little bit more. By no means was it well made in a technical sense. The acting was terrible, and the plot holes were plentiful. Regardless, the film is fascinating in the way the extreme amounts of gore were put in to movie this early on. It is actually one of the bloodiest horror films I have ever watched. The plot itself is also pretty original, and the twists are mind boggling. I totally recommend watching this film, not because it is a masterpiece, but because it is a very important part of horror history, and one heck of a good time. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Wicker Man(2006)


"The Wicker Man"(aka "No Not the Bees") is a 2006 remake of the 1973 masterpiece of the same name. I did not have high standards for this film at all, because I'm not generally a Nicolas Cage fan, and I knew of this movie's terrible reputation. The only reason I own this film is because Amazon sent me it instead of the original by accident. After spending an hour and forty minutes of my time with this schlock, I honestly could not stop laughing. This may be the funniest excuse of cinema I have ever seen, and in an unintentional way. The acting was terrible, the dialogue was about as corny as one could get, and the CGI bees were just horrendous. While the flaws of this movie really docked it down as a horror flick, I definitely enjoyed it as a comedy in every sense. 

The premise of this film revolves around a cop named Edward Malus. He is injured in an explosion right off the bat, and then in the next few minutes he is called upon by his ex-lover Willow to save her missing daughter Rowan. To do this, Edward must travel to an island that is isolated from the rest of the world, and inhabited by a bunch of lunatic women.  I will say that the storyline was pretty awesome, but then I remember that this is a remake, so the plot's greatness doesn't mean squat for this disaster. 

The first curse(or blessing) to this film was the acting. Nicolas Cage didn't surprise me at all with his lackluster performance of 80 minutes monotone and 20 minutes as a completely hilarious lunatic. It makes me scratch my head to think that this same man was an Oscar winner at one point, because he proves to audiences in movies like this that his depth in acting is very very low. I can't say I regret seeing him in this film though, because he honestly gave me the perfect amount of laughter that I needed in my life. I don't even know if Cage realizes how foolish he made himself look in the movie. The women on the island were all very monotone in their performance, and in a sense that was a good and bad thing. In a good sense, it caused more mystery in who they were, but in a bad way it made their dialogue very very dry. 

The dialogue was almost as hysterical as the acting, as it seemed like it was written by a seventh grader. One of the funniest examples is during the climax when the only thing that Cage says is, "B$&@&es" repeatedly. He could've honestly given a memorable line like "A Madhouse" from Planet of the Apes, but no he just spewed out juvenile vulgarities to prove that there was no thought process into making this script. 

The "not the bees" scene/torture scene may be one of the most iconic bad movie scenes I've ever seen, and it's basically the only reason why this movie ever got a 3.  It is the most inappropriately melodramatic yet hilarious thing I have ever seen, and I believe it will go down in history. The bees themselves were terribly created, with cringeworthy CGI to blame. They're not even the reason why this is awesome though. Nicolas Cage's freak out is so funny that I was actually crying from laughing. It is a scene that one has to watch on repeat, because it truly never gets old at all.

Overall, this movie sucks on more levels than any human could imagine. It is one of the laziest efforts I have seen in my entire life, and I don't know how it was released in theaters. At the same time, I could honestly enjoyed laughing at how bad it was. If you do not appreciate watching these awful films, then definitely stay away from this, but if you are in the mood for a laugh, then definitely give it a try because it will do the trick. 

Something Cool I Saw Today..

Today in my ethics class, we were watching a movie called "Juno." While the film isn't in the horror genre, it had a scene where they watched Herschell Gordon Lewis' classic "The Wizard of Gore." I thought this was a really cool thing to do, because the movie is very obscure, and this homage probably gave some exposure to younger audiences. "Juno" itself is a very neat film, and I highly recommend checking it out for this scene and just as a fan of cinema. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Creepshow Revisited

The first time I watched "Creepshow" my mind was blown by the awesome stories. They were tales that would make you laugh and shudder at the same time. I honestly thought this was one of the most entertaining films in the genre. In this second viewing, I enjoyed the movie even more, with the jokes being clearer, and the plots sitting better with me. I honestly feel like this film is going to be one that grows my opinion each time, because it has so many little elements to it that need multiple times to find. I think that the thing that still really stuck out to me though was the effects. Whether it was the colorful comic book banners, or Tom Savini's perfect makeup, everything was as impressive as it could be, and really helped the film stand out in the genre. I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven't before, because it is a treasure of horror cinema, and it is one good time. 

My current listing for best to worst "Creepshow" stories:

1. The Crate
2. Something to Tide You Over
3. Father's Day(my former least favorite
4. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
5. They're Creeping Up On You

Sunday, May 31, 2015

RIP Betsy Palmer

It is very sad news for all fans of horror that Betsy Palmer has passed away at age 88. She was known for her iconic role of Pamela Voorhees in "Friday the 13th," and her convincing and psychotic performance has scared people for decades. I give my regards to her family and friends, and I will see her as an icon forever. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Halloween Revisited.....

Today I was watching the 1978 classic "Halloween" for the fifth or sixth time, and I will honestly say it was the best viewing yet. I felt the masterpiece qualities really kicked in, and I could understand now why it is as renowned as it has been. I have always loved the movie, but this time, it was extra scary, extra complex, and just so much more fun. I have found out that you honestly can't turn away from the screen at all, because you will miss something. Most slasher flicks are extra simple, but this one has little touches to it that make it superior. I can honestly say this is probably my second favorite horror film behind "The Shining," because it truly brings the epic nature to the genre. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Drawing I Made

Here is a portrait I made of one of my favorite horror actors ever. A man that could play any role, in any genre. 

The Pit and the Pendelum(1961)


The movie begins with a man named Francis Barnard coming to the castle of his late sister and her husband Nicholas Medina. His sister Elizabeth has died very suddenly, and Francis wants to know what happened. Nicholas and his younger sister Catherine try to convince Francis that an illness took his sister, but he doesn't buy it at all. The thing that I really love about these scenes was the way that the filming was done. The shots of waterfalls and the castles were absolutely gorgeous, and they show high proficiency for a Corman flick. I also thought that the development of characters started to come off very quickly, and the conflicts could be sensed easily. 

The first thing that impressed me with this movie was the star studded talent in front of and behind the cameras. Vincent Price nails the character of Nicholas with his insane yet often likable personality that makes the viewer want to sympathize with his character. Barbara Steele is the "Queen of gothic horror" in my opinion, and she nails this role by portraying a selfish and sneaky person. Luana Landers is an actress I'm a fan of because of "Dementia 13," and she gave another good performance in this movie as the caring sister of Nicholas. John Kerr was also impressive as the hard and skeptical Francis, and while I'm not very familiar him, I thought he did a great job. The original story of this film came from Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name, so a good plot is basically certain. To make things even better, Richard Matheson adapted the tale into a screenplay, and he did a great job. Being one of the best horror writers ever, I thought he was a fantastic choice for this role, and he added so much to the movie. I also found Roger Corman to be a great director for the film, because he could use his campy style to keep the dialogue moments from being boring, and he had the shock value to make a successful work. 

