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: 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: 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”

October Horrorshow: Barricade

Never judge a book by its cover. Or, in this case, never judge a movie by its production company, unless it’s a movie by The Asylum. Barricade, written by Michaelbrent Collings, and directed by Andrew Currie, is a case in point. Right there in the opening credits, there it is: the logo for the WWE, Vince McMahon’s wrestling entertainment behemoth. Barricade is one of the growing stable of films released by WWE Studios, the Hollywood offshoot of the parent company. This company is responsible for such films as The Marine and See No Evil, both featuring WWE wrestlers in starring roles. Looking at their IMDb page, one of their upcoming, straight to video releases, will be Jingle All the Way 2. Oh, horror. On paper, Barricade doesn’t look all that promising. But, as any sports fan can tell a viewer, how a team looks on paper can differ substantially from what happens when the games are played. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Barricade”

October Horrorshow: Below

A ghost story that takes place aboard a World War II submarine. Sometimes I think there are suggestion boxes mounted next to the water cooler at movie studios and once a month the big mogul dips has fat fingers inside to root around for a new idea. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for a movie like Below being greenlit. Luckily for us viewers, just because a movie has kind of a silly idea, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad movie. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Below”

October Horrorshow: The Changeling

John Russell (George C. Scott) just had the worst day of his life. While on a winter vacation in upstate New York, he watched his wife and child get run down in the street by an out of control dump truck. A few months go by, and John, a composer of classical music, decides it is time to begin his life again, and takes a job teaching at his alma mater. The new job is across the country in Seattle, and John needs to find a new place to live. At the suggestion of a friend, John locates a house through the local historical society. It’s quite the place. Victorian, high ceilings — it even has a music room. Any house or apartment with a music room resides firmly in the 1%. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Changeling”

October Horrorshow: The Conjuring

Filmmaker James Wan has, in the last decade, become horror cinema royalty. He was behind the creation of the Saw franchise, the two Insidious movies, and, from just this past summer, The Conjuring. His bona fides as a horror auteur are unassailable...which must be why he’s currently helming Fast & Furious 7. After directing three straight ghost stories, maybe a change in direction was inevitable. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Conjuring”