October Horror Fest 2013
Great creature feature. Good balance of comedy and monsters. Light on the gore and heavy on the hijinks. It had that same comedic appeal as Shaun of the Dead with its European sensibilities although not quite as funny. Several homages to the genre are peppered in as well. The location is absolutely beautiful and the cast is very likeable. FTV 4 Stars2. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
Flat out awesome animated movie that Blade ripped off. Oozes style and stays in a post apocalyptic gothic world with the right amount pf blood and gore. It's also very well written and each character is welcome on screen. I'd love to see a live action version of this. 4 Stars3. Zombi 2.
What a show. Might be equal to Romero's stuff. Great sound effects and music. A couple of key scenes that are legendary in their own right and should be seen by fans of the genre. This is really how you make zombie movie. There's a great eye opening scene that's perfectly setup and the tension before is realistic and actually scary due to audio and lighting. You'll know it when you see it.. 5 stars4. The Deadly Spawn.
This is a great B creature feature from the early 80's and my first time seeing it. Absolutely terrific effects and realistic characters. It's a "Hard R" as well. Plenty of gore. If you're a fan of Critters you'll be right at home here. One particular scene involves a food processor, a deadly spawn, and a vegetarian dinner party. I couldn't help but love the lead hero. He would have fit right into Explorers
with a young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. I'm docking half a star due to the video quality from Amazon Instant. This is a case where VHS would be the superior format. FTV 4.5 stars5. Higanjima.
I really liked this flick. It's a good twist on the vampire genre with a Battle Royale feel. It's very high on melodrama and that is it's weakest point as it's a bit much. When the action kicks in it's great and the blood sprays. The visual style is razor sharp and the HD Extra on Netflix was stunning with great blacks. It has a mild style of Wushu and tons of sword play. FTV 3.5 stars6. Modus Anomali (Ritual).
Treading into Triangle waters with this mind bender. It's a slow burn but worth it, turn out the lights and crank the sound as the environment is half the fun. It's not perfect but still quite good. The format is basically a guy wakes up buried alive with amnesia and finds his wife dead. He then proceeds to find and save his children. What follows is a man vs nature style movie until the breadcrumbs hit. FTV 3 stars7. Fright Night 2: New Blood.
Farm this movie. It sucks, no pun intended. Even the craptastic remake with Colin Farrell comes off as a masterpiece compared to this. F(and last)TV .5 stars8. Rosemary's Baby.
It's been a long time since I've seen this so I thought I'd rewatch it. It's a very well constructed film although not as much scary as it is unsettling. Seems to remind me of Eyes Wide Shut and its angle on "The Illuminati" and secret societies. As a classic, it's worth your while to watch it, if only to see that the powers that be were more secretive just a few decades ago as opposed to how they just do spells at halftime shows nowadays. 3 stars9. Tucker and Dale vs Evil.
Really funny. Really gory. Really worth your time. Teens meet hillbillies in this awesome twist of a genre. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and you're on your way in this movie. After Rosemary's Baby and the steaming pile of shirt Fright Night 2 I needed a laugh or twelve. 4 stars10. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.
Wife wanted to see this so it makes my second viewing. It's a middle of the road teen slasher flick. Nothing too grand and totally watchable. It has an afterschool special kind of vibe and stays grounded in reality. If you pick just one psycho teen girl go with The Loved Ones or Carrie. 2.5 stars11. American Mary.
I finally got the wife to watch this. She enjoyed it. It's empowering in a sadistic way. At the heart it's a revenge movie cloaked in the weirdness of the extreme body modification crowd. Katharine Isabelle is simply superb and beautiful to boot. The twins that wrote and directed it have my attention and I'm curious what they do next. 4.5 stars12. Baby Blues.
Postpartum depression drives a mother over the edge and forces her son into survival mode. Truly nightmarish in premise but lacking in execution this movie seemed like a straight to video release of a Lifetime movie. I was hoping for more and was let down as I saw this on several lists for "horror movies you missed." The mom does the unthinkable but they don't show you the deeds and I was ok with that. It's borderline good but not quite. 2 stars13. Phantasm.
I love this movie and it's hard to say why. I like all the characters, the writing, and the music. The music might be better than Halloween's famous notes. It certainly sets the doom and dread. The film has an obtuseness to it that loves the folds in my brain and I welcome it in and see new things each time. This might be the scariest movie I've seen this month not for shock or some rainstorm of blood but for that unsettling feeling that surrounds real death. 5 stars14. The Purge.