Being the film movie was made in 1961, there wasn't much gore at all. Despite this, the filmmakers found many ways to make the film creepy. The first way was the psychedelic undertones. Whether it was the changes of screen color, or the paint running down during the intro, it gave an eerie feel, and made the movie all the more cooler. I also felt that the slow increase to the climax helped get the viewer more anxious, because there was no way of predicting what would happen. 

The climax/ending of this movie were absolutely shocking and amazing. The full circle has come through in the mystery, and a chain of sick events begin. As these last 20 plus minutes take place, there is an underlying question of if the endangered characters will survive. This pressure makes things more intense, and the plot twists gave more of an edge. I thought that the last shots of the film were insane, because I was not expecting them at all, and it was very morbid and cool. 

Overall, this is a fun movie to watch about betrayal, revenge, and genuine insanity. While it isn't my all time favorite Price movie ever, it is one of his better, and he gave the performance of the lifetime. I definitely recommend checking it out, as it is a movie of talent, thrills, and chills. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Howling(1981) Revisited

Today I watched "The Howling" again, and I was hoping I could get a better opinion on it. I was pretty neutral with it the first time, and I was hoping I would figure if I liked or disliked it this viewing. What I observed was that the movie has excellent horror scenes, makeup, and a hilarious and spoofy sense of humor. The problem that I saw was the writing at times, because it was a little too silly for me. Overall I  like the movie, but I almost feel like I have to give it another viewing in the future to understand it even more. I definitely wouldn't call it Joe Dante's best work(Piranha), but it is still pretty enjoyable, and worth a watch for sure. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Observation I Made Tonight.....

Today was the first time I had watched any "Friday the 13th" films, and I chose parts 2 and 3. 2 is always a safe pick for me, and it stands as my second favorite of the series. Part 3 has been a bitter one for me, and I had seen it as one of the lesser. Today when I watched it, I decided to try something new, and I watched it in 2D. Honestly with this change, I really saw the film in a whole different perspective, and I liked it much more. 

First off, watching this movie in a normal format made so much less of a headache for me. I didn't have to squint with the blue and red crap on the glasses, and I got to see a clear picture. This made the whole movie(especially the kills) much better looking, and it was a lot more enjoyable. I also felt that watching it in a basic way made it easier to suck up what was happening in the story, instead of only caring about the special effects. 

Overall, I feel that Part 3 is much better than I gave it credit for in the past, and I would movie it's rating up to a 7.5. It is definitely a flawed and cheesy movie, but in a way that is still entertaining. I also feel that the kills are top notch, and Jason's mask became a huge trademark because of this. I definitely recommend the movie film to you all, and I highly recommend staying away from the 3D gimmick. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Paranormal Activity


"Sometimes the things you regret the most are the chances you don't take.."-Unknown.

The above quote has nothing directly to do with "Paranormal Activity," but it is exactly how I felt after watching it. This 2007 film is one that I put off for years with the fear that I was going to hate it. I felt like it had been advertised too much, and that there was only a rave about it because of the whole "Bandwagon" thing. As I sat down to view this for the first time, my expectations were as low as could be. I had seen the positive reviews online, but I was not enthused at all. By the time this 88 minute experience was done, I was mesmerized. "Paranormal Activity" is a rare film, with its greatness being in the works of an extremely small budget. Oren Peli made all of the right choices with the film, including perfect scare techniques, a great cast, and awesome techniques as a director. I personally thought this was one of the finest horror movies of the 21st century. 

The story follows a young couple named Katie and Micah. The two of them are mildly concerned, because paranormal terrorizing has come back into Katie's life, and is starting to take the house over. Micah begins to tape their room at night, and they begin to see these occurrences happen. Right away, they call a specialist named Dr. Frederichs. Frederichs senses something wrong instantly, and suspects it may be a demon. He unveiled that the house isn't the problem, but Katie herself is being followed. Sadly, this practice is out of the man's field, but he recommends a demonologist named Dr. Avery. Micah is very against this, because he wants to take care of the problems by himself. As a result, the hauntings become worse and worse, until both of their lives become hell, and their fate becomes unknown.

The first thing that I loved about this film was the cast. Katie Featherston was very good in the role of Katie, because she made the anger and frustrations in her character come to life. Micah Sloat was awesome as Micah, because he really played a role that you could see being him in real life. He could portray a laid back coolness, or a freaked out hysteria in the matter of seconds. Mark Frederichs was good as Dr Frederichs, because he didn't make himself likable, which worked for the unreliable nature of his role. 

The movie was shot in found footage, and although I usually dislike that technique, it worked really well for this film. I thought that it gave more of the feel that what was happening was real, and added to the freakiness of scenes. I think the reason it worked in this movie was that it was shot at home, rather than in a less appropriate place like the woods. When the characters are asleep or doing casual actions(like in the film), it is much easy to keep a steady filming. In others where there is a lot of running in a big space, the camera becomes too shaky, which makes it annoying. 

As if watched the movie, I was trying to compare it to others in the supernatural genre to see what was good and bad. One of the film's that came up the most in comparison was "The Amityville Horror." This movie is not one I'm a fan of, and I felt that "Paranormal Activity" succeeded in everything that the former failed to do. Both films had a gradual increase with each occurrence to make it freakier, but the problem with "Amityville" was that it's peak was nothing spectacular at all, and it fell back to its happy go lucky nature in seconds. "Paranormal Activity" knew how to keep going with its increase until it completely shocked you, and it never went back down. I thought that this made the movie genuinely scary, because it made you wait a very long time for the payoff, but when it came it was something more than imagination could withhold. 

The DVD I bought for this film gave the option of watching two different endings to the movie. The theatrical one was perfect in my eyes, because it left a lot of mystery as to what was happening. The alternate one was much weaker in my opinion, because it went too far with its violence, and took away from the nature of the film's intended horror. I thought that it also took away any questioning as to what was occurring, because it was all on screen. I feel that the conclusion that was shown to the public was the right decision, and was part of the eventual success. 

Overall, this movie was really great. It was a smart, scary, and enjoyable film that will become a classic one day. I thought it was probably the greatest paranormal movie I've seen thus far, because of its fresh tactics in scares. I definitely recommend this to all horror fans, because it is dark and exciting, and something that you will never forget.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

From Dusk Till Dawn


"From Dusk To Dawn" is a 1996 horror/action film directed by Robert Rodriguez, and written by legend Quentin Tarantino. It has been a cult classic ever since its release, and is a notable work by both critics and horror fans. I personally love the movie for its sharp wit, crazy battle scenes, and awesome acting.

