A Quiet Place Part II (2020) Review

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

Directed & Written by John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.

My Opinion:

I liked the first film, A Quiet Place, a lot. It made it into the top twenty of my favorite horror movies of the 21st century so far (it probably deserves to be a little higher). I thought it was a great example of the monster horror genre and very clever & original to have so much of it needing to be silent. It also had acting that seemed far too good for a horror film. Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds was especially good in the role & even better in the sequel where she gets a bigger & more important role, which I really liked.

I liked this sequel a lot too. It had a lot to live up to & horror sequels are often disappointing so I’m very glad that this one wasn’t. We start off right after the end of the first film, which was good as it’s sometimes a bit annoying when they just skip a bunch of time for a sequel. Well, I lie – we actually get a very good flashback first of when this all started and I loved that. A prequel would’ve been great as a third film but the opening scene covers that, at least in this one town, so I’d be perfectly happy with another sequel continuing on after Part II. Actually, Part III would be fine as a “fast forward” to it being five years later or so. Oh man – I really do want this to be a trilogy! Do we know anything about number 3?? All I know is that it’s got a listing on IMDb with an expected release of 2023.

I thought Cillian Murphy was a decent addition to the cast in this one and, as I already said, I really liked Millicent Simmonds having an even bigger role. She had more to do than Emily Blunt in this one but Blunt still had plenty to do too & I liked her scenes as well. It’s one of those stories where we’re following two sets of people doing different things, which I always like. Two stories for the price of one!

This was a good horror sequel. I still really like these characters & want them to destroy all the monsters. I want to see more of their story in Part III. The only thing at all negative that I could say is that, as a sequel, it no longer has that feeling of being this great “all new idea” & it didn’t really add anything that we didn’t see in the first movie other than one more small fact about the alien monster things. So I feel I have to give it half a point less than my rating for Part I (making this only half a point higher than Malignant although I liked this one much more than that. I don’t know how to rate stuff anymore!). But I’m also glad they stayed true to the first film & I wouldn’t have wanted them to stray far from what they gave us in Part I anyway. Oh! And one other thing: This movie actually felt too short. It’s 1 hour 37 minutes so not overly short but it just felt like it needed a bit more. Maybe more time in the place toward the end with Millicent Simmonds? But, hey – a movie feeling too short is better than one that feels like it drags on for far too long! I guess I was just enjoying it & wanted to see more. Can’t wait for Part III now.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Malignant (2021) Review

Malignant (2021)

Directed by James Wan

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Annabelle Wallis as a woman who begins to have visions of people being murdered, only to realize the events are happening in real life.

My Opinion:

I’d been desperate to see this movie after all the hype last year so was really happy when it popped up on one of my services over the weekend. I enjoyed it. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as bonkers as I was hoping & expecting from all the talk about it. Have people just not seen any other horror films before this one? The story ended up being about exactly what I thought it was going to be about. But, hey – it’s what I was hoping it would be about since I have a weird fascination with that concept.

It’s very hard to talk about this movie while staying spoiler-free! But I’ll do my best to not spoil it for those who have not yet seen this. I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of James Wan’s work but, wow, it looks like I’ve seen most everything he’s written or directed so I must like his stuff okay. I thought The Conjuring was pretty good & I have to remind myself that I really liked the first Saw film before it turned into the torture porn crap I despise in the sequels. Stuff like those Insidious, Annabelle & The Nun movies, though, are a bit meh. I’m still trying to decide how I feel about Malignant & where I’d rank it compared to his other work. I guess I’d put it above those “meh” ones I mentioned. It was more entertaining & memorable than those & I appreciated its craziness.

From what I’d heard about this being “Giallo-inspired”, I was expecting much more than what we got of that. Having rewatched Suspiria (1977) recently, I realized just how much I love the style of that. I’m a sucker for amazing visuals & I love that about the Argento films. Maybe a few shots in Malignant pay tribute to that style but I wouldn’t compare the film to the small amount of Italian horror that I’ve seen. So I was disappointed to not be getting a full-on ’70s-style horror with Malignant but I appreciated it being more stylish than Wan’s other films.