I really enjoyed this movie. I love alternate America type movies and this is a great one. It is similar to The Strangers but much more action oriented and not as scary. The basic idea is that one night a year all crime is legal. Certain weapons are not allowed and certain, you guessed it, elected officials cannot be targeted. Otherwise good luck. It boils down to a haves versus have not conflict and lets us look under that thin veneer we call society. It reminded me of picking up old plywood and seeing roaches, worms, and various other critters scurry from the light or try to burrow down. For some reason I kept thinking about White Man's Burden
while watching and may need to revisit that. I thought Ethan Hawke did a fine job as a dad and his faith in his gear and skills was just as a dad should be, unwavering. It's not perfect but still enjoyable and it was a refreshing take on home invasion. I often wonder what I would do in a situation like that and you get to see a family make those choices in this. 4.5 stars15. Phantasm 2.
They up the action component in this continuation of their quest to defeat The Tall Man. Exotic weaponry highlights this. Unfortunately they increased his budget and the surreal elements are toned down here. It's still a great sequel. 3 stars16. Brain Damage.
What a weird wonderful hour and a half this is. It explores addiction in an interesting way and I suppose it is a product of its time with JUST SAY NO and all that. There are some extremely weird kills in this off kilter story about a young man who is befriended by an alien worm that injects drugs into your brain as long as you keep him fed. I really enjoyed the effects as they were well done and interesting. Worth a look if you like weird and funny. FTV 3.5 stars17. Phantasm 3.
Our heroes continue their quest to defeat the Tall Man in the third chapter of this epic horror saga. Fan favorites return and new members join the hunt. If you aren't on board with the series by now this won't get you into it but is still a cool action horror flick. 3 stars.18. The Woods.
Very cool supernatural thriller set in 1965 in a girl school. Strange things are afoot in the place, to say the least. Our heroine, sent here for burning down her house, butts heads with authority and other students in all manner of ways all the while seeing things that are off kilter. It's a slow start but the final sequence is setup perfectly and I think many here will like it. 3.5 stars19. Tenebre.
An Argento classic with great bursts of violence. Really good crime thriller to boot. Amazing women also. Can't really say much beyond that if you're a fan of his work. Solid movie all around. 3 stars20. Curse of Chucky.
I'm a big fan of the original even though it hasn't held up for me as an adult as much as it did when I was a kid. That said, this sequel prequel was really good. Chucky is very subdued in this which kind had me on the ropes of liking it or not until the plan was revealed. It's actually really smart. We get some great information from before the original and a cool way to tie it back to the present. Non of the violence is over the top and feels as real as it can for a killer doll movie. Fans of the series are in for a treat and should stay after the credits. FTV 4 stars21. Critters.
I can never get enough of this creature feature. It takes me back to those summers that never ended. I remember seeing it way back when it released on home video and feeling special I had been one of the first in town to see it. Of course they didn't care like I did. 3.5 stars22. Phantasm 4.
The Empire Strikes Back of the series finds our heroes again trying to destroy The Tall Man. This one harkens back to the original with its slant towards nightmares and dreamscapes and a lot less action. Lots of worthwhile information is given up surrounding The Tall Man and WTF has been going on across 4 movies. Very good locations and camera work keep this as the best of the sequels in this series but you could not have gotten here without previous entries. 3.5 stars23. A Nightmare On Elm Street.
A classic tale of terror with a unique 80's vibe. I'm a Voorhees guy most days of the week but Kruger is a lot of fun too. Inventive kills and snark are the series trademarks and it all begins here. Seeing Johnny Depp get wasted is a thing of beauty and really not rivaled until the recent Evil Dead remake in terms of just raw blood volume. I definitely like other movies in the series better but you have to start somewhere. 3 stars24. Day of the Dead.
Romero zombies. Still one of the masters that casts a long shadow. The view into societal microcosms is typically a big draw for me. Searching for silver linings among a grim environment is part of the reason I connect to Z films. Throw in a command and control structure and the end of the world and you got yourself a party. Tom Savini effects push this to 11. 4.5 stars25. VHS 2.
I'd say this is equal to the first. I like the first one a lot and I think it had more stories I liked versus this one but part 2 has a segment that's a 5 all day long. 2 whole sequences in part 2 just don't quit. This series is headed in the right direction. FTV 5 stars26. Evil Dead.