The movie begins in a gas station where a cop and cashier talk. At first the conversation is about the hot weather, but it goes to the subject of two bank robbers known as the "Gecko brothers." The cashier then shows the cop to the bathroom, and while alone, the two criminal's pop up with women they have as hostage. The men try to keep the cashier quiet, but he fails to do this so the brothers kill both men. I thought this beginning was amazing, because it set the viewer up for craziness, and it was extremely well done. 

On the other side of the story, we meet the Fuller family. The father of this family is named Jacob, and he is a former pastor that has lost his faith in God since the death of his daughter Jen. The family is then kidnapped by the Gecko brothers, and are led on the road. Everyone stops at a club, and they are exposed to vampires. The rest of the movie is the battle between these monsters, and a fight to survive. 

The thing that struck me the most about "From Dusk Till Dawn" was how diverse of a movie it was. There was moments where it was a crime/action film, with intense shootouts and heists, there were hilarious moments of comedy throughout the whole thing, and there also some terrifying scenes of horror. This really contributed to the greatness of the movie, because it made things stay interesting. 

The cast was really awesome, because there was a lot of witty performers that could also be intense. George Clooney was my personal favorite as Seth Gecko. There were moments where he had me laughing with his sharp sense of how to say a funny line, but then there were also moments that the viewer could see the pain he was feeling because of bad events. Quentin Tarantino was pretty awesome as Richard Gecko, because he really played a psycho well, and was also hilarious in doing so. Harvey Keitel was pretty neat as Jacob, because he was likable, yet stern at the same time. You could really sense the decency that he portrayed in the character, and it was very realistic when seeing him struggle with his faith. Juliette Lewis did a good job as Kate Fuller, because she was a character that was easy to be sympathetic for, yet she had a toughness about her that was good for the female lead. Ernest Liu was pretty cool as Scott Fuller, because he just gave a simple performance as a likable guy, and he did it well. I thought that the cameos were pretty awesome, including Salma Hayek in her most seductive performance ever, Tom Savini in a hilarious and heroic role, Cheech Marin as three funny characters, and Danny Trejo as a bartender. 

The special effects in this film were pretty crazy, and in the style of a classic B-Movie. The gore was plentiful; coming from both the humans and vampires. It looked very fake, but was cool regardless, and made the movie one of the bloodiest I've ever seen. The makeup of the vampires was pretty weird, and looked unlike from any I've seen before. The prosthetics were very well done, and I give major credit to the specialists. Outside of the horror effects, there were also some very nice action ones too, including humongous explosions. 

The climax of the film was really intense, with a humongous showdown between the vampires and humans. It is known by the characters that some of them won't make it, but they will stick together until the end. I loved how this showed a redemption in the character of Seth, because instead of being the ruthless criminal, he was actually starting to care for the others. In these scenes, there were a lot of shocking deaths of certain characters, and each one was painful to witness. The ending itself was very good, because it wasn't exactly what I expected, and it left the audience on a note for interpretation. 

This movie is definitely worth the time of every movie buff. It is exciting, hilarious, and horrific all at the same time. I personally find this to be one of the coolest movies ever, and I promise that it will not disappoint. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Hitcher(2007)


"The Hitcher" is a 2007 remake of the 1986 classic with C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer. It hasn't always been loved by fans of the genre, but I personally like it. There was a lot of impressive action and plot twists, and while it wasn't a masterpiece, it was a fun flick to give an adrenaline rush. 

The movie begins by introducing a teenage couple named Grace and Jim. The two are driving to New Mexico for spring break. This scene is good, because it gives the necessary meeting of the main characters, and even though they don't say a whole bunch, they have likable personalities. 

When the night comes, things get strange as a hitchhiker stands in the middle the road, and almost gets hit by their car. The duo drives away quick out of fear, and stops at a gas station. At this stop, they run into the hitcher, and apologize and give him a ride. As they drive, the man gets stranger and stranger, and he then puts a knife up to Grace. After this, the trip intended to be fun becomes a living hell, and the two have to fight for their lives. 

The main characters of this movie were all cast extremely well, because they all got into the roles so much that the viewer forgets it was a movie. Sophia Bush kicked butt as Grace, because in the beginning she gave a weak performance, but then became a very tough and awesome girl. Zachary Knighton was good as Jim, because he was a very likable guy, and he made the audience feel for him a lot. Sean Bean gave an extremely dark, and horrifying performance as "The Hitcher." He made the sadist nature of his character seem so real, and was the ultimate bad guy. He definitely did the Rutgers Hauer role it's Justice. 

The strongest part of the film for me was the action. This movie was a high octane, brutal, and gory thrill ride that sometimes made the viewer cringe. There were stabbings, slit throats, shootings, and one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen(yet I will not explain it for spoiler reasons). I loved the look of all the gore effects, because they were very realistic, unlike many films of recent times. 

The last 25 minutes of the movie were absolutely thrilling, because the chains of events that took place were insane, with a huge twist to top them off. After this scene, things went crazy as the surviving characters had the ultimate showdown with this horrible person. I thought that the ending was very good, although it was pretty predictable. 

The only weakness of the movie was some stupid plot elements. This is kind of typical for a Michael Bay movie, and they were just small little things that didn't add up. The main problem was the arresting of the couple. It could've worked, if Jim hadn't been sitting in the car trying to save the injured man. I think it was really dumb for this to happen, because no murderer would just stay with their crime. This definitely didn't hurt the movie much for me, but it was just something that made me scratch my head. 

Overall, "The Hitcher" is a really good movie. It has an energy to it that isn't found often nowadays, and for the most part it was well made too. It was also a well done remake, because it stayed true to the original, while putting some twists in too. I definitely recommend this to horror fans, because it is an underrated film that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. 

Deep Red


"Deep Red" is a 1975 Giallo classic from director Dario Argento. It was definitely one of his masterpieces, because it was one of the thought provoking film's of history. Critics and audiences have loved it since its release, and now I can be added to the fan club. 

The movie begins very dark, as a shadowy stabbing is shown accompanied by screams. This particular scene was very sick, because there was classical music, and it was a quick and disturbing moment. The story then proceeded to a lecture about telepathy, where psychic Helga Ullman talks about the nature of her powers. As she speaks, she then begins to convulse, as she senses a murderer in the crowd. This scene was very creepy, because it foreshadowed a possible explanation to what was happening in the very beginning.