I also think, with this story’s crazy concept, they didn’t get the tone quite right. The movie took itself a bit too seriously. Although, I’m sure that worked for many people and I can’t really think what they could’ve done better? They took a concept suited for cheesy body horror in the style of Re-Animator, etc, and… Hell, I don’t know. Maybe this movie did kind of work in the style they used. I’ll say this again: I’m old. I’ve seen many movies. I sometimes have to remind myself that current, younger audiences (especially mainstream audiences – movie bloggers are different) haven’t necessarily seen this type of horror story before so I guess I can see why they’d be shocked by the film’s reveal & why so many hardcore horror fans liked this movie. Being a fan of cheesy old body horror, especially Cronenberg’s older films, I guess I have come to expect a different sort of style for this type of horror. I’d say I like my horror to either be very serious, creepy & atmospheric or else I like them to be completely outrageous & silly (I love horror comedies). Malignant is somewhere in the middle of those. I think it maybe could’ve just used some more dark humor but, while writing this paragraph, I’ve talked myself into liking that this isn’t a cheesy old-school body horror. That’s not what a mainstream modern audience are going to go for, either.

Ugh. This is why I mostly stick to my monthly roundup posts with brief reviews in recent years. I ramble on too damn much when I do a review on its own! I’ve blathered on for ages & I’m still not sure how I feel about Malignant. I wanted to love it as it looked SO like my type of thing & I thought it had a fantastic poster. I love a good movie poster! I guess it didn’t quite live up to my really high expectations & I’m trying to convince myself that I liked it by blathering on about it for ages. You know what? I did still like it.

Here’s what I liked:

1. This type of story is right up my alley (hmm – that sounds dirty). I was happy it was what I expected but it also would’ve been nice to be surprised.

2. The characters were quite good for a horror film! The sister & that one detective dude were especially likeable. And I’d say I kind of gave a shit about poor Annabelle Wallis’s main character too. It’s always more enjoyable to me to not have the hateful characters we get in too many horror films.

3. How do I say this & stay spoiler-free?!?! Hmm. I really liked the backwards thing. This story is NOT original but it found a way to differentiate itself a bit from other movies & TV shows that had this same story. And the backwards thing was pretty cool & a lot of fun. This movie got much better after the reveal. I think it needed to be batshit crazy much earlier in the film.

Okay – I’ve talked myself into liking this one. Or at least appreciating it more. I didn’t love it like I’d been hoping but it was certainly entertaining. It could’ve been better but at least it’s more memorable than Wan’s Insidious/Annabelle/Nun things. Let’s hope they don’t try to milk it by making a shitty sequel as this is good as a stand-alone film.

My Rating: 7/10

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2022

Hi All. I managed to review all of the below so here’s what I watched in February…

MOVIES WATCHED IN FEBRUARY (ranked best to worst):

High Noon – Caught this on Film 4 & was happy to be able to cross another film off the list for my IMDb Top 250 Project that I started in 2013. And as with many of the films from that 2013 list, High Noon is no longer in the Top 250. I’m so glad I saved that much better list to work from! There’s far too much mainstream modern crap in there now.

Well, I can’t say I’m big on Westerns but I have really liked most of the Westerns in the Top 250 that I’ve forced myself to watch for this project. What I most definitely prefer are the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns with the lovely cinematography & kick-ass Ennio Morricone scores, though. Much more my thing than the old straightforward American Westerns like this one. I was slightly interested in seeing this as Grace Kelly is in it & I love her in stuff like Rear Window but she wasn’t given too much to do in this film (not that women were ever given much to do in Westerns). Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.” I tried to not be annoyed by the fact that the newlyweds had a huge age difference with Kelly being WAY younger than Gary Cooper (I looked it up – 28 year difference. Typical!).

