Monday, October 31, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #101: "Paranormal Activity: the Ghost Dimension"

I watched this movie last year on Halloween as well. It became sort of a tradition on Halloween to watch the latest Paranormal Activity movie, started when I scared myself into a heart attack watching the third movie in theaters. The third one is still my favorite, too, but I like this one as well. For the sixth movie in a series, it was better than it had any right to be.

It seems to drag a bit in the beginning, watching it now, but there are some creepy moments. I like the new little girl. Kids can be creepy, and that was probably my favorite part about the third movie, the creepy little girls. This one is kind of a direct sequel to the third movie, opening with the family finding the box of tapes and the camera from the third film. The dad of the family plays around with the camera, not realizing it will somehow link him to the demon from the third film, and will allow the girls from the third film to connect with his daughter. Spooky!

This movie got to me again like it did when I first saw it. There were some good scares, some freaky jump shots, and a creepy little girl chanting in front of a mirror. Everything you need to make a good scary movie, right? I like seeing the dad and uncle first get caught up in the "fun" of investigating a possible haunting, to getting more and more terrified as the evil closes in on them. Thats what attracted me to all these movies, seeing regular people slowly being infected by evil. It's definitely not perfect, but this series of films was pretty consistently good from start to finish.

2016 October Horror Challenge #100: "Birdemic: Shock and Terror" with Rifftrax

Well, this is what happens when you piss me off on Halloween with your terrible ass movie. I decide to watch what most people agree is the worst horror movie of our generation, "Birdemic: Shock and Terror." People have been talking about this movie in horror circles for awhile now, but I've never had the guts to see it, because seriously? But I might as well watch it now, only I refuse to watch it without Rifftrax, because I don't want to be the only one making snide remarks this time around.

So I can't actually tell you what this movie was supposed to be about. I mean, obviously it's about birds coming down with some kind of epidemic and attacking and killing people, but you wouldn't know it to watch the first half of the movie. Seriously, this makes every slow paced boring movie I've watched this year seem like a thrill a minute ride. Dear God.

This movie spends over twenty minutes showing people driving around with no dialogue, in between shots of people walking around to the sounds of elevator music. As one of the guys remarks, " I think people forgot to tell this movie that it's in a movie." It must be unbearable without the snarky comments. Thank the Lord i don't have to watch it that way.

2016 October Horror Challenge #99: "The Killing of Jacob Marr"

This movie sounds so familiar. I thought maybe I'd seen it before, but nope, I think it's just that so many peoplperaved about how good it was that I imprinted the titlein my mind. I do love slashers, so this one is supposed to subvert the slasher tradition and turn it on its head, if the reviews of this movie are to be believed.

The movie begins with a young boy finding a mysterious object in the woods and taking it home, with disastrous results. Years later, 5 friends go on a camping trip to the cabin where the boy used to live, and things get bloody. My question is, how come none of the friends have heard the legend of what happened in the cabin? Can't we rely on small town rumor mills to keep us safe from not knowing our neighbors' business? Plus who thinks it's a good idea to rent a cabin in Maine? Right, because Stephen King doesn't exist in this universe.

As it turns out, though failing in their duty to pass on the creepy history of the cabin, some if the locals do try to warn our characters that some workers have recently gone missing in the woods surrounding the cabin, and these geniuses decide to stay there anyway. And really, these are some of the dumbest and most annoying characters I've ever seen. Nothing happens for what feels like hours, so I'm forced to listen to these idiots say stupid shit to each other until I want to punch myself in the face.

I really wanted to like this movie. I was leery of the reviews being so positive, but I thought I'd enjoy this since I like slashers so much. There are some tense and scary moments, and there are a few good lines ("I saw something outside!" "What, like the darkness?") But it felt like the good bits were few and far between the scenes of people staring awkwardly at each other and spouting annoying dialogue. I feel like even when things start happening, they spend way too long having boring fights about it. There's some cool gore and some tense moments, but it's not worth wading through the rest of the movie to get there.

2016 October Horror Challenge #98: "Splinter (2009)"

I like this movie poster, even though it kind of rips off the one for the Hills Have Eyes remake. This movie has been lurking around my subconscious for awhile, but I never got around to seeing it until today. It's about a parasite that takes over people's bodies and uses them as a host for splinters that grow out if their skin. Ew ew eeeeww! Disgusting, right? And it's real, or there actually is a parasite like this that exists, though it might not be exactly like it's pictured in this movie.

So someone please explain to me why were still stopping for hitchhikers? Like, seriously? I'm a kind person and I give to charity and all, but I'm not stopping for your ass in the middle of nowhere and getting murdered for my trouble. It's not happening. I like the two people dating who try to go camping but fail to put up a tent. They're dippy but cute. I'm not a huge fan of the criminals they meet on the road ( and like I said, huge fan of not stopping for hitchhikers in the first damn place) but it helped me enjoy the movie more by having characters I actually like.

The whole idea behind the movie skeeves me out majorly. Ugh, parasites growing under my skin, puke puke puke. No thank you. Things like that are scarier than monsters to me, because how do you fight against something that gets under your skin and takes over your body? Plus I feel bad for the people who have to see someone they know taken over by that thing. The acting is really good, so I actually get drawn into the story instead of wondering how these people got hired. This movie was a sick little treat, and I'm glad I checked it out.

2016 October Horror Challenge #97: "The House of Seven Corpses"

This is one of those 70s horror flicks I've always wanted to see, but it always got pushed to the back burner, so I never got around to it before. It's pretty cool lookin, though, and John Cortisone is cool, so this is definitely a good movie to pick for the last day of the challenge.

So apparently, as we learn in this movie, the Beal house is famous for the mysterious deaths of the family members that occurred there years earlier.  Wanting to cash in on the deaths, a sleazy movie director rents the place to make a movie about the family. This is a great idea, until someone reads from the Tibetan book of the dead and suddenly vengeful zombies are rising out of the cemetery out back and killing everyone.

Who thought it was a good idea to put a cemetery in the backyard? Imagine playing there as a kid and accidentally digging up a corpse. And who decided to read from the damn real book of the dead during the movie?! They couldn't make up a fake book of the dead for that scene? People in these movies are dumb.

I don't know what it is about the number seven and horror stories. The House of Seven Gables, Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eyes, The House of Seven Corpses, etc. Those are all cool stories, though, so I guess I can't complain. I do like this movie. It's stylized and kinda schlocky, but that's to be expected. Nobody does sleazy backyard zombie movies better than the 1970s.

2016 October Horror Challenge #96: "Billy Club"

Dude, isn't this poster cool? The poster might be better than the movie.  Hahahahaha OK just kidding, but I really like this poster and kind of want to hang it on my wall. So I'd never heard of this movie before today, but the description sounded really cool, and I'm in the home stretch of the challenge now, so I decided to try something new. We'll see if it was worth it.

So this movie is about a group of little league kids whose season is abruptly cut short by a gruesome triple homicide. 15 years later, 4 friends from the team reunite for a camping trip to commemorate the deaths of their friends. Unfortunately, there's a psychotic killer in an umpire's mask wielding a baseball bat full of nails and looking to get even. That's a really cool weapon, seriously, so I'm impressed. There's also a really cool baseball kill later on in the movie.

This movie took forever to grab my attention. OK, like a half hour, which seemed really long to me. There are some murders before that time, and they're kind of cool I guess, but it's not until the group if friends are gathered around the campfire reminiscing that I really started to care about what was going on. I know, I'm a jerk, but I'm 96 movies in at this point, so it takes a lot to impress me. I actually didn't like most of the characters, which I guess works out, since most of them get killed. As the movie goes on, secrets are revealed, and we find out why the murders are probably happening. I have to say, I don't feel very sympathetic for the victims here. Only one of the characters, Alison, seems to have a conscience and actually regret what happened when they were kids. Jerks. Plus the movie was more awkward and plodding than funny, which annoyed me.

