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...