This movie was fine but I wasn’t really feeling it & didn’t even feel much excitement over the big showdown. To be fair to the film, though, as I said already I’m not really into this genre plus life is really terrible at the moment so I’m probably getting less enjoyment out of movies overall. The character development could’ve been better & some of the lesser characters were actually more interesting, such as the woman who was a former lover of the big bad guy. Still had a good story, though, and I can see why it’s a highly regarded Western. For a similar movie in this genre that I watched for the Top 250 Project, I preferred The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. – 7/10

The Tender Bar – Watched this in my desperation to see something that was released in 2022 (in the UK, at least). Ben Affleck annoys the shit out of me but he was good in this role & even likeable so, yay. In fact, I’d say he was a perfect fit playing the loving uncle of the boy in this. The film is based on the real boy’s memoir of his time growing up in 1970’s Long Island with his mother & uncle who encouraged him to become a writer (which he did since he wrote this memoir, obviously).

It’s a “nice” film. I hate when I use that word as it sounds insulting but I don’t mean it that way (I’m not a writer! I suck with words). It’s just one of those pleasant “Sunday afternoon” type of movies to watch. It could have done with more character development overall but they did good enough with the boy & his uncle. Would’ve liked to know much more about his mom and extended family (and Christopher Lloyd as his grandpa! Love him). A tiny bit more time spent on the regulars at his uncle’s bar would’ve been good too. I preferred the start of the film when he was a boy to later on showing his college years. The film dragged a bit then & too much time was spent on a girlfriend who treated him like shit. His life with his family was more interesting, including his troubles with his complete ass of a dad. Oh, and this was directed by George Clooney FYI. It was a decent enough film to pass the time but also a little underwhelming. I admit that it’s the type of movie I know I’ll barely remember a year from now. Oh! I forgot to mention that I enjoyed the very ’70s soundtrack, though. Of course. – 6.5/10

Being The Ricardos – I had zero interest in watching this as, quite frankly, I thought it looked terrible. Then it ended up with three Oscar nominations for acting and I went “Shit, I’m gonna have to try to watch that now” as I try to watch nominees in at least the major categories before the ceremony. And I don’t know WHY I still do that as the Oscars have been a joke for years now. And the nominations for this are a perfect example. The acting is fine but it is NOT Oscar-worthy. Maybe worthy of Emmy awards if it had been a TV movie instead, which is what it very much felt like. And I see they nominated three out of the four who play the stars of I Love Lucy. Why didn’t they nominate the one playing Vivian Vance too? She’s just as good as the other three. Oh! Is it because she’s not a big name??? (I assume, as I’d not heard of Nina Arianda before). The Oscars need to get their shit together. It’s too phoney now.

And… Okay, I know that it’s probably difficult making movies about real-life people but I often find it hard to buy into someone playing a well known real-life person unless they’re really damn good. And I know the acting is very important too but, seriously, can they at least try to get actors who look like the real person?! Maybe I just have zero imagination but, sorry, they need to look like the person. Nicole looks nothing like Lucille Ball. It was distracting as hell. No one looked like the real people. It’s ridiculous. I’m not a Debra Messing fan but I’m with Twitter in that it should’ve been her – she looked exactly like Lucy in images while dressed as her. I could’ve bought into that but instead I felt I was watching a weird-looking Nicole Kidman the whole time & it was all I could focus on. Hell – I’m watching that cheesy Pam & Tommy thing but they’ve done a fantastic job with Lily James so it does feel like I’m watching Pamela Anderson (and Tommy to a degree, although he looks less like him, but his fun performance is selling it. Much more than Kidman’s in this!).

Okay, enough with the ranting. I’ll try to say something positive. Umm… the story was kind of interesting, I guess. I know nothing whatsoever about Lucille Ball & don’t know how accurate this movie is but that was certainly an interesting week for her (if that all did actually happen in just one week). I thought Alia Shawkat was good as one of the writers (probably helps that I know of no real life person to compare her to). Ball’s hubby was a cheating prick & they had no chemistry in this movie. I think what also bothered me was, while I know nothing about Ball, she was known as being the star of big comedy sitcom. But this movie was so dreary & dramatic & devoid of any humor. Is that what Ball was like in real life? No clue. This movie makes her borderline unlikeable. It’s also one of those movies where I finished it feeling like I didn’t know much more about the real-life person than I did before. What’s the point of that? Oops. I was trying to be positive! Okay, the story was kind of interesting. But, holy shit, it couldn’t have been more miscast & the character development was terrible. – 6/10