Sometimes I like to read Wikipedia after I'm done watching a movie  and before I write the review, just to see if it changes my perspective at all. This just really confused me, though, because the ending I saw on Amazon Video totally doesn't match the one Wikipedia describes, which actually sounds better than what I just watched. I can't find anything online about there being an alternate ending or whatever, but I did find one other blogger who noticed the same thing I did, so I'm not crazy ( well, much). This movie wasn't as cool as I hoped it would be, though. Maybe the poster *is* better than the movie?

If you want to check out the other guy's review, it's here: Metal Misfit's "Billy Club" review  His whole blog is pretty cool, so check it out.

2016 October Horror Challenge #95: "Don't Look in the Basement 2"

I figured that since I finally got around to watching the original movie, I might as well watch the sequel too while I'm at it. This looks even more ultra low budget than the original movie, if that's possible, but it was made by fans of the original, so I decided to give it a chance even though the ratings were pretty low (IMDB only gives it 3.9/10 stars...yikes!)

This movie takes place 30 years after the original movie, but the opening sequence occurs the next day, and I appreciate how they got lookalike actors and dressed them in similar clothes to match the ending of the original. We move into the present day, and we're in another sanitarium, where events are about to happen that mirror the bloodbath from the original movie. The acting isn't terrible, even though it is obviously low budget. I've seen far worse.

The doctors in this movie seem smarter than the ones in the first movie, not that there's much of a contest there. The nurse is way better, at least. Sam from the first movie is coming into this asylum as a new patient, and the actor who plays him isn't bad either. This movie drags, too, just like the first one did. Guys, you don't have to copy EVERYTHING from the original. Jeeze. But like the first one, once things get going, they get bloody and nasty. I actually enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #94: "Don't Look in the Basement"

This is one of movies I've been meaning to see for years. It's well known among horror fans (or fans of undergraduate horror, at least) for being sleazy, gory fun. I like sleazy gory fun, so I figured I'd enjoy this, but I haven't gotten around to it for years and years. What can I say, I'm easily distracted by shiny objects. I'm watching it tonight though. I hope it's fun as it's supposed to be.

The movie is about an asylum for the insane that's run by a benevolent doctor who hires a new nurse when the old one retires. When the new nurse arrives, she finds that the doctor she knew has died and a new director us in charge. There seem to be a lot of secrets hiding among the patients and staff, and the new nurse is about to uncover a bloody, dangerous secret.

The hospital is kinda unorthodox. I don't know of many doctors who let crazy people use axes as part of their therapy (it seems counterintuitive, and as we see here, it's a very bad idea). The movie is ultra low budget, but still kind of fun. Of course, the fire is pretty fake looking, but the acting is better than I'd expect from a movie like this. Bonus. It does drag a bit, but when it's good, it's a lot of fun.

2016 October Horror Challenge #93: "The Horde (2015)"

So, apparently there's 444456644 different movies called "The Horde." Who knew? I'm on a mission to watch them all at some point, and they keep making more, so I'll be busy for awhile. All of the movies have a group of people having to fight for survival against a horde of monsters/zombies/creepy backwoods people, etc.

This movie features a horde of creepy backwoods people who don't like it when outsiders invade their woods, which is bad news for a college photography camping trip that is happening this weekend. Luckily for these campers, they have an ex Navy Seal tagging along with them, which will be helpful once the titular horde starts attacking.

This movie actually reminds me a bit of a book by Richard Laymon called "Dark Mountain" about murderous hillbillies in the woods attacking campers. This movie was fun in the way that book was fun. Gotta love campers getting attacked and having to fight for survival. Maybe it's just me who likes that, but I had a lot of fun watching this movie. It's not the best of "The Horde" movies, but it was still pretty cool.

2016 October Horror Challenge #92: "Grizzly"

I've wanted to see this movie for years, this and 'Day of the Animals," another "when animals attack" movie. Let's be honest, bears are scary. They are huge and will eat you. I mean, they're beautiful animals, but the idea of being attacked by one scares the crap out of me, so this movie was made for me, and I'm glad I can finally get to see it.

The movie's plot is pretty simple: there's a big grizzly bear loose in a National park, and a forest ranger has to hunt it down before it chows down on any campers. See? This is why I don't go camping. The movie has some pretty freaky scenes, too, especially one near the beginning that's pretty well known for being gruesome. I enjoyed this movie and I'm glad I finally checked it out.

2016 October Horror Challenge #91: "The Last Exorcism part II"

The first movie surprised me. I heard mixed reviews about it, but I wound up loving it. I was pretty sure that the sequel wouldn't be as good, but I hoped I'd like it anyway. At least this is supposed to be a Dirct sequel to the original movie and it's not just a no-name exorcism movies that was slapped with this title to make money.

In this movie, Nell from the first film is found with no memory of the events of the last movie, and she's sent to live in a group home, but it seems the demon Abalam from the first movie isn't done with her yet. It's actually kinda sad seeing the trying to build a new life and being happy, knowing that it probably isn't going to work out for her.

That's the problem, though. Everything takes way too long to happen, so the movie gets kind of monotonous. There are some scenes that are supposed to be spooky, but the demon is content mostly to glare at Nell and try to lecture her. Whereas the original movie had the found footage aspect going for it and making it more real, this one is just a regular movie, so instead of feeling tense with anticipation when nothing is happening, I just felt bored. Boo. I mean, once the demonic/ exorcism action starts it dies get good, but it took too long to happen for my taste.

2016 October Horror Challenge #90: "The Witch"

Right after this movie came out, people were calling it the scariest movie they'd ever seen. I didn't expect it to be the scariest movie I'd ever seen, since I've seen so many horror movies, but I was looking forward to a good scare. Of course, it's now become cool to hate this movie, so everyone says it's terrible now, but I was still hopeful.

I avoided spoilers with this one, so I knew nothing about this movie going in except that it took place back in the time of pilgrims and that there was presumably a witch involved. It's about a family who are banished from their village due to a dispute over an interpretation of theNew Testament of the Bible, which causes the family to be labeled blasphemers, though the father insists that they are innocent. These are the kinds of things Christians fight about, folks. They leave and must build their own house and work to survive on their own through many hardships. Through a series of mysterious events, they come to believe that there is evil surrounding them, and that someone in their family has made a pact with Satan that cursed their family. I hate it when that happens.

 This movie is a slow burn if I've ever seen one, and it takes forever for anything really spook  to happen, though I did find their lives interesting, so I wasn't bored. The teenage daughter of the family, Thomasin,  is the most interesting character. She's the one who was all over the movie posters, so I expected her to feature more prominently in the movie, but like I said, the movie dinks around and takes a long time to get to the point. The religious ferver of the family, and their belief that damnation is constantly lurking around the corner waiting for them to slip up, is scarier than anything supernatural that happens, which I think is the point.

Supernatural things do eventually start happening, though, and it does get pretty tense after that. I feel bad for these people without modern conveniences or weapons, trying to fight back when they are attacked by evil.  I don't know about those people who thought this movie was so much more terrifying than anything else they've seen. I suppose the religious ferver bordering on insanity might scare some, but I've seen so much of that in real life that it just makes me depressed now. Like I said, the movie does get tense, and it's interesting for the most part, but it made me tired more than anything else, and the ending made me roll my eyes into the next century. I wish I'd liked it better. Sigh.