I like the old Evil Dead just fine but I like this better. 4.5 stars27. Dead Silence.
Atmospheric horror with gore, done right. Killer doll movies look like child's play next to this.James Wan does good work. 3.5 stars.28. A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.
A lot of people think this is a weak entry but I would disagree. It tries to be different. It plays on many social and suburban fears. Freddy gets right in from the start and destroys innocent daily things like school bus rides. He's moving in on young guy to take over his body so it plays out in more of a possession style. In the end love saves the day but we know Freddy will come back. 3 stars29. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
My personal favorite of the series. Freddy hits his stride here and pulls off some spectacular kills and comedy. Outstanding effects and a great story aren't hurting it either. Upon it's release I was 11 with a fascination about dreams. So much so I had read a few Carlos Castneda
books so the ideas that the NOES series was displaying spoke to me. 4.5 stars30. A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Many don't like this entry in the series but it's loaded to the brim with awesome effects and the story is a good continuation of the rest. Several characters return and get drawn back into Freddy's revenge as he wants to finish off all the Elm Street kids. A great cast rounds out the movie and each one gets picked off in cool and unusual ways. We get introduced to Alice in this one as well. She is key given she can also harness the dream powers of her friends in the same manner that Freddy is fueled by souls. All around solid flick in a solid series. 4 stars31. A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child.
Another solid entry in the series where the tides turns you against Freddy, he's just out stirring shirt for the hell of it now. He is coming into the dreams of an unborn child to finish off those who would go against him. Spectacular camerawork and effects are the highlights. The dream world just keeps getting weirder and weirder. This entry is higher on drama than scares and you know what to expect by now from this series. It's been a blast watching them back to back. 4 stars32. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Cash grabbing finale to an epic story that gets us to root for a child killer. That point is driven home sharply in this installment and after watching all of them back to back it was indeed time for Freddy to die. He isn't a nice guy after all. This movie still has awesome effects but I never liked the characters too much. It really needed the Dream Warriors team. Probably my least favorite of the series but still has some cool things to see. 3 stars33. The Lords of Salem.
On my second watch I found a lot to like in this visually stunning tale of witchcraft. I'm not a huge RZ fan but I think is my favorite movie of his. Dark, foreboding, and full of imagery that needs to be analyzed like a Kubrick film are the hallmarks. I feel it started at a 7 and went to a 9 but never got to 11. Still an enjoyable movie that harkens back to older films. 3.5 stars34. Freddy vs Jason.
All over the map story wise but worth a watch if you like either series. Nothing really stood out except the assets of Katherine Isabell. Maybe I'm burned out on Freddy. 2.5 stars35. Night of the Creeps.
Dekker classic. One of the top horror comedy flicks ever. Space slugs that enter your mouth and multiply until your head explode invade a college campus. 4 stars36. Night of the Comet.
I have a soft spot for this movie as it was one of my early exposures to the post apocalypse genre and it has zombies. I still crush hard on the leading ladies who have survived a cosmic phenomena that turns most everybody to red dust or a zombie. Between this movie and Maximum Overdrive every time we pass through the tail of a comet I get paranoid. It has a bit of comedy and bit of gore but mostly two girls that take no shirt. 4.537. Night of the Living Dead.
Savini's version of the classic Romero film. I love it. I love the casting. I love the house. It gets so much right it's hard to pick on the few faults. 5 stars38. Chillerama.
HO LEE FOOK. An anthology that riffs on classic film styles and is worth a watch by this crowd. In this case the wrap around story is pretty decent and there are two stories worth a look. It's laden with toilet humor, which isn't my thing, but I can see the humor here. It's a tough to give it three "I Like It" stars but I feel some of you will find value. 3 stars39. Cockneys vs Zombies.
Great start. Weak middle. Great ending. Likeable characters help push this middle of the road z flick into "like" territory. Effects are just OK but the dialogue was good. There are way worse z flicks out there. FTV 3 stars40. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.
A huge fave of mine from this series. This time it's a copycat at a halfway house with a survivor from an earlier movie. I'd go as far to say that if you've never seen any of the series you could start here. 4.5 stars41. World War Z.
True fans of the Z genre will poopoo the notion that this is a revelation in the Zombie genre. You've seen it all before, I promise. The one thing that might be the new is the 10.000 foot view the movie provides. It's still a fun Z movie with tons of nice little touches and minimal gore. A very worthy watch for fans of zombies in general but I would have loved it way more if it was more like the book. The vignettes of the book lend themselves so nicely to a movie format I can't figure out why they didn't do that. What's done is done and I am very curious where they go from here. A sequel should focus heavily on conflict in my opinion and we should damn well get the Battle of Yonkers. I can't help but think that the way the book was built out if a anthology movie would have worked? 3.75 stars42. The Conjuring.
