Monsters, devil worshippers, demons, ghosts, sadomasochistic interdimensional travelers...it can get to be too much. It's time for the Horrorshow to take a step back from all the gore and scary stuff and spend some time with some nice, wholesome alien invaders.
Ragnarok, the 2013 film from Norway, is not a horror movie. At first glance, it has all the makings. There's a small cast, a remote locale, an abandoned Soviet military bunker, and there's a monster. So this is a monster movie, then? Well, yes, but not so much. As it turns out, Ragnarok is a family adventure movie. What has the October Horrorshow come to? Have I exhausted my options to such an extent that I have to dip into other genres just to fill out a month? No, I do not. But I feel I have been deceived, and have to share.
Deciding to write about a particular movie has some unexpected difficulties (pardon me while I moan). I don't get paid for writing about movies. I do this only because I feel like it. That is why there is little rhyme or reason when it comes to the reviews. I go where the mood takes me. But sometimes I get the urge to write a series of reviews, and make the decision to write a review before I watch a movie, rather than after. The distinction is important. If a film really grabs me, for whatever reason, I am more likely to write a review than not. But if a film is anonymous, leaving me troubling to recall what I saw mere hours after the credits rolled, then I probably will not bother with a review. How, then, to treat Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth? I decided to write this review as a follow-up to Hellraiser II, a film that was better than I expected. But this...
It's not a good sign for a sequel when there is not one, but two recaps of the previous film within the first twenty minutes. The Friday the 13th franchise used to have recaps at the beginning of every movie, but that was to pad runtime. In essence, recaps, sometimes in the form of extended flashbacks, are lazy filmmaking, entrusting big chunks of storytelling to a predecessor's efforts. But, Hellbound's director Tony Randel must have learned the technique as producer on Godzilla 1985, a film that was a recut bastardization of the Toho release, Return of Godzilla. Godzilla flicks are fun but they are stupid. They are stupid fun, I guess. Randel was part of a team that found a way to make a Godzilla flick even more stupid. Hopes were not high for this film.
With all the remakes and reboots of horror franchises over the last decade or so, I was expecting 2014's The Town That Dreaded Sundown to be just another retread starring young pretty people with vapid looks in their eyes reading just as vapid lines. Somewhere out there wayward production companies are on a constant search for properties ripe for further exploitation, and I thought this was one of them. Before I saw this movie, I had only recently heard of the original Town. That's significant, because I've seen a lot of horror movies. There aren't that many obscure titles that I haven't heard of. At least, I think there aren't. I can't be too sure about my own ignorance, in truth. Anyway, I thought the filmmakers were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a title whose rights hadn't already been locked down. Cynical me went into this film, then, with low expectations. But, rather than having to suffer through another Friday the 13th or Fog remake, this newest version of Town is a well-thought-out horror flick.