2016 October Horror Challenge #89: "Knock Knock"

Can someone please explain to me why every fucking poster for this movie spoils what happens? Seriously? I finally had to go with this poster because of them all it spoils the least, but it's still more of the plot twist than I think should be on a POSTER FOR THE MOVIE. Really? REALLY?! Whatever happened to you know, not knowing what happens in the movie until you actually see it? Am I the only one who cares about that anymore?

OK, OK, whatever. So this movie is about a dad, played by Keanu Reeves, who answers s knock on the door and a bunch of terrifying things happen as a result. This movie seems to have disturbed a hornet's nest or something, because everywhere I turn people are screaming about how it's horrible and sexist and trash. I just wanted to see Keanu Reeves in a good horror movie for once, is that too much to ask?

This movie kind of reminded me of the movie "Funny Games." Most if you probably know that I HATED that movie, but I'm not being a smartass with the comparison, this movie reminds me of the good things about that movie, the sense that you're not safe in your own home (and that you should never answer the goddamn door if anyone knocks, seriously, these people have never seen a movie before in their whole lives).

So I really don't get why people are so pissed off about this movie. Without spoiling anything, I don't see much if a difference between this and a lot of other horror movies. Women are crazy, men are crazy, and anyone can be a crazy psycho killer, that's the beauty of sharing the world with fucked up people, right? The acting in this movie is pretty good, it's creepy as hell, and it only reinforces my determination to never ever answer the door if someone knocks. Sue me, I liked it. If that makes me a bad person, well, lots of people already think that anyway, so I'm good.

2016 October Horror Challenge #88: "The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)"

I finally got around to watching the original "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" last year. It was OK, not great, and I actually liked the other film made by the same filmmakers, "The Evicted," a lot better. But I can imagine that if I lived in the town where the real murders that inspired "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" happened, I might feel differently. It's always different when it was a true story.

This movie isn't as much a remake as it us a sequel of sorts, supposedly based on true events that happened in Texarkana, the original "Town that Dreaded Sundown," in 2013. The killer that inspired the original movie has never been caught, and it must have been scary growing up in the town, knowing that you could be living next door to a killer. This movie capitalizes on that fear by having a killer committing similar murders in the town many years later.

This movie creeped me out more than the original did. It's opening sequence is really good. It seems that the new killer is killing people to make them remember that the original movie was based on murders that were real; that real people once died. This movie let's us get to know the townspeople of Texarkana better, and hear how horrible it was for them living in town around the time if the original murders, and how the release of the original movie affected them. It must have been hard, having to be terrified of a killer who was never caught and dealing with the hype of having a movie spreading misinformation and exploit your suffering.

This movie adds more gore, but also throws in nods to the original, even paying tribute to the "trombone killing" scene from the original film. It's probably the most famous scene in the original movie, and is a bone if contention among some people, since it was totally made up for the movie but a lot of people think it actually happened in the original murders because the movie was so popular. I appreciated the moments throughout this movie that give tribute to the original murders ( especially since that seems to be the new killer's whole point; don't forget the real people who died). This movie isn't perfect, but I did enjoy it more than I did the original movie.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #87: "Mark of the Devil"

This is one of those movies that'd notorious in horror circles for being graphic. There are probably more violent movies that have come out since this movie was released, but back in its day, it was shockingly violent. Due to its reputation, it was one of those movies that I've always wanted to see. I actually thought I had seen this movie, under another title, but I found out that I was mistaken, so of course I felt the need to watch it immediately.

This movie is about fanatical 18th century witch hunters who rape, torture, and kill people all in the name of punishing those who have supposedly consorted with Satan. I don't know about how this movie ranks among other "most violent" movies, I've probably seen gorier movies, but what stood out here to me was the cruelty. These guys strip a man, coat him with tar and feathers in the town square, and crowds stand around and laugh like they're watching a comedy on TV. Then two women get burned alive in front of the crowd, and they laugh and cheer and yell jeering comments like it's entertainment. People are fucked up.

The movie is sleazy. The brutality is oversexualized, and there's a "love story" thrown in between one of the witch hunters and a woman accused of being a witch. At least the love interest witch hunter is one if the guys who shuns needless brutality and honestly thinks he's doing the right thing, fighting Satan in the name of God and all that. It's hard for me to believe that anyone saw this torture as justified, though, and a voiceover tells us that some of the accused were held captive for years and tortured before being killed. Ick.

There's a point at which an accused witch is chained down with her mouth held open and her tongue is ripped out. The not-so-bad witch hunter guy pauses before ripping her tongue out, and the head guy in charge says "we must never falter when doing the Lord's work." Like...seriously? Who the fuck thinks that is the Lord's work?! I know this is just a movie, but things like this actually happened! People were really tortured and raped and killed and burned alive like this in the name of God, and people thought it was right. People gathered in the streets to watch it really happen. For me, that's the scariest thought of all. People are way scarier than monsters. I'm glad I finally got to see this movie, but it depressed me at the same time.

2016 October Horror Challenge #86: "Sinister II"

The original "Sinister" was one of my favorite movies from a few years ago. I really liked it but didn't think it has scared me...until I tried to go to sleep later, that is. The movie is creepy and nasty and mean-spirited, and it has haunted me ever since I watched it. P.S. I'm never having kids.

This movie, like the original, concerns strange murders that wipe out families, and a shadowy figure as "Mr. Boogie" who compels kids to follow him like a Pied Piper. Kids are scary anyway. I mean, I love them, but they can be really freaky if they want to, and in these movies, they are. In this movie, a chase scene through a grocery store introduces us to a woman and her two kids who appear to be afraid of someone or something. I like Shannyn Sossamon, the actress who plays the woman, so it was good seeing her in this movie.

One of the young boys seems extra sensitive to the fact that something otherworldly is going on. Just like in the first movie, kids are the only ones who knowwhats really going on. This gives the movie plenty of opportunities to freak me out with creepy vision, some of which look like grainy video of past events, lots of spooky music, and groups of weird little kids staring at the camera. Screw HAVING kids, I'm never babysitting again either.

This is the third movie I've watched today where "Night if the Living Dead" was playing in the background at some point. I appreciate the nod to horror movie history, especially since that film was notorious in its day for showing a little kid attack and kill her parent. A reminder that kids have been creepy throughout the ages. Of course, there's some mystery shrouding the Mr. Boogie legend and how it's connected to this family, and it's fun to try and unravel the mystery as I watch. It's not as good as the original, but I liked this one.

2016 October Horror Challenge #85: "Mischief Night"

This was the second movie in my little double-feature of slasher flicks that I bought on Blu-ray especially for the horror movie challenge this year. Like the first movie, it's a cheesy movie, but one I expect to have a lot of fun with anyway. If nothing else, the picture quality is gorgeous and a lot better than I expected.

This movie is about a girl whose mother died in an accident many years , and she is so traumatized by her mother's death that she suffers from psychosomatic blindness. That definitely creeps me out, the idea that your mind can be so messed up that suddenly you're blind even though you aren't? Freaky! And a horror movie is scary enough when there's a killer stalking around, but it's twice as scary when you can't see the killer coming after her! Eeeek!

So the acting in this movie is better than I would have expected from a movie like this. All the main actors have been in several other movies and shows, so they have some serious acting chops between them. I like the characters, too. The dad trying to raise a teenage daughter, which is terrifying enough when the kid isn't blind. I like the daughter too. She's pretty self-aware for a teenager (might have something to do with the years of therapy she's been through) but she's a likeable kid, which makes the movie more enjoyable. I even like her doofus of a boyfriend. Movies like this are more fun when I give a crap about the characters involved. 