Drops the melonfarming mic, exhales a drag from a Kool, drops his head, and walks off stage. Not even a douche slow clap emerges. Barely the rustle of clothing among the audience is heard. FTV 5 Stars43. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh.
Didn't get it. Looked like a hipster discovered a VCR and was mindfarmed and those angels from Doctor Who tried to kill him. FTV 1 star44. Event Horizon.
Right up there with Alien in my mind. High quality sets and matter of fact writing work well in this space horror. It wastes no time finding its footing and letting batshirt crazy loose. 4.5 stars45. The Descent.
An extremely well made tale about a group of ladies who go spelunking in the Appalachians and are forced to dig deep within to survive and then meet up with an unknown adversary. This film is stunning in its brutality and is so visceral at times you can feel the mud on your own hands. My previous viewings of this have been on DVD but this time I saw it on BD on my relatively new plasma and very much enjoyed the black levels. 4.5 stars46. Carrie.
Classic rated R afterschool special that tackles bullying among female adolescents. Among the terror is the exploited innocence of Carrie by her mother and her school mates. It's pretty much a classic even though the setting is very tame by today's standard. There are far larger horrors in school today than back then. I almost put this in the "alternate America" category given the shift in education and what's considered acceptable social behavior. 3 stars.47. Frankenstein's Army.
Found footage style movie about a squad of Russians that get drawn into a Nazi house of horrors. I was eager to see this based on reviews here and liked it quite a bit. Really good ideas on creature design but I felt they were under-used. To go much further would be entering spoiler country however, I do think most here should give it a watch as it does feel original and different. FTV 3 stars48. Night of the Blood Beast.
Corman snooze fest. Felt like chores. FTV 1 star49. Night Fright.
More like Sleep Tight. Just nothing to speak of except some cute late 60's girls and a gorilla thing. FTV 1 star50. She Beast.
Warming up to this witchy campy movie. FTV 2 stars51. Dark Skies.
One of the top horror films of 2013 as far as I'm concerned. Keri Russell is doing some great work recently and the production crew at Blumhouse is kind of on fire lately with a track record of solid films. This one depicts a family that is getting the screws turned on it by an unknown. It does take a minute to get moving but it's not a problem as by the end you should be properly embroiled in the story and their actions. Even my wife watched and I never said anything about her biting her nails. 4.5 stars52. Maniac.
Quite an interesting take on the slasher from a very unlikely lead. I typically don't care for Elijah Wood because he can't grow a full beard and it makes him look like a scumbag when tries BUT that is a strength here in this movie. Good effects and soundtrack round out this tale of an embattled soul just out for love. Props to the ladies also. FTV 4.5 stars53. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.
Perfect for the kid. Full of the seasonal imagery and no agenda except that it's OK for a grown ass man to wear only yellow and just be OK with a chimp destroying everything around him most days of the week. There is a subtle political overtone however, that a chimp is probably more effective than our government but I was able to put that insane notion aside and enjoy this movie. FTV 3 starsIt's been fun
. This year like all the years before lead me to many films I've never seen some more enjoyable than others but that's life. Here's a quick and dirty top 6 from this year.The Conjuring.
The Deadly Spawn.
The Curse of Chucky.
Lords of Salem.
Each of those movies I loved in a different way. The Deadly Spawn for being a discovery of a classic, Curse of Chucky for such a great spin on an iconic character, Maniac for just being a really good modern horror film from out of left field, Lords of Salem for its weirdness and layers that are yet to be seen, and The Conjuring for just being made and letting me know there's a place for films like that. Brain Damage simply for pure schlock might be my top watch. I really love that space for movies.
That said I had a blast going through the NOES series. It's the first time I've watched all of them back to back and the arc is nicely represented. Same for the Phantasm series.
I also totally enjoy all of your posts and lists. They keep me digging all year for things and sometimes send me down paths to glorious riches. I've said before I've done horror marathons in October since forever but never kept track until I found this thread. I check it multiple times a day, all year, in hopes of a gem being presented and hide them away like a squirrel does acorns and can't wait for rainy days to pull one out. Kudos to you all for the best thread on the site.