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 readingOctober 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 readingOctober Horrorshow: The Conjuring 2″

October Horrorshow: Creepshow

I’m about to write something that will call into question my credibility as a reviewer of horror films. I believe Creepshow is the best film George Romero directed. Blasphemy! What has led me to such low depths; to such sacrilege against Romero’s groundbreaking classic, Night of the Living Dead? How could I possibly elevate Creepshow not just above the incredible Night, but also above Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead? It might have something to do with the writing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Creepshow”

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 readingOctober 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 readingOctober 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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Poltergeist (2015)”

October Horrorshow: Exeter

It is a film like Exeter that makes me question this little film criticism hobby of mine. This movie is a bottom-feeding piece of shit, and no one should need any Johnny Come Lately critic to tell them so. It was released direct-to-video and has a Rotten Tomatoes rating below 30%. What more can I add? Not much, to be frank. But this film has done something meaningful when it comes to the Horrorshow. This will be the last low-budget shitfest that I found on Netflix that I will be reviewing. Netflix is a fine service...for television. But when it comes to film, Netflix is a showcase for the worst films Hollywood and elsewhere has to offer. It’s in Netflix’s interest to keep licensing fees for the movies it carries as low as possible. Producers of top-grossing films, which are still making money in direct sales, have no incentive to move their films onto something like Netflix or Amazon Prime until the money stream slows. That means that quality is subjugated to affordability, and we viewers get shit like Exeter. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Exeter”

October Horrorshow: Annabelle

The Conjuring was a horror movie that exceeded expectations. With a budget of around 20 million bucks, a combination of good script, good direction, good acting, and good scares pushed what could have been a boilerplate horror experience into something memorable that brought in over a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office. With such a return on investment, it was a certainty that there would a follow-up. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Annabelle”