Unhinged (2020) & The Woman In The Window (2021) Reviews

Two more quickies today for two films that weren’t very good. But one managed to be entertaining while the other was meh. Let’s see which was which…

Unhinged (2020)

Directed by Derrick Borte

Starring: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It tells the story of a young woman who is terrorized by a seemingly mentally ill stranger following a road rage incident.

My Opinion:

Believe it or not, this was the entertaining “not very good” film. Not all films need to be Oscar contenders, though. It’s a psychological thriller/horror about a psycho who terrorizes a woman after she honks at him in traffic. It certainly doesn’t require any Oscar-winning actors. Yet it has one! I respect actors who go from winning Oscars in really good films like Gladiator then say “Screw it – I still want to play a psycho in a silly road rage movie!”.

Not sure if this is an Oscar-worthy performance but Crowe seemed to be enjoying playing someone completely unhinged. Acting should be fun, right?? But I was a bit distracted through all of this by the fact that I kept thinking Caren Pistorius looks SO much like Linda Cardellini. Then I kept thinking how much I loved Freaks And Geeks. Why don’t they make good shows like that anymore?! Then I read at IMDb that the kid playing the 15-year-old son of Caren Pistorius in this is actually only 14 years younger than her in real life & I thought that was hilarious. That’s so Hollywood. Can’t have a mom in a movie actually looking old! Then I also read this trivia at IMDb & it made me think how much I liked Joy Ride (with the dumb name Road Kill in the U.K.): “The candy cane scissors are a nod to the similarly themed Joy Ride (2001), in which the protagonists use the call sign of Candy Cane to anger a homicidal motorist who then terrorizes them.

Well, I was clearly a bit distracted while watching this if I was reading IMDb trivia & this certainly isn’t as good as Joy Ride but it’s a fun “popcorn movie” that’s a bit of a throwback to the kind of thrillers that they made throughout the ’90s. Sometimes we just wanna see a crazy person lose their shit in a cheesy thriller. Like Single White Female! I’ll always like that one but I know it’s awful. This movie keeps up a good pace through the whole thing so you’re never bored, Caren Pistorius and her “son” Gabriel Bateman who could actually be her brother in real life are both perfectly fine as the two main people Crowe is terrorizing, and we get a pretty fun showdown with a great line from Pistorius. That’s all we really need from this type of movie. Yeah, it could’ve been a better film but it was still a fun watch.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Woman in the Window (2021)

Directed by Joe Wright

Screenplay by Tracy Letts

Based on The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows an agoraphobic woman (Amy Adams) who begins to spy on her new neighbors (Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger, and Julianne Moore) and is witness to a crime in their apartment.

My Opinion:

This was meh. I use the word “meh” on my blog way too much. Unfortunately, it’s just the perfect word for way too many movies these days.

I read this book years ago in preparation for the film adaptation before Covid delayed it for years. I re-posted my old review of the book HERE the other day. The book was also a bit meh but I still had hopes for the movie as it’s the kind of story that can work quite well as a film if done right. Plus I like Amy Adams. Speaking of those cheesy ’90s psychological thrillers, this is another story just like those. But, whereas Single White Female was so cheesy it was fun, I think maybe The Woman In The Window took things a little too seriously? I’m not sure exactly why it didn’t work but the movie was pretty boring. At least I can say Unhinged wasn’t at all boring. And, speaking of Single White Female, I should add that Jennifer Jason Leigh is in this & she’s completely wasted (as is Julianne Moore & Gary Oldman). That’s a lot of big name actors in small roles with very little to do! I mean, my god, Wyatt Russell got more screen time than any of those big names.

I don’t have much more to say about this, to be honest, which is always the case with meh movies. I’ll just say they really glossed over all her conversations with her husband (Anthony Mackie) & their daughter in this and there was way more involving them in the book. Did people watching this movie even notice them or pick up on that story much?! We also didn’t get much of the main character’s love of movies, which I liked in the book. Oh, and not that it matters in the slightest, but the neighborhood in the movie was not at all how I pictured it. And the Amy Adams character was unfortunately a bit unlikeable (but she was that way in the book too so I guess Adams did well). Whatever. I’ve written enough. Watch this if you really want to but go into it with very low expectations. Or just watch the absolutely brilliant Rear Window instead.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Rent-A-Pal (2020) & Butt Boy (2019) Reviews

Okay, these were two quite bizarre films that I watched recently so I figured I’d post a double review…

Rent-A-Pal (2020)

Directed & Written by Jon Stevenson

Starring: Wil Wheaton, Brian Landis Folkins, Kathleen Brady, Amy Rutledge, Adrian Egolf

Music by Jimmy Weber

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
1990: David, 40, looks after his dementia mom. He uses a video dating service to no avail. He buys a “Rent-A-Pal” video tape and things change.

My Opinion:

This was a weird one (although not nearly as weird as the one I’m gonna review next). As in the plot synopsis above, a lonely guy buys a videotape called “Rent-A-Pal” in which a dude named Andy says he’ll be your friend. This movie was actually quite good! It’s one of those movies that looks like a full-on horror film looking at the poster & images but it isn’t really – it’s more of a psychological thriller following a lonely man’s descent into madness. So not all horror fans are going to go for it but it’s also probably way too strange for a more mainstream audience. If you like fairly low budget indie movies (I’m just assuming it’s both of those) with a strange story, this might be one for you. And be aware that it’s nothing like Ringu before you possibly think that based on the creepy videotape thing.

And now for a confession: Please do NOT let this make you not watch this if you’re interested as he’s great in this but I totally watched this due to my undying love for Wil Wheaton. Yeah! Wil Wheaton! You have no idea how much I adored Stand By Me when I was 12/13 and how many times I watched it (many, many times). I was completely in love with Wil and, of course, River Phoenix. And I continued to be in love with Wil as Wesley Crusher (TNG fans were horrible to poor Wesley. I loved him!!). Well, Wil is the guy in the creepy videotape this lonely dude buys. Wil’s character just “wants to be your friend”. Honestly, he’s so good in this and so creepy.

The main character is played by Brian Landis Folkins & I thought he was terrific as well. He really captured the extreme loneliness of this poor middle-aged man stuck at home having to care for his sick mother & having to rely on a “videotape dating service” to find himself a match to hopefully share his life with. But, in the meantime while waiting for a love match, he buys the “Rent-A-Pal” video and that’s when things start getting nice & weird. I admit it: I love weird movies (which will be obvious when you get to my next review). So I liked this one & it felt like a very original story. I was also surprised at just how good it turned out to be as I wasn’t expecting anything too special since I’d never heard a thing about this whatsoever, not even on Film Twitter. It’s a good character study of someone suffering from extreme loneliness & it has good performances. So, yeah, maybe not the best thing to watch if we go back into a full scale pandemic lockdown! And bear in mind that it does get a bit crazy at the end. Only watch it if you like strange films.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Butt Boy (2019)

Directed by Tyler Cornack

Starring: Tyler Cornack, Tyler Rice, Shelby Dash, Brad Potts, Austin Lewis, Robert Moss, Tyler Dryden, Kai Henderson, Wilky Lau

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.

My Opinion:

Hopefully you read the above plot synopsis? Yes, this movie is indeed about people disappearing up a dude’s butt.

As I watch so many movies, I get very bored seeing the same predictable stuff over and over again. Therefore, I do seek out weird movies. I don’t necessarily want to see bad weird movies but seeing a synopsis such as the one above makes me go “Yep, that sounds unique!”. I’d love to make a Top Ten of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen but think it would be difficult as everyone will have a different definition of weird. Although I think we can all agree on this one being weird! Hmm… What could be in that list? Rubber for sure. Things like Society? Maybe. Possibly some good stuff like the movie Swallow that I watched recently? Not sure if that’s weird enough. Okay, I want to make this list someday! Now onto Butt Boy

This actually isn’t a bad movie. As far as, I dunno, production values or whatever (I don’t know anything about filmmaking). But it looked good (as in, it didn’t seem really low budget or anything) and I remember thinking the score was interesting & fit this bizarre movie well. The acting was perfectly fine too. And, yeah – I really wanted to know what was happening to everything (and everyone) going up this guy’s butt. I also liked the character of the detective (even though he totally reminded me of an ex-boyfriend). He’s mysterious and you can tell he has some tragic backstory and he’s very determined to prove his theory (that, you know, people are disappearing up that dude’s butt!).

Well, I don’t know what else I can say about this. It’s the type of movie I can’t exactly recommend. You’ll either look at that plot synopsis and go “Hell yeah, I’m watching that!” or “WTF kind of weird ass shit does this chick watch? I’m never reading this blog again”. Seeing as we’re all movie bloggers, though, I’m sure a few of you might check this out (Film Miasma!). Also, I should say that the pay off is pretty good in the end (Haha! In the end! Literally!). This movie builds very slowly and then you get a great END (Ha! I said end again). Well, either it’s a great ending or a horrible ending depending on your opinion of it. A fucked up ending may be a better way of putting it, which is exactly what I wanted from a movie about people disappearing up a guy’s butt. I’m rating this half a point more for the truly original story idea.

My Rating: 6.5/10

**I should add that I looked into the director of this film a bit (Tyler Cornack – he also stars in this as the guy sticking junk up in his trunk). Turns out he has a YouTube channel of all kinds of weird & wonderful very short films (an original short Butt Boy being one of them). I’ve not had a chance to check any out yet but the link is HERE if you’re interested. Actually, I don’t know how to add a link to a channel because I’m an old person but that link brings you to the trailer for the channel & the channel is called Tiny Cinema. I’m intrigued…

Army Of The Dead (2021) Review

Army Of The Dead (2021)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Story by Zack Snyder

Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a group of soldiers who plan a Las Vegas casino heist amid a zombie apocalypse.

My Opinion:

I re-posted my review of Zack Snyder’s fantastic Dawn Of The Dead remake yesterday (HERE). I love that film despite hating reboots/remakes and despite the original Romero film being an all-time favorite of mine. It’s a shame that Snyder hasn’t done a film as good as Dawn since (well, Watchmen was pretty good). In fact, I’ve pretty much hated all I’ve seen of his movies other than those two. Don’t tell anyone I said that. Oh god. I’m scared now.

Well, Army Of The Dead is my third-favorite Snyder film! But I suppose that isn’t saying much. It unfortunately doesn’t come close to Dawn for me but I did have fun watching it and, hell, that’s all you really want from a movie about a heist in an apocalyptic Las Vegas infested with zombie strippers & zombie tigers. Still trying to decide how I feel about the zombie tiger. I mean, it was cheesy as hell but it was also a zombie tiger, so… That’s still kind of cool. Cool cheese. Richard Cheese!