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) – Although I love most horror movies from the ’70s & ’80s, I was never big on the 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I don’t even remember it very well now & should really probably rewatch it someday. I didn’t think the 2003 film was too bad but I could’ve lived without it. And I didn’t really care about seeing the 2022 one & thought it looked terrible but there are so few 2022 movies on services so far that I mostly watched this just to see a 2022 film. Yep – it’s terrible. Ugh. Here’s the beginning of the full plot synopsis on Wikipedia: “Nearly 50 years after Leatherface’s killing spree in 1973, young entrepreneurs Melody and Dante, Melody’s sister Lila and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth travel to the abandoned Texas town of Harlow, to auction off old properties to create a trendy, heavily gentrified area.” Okay – just from that description I hate these characters already.

Admittedly, I’m OLD so can’t really relate to the early twentysomethings in movies now. But these characters are meant to be hateful, right? Except the girl from that dreadful Eighth Grade movie people raved about for some reason – her character is okay. So I guess, if you like seeing annoying youths violently murdered, you might like this movie. That’s the point of slashers anyway, right? So why is this movie so bad compared to the slashers I liked in the ’80s?? They’re the same thing. I don’t know – I really can’t think of anything to say about this movie. Poor character development, I didn’t care if anyone would survive, Leatherface is shown to have some feelings WTF?!, and a bunch of idiots livestream this maniac with a chainsaw and say something or other about getting him cancelled. Seriously. I guess the bus scene was somewhat entertaining but it was so ridiculous & so unlike the vibe of the original film. Oh well – who cares? This will just be another completely forgettable horror remake/reboot/sequel etc etc. I suppose there have been worse ones, although I’m struggling to think of one… – 4.5/10

Movies Rewatched In February:

Suspiria (1977) – I watched this once years ago but hadn’t seen it since. Then in the past few years I’ve tried to delve into the Giallo horror thing a bit & liked Argento’s Deep Red a lot, calling it the more “accessible” film compared to Suspiria. I’ve watched several other Argento films since as well, including the kooky Phenomena, but none of them have compared to Suspiria or Deep Red. I figured it was time to refresh my memory of this film & see how I really feel about it as I know its Goblin score FAR better than the film itself (god I love that bloody brilliant, loud & distracting score!!!).

I have to say that, on a rewatch, I think I may now absolutely love Suspiria. And I’ll stop now as I ended up doing a full post with a slightly longer review HERE last week, mainly so I could post plenty of images from this film as it has stunning visuals. The story is a bit of a mess, yes, but I really don’t care about that when a movie looks & sounds as good as this one does. – 8.5/10

West Side Story – Figured it was time to introduce my daughter to this classic musical before we see the Spielberg version. And I hadn’t seen it since I was a teen so I needed to see it again myself. I knew I liked it but it never became one of my favorites that I watched over & over again like like I did with The Sound Of Music & The Wizard Of Oz.

I still really like it but it’s still not going to be an all-time favorite of mine. There are some good songs but, overall, I feel the songs aren’t as strong as they are in most of my personal favorite musicals. The Romeo & Juliet story, although predictable, is always a winner (which is why it remains so popular). So I like that a lot plus I really like Natalie Wood for some reason, especially since watching the fantastic Splendor In The Grass (which I prefer to West Side Story). There are of course some great visuals, which as I said in my Suspiria review is something that’s always important to me. Like, I really liked Maria’s colourful door to her bedroom. Why do I live in such a drab house (and country)?! I love colors & pretty shit! Well, West Side Story is iconic & deserving of its status as an all-time classic musical. Am interested to see what Spielberg has done with it but am not expecting to love it as I see it as a bit pointless when this version exists… – 8/10

Three Fugitives – Watched this on Disney Plus with the daughter as I have fond memories of watching this several times with my mom when I was a teen as we both really liked it & thought the girl was adorable. Managed to talk my daughter into it after she said she thought Martin Short was funny in Only Murders In The Building (I’ll be mentioning that below). Still really like this one but, oh boy, it does have that cheesy late ’80s/early ’90s family-friendly comedy vibe. Especially with that score! Ha. That’s okay – I still love stuff from my teen years. Daughter seemed to like this one as well & also thought the girl was cute & she still found Martin Short funny. Happy I was able to share it with her the way I did with my mom. – 7.5/10