Sadly, Helga was correct, and she is murdered by a mysterious figure with black leather gloves. The two witnesses to this incident were a man named Marcus Daly, and his friend Carlo. Marcus is a jazz pianist, and he was actually a neighbor to this lady. He tries to run up and save her, but she was already dead. One of the things that Daly noticed was that there were paintings were missing from Ullman's wall. After this first clue, he begins to investigate this murder; while a chain of other horrific events take place. 

"Deep Red" was such a smart movie in all aspects. I loved that rather than being a slice and dice movie, it also added some great mystery, and a thought provoking depiction of terror. I thought the way that Marcus found the paintings of the stabbing all over was pretty brilliant, because it was a great clue for him to find, and it was also pretty disturbing. It was also very neat that there was no way of guessing who the killer was. In most films, there is at least a slight idea, but in this one, there are so many twists that there was no way of knowing until the exact revelation. The movie had so many different ways of scaring the audience. Whether it was moving dolls, creepy noises, dead bodies, or horrendous murders, it had them all. I thought that simply all of these plot aspects were things that set the film apart from many others of the time. 

The camera work in the movie was absolutely brilliant. It had a way of moving with the audience, instead of just being in one place. I thought this added to the creepiness of the atmosphere, because it always felt like someone was stalking the characters. I also loved some of the close up shots, because they were very intricately done, and were a big factor of the work being a masterpiece. 

I personally found the cast to be absolutely perfect for the film. David Hemmings was such an outstanding lead as Marcus, because he had a great way of delivering his lines, and had such an awesome sense of how to convey his emotions. I could personally believe that every single thing that happened to him was completely real. Daria Nicolodi was very good as the female lead of the movie Gianna. She did a great job of clashing with Hemmings, because they could both be very stubborn, and she was just enough to set him off. Gabriele Lavia did a pretty awesome job as Carlo, because he could be very witty with his personality, or shift to a certain darkness. I felt that he made himself such an easy person to follow, and the audience grew to love or hate him, even if he was on screen for only twenty minutes. Clara Calamai was pretty stellar as Martha, because she was a seemingly sweet old lady, but she also conveyed a different side to herself. I liked her, because she had a great way of changing herself from time to time, and doing it very realistically. 

The film has had a reputation for being one of the most graphic films of its time, and I could probably vouch for that. There were definitely some gruesome and gory scenes, and they had a brutal nature of sound effects and movements. I thought that the most horrid scene was the hot water scene, because it was so sadistic, and the aftermath was ugly as could be. Even though recent times has way more gore, this one had a balance that made things much more realistic, which made a more terrifying feeling in my opinion. 

The movie's ending was absolutely brilliant, because there was a certain person that was thought to be the killer, but the facts don't add up, so Marcus looks around more. When he actually finds the culprit, the viewer's mind is blown, because it would've never occurred in their mind that this person could do this. I personally found this to be one of the most shocking and awesome endings in history, because it made my head turn. 

"Deep Red" is definitely a movie that every fan of cinema should check out. It is shocking, interesting, and one of the technically best movies of all time. Dario Argento really out did himself with this, and once again proved that Italian horror is the best horror. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

RIP Tom Towles

I just saw news that horror actor Tom Towles has passed away at age 65. I just recently reviewed his version of "Night of the Living Dead" two days ago, and I'm very upset at the coincidence. I wish all of my condolences to his family and friends, and all of the grieving fans. 

The Driller Killer


"The Driller Killer" was an infamous B-Movie from 1979. It was controversial at its time for its graphic and morbid violence, and was originally cut down greatly from its original form. In recent times, an unrated version has come out, and viewers got to relive the horrors that plagued society for decades. While the movie has become a sort of an obscurity with audiences, it was met with positive reviews by critics, and definitely still has some fan base. I personally loved the movie, for its crazy scenes, good acting(by the majority of the cast), and it's ruthless portrayal of urban life. 

The movie begins in a church, where two men are worshipping. One of the men named Reno approaches the other, and the other man has Reno's name and phone number on paper. Reno doesn't know what do at this point, and things become even weirder as the man grabs his hand. Reno then runs out of the church with his girlfriend Carol, and they take a ride in a limo to a club. After a night of punk music and partying, the couple goes to their apartment that they share with Pamela; Carol's other lover. Reno becomes very angry when everyone wakes up in the morning, as he looks at the multitude of money he owes in bills. I thought this beginning was all very well done, because it gave mild suspense, and some awesome character development. 

The trio begins to figure out that this financial trouble is going to put them on the streets, and they need to do something quick. Reno is an artist, and he is currently working on his best work, which at this point is the big defining piece of their standard of living. He tries to get a loan from his art dealer, but is denied, so he has to be done even faster. Tensions start to grow in his life with these troubles, and a growing anger at his new punk rocker neighbors. All of this leads for the once laid back man to become, "The Driller Killer."

The movie was pretty great, because it took liberties at its time to be one of the most disgusting and shocking film up to that point. It showed a brutal and merciless look at the madness of Reno, which included some really wild murder scenes, and a lot of gore. I was honestly not expecting this at all, being the movie was made in 1979, and the surprise was very pleasant. As long as you watch the unrated cut, then you are guaranteed for one of the most craziest films of the decade. 

Another thing that was shown very well was a sad and dark look at urban life. The movie offered themes of the rough downtown area like gangs, drugs, the homeless, etc, and didn't hold back on making it harsh. One of the saddest scenes to watch is when a homeless man is sleeping on the sidewalk, and he pukes in his own sleep. I thought that what this overall theme did was get the viewer more emotionally prepared for the horrible nature of what happens in the latter half of the film. 

The motives for Reno becoming a killer were never truly explored, as it comes up between his anger between a band and his bills(without killing the band or the landlord). What I hypothesize is that all of these pressures in his life drove him to complete insanity, and he didn't care about who he killed, nor did he fully process what he was actually doing. I thought this was a pretty haunting idea, because in the beginning, Reno seemed rough around the edges, but never would I have seen him to be a murderer. 

The movie's cast was good for the most part, as it showed a lot of raw emotion.  Abel Ferrara was amazing in the lead role Reno, because he had a very rough way about him. His scenes of insane meltdowns were pretty terrifying, and his portrayal as a murderer was so real, that I would keep an eye on him in real life. Carolyn Marz was good as Carol, because she didn't overplay or underplay the role of Reno's girlfriend. There were some awesome scenes of her just flipping out, and I was extremely convinced of her feelings. I really didn't like Baybi Day as Pamela, because she was really annoying, and while I understood that she was trying to act like a person that was quite fried out from drugs, it wasn't a good job by her, and she was my least favorite cast member for sure.  Harry Schultz II was good as Dalton, because he had a very jerky way about him, which was completely necessary for the character that possibly pushed Reno over the edge. 