Oh, yeah – about Richard Cheese: I’m assuming that was a Richard Cheese song he used at the start? Okay, I thought Cheese’s Down With The Sickness was cleverly used in Dawn but it really threw me to hear that sort of thing used in the same way in Army. Snyder just seemed to be re-using a lot of his old tricks in this movie. Annoying, as I loved his use of music in Dawn but it was just distracting when he used music in the same way in Army (even down to a cheesy “elevator music” type moment with Karma Chameleon in place of Dawn’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy if I remember correctly). And Bad Moon Rising will never be anything other than the An American Werewolf In London song to me. I know this seems a minor complaint but I really love movie scores & soundtracks so it’s something I’m going to notice. Was disappointed at the lack of originality. Oh well. As my hubby & I discussed while watching this, it’s going on 20 years since Snyder’s Dawn remake (oh my god!). So he seems to be relying on the fact that a whole new generation who may not have seen Dawn will be watching this. Apologies as I’m old, though, and Dawn is still fresh in my mind so I can’t help but keep comparing the two in this review.

Dawn also had really great characters (as far as horror movies go) and I feel Snyder tried to achieve the same thing here but, again, he didn’t do as well in Army. That’s probably thanks to James Gunn anyway, who wrote the Dawn screenplay (I love his Guardians Of The Galaxy films & Slither). Don’t get me wrong, though – the characters were still one of the better things about this movie. I liked Dave Bautista and thought he did well in the lead role with his big head & tiny glasses. The girl playing his daughter, Ella Purnell, was also really good. Can I just say that I rewatched Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children two days before Army and didn’t even realise it was the same actress since she wasn’t blonde in this? If someone changes their hair I don’t recognise them at all. Is that weird?! Anyway, those two along with the woman playing the possible love interest of Bautista were by far the best characters. I wish the others had been a bit stronger but there were still a few fun ones (such as the German guy and the other dude helping him with the safe who develop a cute friendship plus the tough chick who brings them into Vegas as she knows the way around). Tig Notaro was also funny as the helicopter pilot & I’d completely forgotten she was brought in to replace someone when I read afterwards that all Notaro’s scenes were filmed later. Well, I guess they did well with that as I didn’t notice! The character seemed to actually be there with them (but maybe I’d have noticed if I knew that fact beforehand – I suck at noticing things like that, obviously, as I also don’t even recognise someone if their hairdo changes).

Um. I don’t know what else to say so maybe it’s better to just wrap this up so I don’t go rambling on and on and on and on (you know, like most Zack Snyder movies do). I just sighed when I saw the two and a half hour running time when I pressed play on this thing. WHY?! It’s not necessary. It’s a zombie movie. I appreciate that it can feel more “epic” when it’s a long film but this isn’t Lawrence Of Fucking Arabia. Longer isn’t necessarily better! (Haha – I’ll refrain from the joke I almost made here). But this review is sounding way more negative than I actually felt. Would I have liked this more if I’d never seen 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead? Yes, that’s very likely. I’ve been moaning that there have been far too many depressing dramas during this pandemic so I was happy to watch a fun zombie “popcorn movie”. And, honestly, I did really like Dave Bautista & Ella Purnell. Zombie tiger was ridiculous but, not gonna lie, also highly entertaining. I was hoping to love this one as I do still love zombie movies even though there are too many now. It just unfortunately didn’t live up to my own hype. It’s far from the best zombie movie out there but it’s also far from the worst.

My Rating: 7/10

Dawn Of The Dead (2004) Review

I’m re-posting this now so that I can post my Army Of The Dead review tomorrow.

This is a review I did as a guest on another blog a long time ago. I’ve sadly lost contact with the people running a lot of the blogs I wrote for in the past, so I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite guest reviews here before the blogs also disappear. As this is a favorite film of mine & as I often tweet this review, it made sense to finally re-post it here after the release of Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead.

This was originally written for Mike at Screenkicker for the Screenkicker Olympics, a great blogathon in which people discussed something movie-related from where they grew up or where they now live. So I chose Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead to represent Wisconsin. You can read the original post HERE, which contains an intro as well but I’ll get straight to the review below…

Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Screenplay by James Gunn

Based on Dawn of the Dead by George A Romero

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, Kevin Zegers, Mekhi Phifer

Running time: 100 minutes/110 minutes (Director’s Cut)

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Dawn of the Dead is a remake of George A Romero’s 1978 film of the same name. The film depicts a handful of human survivors living in a shopping mall located in the fictional town of Everett, Wisconsin surrounded by swarms of zombies.

My Opinion:

I love zombies. I loved zombies before they were cool, dammit! It’s like those Grateful Dead fans who became fans after Touch Of Grey – What do they call them? Touch Heads? Where am I going with this – I don’t even like The Grateful Dead. Well… I like that “Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine” song! And Touch Of Grey. 😉 And I’ve loved zombies since I first watched Romero’s amazing Night Of The Living Dead and then Dawn Of The Dead (1978), which is just as amazing in a different way and is now one of my all-time favorite movies. Then, in 2004, it was remade. Those who know me may have seen me ranting about how much remakes piss me off! Especially of my favorite movies. So how do I feel about Wisconsin boy Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead remake…?

I love it! There’s a shopping mall and, of course, zombies. But otherwise this feels like a whole new movie – A reimagining as opposed to an inferior copy (like the 2013 Carrie remake – it wasn’t horrible but was completely pointless). 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead gave us lots of varied characters, zombies we couldn’t outrun, a cool spot-the-celebrity-lookalike-zombie game, Disturbed, and a very different feel from the Romero zombie flicks.

I think what works for me, more than anything, are the characters in the film. They feel real. Sure you have a couple of assholes but even they feel like your typical every day assholes as opposed to the psychotic murdering rapist types you get in other post-apocalyptic movies. Okay – things have only just begun (I mean, the world goes to hell in this in just a few hours!) but I like to think we wouldn’t all turn into complete assholes quite so quickly after an apocalypse. The characters help each other and you find yourself liking a lot of them. They’re as developed as they need to be for a horror movie (actually, they’re very well developed as far as horror movies go, where we usually just get a bunch of idiotic girls with big tits dying in various ways). Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Jake Weber are the highlights for me (I had a crush on Jake Weber in this – I’d totally hook up with him in a zombie apocalypse). But even all the lesser characters in this are memorable, such as tough old lady Norma & father/daughter Lindy Booth and… Max Headroom! (Does anyone younger than me know Max Headroom?). Michael Kelly is perfect for his character as he has such a “hey, it’s that guy!” look about him. And I especially love gun-store Andy and all the interaction with him on the rooftop – those are probably my favorite bits of the movie.

I’ll wrap this up but first I have to make a mention of the music & the cameos. I loved the great cameos from original Dawn Of The Dead stars Scott H. Reiniger, Tom Savini (giving yet another Oscar-worthy performance) & especially Ken Foree as a televangelist. And it was nice seeing the “Gaylen Ross” store in the mall. Finally, they did a great job choosing the music in the film. I read at IMDb that Snyder personally chose most of the music, including The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash & Richard Cheese’s cover of Down With The Sickness so… Good job, Snyder! Those worked perfectly. Also loved the elevator music such as Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Have A Nice Day by Stereophonics was a perfect way to start the movie. And the proper Disturbed version of Down With The Sickness at the end is fine by me as I think that’s one of the best songs of the past 15 years. (*2021 update: That song is much more than 15 years old now and man I feel old having to type this*)

All in all, there’s not really anything that I don’t like about this movie. I’m not sure how I feel about the very end (through the credits) but I find that most horror films don’t know how to end. As far as horror movies go, this is a hell of a lot better than most. And as far as zombie movies go, this was definitely a worthy addition and, more importantly, respectful to the original.

My Rating: 8.5/10

I was going to end this post with a clip of Disturbed’s Down With The Sickness but decided to go with Johnny Cash’s fantastic The Man Comes Around instead. And this will be the only time you will find country music on this blog…

**And I apologise in advance for when I re-post my review of Brian Yuzna’s brilliant body horror Society, which I posted on another old blog HERE.

The Invisible Man (2020) Review

The Invisible Man (2020)

Directed & Written by Leigh Whannell

Produced by Jason Blum & Kylie du Fresne

Based on Characters and concepts created by H. G. Wells for The Invisible Man

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, Oliver Jackson-Cohen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It follows a woman who believes she is being stalked and gaslit by her abusive and wealthy boyfriend even after his apparent suicide, and ultimately deduces that he has acquired the ability to become invisible.

My Opinion:

I missed out on this one at the time. I think it was because it was at the start of the pandemic so I missed it in the cinema & then didn’t have the streaming service it went to just after that. I wasn’t that bothered anyway as it’s a Leigh Whannell & Blumhouse film and they’re both very hit or miss (but mostly miss, especially with the horror stuff). While I do like the story Whannell wrote for the first Saw movie, I hated the sequels as they became way too gross and it turned me off of liking Saw at all anymore. I’ll never understand that torture porn crap. And I’ve just looked up Blumhouse Productions to see the full list of their films and, wow, the quality is all over the place on those. How can you go from good stuff like Whiplash to a lot of very meh or absolutely rubbish horror such as Unfriended (god I hated that movie). I also have to admit one other thing: I really don’t like Elisabeth Moss, although I have no good explanation for that. So this movie had a lot against it but then Horror Twitter started raving over it. To be fair, Horror Twitter raves over every horror movie so I’ve learned to ignore that but it did make me a little curious.

Damn, I thought this movie was pretty great. At least, it’s pretty damn good when compared to all the rubbish modern horror that gets made and compared to a lot of the other Blumhouse horror output. This is my type of horror: supernatural, psychological, and none of that in-your-face gory crap. It’s pretty intense, as the guy is invisible (obviously!) and you never know when he’s there stalking Elisabeth Moss. That was all very effective with some cool reveals to show his presence. I also thought that using this story in the context of an abusive relationship worked really well without it feeling like it was just trying to be “woke”. Plenty of psychological thrillers have involved abusive relationships & the thought of an abuser having the ability to become invisible is terrifying. But I should admit now that I’ve never seen the first film made & don’t really know the original H. G. Wells Invisible Man story so I’m kind of just assuming it’s not about an abused woman but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong! I’d like to see the 1933 Claude Rains film now.