Sweet Home Alabama – Another movie I watched with my daughter. I also have fond memories of watching this one. It was in the cinema with the hubby & two teen/early-twentysomething girls would NOT shut the hell up so he chucked his (mostly empty) drink at their heads. They did shut up! This movie is fine. A typical lightweight rom-com but I did enjoy when Reese Witherspoon was making this kind of stuff. Not my favorite of her’s when it comes to this genre but certainly not the worst. Probably smack dab in the middle! Ohh… I just checked & had forgotten I ranked Witherspoon’s movies (here). Yep! It’s in the middle! Predictable story but Witherspoon helps sell it. And it’s a good song. – 7/10

Shorts & Documentaries In February

Three Songs For Benazir – It’s up for an Oscar & it’s on Netflix so I stuck it on. I fell asleep so I can’t really comment…

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED (not ranked)

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E6-7 – I wrote in my last post that I wasn’t really loving this show & it was a disappointment after how fantastic The Mandalorian was. Then the final two episodes were awesome! To be fair, they hardly featured boring old Boba Fett & I know some people complained that those episodes were really just The Mandalorian again. Fine by me! I got to see Grogu again! ❤️ AND R2-D2 & Luke! LOVED IT SO MUCH! I needed a Grogu fix so bad after a shitty shitty year so far. Luke looked excellent (I had no issues with how he looked in the final episode of The Mandalorian either, though). The only thing it could have used was more of Grogu & R2-D2 together since those two have been best buddies in my mind ever since the end of The Mandalorian. My two favorite Star Wars characters together!! Honestly, episode 6 of this made my year. No movie or TV show is gonna top that in 2022.

Pam & Tommy: S1 E1-6 – Can’t say I’m exactly a fan of either Pamela Anderson or Tommy Lee or ever gave much of a crap about their sex tape (although I did somehow see part of it at the time – God knows how! If I managed to see it it really must have been everywhere). But this show looked interesting. It really is just pure entertainment, though. I’m not entirely sure what the point of making this show was other than to see Pamela & Tommy’s crazy lifestyle?

I have to say that I think Sebastian Stan & especially Lily James are surprisingly good in this. Stan seems to be having a lot of fun playing bad boy Lee & they’ve done an amazing job with Lily’s look. As I said above in Being The Ricardos, the actors need to actually look like the real people (or be made to look like the person, like they have here as James looks nothing like Anderson in real life). They’ve done an okay job of showing Anderson as the victim here (which she was) and how upsetting the leaked personal tape will have been for her. Why on Earth have celebs made any sex tapes since then? They always get out. These two were careful, though, keeping it locked in a safe. It’s been interesting seeing the story from the perspective of the guy who stole the tape too (played by Seth Rogen). It’s an interesting show so far but, again, I’m not sure what the point was in making a TV series about this story.

Only Murders In The Building: S1 – After watching Stay Close & discovering that the kid really seems to like crime thrillers, we checked this out as thought she’d be interested since Selena Gomez is in this. She loved this show! And also now seems to think Martin Short is funny, as I said above in the Three Fugitives review. We need to get her liking Steve Martin now too! This show was a lot of fun & we’re all looking forward to Season 2. It’s quite “quirky”. It has good characters & I liked how we got some episodes with their own full storylines, such as one focusing on a deaf character which was also unique as so much of that episode was silent. The three leads work really well together & I like the music in the show plus the stylish opening titles. I think this will work as a continuing series where these characters have a new mystery to solve each season. It looks like that’s already the plan for a Season 2.