One of my biggest freak out triggers is when there's someone in the house behind a character and they don't know it. Do you know how many times I've thought I heard something behind me only to find there's nothing there? Do you know how quickly I'd pee my pants if there really WERE someone there? That fear is this movie in a nutshell. And if there's someone behind her she can't SEE! Hell, this movie manages to make broken glass on the floor seem terrifying, so there's no hope for my shot nerves here. I definitely enjoyed this movie. It's right up my alley. Now I might never sleep again, but it was worth it!

2016 October Horror Challenge #84: "All Hollow's Eve"

Yay, I love me some slashers! I was excited to buy a double feature of cheesy slashers that were only available together like this on Blu-ray. I mean, I *did* buy a Blu-ray player this year, and yet I still don't own that many Blu-ray discs, so I was happy to get to add to my collection with this, and these were definitely some of tbe movies I was most looking forward to seeing this year. Win-win!

Not to sound like a geek or anything, but even with a cheese slasher like this that obviously wasn't terribly concerned with production quality, I can notice a difference in the picture quality with this being a Blu-ray. Ooh, so clear, so shiny! Anyway, this movie is about a woman babysitting some kids on Halloween night (dude, do these people never watch movies so they don't know this is a bad idea?) The kids find a mysterious video tape and decide to watch it, and it winds up being a scary movie with a killer clown. I would be stoked!

I like that even though this is a low-budget slasher, the movie makes an effort to have some continuity. For example, when the kids find the video tape, the babysitter sends them out if the room first so she can preview it and make sure it's OK for them to watch. It's a small thing, but it rings true, and it adds a touch of realism to the proceedings. The killer clown is pretty creepy too, and what he dies with his victims is kind of inventive. I watch a lot of these movies, so I appreciate small details that set the apart. This isn't cinematic genius or anything, but it was a fun little movie.

2016 October Horror Challenge #83: "Shock (1977)"

It was really hard to choose a poster for this movie, because there are a lot of great ones to choose from. This is a movie I've been waiting FOREVER to see, so I'm totally stoked to finally be able to buy the DVD and check it out this year. I think I've mentioned before that if there's anything I love as much as I love slasher movies, it's italian horror flicks. I've seen a few bad ones, but the majority of the ones I've seen I've loved, and this was one of the ones I've most wanting watch for a long time.  Yay horror month, making my nightmares come true!

Mario Bava is one of my favorite directors, because he just really knows how to get under my skin. This movie seems to have more of a plot setup than I've come to expect from Bava in the past, he tends to like to just start throwing creepy things at you from the get go, like he did with "Operazione Paura," otherwise known as "Kill Baby, Kill," my other favorite movie of Bava's.

This movie is about a family that moves back into the house they used to live in before the father died and the mother remarried. The kid loves his new stepfather, but he understandably misses his dad, so there's a pall of sadness hanging over the family even before anything creepy happens. Things do get creepy pretty soon, of course, as the mother starts having terrifying dreams and hallucinations, and soon everyone in the house is affected.

Bava does well with creepy kids, and this movie was no different. The little boy totally freaked me out. Of course, with my history of night terrors and lucid dreams, I'm intrigued by any movie that deals with nightmares and hallucinations like this. I can totally get the spookiness of not knowing what is real and what isn't with regard to dreams.

Also, I admit that I'm not a parent, but I think if my kid started acting like the boy in this movie, I'd take it seriously right away, and I really dont get why they continue to stay in the house even after a bunch of scary things happen. I get that the husband this njs his wife is imaginingthings, but they seem to have enough money to let her stay in a hotel for awhile, at least. Some people's kids, I tell you. All in all, this movie has a lot of freaky moments. Though I question the intelligence of some of the characters, or at least their decision making skills, this is still a good, creepy movie to me. I'm definitely happy I checked it out.

2016 October Horror Challenge #82: "Goodnight Mommy"

I'm finally getting to watch this movie. This is one if the movies I was most looking forward to seeing this year. It's gotten almost universal acclaim from everyone, but I've been trying so hard to avoid spoilers that I know almost nothing about the movie going in. I know it's about twin boys who live with their strict mother, who seems to be ill, and who has bandages covering her face. And that's it, that's really all that I know. I was afraid to even read descriptions of the movie, because people have to spoil everything these days so I'm paranoid and I can't trust anyone. It's almost like living in the X Files, I swear.

Right from the beginning, I can tell the movie is hiding things from me, and my brain automatically starts trying to figure them out, and I've seen so many horror movies that the possibilities are almost endless. The movie is filmed beautifully. The secluded house the family lives in is surrounded by gorgeous nature that kind of makes me want to move there ( if this creepy family weren't already living there; I don't really trust them).

The problem with movies like this is that it's hard to know what to describe in the review, because everything I say feels like I'm giving something away. Maybe I should just be like the dipshits who spoil everything. It would simplify my life greatly.

I will say that while I kind of saw it coming, the twist still surprised me, and there's more than one twist, and they kind of cone one after the other, rapid fire style. I guess I'm saying that even if you think you know what's going on, seeing it happen might still get to you. It did me. In the end, this is a creepy little messed up movie that might make you think twice about ever having kids.

Friday, October 28, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #81: "Fright Night 2 (2013)"

I saw the original "Fright Night 2" when I was a kid who wasn't supposed to be watching horror movies, so we had to change the channel every time my mom walked downstairs. I don't know if this one claims to be a remake of that movie, but I don't remember much about that one anyway, so I probably won't be able to tell either way. This movie got a lot of bad ratings, but I remain hopeful.

In this version, some college kids are on a trip to Romania, where Charlie Brewster ends up having to save his ex girlfriend from a sultry female vampire. It claims to be a horror comedy, but the opening sequence is all horror and is pretty cool. I love watching vampires attack.

The problem is that after those six minutes of excitement, the rest of the movie seems to drag.  Cone on, people, an hour and a half long movie should not have time to be boring!  But just when I'm ready to stab someone, things actually start happening. There's some good nudity and some cool gore, too. It even gets kind of funny after awhile. Definitely better than I thought it would be. This movie isn't anything to write home about, but it was an OK way to kill an hour and a half.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #80: "The Abandoned (2015)"

This movie is about an abandoned building that was supposed to be a fancy housing project, but now sits empty. Guards are hired to watch the building at night and keep squatters and vandals away. A woman is hired as one of the night guards. She is trying to get her life together and provide for her daughter. Unfortunately, the building houses mysterious, evil secrets that begin to haunt her.

The new woman works with another guard who'sbeen there awhile, and he's a complete dick. I really wanted to stab his annoying ass. It seems like our main character is struggling to control her anger, so it probably won't help that she has to work with a total dickface. Though she doesn't seem like she's the easiest person to get along with either. Plus she's not very good at respecting rules (or locks).

The atmosphere in the movie is really spooky. I don't work in a creepy abandoned building, but if I did and the walls kept whispering at me, the last thing I would want to do would be to go exploring. That's just me, though. Clearly she has other ideas, and she can't count on dickface to help her out if things get dangerous, so, you know, not a great idea. It dies get really creepy though, even if it's kind of her own fault for getting herself into that situation. The movie uses the inherent creepiness of the building to its own advantage, and while most if the scares are cheap jump scares, they work. This movie isn't great, but I did enjoy it.

2016 October Horror Challenge #79: "Kristy"

I've been waiting for awhile to watch this movie. It got lots of praise for a movie of its kind, which we all knowddoesn't mean that I will necessarily like it, but it is a good sign. I like slashers, and it sounds like this movie will be a slasher (though it's hard to tell when I ran screaming away from any possible spoilers for the movie, so I'd know as little as possible before I saw it).