One other positive about this movie: The characters are pretty good (for a horror film). I even ended up liking Elisabeth Moss okay! It’s one of those movies where no one believes the main character & they think she’s going crazy, of course, which is super cliché in horror but that’s because these kind of stories require that. Of course no one is going to believe that some dude has made himself invisible. So that adds to the character’s feeling of isolation and having to find a way to fight this on her own. Oh! And I loved the ending. I usually hate horror endings! Her detective friend & his daughter were also strong & likeable characters (man, I was so worried about them). The abusive “Invisible Man” himself character was pretty one-dimensional, though – there’s really no character development there to explain why he does this. The character of the sister of Moss was also not great & kind of just there to be a “bitch” for not believing Moss but, hey, in horror I’m happy with three likeable characters and a main character who gets some good development going from an abused woman to someone ready to fight back.

The only slight negative about this movie, besides a pretty one-dimensional baddie (which doesn’t bother me that much – I don’t care to know why a bad guy is bad), is that I have to admit it’s a bit too long & is too slow to really get going. I don’t want to be one of those people who moans about the length of a film, though. I love some very long movies, such as Seven Samurai. This isn’t exactly an epic Kurosawa film though, is it? The Invisible Man is actually only just over two hours long but feels longer due to such a slow start so I think that could have been improved a bit.

The length & early pacing are just minor complaints as, overall, I liked this movie a lot. It won’t be an “all-time favorite” like the ’70s & ’80s horrors I grew up with and it isn’t quite up there with the very few rare modern horrors I loved such as The Babadook & It Follows. But it’s a very good psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat at times and I really enjoyed it. I’m always happy to see a good horror film. Hubby often asks me why I watch so many crappy horrors. I don’t want to watch crappy horrors – I want to watch good ones. I give them all a chance just in case I luck out & see a good one. The Invisible Man is a good one.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2019

Happy (middle of) November! As I did October Horror Month again this year, I only reviewed horror movies in October. However, I did watch some non-horror throughout the month as well. As most of my horror reviews were reposts & reblogs, I’m only listing those below that I reviewed for the first time in October. (The Princess Switch feels very out of place in this list!)

MOVIES IN OCTOBER

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – 8/10
Doctor Sleep – 8/10
Ready Or Not – 7/10
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10
Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10
The Legacy – 6/10
The Addams Family – 6/10
Shocker – 5.5/10
The Stuff – 5/10
In The Tall Grass – 4/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Yojimbo – I bought an Akira Kurosawa boxset years ago and have been meaning to get around to watching more of his work as I love what I’ve seen so far. Ikiru & Rashômon are brilliant and Seven Samurai is a masterpiece. Yojimbo is also in the IMDb Top 250 so I might review it as part of my Top 250 Project. I was hoping to instead devote a couple of weeks to Akira Kurosawa on my blog but I think my blogathon days are over. I really enjoyed Yojimbo, even though I’d already seen the same story in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars. Which, apparently, didn’t originally credit Kurosawa & the other writer Ryūzō Kikushima. Naughty! (There was a lawsuit). Anyway, both films are great as the story is so damn good. I of course have to go with Yojimbo as it’s definitely the superior film but can see why it was made into a spaghetti western since the story was just as perfect in that setting. I highly recommend Kurosawa’s films to anyone who hasn’t seen any. Maybe I’ll manage to review his movies someday but I sure I wouldn’t be able to do them justice. – 8/10

Doctor Sleep – 8/10

The Great Adventure Of Horus, Prince Of The Sun (aka The Little Norse Prince) – As this is sort of a pre-Studio Ghibli film, I’ll try to do a full review of it at some point. I adore Studio Ghibli. This was made by Ghibli co-founders Isao Takahata (director) & Hayao Miyazaki (scene design & key animation). It’s a much older film, released in 1968 (17 years before the founding of Ghibli). However, it certainly shows the beginnings of the Ghibli style and has some of that great magical fantasy vibe that Miyazaki perfected in his Ghibli years. It’s not perfect but I enjoyed it and would say I liked it more than some of the non-Ghibli anime I’ve tried. I guess I just love Miyazaki’s style. The characters aren’t as strong as in Ghibli movies and it doesn’t have the beautiful weirdness of the Ghiblis but it’s a promising start and a fun story. – 7.5/10

Judy – 7.5/10

Joker – 7.5/10

Ready Or Not – 7/10

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10

Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10

Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10

The Princess Switch – This was fine. My daughter had watched & liked it so I agreed to watch it with her one night. It’s a wholesome chick flick that’s predictable as F*^K but it won’t do anyone any harm. My daughter was amazed when I predicted the ending within the first ten minutes. Poor kid – I told her that her mom just watches many movies so tends to know how these sort of plots go. She probably thinks I’m a pain in the ass. Anyway, I sort of liked this predictable cheese. We all need some predictable cheese sometimes. And I’m not gonna lie – I’m SO going to be watching The Princess Switch: Switched Again when that comes out. And if there’s a surprise ending that I don’t predict within the first ten minutes, I’ll want my money back. – 6.5/10

The Addams Family – 6/10

The Legacy – 6/10

Shocker – 5.5/10

The Stuff – 5/10

In The Tall Grass – 4/10

Re-Watched:

Wayne’s World – I’m not going to do a mini-review for this movie. If I ever do review this, it needs a full post. This movie is and always will be an all-time favorite of mine. It speaks to me. It’s from my era, set close to where I grew up, I love the same music they do, I knew people exactly like Wayne & Garth, and it’s one of very few movies that I truly find funny. Okay – and I am the female equivalent of Garth Algar. I was a metal-loving, socially awkward nerd who could never talk to my crushes. I had similar hair. And I still wear Converse at all times (well, outside of work). This is the movie that I quote more than any other. I think it’s brilliant and if you badmouth it, you’re on my Shitlist and we can’t be friends. Anyway – I watched this once again the other day as my daughter loves it. She also loves Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. YES! Believe me – she doesn’t just humor me as she dislikes plenty of favorites from my teenage years. I take it as proof that these two films are timeless classics. Yes, I’m serious. Wayne’s World is a comedy classic. It deserves more love. – 9/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Holy SHIT it’s never taken me so long to finish a book. It took months. What a slog. To be honest, it’s a good book. I suppose. At least, the story itself was good. It just honestly didn’t need to be so long. I wouldn’t have minded if the characters were more likeable but, after THAT many pages, you’d think you’d connect with or at least care about the main character. I can’t say that I cared although I did feel a little sorry for him & what he’d been through. His time in Las Vegas especially dragged. Good god. Luckily his friend Boris was highly entertaining, which helped keep me going along with wanting to find out what the hell was gonna happen with The Goldfinch painting. Apparently the movie was boring as hell too according to reviews. That’s a shame, as I think there’s enough content here to make a decent film. – 3/5

In The Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill – 2/5

Currently Reading The Institute by Stephen King – I’m really enjoying this one so far. I’ll probably be finished by the time this posts so I’ll review it soon.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Er, The Walking Dead has started up again. I watched an episode. Or did I watch two? Hard to keep track since nothing ever happens in this fucking show anymore. I know I need a new show to watch but don’t have the time to devote to anything new. What I miss are half hour sitcoms. Why don’t they make sitcoms these days?! I watch worthy enough films – I want lightweight TV so I can switch off my brain. But NOT reality bullshit. A good old sitcom like Seinfeld. Or Friends. Yeah, I like Friends – I’m not one of these anti-Friends snobs! Anyone have any recommendations??

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

November already?! Shit. I’m not ready for Christmas. It’ll be a quiet month on the blog as I’ll be too busy to do many posts. I’ll try to do a post for my 7-year blogiversary at the end of the month.

November Releases I May Want To See: (wow – a lot coming out!)

Brittany Runs A Marathon – Meh. Definitely one to wait for on Netflix.

The Aeronauts – This one looks… Odd. As in, it may be brilliant or it may be a steaming pile of shit. Can’t call it from the trailer.

Midway – War stuff. I’ll probably wait for Netflix. Never a favorite genre of mine, although I’ve loved a few war movies.

The Good Liar – Oh, this looks exciting from the trailer! I do love Helen Mirren & Ian McKellen. Proper ACTORS! Want to see this. (It’s out now. Damn – reviews aren’t good).

Luce – Don’t know much about this. Looks like it may be another one to wait for on Netflix.

Driven – Another one I don’t know anything about. Meh.

Le Mans ’66 – Is this seriously called Ford v Ferrari in America?? That’s a better name. Doesn’t really look like my type of thing but the trailer does look good. Want to see this.

Last Christmas – I’m not a big girly movie girl but do enjoy these kind of films when they’re decent. Plus this has the hot husband from A Simple Favor & Crazy Rich Asians. I’d be a liar if I said I had no interest in seeing this. Looks fun. (This is out now too and also has bad reviews. Damn!!)

Little Monsters – Another zombie comedy horror?? I’ll definitely watch this as it’s a sub genre I really enjoy. Sad to see the reviews aren’t the best.

The Report – I’m sure this will be decent but these kind of dramas are SO not my thing. I tend to only watch them if they end up being nominated for lots of Oscars.

Frozen II – Oh, I’ll definitely go to this. I happily admit that I still think Frozen is great. My daughter is getting to the age where she’s pretending she has no interest in going to see Frozen II. Think she’s slowly changing her mind…

Greener Grass – And another I know nothing about. I need to watch some trailers. It says it’s a comedy so, who knows? I hate most modern comedies.

21 Bridges – Cop drama? Again, not really my thing. Will see what reviews are like.

Judy & Punch – Maybe a Netflix watch.

Ophelia – Again, one for Netflix but would like to check out Daisy Ridley’s performance.

Knives Out – This is the one I’m most looking forward to in November. Hope it’s great! Love the star power in it.

Charlie’s Angels – Meh. May wait for Netflix. Give me Drew Barrymore instead!

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot – I’m middle-aged. I’ll of course watch this Kevin Smith film.

The Nightingale – A horror from the director of the brilliant The Babadook?? DEFINITELY want to see this.

I’ll end this post with with Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I thought Judy was a great film and I’m very glad I watched it.

2019 October Horror Month Roundup & My Top Ten

Happy Halloween! I’ve enjoyed doing Halloween Horror Month yet again but this was probably my last year. It’s too time consuming plus I’m now way behind on reviewing current non-horror movie releases. I’ve also once again watched WAY too many bad horror movies in the past year. Of those below, I only really loved the top two and thought the next few were quite good. The rest of the Top Twenty were decent enough to pass some time but my life would still be complete if I’d seen none of the rest (it might even be better!). I also have a few thrillers as well as full-on horrors on this list.

