October Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row

What a vile, vile movie. It could have been worse. Oh, so much worse. But, this flick still managed to plumb the depths of taste, artistry, technique, and every other highfalutin term about film one can come up with. It’s the type of film that counts on awakening the hormonal 13-year-old boy in all of us. I’m not even sure 13-year-old boys would like this trash much, though.

Haunting on Fraternity Row comes to us via writer/director Brant Sersen and fellow screenwriter Jeff Cahn. Released last year, Haunting tells the story of a massive end-of-term fraternity house blowout that turns deadly when a ghost spoils the show. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row”

October Horrorshow: Entity

Entity, the 2012 horror film from writer/director/producer Steve Stone, threatens to be a found footage flick early on. Thankfully, it’s not. Back when it was made, found footage horror films seemed to come out once or twice a week. But, even though Stone only flirts with the technique, he chose to use its tropes heavily.

The film opens with security footage shot in the green tint of night vision, so familiar from its overuse in found footage horror. The shot is of a spartan room in what looks like an insane asylum. There is an iron bed with thin mattress, a sink, a bucket, and a huddled figure who won’t look at the camera. Over the course of this sequence experienced horror fans will witness trick after trick that was used to better effect in earlier films. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Entity”

October Horrorshow: Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum

Horror junkies have been blessed by video on demand. Online streaming services have become a glut of horror films, as small, independent creators have been able to get their work out there for people to see. It’s been great for foreign horror flicks, as they have also been gaining prominence on streaming services, probably because they’re affordable to license. South Korea has been well-represented the last few years, with Train to Busan being the standout. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum also hails from the ROK, and fits in well with the frenetic style that has come to typify South Korean horror. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum”

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 readingOctober 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 readingOctober 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 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: 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”