The movie is about a girl who is NOT named Kristy (bet you never would have guessed that, huh?) She's in college, spending some time alone around Thanksgiving break studying while everyone else is away with their families. The emptyd dorm is even creepier right now, because it seems that there might be someone trying to scare her or maybe even kill her. Bummer, right?

I spent holiday breaks alone on or near campus while I was in college, too, so I can attest to the creepiness of the empty dorms. This gives the movie a great atmosphere, and there's something about a killer whistling the tune "Jesus Loves Me" that makes that song terrifying. I also dig the main character. She's tough, but she's also kind to people, so that makes me even more sympathetic to her plight. Plus it's really creepy to have killers who are apparently so obsessed with someone named "Kristy" that they run around killing women and calling them by her name. Dude. I've known lots if jerks named "Justin," but I'm not going to kill a bunch of people and call them "Justin." What would that help?

No one ever tried to kill me while I was on break from college, luckily, but this movie did transport me back to that time and get under my skin, so I have to respect it for that. This one was definitely worth a watch.

2016 October Horror Challenge #78: "The Canal"

I've been looking forward to seeing this movie since last year. It's one of the movies that I didn't get to see in my challenge last year, and then of course people started saying great things about it afterward, making me regret choosing one of the crappier movies I saw last year over this one, which is apparently so good. Not making that same mistake this time around!

So this movie is about a family that moves into a creepy house by a canal, ignoring the rumors that it is haunted, but soon the husband begins to have vivid dreams that his wife is cheating on him, and he starts to go insane. I don't know why people would ignore rumors that the house they're about to move into is haunted. It never seems to end well. Especially after creepy things keep happening, really people? Yes, let's believe the evil visions um having instead of my wife. Sigh.

I do like this family to start out. The little boy is cute and the mom and dad seem to be nice enough, but I was leery because movies where one character starts to descend into madness really get under my skin and freak me out. I'm really torn with this movie. On the one hand, I totally get that supernatural forces are taking over and messing with your mind, on the other hand, you're being creepy and evil and stuff, so it's hard for me to be sympathetic.

It's hard to be sympathetic for any of the characters, actually, as more gets revealed and things get more twisted. I feel bad for the poor little kid who's in the middle of this whole huge mess. He at least is innocent and doesn't deserve to have all this awful, scary crap piled on his plate. This movie is frustrating and makes me angry, but it's also dark and moody and pretty well done, so I'm glad I checked it out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #77: "Most Likely to Die"

Si this is supposed to be a slasher in the trend of sleazy 80s slashers, which as we all know I love, so I had high hopes when I put it on. It's about a group of people gathering for their high school reunion who are being killed one by one. As if reunions aren't stressful enough on their own without throwing a killer into the mix.

 Unfortunately, none of the characters are very likeable, but I guess that could be considered fortunate, since we all know they're going to be dying soon anyway. This is going to sound like I'm being a dick, but the opening credits of the movie are seriously pretty cool. Footage if high school events is shown over blood splattered yearbook photos with horror movie music playing and it really does set the scene better than anything else in the movie, which falls kind of flat as far as characterization and plot are considered.

OK, that was kinda mean. Heather Morris is in this movie, and I do like her as an actress, and her character in this movie actually has some depth, so I suppose she's not bad. Actually, once things actually start happening, the acting seems to get a bit better. Maybe they all needed something to focus on. And since slasher movies are my one true love, I can have fun with them even if they're bad. This doesn't break any new ground or anything ( though there are two whole gay characters, so yay) but I didn't hate it.

2016 October Horror Challenge #76: "Intruder (1989)"

Gotta love cheesey 80s slashers. Well, I love them, at least. They're irreverent and majorly un-PC in a way movies can't get away with today. Plus they have lots of fun settings, like a cheerleader camp or a movie theater, or like here, a grocery store. This is one of those skeezy horror flicks I wanted to see when I was a kid but never got the chance.

The plot is pretty simple: a small-town grocery store is about to close down, and employees are working their last shift, but a crazed killer starts knocking them off one by one. Guess some people have hard feelings about the store closing! This isn't a great movie or anything, but it was a fun little slasher that kept me Interested for an hour and a half.

2016 October Horror Challenge #75: "Deathbed"

There's like, 8 movies with this same title, and I've heard the one from the 70s is the best, but I've wanted to see this one since the horror magazine Fangirls did a story back when the movie was being made, so I'll ignore all the negative reviews and give it a watch. What's the worst that could happen? If I survived "A Night to Dismember," then surely I can survive this movie.

This version is about a married couple who move into a new place only to find out that there's an old antique bed locked away in a hidden room. They decide to dust off the bed and use it, and soon haunted hijinks ensue. The husband complains at the of the movie that his wife won't do anything kinky in bed, and as soon as I heard that I knew that the haunted ass bed was going to enhance their sex life before they realized it was evil. I was totally right. Score one for my dirty mind.

Of course the wife figures out that something bad is happening way before her doofus of a husband (he's not the sharpest tool in the shed) and soon she's seeing violent visions and drawing pictures without any knowledge of what is happening. I've liked other Stuart Gordon movies in the past, but this movie's tone of "humor" tends to be more annoying than amusing. It's very cheesey too. That doesn't always have to be a bad thing, but it did grate on my nerves here. In the end, while there's some good gore, the movie is just to silly for me to appreciate it.

2916 October Horror Challenge #74: "Anguish (1987)"

Well, that was quick. I talked about this movie when I reviewed another movie called "Anguish" a few hours ago, and I mentioned that I really wanted to see this one, but I didn't think I'd get a chance to see it this year.  Well ask and ye shall receive, I guess. Thanks to the Full Moon channel on Amazon video, look what I got to watch!

I've wanted to see this movie for years. It came out in 1987, and it was always lurking around the horror section of old video stores, tempting me. It's about a man who lives with his eccentric mother in a creepy old house. Yes, that's all I'm going to tell you, not just because I'm a dick, but because the less you know going in to this movie the better. I'm serious, don't read any of the other reviews or watch the trailer, they all give away way too much and spoil what would otherwise be a creepy, confusing mindfuck of a movie watching experience.

I love Zelda Rubenstein. Seriously. She's a big part of a lot of my favorite scary movies ( and a favorite episode of Tales from the Crypt) and she always manages to creep me out. She makes this movie a lot of fun. I really wish I could have seen this in a theater, because I bet it would be even more fun that way. It's definitely weird and messed up, but I really enjoyed this one and I'm glad I finally got to see it after all this time.

2016 October Horror Challenge#73: "Anguish (2015)"

I wanted to clarify that this is the "Anguish" from 2015, because I still want to see the earlier movie with the same name, though I might not be able to this year. As for this version, it doesn't come highly rated, but the premise sounds really good, and it did manage to shock the shit out of me right away, which is hard to do to my movie savvy self, so I'm impressed.

The movie is about a young girl who suffers from a mental illness and appears crazy to others, but really she is fighting a battle in her mind against something dangerous. It's not clear whether this is supernatural or not, so I guess I'll have to watch it to find out. Either way, it's compelling, and the actress who plays the young girl does a good job, as does the actress who plays her mother. The other actors do a good job, too, drawing me into the story with their performances.

The idea of losing your mind is scary enough even without a supernatural threat, and the girl's previous mental problems of course make it hard to know whether there really is something ghostly going on or not. That's the strongest aspect of this movie, the terror the girl feels because she keeps trying to tell herself what's happening isn't real...but what if it is? Creepy!