So, counting down to my favorite, here’s my ranked list of the 43 horrors & thrillers I’ve watched & reviewed since last October:

43-31:

43. Starry Eyes
42. In The Tall Grass
41. Better Watch Out
40. Winchester
39. Bird Box
38. Ghost Stories
37. Cam
36. The Love Witch
35. The Stuff
34. The Funhouse
33. Amber Lake
32. Unsane
31. Slaughterhouse Rulez

30-21:

30. Suspiria (2018)
29. The Sentinel (1977)
28. Shocker
27. The Monster (2016)
26. American Mary
25. The Legacy
24. The Addams Family (2019)
23. Happy Death Day 2U
22. Breaking In
21. Truth Or Dare

20-11:

20. Crawl
19. Curtains (1983)
18. Brightburn
17. Annabelle Comes Home
16. Repulsion
15. Greta
14. Zombieland: Double Tap
13. Pet Sematary (2019)
12. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
11. Searching

Top Ten:

10. Single White Female

9. Ma

8. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

7. Ready Or Not

6. Child’s Play (2019)

5. Us

4. Midsommar

3. It Chapter Two

2. Doctor Sleep

1. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)

I did also do (very brief) reviews of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep novel and King & son Joe Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass HERE.

I keep using Deep Red imagery in this post because it’s awesome. As is the fantastic Goblin score…

Now I can move onto reviewing the non-horror 2019 releases that I saw in the past two months. Here’s what I’ll try to review over the next month:

Hustlers – 7.5/10
Judy – 7.5/10
Joker – 7.5/10
The Farewell – 7.5/10
I Am Mother – 7/10
Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10 (My review for this is written – I’ll post it tomorrow)

*Yeah, I finally got myself an Unlimited cinema card. I watch way too many movies…

Doctor Sleep (2019) Review

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Based on Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis

Music by The Newton Brothers

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

My Opinion:

I watched Doctor Sleep today and don’t have a lot of time so I’ll keep this very brief. I wanted to quickly write something about it, though, since it makes sense to review it on Halloween. I adore Stephen King and try to read or watch at least one thing of his each October. I love that there’s SO much King content lately (Well, I didn’t love In The Tall Grass. Ugh.) You can find my very short reviews for the Doctor Sleep novel as well as the In The Tall Grass short story HERE.

I’m a huge fan of The Shining. And by that, I mean the Stanley Kubrick film that Stephen King hates. I of course love the novel as well but, as I saw The Shining at a fairly young age, it’s one of very few King adaptations I saw before reading the book. I hate doing it that way around but it can sometimes make you slightly prefer the movie as it’s the version you knew first. I love both the book and the movie but The Shining is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and will forever be one of my all-time favorite films. So I actually had the film version in my head more than the novel as I watched this sequel.

Doctor Sleep is good. From what I remember of the book at this point, it’s a faithful adaptation. Flanagan, who I’m starting to really like and whose adaptation of Gerald’s Game I thoroughly enjoyed, does a good job of keeping the fans of the novels as well as fans of Kubrick’s film happy. It’s no masterpiece, though. I do think it’s been hyped up too much by horror fans.

As for the story itself, I liked it but didn’t love it but I already knew that going into the movie. I far prefer the simplicity of the story in The Shining. I’m someone who does love the supernatural more than any other type of horror but the whole thing with The True Knot was always a bit too far out and silly for me, even for a Stephen King story. The Shining is far more scary as it feels somewhat more plausible and also leaves more to your imagination. Not only is it one of the best psychological horrors with a truly terrifying descent into madness, it’s also a damn good and thoroughly creepy ghost story. We don’t get many good ghost stories. Comparing just the films themselves, Doctor Sleep has none of the special atmosphere of The Shining. I’m not someone who is ever scared by movies but The Shining comes closer than most to being truly scary thanks to its tone and its score and its carpet and I suppose the fact that it was made by such a gifted director. The Shining is a work of art whereas Doctor Sleep is just a good horror movie.

Okay – I’m not sure if I’m making sense since I’ve only just seen this and I’m trying to post a quick review before Halloween is over. I enjoyed Doctor Sleep but it had a hell of a lot to live up to. To be fair, the novel itself didn’t live up to the first book either. I’m glad the movie stayed faithful to the book but am not sure yet how I feel about bits of Stanley Kubrick’s film being recreated. At first I felt a little warm & fuzzy about it but then I kind of maybe didn’t like it so much. Kubrick’s film is beautiful & so iconic. I’m not sure I wanted to ever see it with lookalikes??

Ewan McGregor is fine as Dan Torrance and Kyliegh Curran is likeable as Abra. Their friendship is great but I didn’t really feel a strong connection between them. The true star of this film is actually Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat. She’s awesome! She’s a horrible, evil bitch. Is it weird that I think I have a slight girl crush on her? She’s scary & sexy and one of the best villains we’ve had in horror in quite a while. So, I did enjoy her performance and I did like seeing the story unfold. I watch all Stephen King adaptations and always enjoy them, even when they aren’t so good (which unfortunately has been quite often). I’m happy to say that Doctor Sleep is definitely one of the better adaptations. However, it’s never going to be an all-time favorite of mine the way The Shining, Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are. I liked this film but I was hoping to love it. I actually think that It Chapter One was a better King adaptation from recent years. Oh well – at least Doctor Sleep did turn out better than It Chapter Two.

My Rating: 8/10

**I haven’t yet added Doctor Sleep to My Stephen King Movie Rankings. I have to give it a bit more time to sink in before I decide where to put it. I’m thinking it’s probably around 9 or 10. I was really hoping it would be higher…

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) (1975) Blind Spot Review

Deep Red (1975)
Italian: Profondo Rosso
(aka The Hatchet Murders)

Directed by Dario Argento

Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Macha Meril, Eros Pagni,Giuliana Calandra

Music by Goblin & Giorgio Gaslini

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Deep Red stars Macha Meril as a medium and David Hemmings as a pianist who investigates a series of murders performed by a mysterious figure wearing black leather gloves.

My Opinion:

Happy Halloween! I thought I better finally review one of my Blind Spot choices this year so it seemed like the perfect time for Dario Argento’s Deep Red. I do try to explore a little bit of most every genre of film but my knowledge of the Italian Giallo horror thing is severely lacking. This is my third Giallo horror and I’ve only seen Argento’s movies so far; Suspiria, which I saw years ago and should really watch again, and Phenomena as a Blind Spot a few years ago. While I still think Suspiria is the best mainly due to being so iconic (and having that amazing Goblin score), Deep Red may actually be the more “enjoyable” and certainly the more accessible film. If someone was entirely new to this genre and wanted a good film to start with, I’d probably recommend this before Suspiria just because it’s a much more straightforward murder mystery and far less strange. Both are absolute must sees for film fans, though – Deep Red is just an easier starting point.

I’ll start with the obvious things that made this such an enjoyable watch for me personally: The look & the imagery, the atmosphere, and the score. These are extremely important elements to me when it comes to all films but especially for horror. I admit that I’m old but there’s just something special about the look & feel of Seventies & early Eighties horror movies that very few modern horrors manage to achieve. We do occasionally get some good ones now but it’s interesting how often they try to copy the look of old films. It never quite works, though. I appreciate things like The House Of The Devil trying to look like a Seventies or Eighties film but no modern movies ever manage to fully capture that mood and it always just feels like modern actors playing dress up (true for non-horrors too, such as American Hustle). Deep Red has a brilliant Seventies vibe. The clothing! The awful hair! The ugly decor! A stunning & creepy old abandoned mansion! Then we also get some amazing imagery, some of which I’ve posted but others that I can’t due to spoilers. We get a couple of creepy dolls (I love creepy dolls!), lots of that super bright red blood they seemed to use in Italian horror, a big sharp knife in a famous spoiler image, funky artwork on the walls, and closeups of the killer’s eye and the killer’s strange trinkets.

The imagery is fantastic but the score is just as important for setting the mood in this sort of film. I don’t know why modern movies so often seem to care so little about the score. A great score can turn a movie I like into a movie I love. Hell, I know I rated The Good, The Bad And The Ugly much more highly than I would’ve without Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece score (Italians do it better! Wasn’t that on a Madonna t-shirt?!). Goblin did the Deep Red score and I already love it along with the soundtracks for Suspiria and Dawn Of The Dead (1978), an all-time favorite film of mine. Many of my favorite films also have brilliant scores so I do think the music is important. I’ve added a clip of this Goblin score at the end of this post. Goblin feature heavily on my phone’s playlist. I know the scores to these Argento movies better than I know the movies themselves. I now want to watch every single movie that has a Goblin score (but I think a lot of them are very obscure and I’m sure the music is much better than the films).

Atmosphere & music aside, Deep Red also has a decent murder mystery as well as some good characters. David Hemmings is good and I enjoyed watching him investigate these murders, especially when he explores a lovely old mansion as the main Goblin theme below plays. Daria Nicolodi is great as the female reporter who joins Hemmings in his investigations. The two had really good chemistry and I liked her sassy attitude. She added a bit of humor to the movie, which I wasn’t expecting in a Dario Argento horror. So, while I personally always prefer the supernatural and things like witches in Suspiria to murder mysteries, I can see plenty of people actually preferring Deep Red. I’m not sure why it doesn’t seem as popular or quite as well known as Suspiria? I think Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso) is a brilliant horror classic and I’d recommend it to anyone curious about this genre. I’m glad I finally watched it as I’ve seen way too many bad horrors in 2019. Deep Red is by far my favorite of those I’ve watched in the past year.

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s part of the fantastic Goblin score. Love it. I wish movie scores were still as brilliant as they were in the Seventies & Eighties…

**As this posts, I’ll be watching Doctor Sleep. I’ll try to do at least a quick review by the end of today, although I may not have time. I love Stephen King and have very high hopes based on the trailer…

In The Tall Grass (2019) Review

In The Tall Grass (2019)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Based on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill

Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within.

My Opinion:

I reviewed this Joe Hill & Stephen King short story earlier today (review HERE). They’re my favorite authors and I read and watch all things Stephen King-related so I of course had to check this out. Well, the short story is certainly never going to be a favorite story of mine from either writer. It has the movie beat, though. I know there have been some godawful King movie adaptations and In The Tall Grass is unfortunately one of the bad ones.