One of the main parts of the movie was punk music, being Reno's neighbor was a band called the Roosters. While the singers were notoriously(and hilariously) bad, I found the songs to actually be somewhat catchy. Once again, I thought that the punk style brought a lot more realism to the condition of this time, and it was a very nice addition. 

The film's ending was quite shocking, and I loved how as a surprise event happened, all of the dialogue and such were to a black screen. This made a much more haunting feel for me, because the viewer never saw what truly happened.  This was the perfect ending of the movie, rather than some cheesy conclusion, and I thought it was a very mature decision from the filmmakers. 

The only thing that could've been changed was the occasional slow pacing. It didn't bother me a whole bunch, because I found the surrounding plot lines interesting, but some viewers may be turned off by it. 

"The Driller Killer" is definitely an important film for all horror fans to watch. It was a brutal, realistic, and controversial movie that was much more important to its time than people realize. While it wasn't a high caliber masterpiece like "The Shining," it was definitely an awesome movie, and I recommend it highly. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Night of the Living Dead(1990)


The movie began identically to the 1968 version, with siblings Barbara and Johnnie. The two are going to a cemetery to visit their mother, and Johnnie torments Barbara with jokes. While with the grave, the family sees a mysterious old man coming at them. This man, and another that suddenly appears are zombies. Johnnie is killed while trying to fight it off, but Barbara escapes. She finds an old abandoned house, and is attacked by multiple other zombies. To her luck, a man named Ben and her are able to fight them off. Personally, I loved how the intro was executed, because it had the same shock as the original, and was very well done.  

The rest of the movie showcases the battle that Ben, Barbara, Tom, Judy, and the Cooper family have with the zombies. In order to be successful, they have to learn to put their angers toward each other aside, and become a team. None of them know their fate, and this leaves the audience on the edge of their seats right up until the end. 

The first thing that I absolutely loved about this movie was the makeup by director Tom Savini. The zombies looked great, with realistic blood and prosthetics. I think that this was a huge improvement from the original, because rather than looking just like drunk guys, the zombies were pretty scary and neat. Savini had said before that he involved himself in this because he had never gotten to do the original, and he definitely did great justice in his dream.

The cast was all very awesome, and while some people were hard to like because of the original, some were also actually better. To start things off, Patricia Tallman was far better in the role of Barbara than Judith O'Dea. My reasoning for this is that rather than being the wimpy, annoying, stereotype of a woman, Tallman turned the character into a Sarah Connor of sorts, and she kicked so much butt. She was also much more likable than the other characters, because she helped other people; rather than just helping herself. Tony Todd was pretty great as Ben, and I have such a hard time of putting him and Ariane Jones up against each other that I will call them equal. I thought that the both of them were very tough guys in the role, but I loved how Todd gave a little bit more of a dark insanity in the end. Tom Towles was nowhere near Karl Hardman in the role of Harry Cooper. In the original, the character was definitely a jerk, but there was a subtlety to the character that made the character watchable. In the remake, Towles overplayed the character way too much, and turned him into a spazzy monster. While this worked out in the ending, he really annoyed me for the majority of the film.  I thought that McKee Anderson was a huge improvement in the remake for the character of Helen Cooper. My reason for believing this was that she added a lot more life to the character, instead of the bystander of the original. Even though the character of Karen Cooper really doesn't have any speaking lines, she was probably the most iconic character of the original. In the remake, her name was changed to Sarah, and she was not nearly as scary. Heather Mazur had better makeup effects in her favor, but she lacked the same demonic nature of Kyra Schon. I really liked William Butler as Tom in this film, because was much more likable, and a more prominent role too. Katie Finneran was also better as Judy in this one, because she had much depth to her acting. Finally, Bill Moseley as Johnnie was pretty awesome, because he was very satirical and creepy, even though he was only in the movie for about a minute. 

While this version lacks the graininess and black and white aspects, I felt that their was much more intensity and scary moments. This was because the zombies were much more threatening as the villains, and there was much more tension between the leads. I think that this was a good move, because even though the original was revolutionary with its content, this was a refreshing addition for the new times. 

The movie's ending was completely different than the original, and I thought this was a great move. The 1968 version probably has one my favorite conclusions ever, because of its shocking and merciless nature. This changed very much, because even though there was still a definite darkness and brutal nature, things weren't completely sad. One surprise character survived, and showed that they were strong enough to make it. Also in this sequence, a very sad message is portrayed when the viewer is shown zombies being lynched and tortured as the humans laugh and enjoy it. Even though the monsters definitely needed to be disposed of, they deserved some dignity because it wasn't their fault that they were this way. I was particularly disturbed by this, because it seemed like a social statement of not stooping to an equal or lower level as someone that has hurt you or your loved ones. The film then ended very respectfully, with the same grainy and psychedelic style of credits. I loved the nostalgia of this, because it showed that the filmmakers really had a love for the movie. 

Overall, I thought this was the best remake that has ever been made. Many critics and horror fans called it unnecessary, but I think it was a great shining moment of the genre. The original film has been in my top 5 for a very long time, so I was very skeptical on how much I would like this. In the end, it showed me how much this was needed. I love the original for what it was, but a modern remix was a great idea, because there were so many more resources to be used. In addition to that, I felt that many flaws of the original were even improved on. So definitely check out this movie before jumping on the bandwagon that it is dumb, because you will be very surprised, and not disappointed at all. 



After "Jaws" blew the minds of audiences in 1975, the movie business jumped right on to the idea of knockoffs for extra cash. Whether it was "Orca" or one of the other titles, a lot of them got a lukewarm reception. The first one to truly be loved by critics and audiences alike was the 1978 classic "Piranha." Directed by Joe Dante, and produced by legend Roger Corman, the movie has become one of the all time cult classics. I personally liked the film a lot, because of its cool story, great gore, and awesome cast. 

The movie began with a couple named David and Barbara wandering while on vacation. They find a nice body if water, and decide to go for a swim. While doing this, they begin to feel bites. At first it is thought to be a prank, but they end up being killed by piranhas. I honestly laughed really hard at this scene, because it really showed the beginning of the "Jaws" spoofing. I thought it was a very fun intro, and it worked super well. 

The movie goes forward in time as Maggie and Paul look for the two of them. The two of them find the body of water, and decide to empty it to see if their friends are in it. While trying to do this, a man panic and attacks them. Regardless, they still get the job done, and find a skeleton. As this goes on, the crazy man from before hi-jacks their jeep, and crashes it. With the fact that this man was injured badly, the two try to find some medical help for him by journeying through the area. What they never expected was what lied in the water, and the fate that they had in the near future. 

One of the great things about this movie was its tone in direction by Joe Dante. There was a good balance between darkness, and lighthearted scenes, and it kept the viewer from boredom. Even in the most gruesome scenes, there was still a little feeling of spoofiness, so even though it is pretty gross, it doesn't make one feel horrible. I thought that Dante did this very well, as he has in other films like "The Howling," and "Gremlins."