I feel horrible for the girl and her struggle, but I feel horrible for the parents, too, because what they're going through must be terrible, having to watch this happen to your kid and not knowing what to do it how to help her. Sometimes I want to punch the parents in movies like this, but not this time. That alone makes me respect the movie more. Of course, with movies like this, it's hard to see where things are going, what's the endgame here?

After awhile, there's really only one way for this to go, and once things start to spiral out of control, the movie gets even creepier. Note to self: don't try this at home, for fuck's sake. This movie definitely got under my skin better than others of its ilk, though, and it might even be the best possession-themed movie I've seen this year.

2016 October Horror Challenge #72: "House of Good and Evil"

To be honest with you, I was hoping for a simpler horror movie experience with this movie, a movie that wasn't so self-aware and snarky that it felt like it had its own built in rifftrax, making snide remarks the whole way through before I even had a chance to. That can be fun, but it can also be depressing and exhausting, so I was hoping for a good old scary movie this time around.

This movie is about a couple who suffer the loss of a baby and move into an isolated house, hoping that some time in the country and some solitude will help heal their broken hearts. Of course, as with all movies like this, the house is haunted by something evil lurking in the shadows. I don't know why devastated couples mourning a loss always think it's a good idea to move into a creepy old house anyway. Don't they watch movies?

They seem to spend a lot of time sniping at each other, but I know that the death of a child can be a great strain on a marriage, so it's kind of expected. The house is out in the middle of nowhere, and the movie manages to portray a great sense of isolation, even before anything creepy happens. Things do get creepy eventually, though. Ccreepy and irritating. Never before did I realize how annoying the sound of a ringing telephone coyld be. My poor, poor ears.

The characters aren't exactly what is called likeable. They seriouslysoend half the movie fighting over whether or not there really was a phone ringing (there was, trust me, it was almost as annoying as you two). They argue about everything, actually, and it's hard to like them when I'm sitting here wishing something bad would happen to break up the monotony.  And when things do start happening, it's not the typical ghostly shenanigans I expected, but the "mess with your mind until you think every is crazy, including yourself" variety, which is much less fun. In the end, this movie was more annoying than scary, si it definitely wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

2016 October Horror Challenge #71: "Almost Mercy"

I don't know what to think about this movie. The description sounds great, and it has some good reviews mixed in with the bad ones, it has some actors I like, good times, right? But then there are some bad ones, like it looks really low budget, and there are a lot of bad reviews out there, and Netflix predicts I'll only give it one star, so I'm cautiously optimistic here.

The movie is about childhood friends who endure years of bullying and abuse until one of them snaps. Gotta love kids and their unending capacity for cruelty, right? The movie is narrated by the girl who grew up best friends with the boy who goes crazy. I like her. She's angry and bitter, but also snarky and sarcastic, and I can relate to her anger at the unfairness of the world.

We don't know exactly what happens when the movie starts, she's going back in time and telling the story of their friendship and what led up to whatever horrible things happen later in their lives. It is kind of sad seeing them grow up and knowing something horrible is going to happen.

Actually, the whole movie is one horrible thing after another happening to these kids, so it's sad. And the movie has kind of a detached tone, making out like the whole thing is supposed to be funny, which renders it annoying instead. I want to care about the characters, but the movie doesn't seem to want me to.

It seriously takes FOREVER for the movie to get to the point, and it seems to be heading in a direction that angers me, but then it takes a turn, and things get better. I felt like the movie finally paid off on my interest after trying to make me hate it for so long. It gets gory and nasty and mean-spirited, and I love it. The movie takes way too long to get to this point, in my opinion, but I wound up being glad I gave it a chance.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #70: "After"

This is one of the movies I was excited to check out this year. It's been lurking around on Netflix for a little bit now, tempting me with its cool sounding premise, but I had to wait impatiently for horror movie month before I'd let myself watch it. Today is the day! Whee!

The movie is about a man and a woman who survive a bus crash only to get home and discover that they are the only people left in their town (and the rest of the world seems out of reach too, since they can't call or radio anyone for help). Right away I figured that I knew what was going to happen, because I've seen movies lol me this before so I could predict the ending, but this movie took some unexpected turns, and it never gets old seeing people wander around an abandoned town without another soul in sight. Totally creepy.

This movie dies pretty well getting me to like the main characters. At first the guy seems like a skeezy  creeper when he won't stop hitting on the woman on the bus, but he kinda grew on me after awhile. They both do, so I actually cared about these two people and their stories. I'll admit, the movie gets all dark and twisty and I didn't always know what was going on, but it compelled me to keep watching anyway, and that makes it worth a watch in my book.

2016 October Horror Challenge #69: "Indigenous"

Having watched several good indie horror flicks with low ratings on Netflix, I decided to continue that trend with this movie. It's about a group of friends who visit Panama to party and have fun, and they decide to go for a hike WAY deep into the woods, and if course they stumble upon a monster there, because why wouldn't they?

I'm not sure what to think of this movie at first. The opening scene is good, but then we meet the characters, and some of them...I'm not saying they're bad actors, but I hope they don't quit their day jobs. So that's distracting. Plus I really don't get why they hike a million miles into the damn woods anyway, they're staying at a posh resort to party, WTF does a long ass hike have to do with that plan?

And the hits just keep coming, because their dumb asses find out that people have gone missing in the jungle, and that there's supposedly a monster there, and THAT'S when they decide to go on the damn ass hike! Seriously? "Hey, a bunch of people have disappeared and died here, let's go for a hike!" I don't care how nice the waterfall is that's supposed to be at the end of the hike, it's not worth getting eaten over, you idiots.

Of course no one ever listens to me when I yell at the TV screen, so a' hiking they will go in the deadly jungle. Sigh. Once the attacks start, though, they're pretty brutal. I thought the creature looked cool, too. And the movie manages to ratchet up the tension and mace me care even about Whiney McBadactors, so I guess I respect it for that. In the end, the movie wasn't bad. I enjoyed it well enough.

2016 October Horror Challenge #68: "The Pack"

This movie quietly showed up on Netflix a little while ago and doesn't have many good ratings, but I've had good luck with IFC Midnight movies ( indie horror) so I decided to check it out anyway. No pain no gain, right?

Despite what the title might lead you (read: me) to believe, this is NOT a werewolf movie. It's about a pack of wild dogs that start attacking people. I live dogs, but I was also chased and attacked by a big dog when I was seven, so if done right, dog-centered horror movies can be scary for me.

I like how this movie sets the scene and atmosphere of nature and isolation by having a soundtrack that consists mostly of nature sounds (leaves, wind, grass rustling, insects chirping). I blame my obsession with nature as a soundtrack for a movie on watching "Deliverance" when I was young. In that movie, the sound of the wind and the river added to the sense that you were trapped miles from civilization, and it works the same way in this movie. I like it. It's like the countryside is another character in the movie, silently watching and waiting.

The opening sequence of the movie totally pulled me in and set the scary scene. I like the main characters as well. They're a family struggling to keep their farm, with a teenage daughter who wants to move to the city and a young son who lives working on the farm. Oooh, tension! This poor family already has problems without having to deal with a pack of wild dogs trying to eat them. I like movies that make me care about the characters even before anything horrific happens. I don't know about anyone else, but I really liked this movie.

2016 October Horror Challenge #67: "The Dark Knight"

2016 October Horror Challenge #66: "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

2016 October Horror Challenge #65: "From Dusk til Dawn"

2016 October Horror Challenge #64: "Poltergeist (2015)"

Monday, October 24, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #63: "Animal"

This movie has been floating around Netflix for awhile now. I wasn't sure if it would be good or not, but I decided to give it a chance. I've been having good luck with low budget horror flicks lately, plus this movie has some actors I recognize, like Keke Palmer and Joey Lauren Adams, so I know that at least the acting will be good from some of the players.