I suspected that it would go all wrong. This is a very short story so I knew they’d have to add stuff to stretch it out into a 1 hour 41 minute movie. Making shit up rarely works and the additional stuff they added was stupid as shit. Here’s what they added (SPOILERS):

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The boyfriend, who isn’t in the story AT ALL (don’t think he was really even mentioned) and that TIME LOOP BULLSHIT. WTF was with the time travel shit?! That’s not in the story! Also… that “happy” ending. Why? Can people not have unhappy endings anymore?? The movie adaptation started out fine and seemed to be following the story pretty closely. Then the boyfriend showed up and started bouncing around in time and they all found each other in the tall grass. What?! A main part of the story is that THEY CAN’T FIND EACH OTHER IN THE GRASS even when it sounds like they’re right next to each other!!!

Why, of all the stories to adapt, did they choose this one? And why, of all the additional things they could’ve added to this movie, did they decide to go with time loop shit? It was ridiculous and made zero sense. They took a pretty straightforward creepy story and turned it into a silly, incoherent mess. The characters also had zero development, which was pretty amazing considering the 40ish page story managed to do okay with the brother and sister but the hour and a half film left you knowing nothing about them. The acting was also dreadful, especially from the guy playing the brother and Patrick Wilson (but I’ve always found him a bore). The icky stuff that turned me off of the book was in this too but not really focused on (and undone with time loop bullshit anyway). Hill and King have SO many absolutely brilliant short stories. Why someone took a fairly bad one and decided to make it a thousand times worse by changing it so much is beyond me.

My Rating: 4/10

I need to add this to my ranked list of all Stephen King Movie Adaptations. It’s probably third from the bottom (out of 45). I’m seeing Doctor Sleep tomorrow. Hoping it’s MUCH better than this!

I’ll try to review Doctor Sleep tomorrow but, if I don’t have time, I do already have my review of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) scheduled to post as this year’s Halloween review. I liked it a lot, which makes up for all the bad horrors I watched this year.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King & In The Tall Grass by Joe Hill & Stephen King (Book Reviews)

With Doctor Sleep coming out tomorrow, I thought I’d repost my mini-review of the book. I have my ticket booked for the film and cannot WAIT to see it! It looks fantastic in the trailer. I probably won’t have time but I’m seeing it early afternoon so I’ll try to review it late tomorrow (it seems pointless to not review it on Halloween).

I’ve also done a very quick review of King & son Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass. My review of that Netflix film will be posted later today.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
Years ago, the haunting of the Overlook Hotel nearly broke young Dan Torrance’s sanity, as his paranormal gift known as “the shining” opened a door straight into hell. And even though Dan is all grown up, the ghosts of the Overlook—and his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence—kept him drifting aimlessly for most of his life. Now, Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” by secretly using his special abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife. But when he unexpectedly meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone—who possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining—the two find their lives in sudden jeopardy at the hands of the ageless and murderous nomadic tribe known as the True Knot, reigniting Dan’s own demons and summoning him to battle for this young girl’s soul and survival…

My Thoughts:

I gave some very brief thoughts on this book when I did a post of My Top Books Read In 2014 HERE. Here’s what I said:

Of course Doctor Sleep was going to be my favorite book read in 2014. No, it’s not as good as The Shining but I think it’s a decent enough sequel. I liked re-visiting characters from The Shining and liked the main girl, Abra, and her relationship with Danny. I also thought the “villains” (The True Knot) were very effective, especially their leader Rose the Hat.

This was the first book I read in 2014 so I finished it quite a while ago. I of course thoroughly enjoyed it while reading it but it’s already fading from my memory a bit as it just didn’t grab me in the way other King books have. I’m not sure why. It’s good but I think King has written better books in recent years. I think 11/22/63 is a better book overall plus I possibly enjoyed Duma Key slightly more than Doctor Sleep, although I’m sure I’m very much in the minority there. I also had a lot of fun with the book Joyland (check it out – it never gets mentioned!).

Doctor Sleep is certainly one of King’s better books overall but it’s probably not quite up there with my very favorites although I was hoping it would be. I’ve given it some thought and The Dead Zone is possibly my favorite King book although I also love Salem’s Lot, The Long Walk, The Shining, and The Green Mile plus I love his short story collections (almost more than his full novels sometimes). It would possibly be a big favorite except for one bit I really don’t like in it (I think everyone knows the bit I mean). Night Shift was the first thing of his that I read and that’s what got me hooked. I’m sure you all wanted to know my Stephen King history, right??

My Rating: 4/5

**Since posting the above mini- review in 2014, I’ve done a full ranked list of every Stephen King book I’ve read HERE.

In The Tall Grass by Joe Hill & Stephen King

What It’s About:
A brother and his pregnant sister go into a field of tall grass after hearing a kid’s cries for help. Then some fucked up supernatural shit happens because this was written by Stephen King & his son.

My Thoughts:

I clearly love Stephen King and am very happy that his son’s stories are almost as enjoyable as his father’s. I’ve maybe even preferred some of Hill’s writing, especially his short stories in the 20th Century Ghosts collection. As I loved that collection so much, I was very excited when his newest collection, Full Throttle, came out a few weeks ago. I’ve only read In The Tall Grass so far so I could then watch the Netflix adaptation. Well, I hope the rest of the stories are better than this one. At least it was short!

How could a collaboration between my two favorite authors go so wrong? It starts out great (as do most of their stories). It was eerie and I love how King manages to make everyday things so creepy. He’s made fields scary, for fucks sake! I’m never going into corn or grass ever again! Which is fine since I hate nature.

Now, I adore King and he’s one of my favorite people in the world and I want him to write hundreds of more books so that I never run out of Stephen King material to read. The same goes for Hill now as well. But every once in a while, although not very often, I think “this dude may be a little messed up.” There aren’t really any stories of his that I’ve truly disliked but some have been a little too gross or certain things have gone a bit too far for me. The group thing in It. The graphic rape in The Library Policeman, The Outsider & Under The Dome. The overall weirdness of The Lawnmower Man (nothing too gross there – just weird as shit from what I remember?). Hill also creeped me the hell out with a short story called Best New Horror, which was very disturbing but showed his skill at writing full-on horror. Well, I can add In The Tall Grass to the list of stories that went a bit too far for me personally.

To be fair, this felt very much like a King story so I didn’t hate it. The setting was good (I’m a rural girl so always appreciate the rural settings) but it was a shame we didn’t get to know anything about that church and the small surrounding community as the story was so short (I think around 40 pages?). I did very much appreciate the supernatural centerpiece to the story but we find out very little about that as well. We also don’t spend enough time with the slightly incestuous brother and sister to really care what will happen to them in the tall grass from which it seems they can never escape. Like most Hill (and especially King) stories, it just fizzles out at the end. Well, except for that super gross bit! As much as I love their writing, I do find many of their endings a little disappointing. In this case, as it’s a short story, I didn’t mind the loose ends so much as it added to the mysteriousness of the field. I just wish it had been a bit less… Icky.

My Rating: 2/5

**I’ll review the Netflix adaptation later today. FYI – It’s a dreadful mess and the short story is far better…

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019) & The Addams Family (2019) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! I realized I’ve reviewed no “scary” kids’ movies this October. Well, The Addams Family fits in with Halloween. I suppose I’ll squeeze in my review of Maleficent as well since she IS Disney’s best villain. She’d also make for a kickass Halloween costume…

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019)

Directed by Joachim Rønning

Based on Characters from: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty & La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Michelle Pfeiffer, Warwick Davis

Production company: Walt Disney Pictures & Roth Films

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting. I did actually quite like the first Maleficent (review HERE). However, I’m becoming more and more annoyed at all the pointless live action Disney films being made. It’s come to the point this year where I’ve decided to stop going to see the remakes as I don’t want to support them. I didn’t watch Aladdin or The Lion King. After Beauty And The Beast, I’d had enough. Leave the classics alone! But I don’t really mind when they do things like Maleficent. Is it yet another Disney cashgrab? Of course it is. But at least it’s a new story. It’s not taking an existing beloved Disney classic and making the EXACT same movie again but with real-life annoying actors like Emma Watson and none of the beauty or magic of the animated films.

Having said that, I have to admit that (along with Beauty And The Beast) Sleeping Beauty is probably my favorite Disney movie. I think it’s sadly extremely underrated due to Aurora herself being a dreadful bore. But its visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the music is fantastic, Maleficent is the coolest villain, and I adore those fairies. So you’d think that I’d not want it touched but, as the Maleficent movies have such a vastly different take on the story, I don’t see them as part of the same universe. Whereas I may not be able to watch the animated Beauty And The Beast again without picturing Emma Watson.

I think Angelina Jolie is great as Maleficent and her look is amazing. She’s probably a little too sexy in this, though. It’s a kids’ film! I think bored dads won’t complain when she’s suddenly wearing far less clothing than usual at one point (lots of leg on display). Damn. I wish I looked like that. I’d even take the wings & horns if I could look that sexy. I’m suddenly wondering if there’s creepy Fifty Shades-style Maleficent fan fiction out there (probably).

Plus we also get the gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer in this one, which I loved as I’m a fan. I’m now thinking I can finally talk my daughter into watching Ladyhawke with me as she’s seen Pfeiffer in a few other things recently (love that movie!). Anyway, Jolie & Pfeiffer are a lot of fun to watch together in this and both have that true “Hollywood star” screen presence. They make this movie better than it otherwise might have been with different actresses.

The story itself is fine. Is it predictable? Yes, but no more so than any Disney movie. That’s what you expect from a family Disney movie so there’s nothing wrong with that. Elle Fanning is good as Aurora and the relationship her character has with Maleficent continues to work surprisingly well. The three fairies continue to be annoying as hell but at least I was prepared to hate them this time around. As I love the animated fairies so much, I absolutely hated what they’d done with them in the first film. They’re obnoxious. That’s my only big complaint, though. And, again, it doesn’t ruin the animated film for me as I don’t see them as the same characters as they’re so different.

I also liked the addition of some very cutesy creatures but know that not everyone will go for weird, cutesy CGI creatures. Hey, it’s Disney – I’m fine with some cutesy stuff to balance out the stirrings of S&M Maleficent fantasies Jolie and her sexy new dark fairies have probably awakened in some viewers. Some viewers. Definitely not me. Nope. (Maybe). We also got Warwick Davis in this with a fairly decent amount of screen time compared to other roles of his. Yay! Love him. Prince Philip is a bit bland but, who cares? These movies focus more on the strong female characters plus it makes up for Aurora being the bland one in the animated film. The three female leads are truly what make this film, though. It’s otherwise just your usual Disney movie but the three main characters, especially Maleficent, are better than what we’ve had in any of the straightforward live-action copies.