The actual piranha attacks were surprisingly well done for the B-Movie budget. Almost a copy of the "Jaws" kills, there were multiple graphic scenes of mauling by the fish, and blood filled the water. I liked this a lot, because it was giving the horror lover their gore without being unrealistically over the top. The only complaint I could make is that after seeing a couple of the kills, then you've basically seen all of them in one form. In other words, I just wish their was some more original kills that could've shocked the audience more. 

In the aspect of acting, the movie was pretty good. There were likable members in the cast, and they gave great B-Movie cheesiness in their performances. Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies both did very well as Paul and Maggie, because they had a great connection with each other, and they were also able to do well as individuals. It was nice to see Barbara Steele in the movie, because she is one of my favorite horror actresses ever. I thought that she gave a very cool performance, and while she wasn't as crazy as usual, she gave a different vibe that really worked. One of my favorite Joe Dante regulars was in the movie, and this was Dick Miller. Miller gave a very funny performance as usual, and served as one of the really likable people throughout the film.

The film's score was mediocre at best, because there were some awesome moments, but others that were terrible. I really liked the music before the attacks, because it was very high pressure, and kind of sounded like "Halloween." It set itself apart from "Jaws," because it didn't steal the subtlety of the latter film, and they made their own thing work. The moments I didn't like we're the mellow acoustic songs, because it gave the film a very cheesy TV-Movie type of feel.  While this aspect didn't "ruin" the film, it definitely did get mildly obnoxious at times. 

The cinematography of the movie was pretty awesome, because much like "Jaws," there were some innovative shots in the water, and they gave a whole different perspective on what was happening. There were sometimes where the camera would come up from under the person, almost like the piranhas were in reality. I thought this gave a cool first-person view from the fish.  One of the overall coolest frames was when a piranha attacked one of the scuba divers. In this scene, the camera looked straight at the person's face, and the camera got closer and closer to simulate the killer fish. It was a very effective moment in my opinion, and helped the film be more technically masterful. 

About 20 minutes until the end of the movie, things become insane! The piranhas go wild, and eat every person that they can get a hold of. This is a bloody, intense, and awesome scene, and it caught me by surprise. On the other side of the story, Paul and Maggie are trying to escape, and they find an abandoned building. Paul decides to go into the water, and sneak through the bottom entrance. The ending that came in the near future had me quite shocked, and I liked it a lot for its over the top nature.

"Piranha" was a very fun, shocking, and well made movie of the 1970's. It had all of the elements needed for a horror movie, and I definitely recommend it to fans of the genre. The film was definitely better than Dante's other classic "The Howling," and it is much easier to follow. Definitely give this film a watch, because you will not be disappointed.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Introducing Horror to Family

Today I felt in the mood to show my brothers a good horror movie. I have shown one of them "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "Alien" before, but the other is too young for any of those. I decided to find something tame to start him off, and I picked the 1958 classic "Horror of Dracula." I hope that on this day, he will start to get a growing appreciation for the genre, because it will be really fun. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Silence of the Lambs


"If Catherine lives, will the lambs stop screaming?"- Hannibal Lecter...

In 1991, cinema history was changed forever with a film so disturbing, and so iconic that the horror genre got a whole different mold, and the name Hannibal Lecter became a household name. "Silence of the Lambs" is a movie based off the 1988 novel of the same name.  It has been lauded by both critics and audiences since right after its release, and is still known as one of the best movies ever. I personally love it too, for its unique portrayal of scares, it's realism, and the amazing cast. 

The movie begins at a training camp for the FBI, and we see Clarice Starling running in the woods. She is then brought aside by her leader, and is told that she has her first assignment; an interview with Hannibal Lecter. According to Crawford, Hannibal is a former psychiatrist that was out away in the asylum because of his cannibalism and insanity. The reason they need Clarice to try to talk to him is that he won't cooperate with anyone else. During the interview, Clarice begins to ask Hannibal about Buffalo Bill; a serial killer that takes the skin off of his female victims. He doesn't exactly take this well, and sends her off without letting her do the test she needed. The one thing that he does do to help is give her a lead to one of his old patients so she can talk to her. This beginning was quite brilliant, because the viewer really gets to know the characters somewhat, and it was very suspenseful. 

On the journey to find Moffatt, Clarice goes to an old storage facility that is allegedly hers. In this place, many strange objects are found, including mannequins, and an abandoned car. Much to her surprise, this person is fake, and the garage was rented by Hannibal. This was revealed when a head of a man in heavy makeup is seen. Hannibal tells her that this man was a patient of his, and a cross dresser. Benjamin had been murdered, but not by Hannibal. Lecter then offers a psychological examination of Buffalo Bill, on the condition that Clarice gets her moved. Times get desperate as more another murder took place, and they grant the offer to Hannibal. In the rest of the movie, the journey to catch Buffalo Bill heightens, as he strikes again with a woman. Will they be able to save her? Or will it be too late. 

"Silence of the Lambs" has a lot of amazing things about it, but the most striking quality in its favor was how gritty and realistic it was.  Every scene had this, and it made me feel like I was actually there. This worked very well, because it made me more engaged, and I cared for the characters more. One of the scenes(without giving away spoilers to a more important scene) that show this well is the autopsy. In it, you can almost smell the dead body because of how bad it reeked for the officers, and you can feel the pain and anguish that Clarice goes through as she analyzes what happened. The way that these scenes played with the sense was just brilliant, because it gave a whole dimension of viewing, and is why the movie is still considered one of the best ever. 

The next amazing part of the film(that won two Oscars) was the casting. To begin with, Jodie Foster gave a very strong and likable performance as Clarice. Watching her, you could tell that she had at least some connection to the character, because her emotions were on point, and she molded into a whole different person. She was a perfect person too, because she is tougher in real life, and that was the absolute essential for the character. Her Oscar was definitely deserved, because you could tell that she put every drop of sweat, blood, and tears into the portrayal. The other Academy Award winner was Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal. Hopkins did such a perfect job, because he really let himself become the psychopath, and he had the ability of going from a kind man to a complete monster. His delivery of lines was absolutely flawless too, as he gave a feeling of brilliance in every word. The last reason why he was awesome as the deathly look he could give with his eyes, because it was extremely terrifying, and has become a staple to the film's possibility since. One of the most underrated actors in the film for me was Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. His performance as the killer was the scariest of the film, because he had such a mocking way about him to torture the souls of his victim. It was really neat how you could see Levine convey the pain that Bill had from his past abuse from others, especially in the scene where his dog "Precious" was injured. He really showed that this elevated the insanity even more, and it was heartbreaking to watch. Scott Glenn was pretty good in the role of Crawford, because he made sure that he gave a likable feel to the character, yet could also be stern too. I thought that Brooke Smith was pretty great as Catherine, because even though she was the victim, Smith made it hard to feel sympathy for her, because of her horrible personality. I thought this was a smart twist to the typical storyline, because even though we want her to live, no one truly loves the character. 