The plot centers on a group of friends going on a nature hike and camping trip in some woods that gave been fenced off (supposedly for a deforestation project). The opening sequence let's us know that there's something lurking in the woods that attacks people, but we're not sure what it is. I expect that it's some kind of animal, using my trained detective skills to interpret the title.

The characters are kind of annoying, at least some of them are, but they play off each other well and it's easy to believe that they are friends. It doesn't take too long for the creature to show up and start chowing down, and soon the group of friends meets up with the remaining people from the opening sequence, and together they must figure out a way to survive and escape. Its not great, but it's a pretty fun movie with some cool scares.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #62: "Hayride 2"

It was inevitable that I would watch this movie this year, since I finally got to check out the first one and this sequel has been floating around Netflix for a few years now. I really liked the original movie. It wasn't the best movie ever made it whatever, but it was a fun little slasher that played with the idea of small town secrets and plenty of Halloween ambiance.

They definitely pick this story up right after the ending of the original movie like "Halloween 2" did. It looks like they maybe had a bigger budget this time around, since the picture quality is better, but not so much that it ruins things. This movie should be gritty and not too slick. It adds to the experience.

This movie picks up where the first left off, telling the story of the killer who stalks a haunted Hayride on Halloween, picking off unsuspecting customers, and using the opening credits to show what happened in the first movie. This time around, the killer is not quite dead and still wants revenge in all those who escaped him in the first movie.

Hot cop makes a return appearance (swoon) as well as the guy and his girlfriend who were the main characters last time around, and the movie shows more emotion than the first one since we have more of a connection with the characters. Again, it's not perfect, but it's a fun little slasher that I enjoyed a lot.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #61: "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

The first time I saw this movie, I was on Christmas break in college, and I decided to rent this movie, which I'd wanted to see since I was a kid, but didn't want any of my ultra conservative friends to know I was watching it. I cared about such things back in the day. So I rented this movie and watched it, and I was in such shock that I sat awake staring at the TV screen even long after it had ended. I hadn't expected it to affect me like that.

So this movie has been around awhile, so you should all know what it's about, but I'll give a little recap here. A van full of teens, including a young woman and her handicapped brother, are in a road trip when their van breaks down and they go for help, only to stumble on a house of horror. Soon they're getting slices and diced and who knows if they'll manage to escape? Creepy!

Part of what git to me so much about this movie is how unrelenting it is. In most horror movies, the killer is stalking someone for a few minutes, then boom! That person gets killed and it's onto the next victim. In this movie, one character is stalked over and over, captured then escapes then us captured then runs away, bloodied but alive, and it's just worse and worse and worse until I was wishing for the character to just die and put an end to it. Even now after all these years, the movie still unnerves me, and I will always respect it for that.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2916 October Horror Challenge #60: "Uninvited"

OK, technically this movie review only needs one poster, and using two is overkill, but COME ON, "Killer Cat"!? How ccould I not include that poster too? It's just too awesome and illustrates perfectly why I've wanted to watch this movie since I was a kid. They both do. It's about a killer mutant cat! What's not to love?

I really have wanted to see this movie since it came out. I heard there was a movie about a killer mutant cat, and of course I wanted to watch it immediately. I love cats and I love horror movies, so this is a match made in heaven for me. Specifically, this movie is about a stray cat that has been subjected to mysterious experiments that escapes from a lab and sneaks aboard a yacht that is hosting a big party, and kitty causes mayhem.

The description us kind of misleading, the cat doesn't sneak aboard, some guests willingly take him with them (who thinks a cat would have a good time on a boat, you nitwits?) The boat is also full of some unsavory people who really deserve to be killed by a mutant cat, so I don't really feel sorry  for them.

The whole movie has a cheesy 80s vibe which people might not like, but it made the movie more fun for me. It dies take an inordinate amount of time for anything to really happen, but  even though the special effects aren't great, it was still cool seeing little mutant kitty kill the stupid characters. Of course the least annoying characters manage to grow on me, so I was even rooting for them after awhile. Overall, this movie isn't great or anything, but I had fun with it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #59: "Hayride"

Every single thing about this movie sounds awesome.  I mean, seriously, it's about a killer who escapes custody and hides in a family's haunted Hayride. Doesn't that sound like the coolest premise ever? (You in the back, don't roll your eyes at me, no one asked you). It sounds like a movie *I* would love, at least, so even though every review gave this movie negative two million stars, I remain hopeful.

It's clear that this movie is ultra low budget, which doesn't bode well, but the opening sequence is cool and the acting from the leads isn't too bad, as these things go. A young man is returning home for Halloween, which his family takes very seriously. They run a haunted Hayride every year, and the young guy is bringing his girlfriend to meet the family for the first time, except now there will be a real killer stalking the ride. Eeeek!

Dude, the guy who plays the lead detective is hot! He's not a bad actor, either. Score! Actually no one in this movie is bad, considering how low budget it us. I've seen much worse acting in big budget movies. Plus the Halloween atmosphere is spooky and fun, and who can beat the creepy fun of a slasher movie set in a haunted Hayride? This isn't the pinnacle of cinematic genius or anything, but it's a fun little slasher movie. I dug it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #58: "The Damned"

OK, I'm really not sure what to think if this one. Netflix predicts I'll give it three stars, bug it has a rotten tomatoes score if only 9% (yes, out if a hundred) and then some sources I tryst have said both "this is good" and "gid this sucks." Guess we'll see.

So the descriptions of this movie say conflicting things, which tells me there's a twist and it ends up being about something other than what it wants us to think it's about. I can see this is the first ten minutes when the lead character us talking about how he doesn't want anyone to find out about his secret. Dude, what did you DO? There's supposed to be a DEMON in this movie, so whatever you did, it's bad. If you summoned this demon, I'll be so pissed at you. For shame.

Anyway, the basic description here is that this movie is that this guy who's a widower and his new fiancee get caught in a storm and trapped at an inn that houses an ancient evil. I hate it when that happens. Peter Facinelli plays the widower, and he's a fairly well known actors. I've seen him in several movies. The rest of the cast is unfamiliar to me, but they're good in their roles. Some of the other characters (one of whom is the guy's teenage daughter) keep hinting in some not so subtle ways that they don't think the new fiancee is as good as the guy's dead wife, which is kind of a dick thing to do, but soon petty concerns vanish as an accident in the storm leads them to the aforementioned cursed inn. An old man tries to warn them away, but people in these movies never listen.

Soon it becomes clear that very bad things are going on here, and the characters assume one thing, which I totally understand, but I worry it might way worse than they think (and I'm usually right about these things after watching hundreds of these movies). The movie actuallyhas some good tense moments and loads of creepy atmosphere. It really is messed up. I've seen similar stories before, but this one is well done enough to be spooky, messed- up fun. Definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge#57: "Plan 9 from Outer Space" with Rifftrax

This movie is notorious for being the worst movie ever made. It's actually kind of sad, because Ed Wood, the guy who made the movie was deluded and he thought he was making a great movie, and this was legendary actor Bela Lugosi's last movie, and it's kind of depressing watching him lumber around in this exploitative schlock when he was such a respected actor. The only thing that's going to make this worth watching is the snarky commentary, trust me. I don't advise trying to watch this movie without it.