My Rating: 7/10

The Addams Family (2019)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Based on Characters by Charles Addams

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.

My Opinion:

I went on about Maleficent for ages so I’ll keep this shorter as I don’t have a lot to say about this one anyway. This movie was fine. It was a very “cutesy” version of The Addams Family, which felt a bit odd as it still had the dark humor. I can’t quite figure out what ages they were targeting here. I think they made it too young this time around. The dark humor won’t work on the really young kids and the younger animated style won’t work on the slightly older kids, especially if they’re fans of the early 90’s films. And it especially won’t work for teenagers, unlike the 90’s movies which I believe had (and still has) teenage fans.

I was too young for the 60’s TV show (despite watching reruns of many old shows as a kid – I just never watched The Addams Family). Then I was slightly too old for the movies (late teens). So I missed out on the hype but I know that kids (now adults) of the right sort of ages in the early Nineties still adore those movies. I’ve watched them again recently with my daughter and she likes them a lot. I think they’ve aged really well and would easily gain a new generation of fans if they see them. I have a new appreciation for them as I can see the appeal for quite a wide range of ages, from probably age 8 or so up to adults. They were proper “family” movies. Morticia and Gomez are great adult characters (Anjelica Huston was perfection) and what teenager, Goth or not, doesn’t love Wednesday Addams? She’s loads of evil fun. She’s certainly my daughter’s favorite.

Luckily, this animated version does an okay job with Morticia and Wednesday. They’re still the best characters and I liked the teenage rebellion going on (loved the pink unicorn hairclip). Uncle Fester was fun and Cousin It was adorable (but making him a “Pimp Daddy”, although briefly kind of funny, will date the film). I just… I… I don’t know. I got some giggles out of this one. I love dark humor and like Wednesday always trying to kill her brother and thought her “noose hair” was cool. But does noose hair work in a very kiddie version of The Addams Family??

I just found the tone of this so confusing that it was difficult to fully enjoy it. There were very young kids at this one and the movie didn’t hold their attention at all, probably because they won’t have understood the humor. My daughter did like it but I think it’ll help that she’s in the very small age range who might like this one (I’d say between 8 & 11). It’s just a shame as The Addams Family is such a great creation and I don’t think this movie has done these kooky characters justice. I don’t think it has harmed the franchise, however. I just think they should’ve focused on making this version more enjoyable for all ages as there are now fans who are my daughter’s age, who are my age (almost) from the 1990s, as well as people who will have been fans since seeing the TV show when they were kids in the 1960s. I think they’ve really missed a trick this time as this version won’t attract a new generation of fans in the way the 90’s films managed to do so successfully.

My Rating: 6/10

The Legacy (1978) Review

The Legacy (1978)

Directed by Richard Marquand

Starring: Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey, Katharine Ross, John Standing, Ian Hogg, Margaret Tyzack, Charles Gray, Lee Montague, Hildegard Neil, Marianne Broome

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A millionaire, a million-dollar prostitute, a star-maker, a nation-killer, a woman whose lusts are as cold as graveyard snow. Five of the most powerful people in the world, and Maggie (Katharine Ross) makes six, gather in an ancient mansion to inherit a Legacy of bloodsome horror.

My Opinion:

Not gonna lie – I watched this because Sam Elliott is in it. He plays two of my all-time favorite studs: Gar in Mask (I adore that film) and Wade Garrett in Road House (BEST “so bad it’s good” movie EVER). The Legacy is definitely dated but has a good 1970’s horror look & feel, which I always appreciate. A lot of my favorite horror films are from that decade. But, more importantly, it’s has Elliott’s bare ass. How have I gone this many years without seeing Elliott’s bare ass??

I also wanted to see him with his wife Katharine Ross. They began dating when making this film and have been married since 1984. Another reason to love Elliott! A Hollywood couple who have stayed together! It makes me love him as much as Paul Newman. They do have lovely chemistry in this. Ross is truly the star of this movie; She’s the best thing about this otherwise average and not particularly memorable film. It’s strange that she didn’t end up a massive star after starting out in some very big films but maybe they both prefer to keep a low profile. It probably helps them survive the usual Hollywood fame drama & bullshit.

Reason number three to watch this: Roger Daltrey. I like Daltrey & The Who and find his “acting” thoroughly amusing. One of my favorite things I’ve ever reviewed on this blog was an episode of Tales Of The Crypt, starring Daltrey & a young Steve Buscemi (Forever Ambergris – review HERE). His, um, acting in The Legacy is as wonderfully bad as always. I wish he’d had a bigger role. Besides Ross & Elliott, the rest of the characters are underused and underdeveloped.

I’d hoped to enjoy this film more. It’s not great. The story was silly and a bit of a mess. To be fair, I think the idea behind the story was fine but the movie didn’t do a very good job presenting it. It could’ve been a really good film with a dark & atmospheric tone, which would suit the somewhat “Satanic” storyline. I love a good Satanic horror! But it felt very lightweight. You never felt any true sense of horror like you did with Rosemary’s Baby. And the nurse lady and that damn cat should’ve been way more creepy than they were. What’s more creepy than a demonic nurse and evil cat?!

I think The Legacy had a lot of potential and could’ve possibly become a horror classic in different hands. I was disappointed overall but it does have some positives with two good leading performances and a fun Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set in a creepy house. I can see why it might have some fans but you’re not going to like it if you’re not a fan of 70’s horror films. I am, so I’m glad I finally checked this one out even if I was a little disappointed. And I got to see Sam Elliott’s bum.

My Rating: 6/10

I might have to add Sam Elliott’s naked butt shower scene to My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies list…

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Review

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed the first Zombieland. It even just made it into my list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies. Is the sequel as good as the first film? Of course not. Are they ever? You’re talking ten years since the last one, though. We’ve had zombie overload since then. We’ve had almost ten years of The Walking Dead, which gets more and more and MORE shit every year (why do I keep watching it?!). Double Tap has nothing that feels the tiniest bit original, while I think the first film managed a bit of originality despite not being the first zom-com. I’m a little disappointed but admit that I like these characters and enjoyed seeing them again. Well, maybe not Jesse Eisenberg (Twat).

I have sequel review burnout. I’m running out of things to say about cashgrab sequels & reboots & remakes. I’m also bored with October Horror Month. I want to review the non-horror stuff I’ve seen lately. Joker. Judy. Hustlers. The Farewell. Terminator: Dark Fate, which I saw last night and am hating more and more as I think about it. Leave classics the fuck alone! I think Dark Fate is what’s made me lose the desire to write about pointless sequels. Double Tap didn’t piss me off like Dark Fate, though. It wasn’t a sequel that we needed but there’s no harm in it.

Meh. Woody Harrelson is by far the best thing about these two movies and I really enjoyed his character once again. I could kind of take or leave the rest of them, though, and I don’t think the new additions were anything special. Zoey Deutch was fun but kind of wasted as I think she deserved a better character. And… Hmm. Zombies. There are zombies. The movie is actually less gory than The Walking Dead but the zombie kills are more fun. Maybe The Walking Dead should add some humor to stop the show being so damn boring.

My Rating: 7/10

My rating is too high. I think I’m just being nice because I like Woody.

Oh, and they opened this movie with Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. So we’ll say my rating got an extra half a point for Woody and half a point for using one of Metallica’s best songs…

Suspiria (2018) Review

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-review of (well, it’s more of a rant about) the pointless 2018 remake of Italian horror classic Suspiria

Suspiria (2018)

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Based on Suspiria by Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Angela Winkler, Alek Wek, Ingrid Caven, Elena Fokina, Sylvie Testud, Renée Soutendijk, Christine LeBoutte, Fabrizia Sacchi, Małgosia Bela, Jessica Harper, Chloë Grace Moretz

Music by Thom Yorke

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Suspiria is a 2018 supernatural horror art film directed by Luca Guadagnino with a screenplay by David Kajganich, inspired by the 1977 Italian film of the same title directed by Dario Argento. Guadagnino’s film, which is set in 1977, stars Dakota Johnson as an American woman who enrolls at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin run by a coven of witches.

My Opinion:

What. The. Actual. Fuck. Okay, I admit I’ve only seen the original Suspiria once and don’t remember much other than the Goblin score, which I fricking love and listen to regularly. I know I liked the overall vibe. I really should watch the film again. Italian horror is one of the very few genres I’ve not yet really explored. This remake is an incoherent mess. It’s laughable, especially in the final half hour. At least I was “rewarded” with a good laugh over the ending’s absolute ridiculousness after suffering through this otherwise boring thing for HOURS (2 hours & 32 fucking minutes!!!).

Why do they keep remaking films that are considered classics?! WHY?!? I don’t get it. I understand that there are fans of the giallo horror thing but don’t understand why, if people want a 2018 giallo movie, filmmakers can’t just make an original film with the same characteristics???? I’d totally watch that. Why shit on a classic’s legacy?

I think this was also disappointing as the trailer and especially the above poster (which is great!) almost made this look promising despite it starring Dakota Johnson. As much as remakes & reboots piss me off, I admit that they occasionally work and have even liked a few. I’m a fan of 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead even though the 1978 film is one of my all-time favorite movies, probably because it wasn’t a straight remake but more of a respectful & enjoyable reimagining. It almost felt as if 2018 Suspiria had zero regard for what made the original such a beloved classic for many horror fans.

I’ve read no reviews of this version but am *assuming* that those who love the original hated this and those who loved this hated or probably didn’t even see the original. I’d like to hear from anyone who loves both versions of Suspiria – I’d love to know the reasons why. I saw so many people on Horror Twitter raving about this remake so I’m actually quite confused as I thought it was a dreadful mess. Give me Mandy instead of 2018 Suspiria! It’s hard to not compare the two as they’re both pretentious artsy horror films that came out the same year and are both extremely divisive. Mandy is weird as hell but has originality and style. Suspiria tries too hard and just comes across as desperate and phoney.

I should say something nice… Um. I think Thom Yorke was a great choice to do the music for this and was one of the reasons I wanted to watch the film. The music starts out promising in the very beginning but then I no longer noticed it. I don’t know if there was less music in the second half or if I just no longer noticed it as I slowly lost the will to live. But nothing will EVER beat the original’s Goblin score anyway so why bother.

