October Horrorshow: The Ritual

A creepy cabin in some lonely woods. A small cast. A mysterious monster that stalks them. Most of us film fans have seen this movie many, many times. Such a broad outline has spawned hundreds of horror films over the years. Some are good, some are awful, and most are just mediocre. In that, these horror films are like every other film that features well-worn tropes. One can’t expect too much originality, which makes it all the better when something new is to be found. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Ritual”

October Horrorshow: They’re Watching

It just doesn’t feel like the October Horrorshow until the first review of a found footage flick has been posted. This year the honor goes to They’re Watching, the 2016 film from writing and directing duo Jay Lender and Micah Wright.

The film follows the crew of a home improvement reality show. They are going back to Moldova six months after the subject of an episode, Becky Westlake (Brigid Brannagh), bought and began to rehab a dilapidated house in the woods. The place looked like a total lost cause. It had been empty for decades. All the glass had been broken. Walls and floors had been exposed to wind, rain, freezing, thawing, vandalism, and everything else that causes an abandoned building to slowly fall apart. The best thing would have been to knock it down and start over. But, when the crew arrives on site, after a somewhat harrowing journey to the house, they find that Becky appears to have done a top-notch job. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: They’re Watching”

October Hammershow: Taste the Blood of Dracula

What a title. Taste the Blood of Dracula. That’s a pretty good start for today’s horror film, before a single frame even goes by. From 1970, Taste the Blood of Dracula was written by Anthony Hinds, directed by Peter Sasdy, and features Christopher Lee returning to play Dracula. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Taste the Blood of Dracula”

October Horrorshow: Suspiria

A viewer would hard-pressed to find a more beautifully shot, atmospheric horror film than Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Argento’s, and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli’s, vivid production has become legend among horror fans, and for good reason. The film exists within a reality all its own, shifting back and forth between dreamlike and nightmarish, soft and menacing, as the situation requires. No study of horror films, and film in general, is complete without seeing this classic. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Suspiria”

October Hammershow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie

Hammer, in a wise decision, jettisoned much of the tropes they had used in their previous Mummy films. For three consecutive productions, they had made basically the same film. British archaeologists discover ancient Egyptian tomb, said tomb has a curse on it, ancient Egyptian mummy resurrects and kills those who dared desecrate the tomb. It really was the same thing again and again. That was all well and good when they did it the first time, but by the last film, The Mummy’s Shroud, the plot was too familiar, and everyone involved seemed to be just going through the paces. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, or, Underboob: The Movie”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers

Tom Latham thinks that life could only get better if he just kills himself. Turns out, he’s right! Tom (Nicky Henson) isn’t suffering from depression, nor is he a deluded youth who is incapable of processing the permanence of death. He’s the leader of an outlaw biker gang called The Living Dead. They get their kicks by driving mildly quickly on the roads of rural England and occasionally tipping over vendor’s carts at the local shopping center. How dreadfully frightful. But Tom has an idea that can make his little band of nihilists even more of a public nuisance. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Psychomania, aka The Death Wheelers”

October Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine

Back in 1993, DC Comics, under the direction of editor Karen Berger, took six of its mature readers titles and placed them under a new imprint — Vertigo. The Sandman, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol (after a legendary run by writer Grant Morrison), Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, and Hellblazer (featuring John Constantine, rhymes with clementine) were titles that had grown beyond the core superhero titles of DC’s lineup. Berger had been responsible for much of this, bringing aboard creative talent which would have been wasted penning yet another year-long superhero crossover designed to simplify DC’s bloated continuity, or spending day after day drawing just the right amount of ripples in Superman’s abs. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine”

October Horrorshow: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

My family will attest to the fact that when I am visiting Ohio for Christmas, I always end up watching A Christmas Story at some point. The 24-hour marathon on the Turner cable channels has been a blessing for the holidays, as far as I am concerned. My family recalls the days when broadcast television would play Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. I’ve never held those films in that high regard. For me, Christmas entertainment nostalgia will always rest with Ralphie and crew, and no one else. Not even Frosty the Snowman. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things”