October Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II

Mario Bava was a giant of horror. His Black Sunday is an atmospheric horror classic that should be on any horror fan’s list of films to see. Shock, released in the United States as Beyond the Door II (it bears no relation to Beyond the Door — the title was strictly promotional), was Bava’s last film before his death. It’s not a bad way to go out, but it’s also a workaday horror film, missing the weirdness that made Bava’s other works, and Italian horror films in general, so special. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II”

October Horrorshow: Bad Ben

Bad BenWhat a glorious age in which we live. Sure, there are problems. American democracy is eating itself alive, with Russia giving us an unwanted assist. Capitalism no longer promises the kind of wage gains necessary to sustain a middle class over the long haul. Technology companies are being hacked, and our personal information is being stolen on a seemingly daily basis. That’s actually less disturbing than it could be, because those same technology companies have shown they don’t have our best interests at heart, anyway. No one can be trusted, whether it’s in our political lives or our technological lives. But at least in this new age, one man can write, film, star in, edit, and release his very own movie. It may not be a good movie, but all the gatekeepers that had been in place to prevent free expression in the art of film are now gone.

Nigel Bach is a self-described guy who ‘sits in [his] basement with [his] dog creating stuff.’ Before 2016’s Bad Ben, there are no credits on his IMDb page. In Bad Ben, he is credited as producer, director, editor, star, and would have writing credit, as well, only it seemed he didn’t think to include that in the credits. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bad Ben”

October Horrorshow: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Horror flicks don’t get much more atmospheric than writer/director Osgood Perkins’ I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. There is so much dim lighting and soft focus in this film that it’s impossible to watch in a lighted room. I suppose that’s a good thing. The overall darkness of the film forces a viewer to watch it in a more immersive fashion. In many places, a viewer must pay closer attention to the screen than they otherwise would. It almost feels like we are having our senses piqued by the movie, deliberately, so that should Perkins feel that is the right moment for a scare, viewers are physically primed to feel the effect to the fullest. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House”

October Horrorshow: The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring, the 2013 horror film from director James Wan and screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes, is among the most frightening horror films I’ve ever seen. It did such an effective job at giving me the heebies that I won’t watch it again for a while. Not because it’s too scary for me to handle, but because I don’t want to become so familiar with the movie that it’s no longer frightening. I want enough of the film to be lost to my memory over time that the next viewing will still catch me off guard. The Conjuring wasn’t a master class in filmmaking, but Wan and company showed that they could use some pretty well worn haunted house tropes and still scare the bejesus out of a viewer who has seen hundreds of horror films. This year’s sequel…not so much. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Conjuring 2”

October Horrorshow: The Amityville Horror (2005), or, Jump Scare: The Movie

I didn’t find the original Amityville Horror all that memorable of a horror flick, but it had more than its fair share of iconic moments, what with the bleeding walls, fly attacks, and exterior look of the house. It was based on a book that was a supposedly true telling of events the Lutz family experienced after moving into a house on Long Island in the 1970s. The whole story has since been shown to be bunk, part of the Ed and Lorraine Warren hoax industry, but some real awful events did occur in the house prior to the Lutz’s arrival that were used as a precursor to what was supposed to have occurred with the Lutz family. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Amityville Horror (2005), or, Jump Scare: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: We Are Still Here

We Are Still HereI love a good anonymous horror flick. How anonymous is We Are Still Here, the movie from writer/director Ted Geoghegan? The plot summary on Wikipedia currently sits at 152 words as I write this. That’s it. In this day and age, a film really has to fly under the radar to get such a sparse entry on a site whose editors can be quite verbose.

We Are Still Here takes place in snow-covered New England in the year 1979. Husband and wife Paul and Anne Sacchetti (Andrew Sensenig and Barbara Crampton) have relocated from the city following the death of their college-aged son in a car accident. They have chosen to move into a century-old house on the outskirts of Aylesbury, one of those insular New England towns that populate fiction. It’s full of people who have known each other since birth, and is very mistrusting of outsiders.

Like all small towns in a horror film, this one has a dark secret. Long ago, the house the Sacchettis purchased was home to the Dagmar family, who were accused by the townsfolk of selling human bodies to medical schools and Chinese restaurants in Boston. After facing some small town retribution, a curse was placed on the house and any poor souls who occupy it. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: We Are Still Here”

October Horrorshow: Poltergeist (2015)

I remember being a child in the 1980s, and movies from the 1950s looked old. The people in them wore weird clothes, had strange haircuts, and drove ridiculous-looking cars. Everything was in black and white, too, making me think, probably up until I was in kindergarten, that the world used to be black and white, and sometime during my parents’ childhoods, all of a sudden it snapped into color. I vaguely remember asking them about that. Oh, the conclusions a child’s mind will come to absent any other information. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Poltergeist (2015)”

October Horrorshow: The Babadook

There was a thread on r/horror back in December of last year. In it, OP was lamenting the fact that having seen so many horror films in their lifetime, they were having a hard time being frightened by horror films anymore. They, and other commenters, wished they could go back in time to younger days when the horror genre still held surprises, when they could still be scared by an apparition suddenly appearing in a bathroom mirror, or a slasher coming back from the dead to chase down and slaughter teenagers. Everyone seemed a little jaded. Here were people whose favorite genre of film is horror, and they felt that they had become desensitized to what drew them to the genre in the first place. What a shame. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Babadook”