My Rating: 4.5/10

The Stuff (1985) Review

The Stuff (1985)

Directed & Written by Larry Cohen

Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Brian Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

My Opinion:

SPOILERS. I’m gonna post spoiler-y photos because I have to. They’re hilarious.

This movie popped up on Amazon Prime recently and I was excited because I’ve been wanting to see it. Mainly because it’s on Arrow Video (look at that cool DVD cover at the top of this post!). I usually like cult Arrow Video shit. The poster is cool too. Looks like the kind of cheesy Eighties horror comedy shit that I love! Even the logo they use to market this “mysterious goo” in the movie is cool. Look at this! I’d buy this if it was a real product:

Well, the movie certainly doesn’t live up to its cool poster or fake product marketing. It’s not even “so bad it’s good”, which I was hoping for. It’s just bad. Bad and boring.

What can I say about this?! It’s one of those movies I ended up not really paying any attention to while I fucked around on my phone. I thought it might be a little bit body horror but the “gore” was really cheesy & low budget. At one point a guy got punched in the face and his face sort of caved in & broke apart and it looked dodgy as hell. Then another guy’s head basically blew up but not in a super cool Scanners kind of way – more in a claymation Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer kind of way (I love that filthy song). This movie might have worked as a serious David Cronenberg-style body horror. But nope.


“Open up your fruit cage…”

Then I thought it might be a horror comedy. But then there was no comedy (at least, I think not any intentional comedy). So… Nope again!

Then I thought it was maybe a clever social commentary, like Society or the 1978 masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead. Nope! Although I think it may have been trying to be this; It just did a piss poor job and the story was kind of incoherent.

Not a body horror. Not a horror comedy. Not a social commentary. Not some great “cult classic” like I was hoping. What a disappointment. Hell, even looking at these photos now I’m thinking “I totally want to see this movie! It looks awesomebad!“. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe it IS so bad it’s good?! Look at this, though – How dodgy-looking is this?!:

The most entertaining thing to come out of this was seeing Brian Bloom again, who I completely forgot existed. When I was 12/13 and buying girly teen magazines, they always had posters of him since he was this blue-eyed heartthrob. I had no idea what the fuck he was even in. There were several obscure actors always in girly 80s teen magazines so my mind wandered during this boring movie and I started trying to remember the more obscure ones (not the obvious ones like Johnny Depp and The Two Coreys and Kirk Cameron. Ha!). Let’s see… Andre Gower! Ryan Lambert! Brian Bloom! Who the fuck were they?! No idea. But they were briefly on my bedroom walls in the Eighties. And I’ve once again totally dated myself. God I’m old. Thanks, The Stuff! You were boring AND you reminded me that I’m fucking old!

My Rating: 5/10

*Okay, I’m a liar. I admit that I of course remember that Andre & Ryan were in The Monster Squad in 1987. Andre was my biggest crush of these three. And all three are still totally cute in the recent photos I found. Especially Andre. Cutie. Not that I went Googling him…

Repulsion (1965) Review

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-review of the 1965 psychological horror Repulsion

Repulsion (1965)

Directed by Roman Polanski

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, John Fraser

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, and starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. The screenplay is based on a scenario by Gérard Brach and Polanski, involving a young withdrawn woman who finds sexual advances repulsive and who, after she is left alone by her vacationing sister, becomes even more isolated and detached from reality.

My Brief Opinion:

This film probably deserves a higher rating than I’m giving it. It’s artsy fartsy & “worthy” but I can’t say I exactly enjoyed it. However, Catherine Deneuve was very good & it’s worth watching for her performance. I decided to watch this film after liking Deneuve in a somewhat similar role in Belle de Jour. I haven’t seen her in much – I don’t know why she played a sexually repressed woman in both of these but she handles this type of character well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you don’t know anything about Repulsion: “A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister’s boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.”

Obviously, having come out in 1965, it seems tame now but I would imagine this was a very shocking film at the time. The pacing is very slow & it does take a long time before much of anything happens, so bear that in mind if you choose to watch it. I have to say I preferred Belle de Jour. I was hoping this would be much weirder, based on that image I used at the top of this post of Deneuve in the hallway with all the hands coming out of the walls. It’s not, though – it’s a pretty straightforward story of a woman who may have experienced sexual abuse in the past (I think this is implied), which eventually drives her insane. Deneuve is great in these films, though, and I’d watch her in other movies based on what I’ve seen so far.

My Rating: 7/10

Ghost Stories (2017) & Starry Eyes (2014) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of Ghost Stories & Starry Eyes. I wasn’t a fan of either…

Ghost Stories (2017)

Directed & Written by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Based on Ghost Stories by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Starring: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ghost Stories is a 2017 British horror film written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, based on their 2010 stage play of the same name. It stars Nyman reprising his role from the play, as a man devoted to debunking fraudulent psychics, who is tasked with solving three unexplained paranormal events.

My Brief Opinion:

Wow. This was boring. I normally enjoy horror anthologies and this sounded good on IMDb: “Skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a trip to the terrifying after finding a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions.” The overall story was pretty good, in a Twilight Zone type of way, but the individual stories were bog standard ghost/demon stories and the ways they were presented weren’t at all scary (I’m never a fan of seeing too much, especially when the effects & make-up look cheesy). And the “twist” ending, which was okay, didn’t make up for the previous almost hour and a half of cheesy, boring hauntings. Modern horror is so often a huge disappointment for me.

My Rating: 5/10

Starry Eyes (2014)

Directed & Written by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Starring: Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Starry Eyes features Alexandra Essoe as a hopeful young starlet that finds that fame’s price is not always easily paid.

My Brief Opinion:

I hated this. But I don’t feel like trashing it since, well, I assume it’s a low budget film that people worked hard to create and what the hell have I done with MY life? Huh? Nothing! I’ve never made a movie. So they’ve accomplished more than I ever will. Right? Man I hated this movie. I’m never listening to “Horror Twitter” users again. They praise ALL horror movies. I’ll give this an extra half a point for, um, the fact that they made a movie & I haven’t. I’m feeling generous today. Yeah, I realize this isn’t a “review”. I can’t be bothered. I’ve got stuff to do, dammit.

My Rating: 2.5/10

The Funhouse (1981) & The Monster (2016) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of The Funhouse & The Monster…

The Funhouse (1981) (also released as Carnival of Terror)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin, Kevin Conway, Sylvia Miles, William Finley

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film’s plot concerns four teenagers who become trapped in a dark ride at a local carnival and are stalked by a deformed killer inside.

My Brief Opinion:

Not only do I love 70’s horror… I also love cheesy 80’s horror! So this Tobe Hooper movie seemed right up my alley. PLUS it’s set in a carnival and I always love this sort of setting. And a Funhouse! What’s better than a creepy-ass Funhouse?! Well… damn. This movie isn’t exactly the worst 80’s horror I’ve seen since I’ve seen MANY bad ones – It’s just very forgettable. Maybe I hyped it up too much in my mind. Meh. Watch it only if you’re sad like me and feel the urge to watch every movie ever made in my favorite sort of genres…

My Rating: 5/10

The Monster (2016)

Directed & Written by Bryan Bertino

Starring: Zoe Kazan & Ella Ballentine

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a troubled mother and her adolescent daughter who find themselves stranded at night on a country road with a malicious creature hunting them.

My Brief Opinion:

This was fine for a (I’m assuming) low-budget indie “horror”. It’s more of a psychological horror, although you do see the monster (even though it’s symbolic of the mother and her strained relationship with her daughter). If you want a straight-up horror, this one probably won’t be your kind of thing. If you want an indie drama about a mother & daughter with some decent acting (for a “horror” movie), you might like this one. But I gotta admit it’s a little boring & the mother (played by Zoe Kazan) is a little too hateful.

My Rating: 6/10

Breaking In (2018) & Searching (2018) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for thrillers (okay, not exactly “horrors“!) Breaking In & Searching

Breaking In (2018)

Directed by James McTeigue

Starring: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus, Levi Meaden, Seth Carr, Mark Furze, Jason George, Christa Miller, Damien Leake

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a mother who must protect her children after the mansion of her recently deceased father is invaded by burglars.

My Brief Opinion:

This film wasn’t too bad as far as lightweight “PG-13-Style” home invasion movies go. Is it a bit cheesy? Of course! But is the family likable and do you want them to survive? Yep! Good enough. What more do you need from this sort of movie? I wasn’t expecting something Oscar-worthy here. Gabrielle Union was good and I loved that she was pretty kick-ass for a mother but also not unrealistically so. I actually hate movies like this where a character makes no mistakes whatsoever – that’s unrealistic as we’d all fuck things up in this sort of situation in real life. Wow – Union looks young, though. I had to look up her age and she’s actually a bit older than me. Damn. Lucky her! Well. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is flawed. It’s ridiculous at times. It’s far from perfect. But I liked it. It’s the sort genre we saw a lot more of in the 80’s & 90’s. I miss this kind of straightforward cheesy thriller sometimes. It’s not trying to be anything more than that.

My Rating: 6/10

Searching (2018)

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Kya Dawn Lau, Megan Liu, Alex Jayne Go, Sara Sohn, Joseph Lee, Steven Michael Eich, Ric Sarabia, Sean O’Bryan, Colin Woodell

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set entirely on computer screens and smartphones, the film follows a father (John Cho) trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La) with the help of a police detective (Debra Messing).

My Brief Opinion:

I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting for a movie that’s all seen through a computer screen via Skype, social media posts, websites, videos, etc. I didn’t think the gimmick would work but the mystery of the daughter’s disappearance was intriguing enough to keep you interested the whole time. The story worked well, the father & daughter had good character development (making up for other characters having very little), and the gimmick didn’t end up being a distraction from the story like I feared it might. The pacing was also really good – these mystery thrillers can drag a bit sometimes but this was fast-paced and very engaging the entire time. I feel like I’m hyping this too much… It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy material but I’m impressed that its gimmick worked so surprisingly well.

My Rating: 7/10

Cam (2018) & The Love Witch (2016) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Cam & The Love Witch

The Love Witch (2016)

Directed & Written by Anna Biller

Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Samantha Robinson as Elaine, a modern-day witch who uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her with disastrous results.