 Surprisingly, this film was barely violent at all(except two scenes with blood).  Regardless, this movie has different ways of being scary. The first is a true suspense of not knowing what is going to happen. Right up until the end, there is the potential of danger in every character's life, and it really does get freaky. The next thing is just simply the subject matter. Even though none of these things are shown on screen, the ideas of cannibalism, skinning, and insanity give a much tenser feel, and almost a smidgen of disgust. This wasn't my first viewing of the movie, and honestly it gets more intense every time. 

The climax was pretty amazing in my opinion, as time grew shorter for saving Catherine. Things become very high-octane, and the final result is not expectable at all. The best part of the last twenty minutes is the night-vision goggle scene, which like the closet part in "Halloween" has gone down in history as one of the best horror moments ever. The ending itself was shocking in its own way too, because it leaves the viewer with a very dark foreshadowing of the future. I thought that while it was simple, it was 100% appropriate for the storyline. 

Overall, "Silence of the Lambs" is one of the best movies I've ever seen. It is extremely intense, well acted, and masterfully made. It deserved every Oscar it got, and maybe even deserved more. Every fan of cinema needs to see this film, because it is one of the greatest installments in the psychological horror genre. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Last Dinner: A Short Film


This morning, I was contacted by a writer/director named Steve Lanthripp to watch his short film called "The Last Dinner." I had never heard about the clip before and had no pre-judgement about how it would be. In the end, I was completely shocked by it for its morbid sense of humor.

The video starts with a man named Johnathan breaking up with his girlfriend Tina. Tina immediately demands an explanation from him, and he gives the whole "you're not the same person you were when I met you, because you were full of life then" story. The girl becomes very mad and asks if there is someone else.  What is revealed in the next few minutes was a twist shocking enough to make one's head spin.

The short was all around great, with awesome acting, great writing, impressive editing, and an amazing sense of macabre humor. I honestly didn't know how to react the first time I watched the movie, but on the second viewing it sinked in, and I laughed very hard. It had the feel of "Creepshow" and "Tales of the Crypt," in the way that you get a whole bunch of meaning out of one small clip. I honestly would love to see it be put in a compilation of clips, because it would do very well. I can't wait to see more work by Lanthripp, because his skills are quite plentiful, and I see a bright future ahead for him. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Howling


In 1981, "The Howling" was released. The movie was from director Joe Dante, and starred a superb cast.  Ever since its release, this movie has been one of the most famous in the horror genre.  I thought the movie was fun for its climax and related scenes, but also saw multiple flaws too. 

The movie begins during a news show, where anchor Karen White. White is currently scared, because she is being stalked by a serial killer.  She decides to help the police out by going to see this man named Eddie in an adult theater. While there, Eddie tries to assault her, and he is killed by the police. After this event, Karen gets amnesia, and is also very scarred. As a form of treatment, her therapist sends her and her husband Bill off to an area called "The Colony."  This beginning was quite good, because it had a shady nature, and it develops the characters well; especially Karen.

After the arrival to their destination, the couple meet a lot of strange people at the resort. There is Erle, whom is a troubled old man that attempts to kill himself in the fire all the time. There is also a girl named Marsha, whom is a beautiful yet bizarre girl that tries to make advances on Bill. Being he is faithful man to his wife, Bill turns her down multiple times.  One time after leaving Marsha's house, Bill is attacked by a werewolf, and after this, a whole chain of terrors begin, until the climax of a lifetime....

The first thing that I loved about this movie was its cast. Dee Wallace was superb as Karen, because she was tough and lovable, and strikingly beautiful in all ways possible. She gave the character the edge that it needed, and in my opinion completed her best performance ever. Christopher Stone did a fair job as Karen's husband Bill, because he had a hard way about him, which eventually became an uncontrollable monstrosity in himself. Dennis Dugan really excelled as Chris, because he had the right amount of internal strength in his performance that the viewer could believe that he would complete the actions he did. Elisabeth Brooks was pretty awesome as Marsha, because she had such a bizarre and seductive way about her, and she ended up playing the evil role very convincingly. The last standout of the movie was Belinda Balaski as Terri, because her scenes where she was in danger were so realistically portrayed that I cringed from her screams. She honestly knew everything that was needed to be done to seem freaked out, and made some of the most memorable scenes of the movie. 

I thought that the special effects had their good and bad moments throughout the film. The scenes where puppetry and costumes were used were pretty awesome, because the wolves looked very inhumane and freaky. On the other hand, the brief scene of animation for the wolves was absolutely terrible, and one of the cheesiest things I have ever seen. The smoke used throughout the film was a nice touch, because it gave an eerie feeling to the whole movie, and was very well executed. The gore effects were also very nice, because the blood looked real, and wasn't too excessive. The one other bad special effect was a couple of the transformation scenes, because they went way too long. What was meant to be scary with this ended up being goofy and almost boring, because there was close to a minute of watching the human turn into a wolf. This didn't effect my opinion of the movie too much, but at the moment it was happening I was pretty annoyed. 

I thought that while certain moments of the film got slow, there was still a grittiness that kept it watchable. Seeing the realistic portrayal of these simple people of "The Colony" was nice, because instead of just hearing dialogue from them, the viewer also gets to see their customs in life, and their interactions with outsiders. 

The climax of the movie was so much different than I expected, and it really kicked butt. It was brutal, suspenseful, and at times completely terrifying. This last twenty-twenty five minutes amped the movie up way higher than before, and it may be one of the greatest scenes ever. The ending itself was also very crazy, because it was a sad idea, yet there is something humorous about it in a way. 

Overall, this movie was not the best I've ever seen, but it was still very good. There were some truly fun moments, and a great cast. I think that certain aspects like the special effects needed more effort, but looking past them opens to the doors to a werewolp film with lots of bite.  



When George Romero and Stephen King team up, one could expect something pretty cool. In 1982, this miracle actually took place, leading to the creation of "Creepshow."  The final product was something better than I could've ever imagined. It was a film of humor, and horrors that only a genius could imagine.  Being the "Heavy Metal" of live action, it is an anthology movie, and definitely the best of them all. 

The movie begins on a dark and stormy night. A young boy named Billy is seen being disciplined harshly by his father for having a horror comic book called "Creepshow." The boy is very upset by this, because the horror genre is very much his love. As he looks out the window, a ghoul looks right at him, and the opening credits begin. Personally, I thought this was great, because I can connect with Billy's passion for horror, and one feels a lot of sympathy for him. The intro credits were also awesome, because of the snazzy animation, and spooky music. 