2016 October Horror Challenge #56 "The Witches"

After a few disappointing movies in a row, I threw a hissy fit and decided to watch a movie that I knew would be good. I realize that I am allegedly a grown adult and that this is a kids movie, but I don't care, kid's horror movies are rare, but when they're done well they can be a real treat.

This movie  is about a young boy who goes to live with his grandmother after his parents die. His grandmother tells him tales of witches lurking around the world looking for children to steal ( damn grandma, way to terrify the kid) and he discovers that the stories are true and he must defeat the witches.

I love Angelica Houston, and she's perfectly evil in this movie.  It was also fun seeing a young Rowan Atkinson here, and Jason Fisher, the actor who plays the young boy, dies a good job too. The witches were creepier when I was a kid, but they're still fun to watch now, and watching them peel their faces off is still gruesome and creepy. I miss kids movies like these that weren't afraid to depict evil as truly evil like this and not sanitized for a wider audience. This movie was a lot of fun, and exactly what I needed to see today.

2016 October Horror Challenge #55: "The Hours till Daylight"

From the sounds of this title and the look of the movie poster, this movie was trying to harken back to the horror movies of the 80s. I remember seeing the horror movie covers in the video store as a kid, and how the covers and the titles drew me in and made me want to see the movies, so I appreciated this reminder. This movie seems to have gotten low ratings, but the plot sounds good, so I'm hopeful.

The movie is about a young man who experienced years of fear and torture in his family's haunted house when he was a K d, and now that he's about to start a family if his own, he wabts to put an end to this evil once and for all. The scenes of his childhood are creepy enough, and I like the young man, Marco, well enough, so the movie pulled me in from the beginning.

The problem isn't that the idea behind the movie is bad, it's that the acting is kind of off. It feels a little wooden, and the characters keep referencing what the family went through like it's something terrible, but nothing happens for most of the movie. We know Marco and his sister are afraid of the dark and that there's some kind of presence haunting them, and there are hints that it might have followed Marco into his life now, but they never explain what it is or how going back to the house where he grew up will help stop it.

Most of the movie is a jumbled mess, with random stuff happening that doesn't seem to be leading toward any conclusion. It's frustrating. Originally I thought I knew what was going on, then I decided no, that must not be it because that doesn't make any sense, but it turns out that nope, I was right and that IS what's going on. I guess no one but me cares that it doesn't make sense. Plus as the movie goes on, Marco becomes less and less likeable, until I wanted to throw him off a cliff. This movie could have been good, it had some good ideas, but it winds up being just a jumbled, annoying mess.

2016 October Horror Challenge #54: "Last Shift"

The plot of this movie reminds me of a movie I watched last year that I really liked. It was called "Let Us Prey," and if this movie is half as good as that one was, it will make for a good watch. Here's hoping. This movie seems to have gotten some bad reviews, but that's never a good indicator of whether I'll like it or not. The poster is cool.

This movie is about a rookie cop who reports for her first shift at a creep, almost empty police station that is about to be closed down the next day. She is on her own all night, and the atmosphere is really eerie. I like the actress who plays the cop, too, which is a plus. She's much better than the actors in these movies tend to be.

The idea behind this movie is that something evil lurks in the building. Supposedly all emergency calls have been rerouted to other stations, so all she has to do is babysit the building until morning, but she gets creepy calls and other weird things happen that keep her on edge even before she has an idea what might be going on.

Things do get really creepy here, too. There appears to be a break in, but she can't seem to find the suspect as he keeps appearing and disappearing. There's a rotting Snell and black goop on the walls in some of the rooms, there seem to be cryptic messages written throughout the station. Not much makes sense, and she begins to question her sanity. There seem to be some connectionsto the past and the cop's family, and things just keep getting creepier until something's gotta give. It's a good setup and it works, but then it just...all falls apart. I'm not sure where they thought they were going with this, but the ending is just stupid. I don't know. It was a letdown, because there's a lot of good here, but in the end this movie is a big disappointment.

2016 October Horror Challenge #53: "The Taking of Deborah Logan"

OK, here's what happened with this movie. I watched it a few years ago, and I was really tired, but I made it through without dozing off, and it was creepy, and I ended up liking it. Then I was talking with some people, and they were describing the ending, and I was like "'s not what I remember happening." Whoops! I think I fell asleep and dreamed the ending of the movie. Uh oh. I decided to watch it again this year so I can see what actually happened, so I bought the DVD and here we go. I'll try to stay awake this time.

The movie has a creepy setup. A woman suffering from Alzheimer's agrees to let a crew if students come stay at her house and film her to document how her condition affects her. The longer they stay there, the more they realize that this isn't just a case of Alzheimer's, something much more sinister is going on here. The movie was good, I didn't fall asleep because it was bad, I was just exhausted and I sometimes have very lucid dreams that look and feel so real I don't always realize that I'm dreaming.  Creepy, huh? I'd set up cameras trying to document this phenomena, but that never seems to end well when they do it in movies.

Alzheimer's is really frightening  to me. The idea of losing your mind, having that taken away, it's really terrifying to me, so the idea behind this movie is really scary to me even without demons or spirits in the picture, so the movie really gets to me. This is how you do a found footage movie, folks. Have a back story that's actually interesting so viewers have something to care about while they're waiting for the spookiness to start.

This movie is determined to scare the shit out if me. It froze bear the beginning, and I had to restart it again ( damn demons don't want me to watch this movie). As things get weirder and weirder with Deborah's condition, it still makes sense that the people around her think it still might be her condition, since there's so much we don't know about Alzheimer's and how it affects people.

Once the crew and even Deborah's family start to think things might be taking a demonic turn, it's too late for them to really turn back. What I'msaying is that unlike other found footage movies where it's asinine that people kept filming through what is happening, it makes more sense in this movie, and I appreciated that. These people put actual effort into making this movie work, not just "hey let's throw together a found footage movie to make money."

There's a mystery here, and we get to watch the family and the crew try to figure it out amidst increasingly terrifying circumstances. The movie is creepy and the plot is intriguing and the acting is good and the mystery is enthralling. All in all, this is a really good movie. Great ending, too. Much better than the one I dreamed up.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016 October Horror Challenge #52: "Invoked"

I don't know much about this movie. The poster is really cool, and it seems to have gotten some good reviews, but Netflix predicts I'll only give this one star. It is a found footage flick though, and people seem to be tired of those, but I still like them if they're good, so there's a good chance I'll like it. If nothing else, it's unlikely this movie will get all "high concept" and try to preach at me for hours like the last movie I watched, so that's a plus.

Thisovie jumps into the "found footage" setup with both feet. The movie begins by telling us this footage is evidence in the disappearance of these people and that it was leaked to the public. After that, we see the police video of them investigating the complaint of a disturbance and they find an abandoned buildings with signs of a party and this camera left behind.  Oooh, creepy.

The footage does look authentic. It's like a bunch of goofy teens recorded their drunken party. They all do well with their performances though, so I believed them. It does take a long time for anything scary to happen. I get that they wanted to develop the plot, but ugh, kinda boring folks. Once they realize they've summoned something, though, things start to get creepy (and they do some stupid why do they always try to talk to evil spirits in these in movies? Don't they realize that it never ends well when they do that in movies like this?)

Alas, it still takes way too long for anything really scary to happen. I mean creaking doors and footsteps can be scary, but this is a horror movie, that alone ain't gonna cut it, and  when the characters aren't even scared enough by that crap to stop partying, it isn't going to scare us, either. I mean, the characters in the movie even say "boooooring," which should indicate to you that the movie isn't scary enough. The movie works when things actually happen, but it just doesn't happen often enough to keep the movie from being anything but dull. Pity, I really wanted to like this one.