My Brief Opinion:

Like American Mary, this was on Film 4 the other week and I was really happy as I’d been intrigued by the look of this one since it first came out. Damn – this was a huge disappointment. While I did indeed love the look of it, I can’t say that I thought the film was good. Film critics will say something about this exploring gender roles or some shit but I thought the film was all style & no substance. However, I appreciate the effort it made on its 60’s aesthetic and the lead actress is definitely beautiful (and half naked quite often, which may be why the positive reviews I’ve seen have mostly been from dudes. Hmm). As a woman, I was hoping to like this a lot more as it’s from a female director and has a strong female role. It’s artsy and pleasing to the eye but the intentionally bad acting and the slow pace made it a chore to even finish it. Still, it has fans and I can see why it would as it’s a unique film. It just didn’t work for me personally, so don’t let my unenthusiastic review keep you from watching it if you like the look of it.

My Rating: 5.5/10


Honestly, this chick is gorgeous. As if she’d need to use spells to get guys to fuck her.

Cam (2018)

Directed by Daniel Goldhaber

Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, Michael Dempsey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.

My Brief Opinion:

I really need to stop trusting tweets from Twitter’s “horror community”. I’ve realized that they rave about every horror movie no matter how good or bad it really is. Cam is yet another Netflix film that everyone thinks is great, probably because they get to watch it at home as part of their subscription, which is a lot easier than dragging your butt off the couch to go the cinema to watch something that’s actually good. Netflix is the new equivalent of “straight to video” in the Eighties. Anyway, after all my bitching I can see why this would have some fans (especially horny guys). And, yes – it’s an original story so I definitely give it credit for that in this day & age of sequels and reboots. It’s a good concept but having a thoroughly annoying character as its focus didn’t really work. I don’t want to hate all the characters in a movie – it just means that I don’t care what happens to them. To be fair, this movie did have a good idea and I think I’d have liked it okay if they’d gone about it differently. Plus the porn thing didn’t work for me, I suppose, since I’m a girl. Hey – whatever happened to Babestation in the UK? Is that still around?? I haven’t been channel surfing at 3am in recent years…

My Rating: 5/10

Better Watch Out (2016) & Amber Lake (2011) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Better Watch Out & Amber Lake

Better Watch Out (2016)

Directed by Chris Peckover

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.

My Brief Opinion:

This was an odd one. I was excited about this as I like a good Christmas horror comedy: Gremlins is an all-time favorite & I thought Krampus was a fun film. The marketing was strange for this… I got the impression that it might be another comedy horror such as Krampus but it’s nothing of the sort despite being listed as a “comedy crime horror thriller” on IMDb. Everything I read said to avoid spoilers for this so I’ll not say much about it other than that I absolutely hated the turn that this film took. As I’ve said before, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me but I didn’t like the creepy way this played out. And, as always, I hate movies filled with hateful characters (though the girl wasn’t too bad). I don’t know. This has an okay IMDb rating (as far as horrors go) so clearly some must like it but I can’t for the life of me imagine who as I can think of no one I would recommend this movie to.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Amber Lake (2011)

Directed & Written by Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Carmen Argenziano, Mekenna Melvin, Natalie Smyka, Melina Lizette, Polly Cole

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.

My Brief Opinion:

This was one of those movies with a decent story idea but truly hateful characters. The low budget didn’t help either, I suppose. Actually, one of the Ambers was okay (Mekenna Melvin). The girls are all named Amber because their father is an asshole and you wouldn’t blame any of them for wanting to possibly kill him. The movie uses the Rashômon concept of telling the same story from different perspectives. But that of course worked in the hands of Akira Kurosawa as he was a genius and one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Amber Lake is no Rashômon! Obviously. Um… I don’t actually know what to say about this. Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDb: “Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.”

It’s on Amazon Prime in the UK if you’re interested but do yourself a favor & watch Rashômon instead. Or any Kurosawa film. To be fair, though, I’ve seen worse “horror” films (well, this is more of a “mystery thriller”) with much bigger budgets. I guess Amber Lake did have some potential and it had a decent ending. And I hated the baddie in Better Watch Out FAR more than any characters in this.

My Rating: 5/10

Shocker (1989) Review

Shocker (1989)

Directed & Written by Wes Craven

Starring: Michael Murphy, Peter Berg, Cami Cooper, Mitch Pileggi, Heather Langenkamp

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.

My Opinion:

Been meaning to watch this for ages as I love old Wes Craven (RIP) horrors. I’m a huge fan of A Nightmare On Elm Street and think Scream is pretty great and, hell, I even like Deadly Friend and Red Eye. Shocker isn’t a very well known Craven film and I can now see why, unfortunately. Well, I still had some fun with it despite it certainly not being anywhere near Elm Street standards. We even get a Heather Langenkamp cameo in this! Which I didn’t notice in the slightest until reading her name in the credits online… Damn.

I’ll start with the bad: The effects are dodgy as hell and the acting isn’t the greatest. Not that you expect too much from an old slasher but these elements somehow worked beautifully in 1984’s Elm Street. Shocker was five years later but looks and feels so much worse. The bad guy is also bland and boring. How could we go from Freddy Krueger, one of the best slasher villains with loads of personality, to this? All the characters in this movie are weak compared to such strong ones in Elm Street (Freddy & Nancy are great).

Also, the story is a mess. I know it’s not rocket science but my mind kept wandering and then when I paid attention again I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. This was partly due to a lot of things occurring when our main good guy was in a “dream state”, I think (Ha! Like Elm Street!). But, also: The serial killer, who ends up being, um, “electricity” or some shit after being in the electric chair, didn’t seem adhere to the “rules” set out by his situation. Yeah yeah – I know it’s ridiculous anyway. But I didn’t understand how he was defeated in the end (Oops. Spoiler? Not really – it’s a cheesy old slasher. The killer is always defeated). The good guy wasn’t “electricity” – how was he diving into televisions and shit? And is this town just never ever going to turn on the electricity ever again??? Huh? Why am I even thinking about this…?

Well. I’m glad I saw Shocker as I love Craven and had just never gotten around to seeing this one. Oh yeah… I said I was gonna start with the bad as if I had a long list of good things too. Um. Hmm. I guess I kind of liked the absolutely ridiculous ending where they’re hopping about inside different television shows within TV sets. Although that made NO fucking sense whatsoever so maybe that’s not a “good” thing. But it’s the only time the movie had a slight sense of fun. This movie is actually listed as comedy as well as horror at IMDb but there was zero comedy until that slightly amusing bit at the end. Oh, and some silly stuff at the very start where the main guy was being all dorky in front of his pretty girlfriend. Maybe the whole movie would’ve been better if it had been more of a comedy.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Bird Box (2018) & Winchester (2018) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for the rubbish films Bird Box & Winchester

Bird Box (2018)

Directed by Susanne Bier

Based on Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Danielle Macdonald, Sarah Paulson

Music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide.

My Brief Opinion:

Ugh. I read the book by Josh Malerman (review HERE) and enjoyed it. Really good story only let down slightly by unlikable characters. I like Bullock but she was so wrong for this role. Not that it matters, I suppose, but the character in the book is half her age. Then the film changed the story so much until the very end. I don’t understand why films make changes when completely unnecessary and when it actually makes the story worse. This does pick up a little toward the end when the focus is on Bullock and the kids (and when it also isn’t straying so far from the book). Dreadful acting in this film, as well. Just read the book.

My Rating: 5/10

Winchester (2018)

Directed by The Spierig Brothers

Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Helen Mirren as heiress Sarah Winchester, with Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook, and follows Winchester as she is haunted by spirits inside her San Jose mansion in 1906.

My Brief Opinion:

Bloody hell. Modern horror really does suck. What an utter snoozefest this was. Again, it sounded so good on IMDb: “Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.” How did they manage to make an intriguing story so damn boring? And what a waste of Helen Mirren (I like that saucy lady) and Sarah Snook (absolutely brilliant in the fantastic Predestination). To be fair, I was paying zero attention by the end since I was playing on my phone out of sheer boredom. Maybe I missed something that made this good? Unlikely since it was up for a bunch of Razzie Awards, I guess.

My Rating: 5/10

The Sentinel (1977) & Curtains (1983) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’m re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for The Sentinel & Curtains

The Sentinel (1977)

Directed by Michael Winner

Based on The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz

Starring: Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, José Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot focuses on a young model who moves into a historic Brooklyn brownstone that has been sectioned into apartments, only to find that its proprietors are excommunicated Catholic priests and that the building is a gateway to Hell.

My Brief Opinion:

Ugh. I love 70’s horror so had been meaning to check this out for a while as I’d never seen it. Plus, it has Burgess Meredith in it (love him!). I wasn’t missing much. There was some messy, incoherent story about, I dunno… priests or some shit? It doesn’t matter – the story was stupid. There was some fun weirdness in this, though, and some unnecessary nudity. Maybe that’s why some people remember this fondly; they got to see some boobies and therefore forgot that the overall film was a bit crap.

Oh, we also got to see Beverly D’Angelo playing with herself…

Yeah, that’s ruined National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for me a bit. What’s funny is that, for a crap 70’s horror, this had some very big names in it! Here are some of them: Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, John Carradine, Jerry Orbach, Tom Berenger, and, of course, Beverly D’Angelo masturbating. This movie was a real waste of some big stars.

My Rating: 5/10

Curtains (1983)

Directed by Richard Ciupka (as Jonathan Stryker) & Peter R. Simpson (uncredited)

Starring: John Vernon, Linda Thorson, Samantha Eggar, Anne Ditchburn, Lynne Griffin, Lesleh Donaldson, Sandee Currie

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses auditioning for a role in a movie at a prestigious director’s mansion, where they are targeted by a masked killer.

My Brief Opinion:

Meh. This probably deserves to be ranked below American Mary & The Love Witch (which I saw at the same time) as it wasn’t very good but I’m just a sucker for cheesy 80’s slashers. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for this mediocre horror film with a kick-ass poster: “A slasher film centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director’s remote mansion where they are auditioning for a role in a movie.” Look at that awesome 80’s movie poster for this film!

This stars Samantha Eggar (from David Cronenberg’s brilliant The Brood) as an actress so desperate for a role as a crazy woman in a new film that she has herself checked into a mental hospital for “research”. I’ll say that part of the reason I’ve wanted to see this for years was because of that doll in that cool poster. I love a creepy doll movie! Well, this isn’t a creepy doll movie, although the doll is used in an effective way in a couple of creepy scenes. This movie is fine. It’s a fairly predictable 80’s slasher but better than some of them. It’s worth a watch on Amazon Prime but only if it’s a genre you like.

My Rating: 6/10