The rest of the film is an anthology that includes five horror stories with black comedy. It is meant to go through the very comic book that Billy's father threw away, and the stories were all either written for the movie, or adaptations of Stephen King's short stories.  I thought this was very cool, because it saved us from being bored by one plot the whole time, and gave a 5 in 1 deal. 

1. Father's Day: I thought that "Father's Day" was a very good story, because it gave a lot of good horror moments, while also being hilarious because of its morbid elements. It basically tells the story of a man rising from the dead getting revenge on his family for not giving them his cake. This plot sounds absurd, but honestly that makes it all the better. I really thought that the cast was pretty great in this number, with Ed Harris giving a cool and sarcastic performance as Hank, and Elizabeth Regan being the other standout with her unmistakable sass as Hank's wife Cass.  The ending to this short was also absolutely crazy, and everything one would expect with King's disturbing supernatural narrative. 

2: The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: Fast paced, bizarre, and much funnier than "Father's Day," "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill kicked the sophomore slump right in the butt. It tells the story of a simple man named Jordy Verrill, whom finds a meteor in his field.  Making a very bad decision, Jordy touches the space rock, and begins to get lumps on his fingers. These small marks turn into green patches of weeds, and they spread onto everything he touches.  This story was absolutely hilarious for a few great reasons. The first was Stephen King's performance of the lead.  I never really thought of his acting skills before, but this really showed the depth of his talents. He gave such a goofy and over the top performance, while still staying appropriate for the story.  I could almost call his portrayal a crossover between Jim Carrey and Jack Nicholson.  The faces he made were priceless, and he gave such a satirically perfect performance as a hillbilly. The next thing that made this story hilarious were the dream sequences. Even though they were dark in nature, there was such a light hearted and macabre way about them that I was laughing so hard.  The ending of the story was also potentially sad in a lot of ways, but it was handled well to the point that I could still laugh. Overall this story really gave me even more interest for the film, and I was thoroughly impressed. 

3. Something to Tide You Over: This third installment in the anthology was one of the darker(if not the darkest) of the bunch. Obviously being influenced by the works of Poe, "Something to Tide You Over" tells the story of a man named Richard, whom decides to get revenge on his wife and her lover Harry.  He forces them to bury themselves on the beach with sand, and they have to withstand the tortures of the tides.  While Richard thinks he will get away with this, there is an event to later take place that he would have never expected. I thought it was an interesting move to have the two funniest people in the whole movie(Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen) be in the least comical story of the movie. Luckily, both of them have incredible depth in their acting, and they pulled it off to the max.  Nielsen's evil side was actually terrifying in my opinion, because instead of being his bumbling self, he took his wit to portray a character that was sadistic beyond all belief. The ending of this chapter was particularly insane, and it ended on a humongous laugh showing how bad Richard messed up. At this point of the movie, this story was second to the previous one. 

4. The Crate: The next story takes a turn even further into darkness with a tale of lying, sabotage, and death. Henry Northup is a man unhappy with his marriage. He is controlled, and not even loved by his wife, who seems to only want him for his money.  His friend Dexter is just about the only person who keeps him sane, yet he still fantasizes of killing Wilma(Billie) all the time.  Dexter has recently been informed by a janitor named Michael at the college that he teaches at that there is a mysterious crate from an expedition in the 1930's.  The two men go to check it out at night, and it ends up holding a murderous creature.  Completely shocked by this revelation, Dexter runs to Henry for help. Northup decides to go to the college to check things out, and when he sees what has happened he thinks of a plan that will affect the lives of many.  Honestly, this was my favorite story in the whole film. It was gorier than all of the others, and it was also the funniest in my opinion. It had such a macabre sense of humor, and I was honestly laughing most of the time. The cast in this one was also pretty awesome, with Hal Holbrook as the unhappy husband Henry, the notorious beauty of the era Adrienne Barbeau as Billie, and Fritz Weaver giving a paranoid and emotional performance as Dexter. The thing that really set this chapter apart from the others was the attack scenes with the monster; now credited as "Fluffy." The puppetry for this character was actually the main reason I watched this movie, because the details of the body and movements were so intricate, and it was some of the best work in the field I have seen since "The Muppets."  The last quarter of this one was pretty mindblowing, because the insanity really flows, and even though the ending was somewhat predictable, it still had an ounce of suspense left in it. 

5. They're Creeping Up On You:  The final story in this amazing anthology is a tale of karma. Upson Pratt is the scum of the earth.  He shows no kindness to people at all, and he is just plain unhappy. This man is also a huge germaphobic, and he freaks out when he starts to see roaches in his house. Calling for help immediately, he hopes this can be fixed. To his bad luck, people don't come quick enough, and the house begins to swarm. Will he be able to make it? Or is this his horrifying end?  I thought that this was the second best of all the parts in the movie, because it was so well done. E.G. Marshall gave a perfect performance as who may be the meanest man on the earth.  The sight of his insanity that he creates from the isolation is priceless, and I thought that this was one of the darkest chapters. The ending scene was absolute shocking in my opinion, and it stands to be one of the greatest clips of horror history. 

I thought it was very neat how the film followed comic book format of its inspiration. There were so many cool touches to add to this, including pauses with banners shooting to the screen in scenes of fear, funny sound effects, and the color schemes; especially during the attack scenes of "The Crate." I also loved how after each story, a page in the comic flipped to the next one.  The animations for the book were absolutely beautiful, and they were so intricate that there ended up being a graphic novel in the future.  All of these factors really reminded me of a classic cartoon movie called "Heavy Metal," because they followed the same formula in a different format. 

Another great thing about the film was the special effects.  Tom Savini did a beautiful job with the gore and makeup, because everything looked so natural, and it was nasty and detailed.  The puppetry work throughout the film was also pretty awesome, and it including movie skeletons, ghosts, and the iconic "Fluffy."  I think that while they all could be construed as cheesy now, it was such a great artistic achievement, and I love them dearly. 

The ending of the movie brings us back to Billy's house again. The garbage men find the comic book, and take it home in fascination.  Then to our surprise, Billy does something that blew my mind immensely. I thought that the ending was so morbid, and so unexpected that it completely lived up to every story from before. 

It is very rare that I feel the way I did after watching this movie. I was so full of awe, because this film was a true masterpiece. It was sharper than a knife, it made me laugh like crazy, and it had some truly amazing scenes of horror. The acting was superb, and the writing/special effects were just top notch. I definitely see this as my favorite Romero film, and probably my second favorite Stephen King movie(behind "The Shining").  I definitely recommend it to all fans of the genre, because it is probably one of the all time  best, and it will be the most fun horror experience of your entire life.