The Outsider: S1 – I’m a huge Stephen King fan & try to watch all adaptations of his stories. Been very frustrated in recent years at not getting the opportunity to watch so much of the TV stuff here in the U.K. on my services, such as Mr. Mercedes. So I was very happy to see this on NowTV (Entertainment) and binged it before it disappears. This book was definitely not a favorite of mine. Probably didn’t help that it got WAY too graphic about the murder of the young boy. King gets way too gross sometimes! But I suppose the overall story was okay. I thought this was a solid adaptation (and didn’t go into as much detail as the book did on the murder, thankfully). It fell apart a bit at the end but so did the book. I do find the ending to most of King’s stories disappointing, though.

I thought everyone did a good job in this, especially Jason Bateman in a smallish but very important role in the first 2 or 3 episodes. What I was most looking forward to, though, was seeing a favorite King character of mine that he’s now used in several stories: Holly Gibney. I wouldn’t say that Cynthia Erivo did a bad job or anything – I think the writers just really didn’t capture Gibney’s character at all, which was very disappointing. They made sure to point out that she’s “a little weird” but she really didn’t feel like she does in the books. Not happy! But, as I like that character, she was still my favorite character in this show & Cynthia Erivo was likeable as an awkward person who didn’t feel like Holly Gibney but would probably be friends with her at the very least. But, WTF, they gave her a love interest in this?!? Why?? I now really want to see Mr. Mercedes so I can see what they did with Holly’s character in that…

Well, I still really enjoyed seeing another adaptation of King’s work and thought it was pretty faithful (except for that stupid love interest). If you want more of Holly Gibney, read the (much better) Mr. Mercedes series where she’s introduced. She’s a smaller character in The Outsider – you really get to know everything about her in the three Mr. Mercedes books. And the title story in King’s If It Bleeds collection is a continuation of the story in The Outsider but has only Holly (and her friends from Mr. Mercedes) once again fighting this same evil. So definitely read that if you liked The Outsider.

The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window: S1 – This was okay but nothing special. I do appreciate them doing a spoof of my cheesy crime thriller guilty pleasures like The Woman In The Window & The Girl On The Train. The mystery wasn’t the greatest, though, and the comedy wasn’t good enough to make up for the story. The show was fine. It passed the time but I probably wouldn’t bother with a second season if they make one.

Community: S1 – Oh my god. I love this! Okay, I don’t rank TV shows in these posts in order of my favorites like I do with movies as it’s more difficult, especially when it’s sometimes only a few episodes I’ve seen of a show. I’ve seen all of Season 1 of this now and, so far, this would be at the top of this section. Definitely enjoying it more than Boba Fett, although nothing can top that full-on Grogu/R2-D2/Luke episode so I’d maybe still need to keep Boba Fett at the top.

How did I miss out on this show?! Actually, I have a good excuse as I was very busy with a baby & then toddler at the time. But why did no one ever tell me to watch this show that is so my type of thing?! I’ve been missing out! It’s hilarious & I LOVE these characters. Can I rank them?! You know I love ranking stuff!

1. Abed (the BEST! love his movie & tv-loving nerdiness)

2. Troy (knew I liked Donald Glover in other things but didn’t realize how damn funny he is too. his character in this is good but as a duo with Abed he’s hilarious & I love when they get the final little skit together, especially that Bert & Ernie one that put a big smile on my Sesame Street-loving face)

3. TIE: Shirley & Britta (Shirley is so sweet & lovable with this great naïve side that lets her say hilariously inappropriate things. Britta is the one I identify with the most as I’m sort of a buzzkill too & definitely angry a lot of the time. I can totally relate to her not understanding her fellow women sometimes, such as in the episode where she didn’t understand why women go to the bathroom together. All my teen girl friends wanted me to go pee with them all the time. Why?! Girls are weird sometimes)

4. Annie (she’s growing on me & is getting a bit less boring as the show goes on)

5. Jeff (I mean, he’s a jerk but he’s MEANT to be a jerk so it’s hard to know where to rank him)

6. Pierce (Hard to believe Chevy Chase has the most boring character so far but he still has plenty of funny moments in an extremely funny show. and the whole point is that this group of people have nothing in common so he’s needed in the group too)

There are some lesser characters but I won’t rank them at this point. Ken Jeong is as annoying as in real life so he seems to just be playing himself, although it’s fun when he goes completely overboard sometimes. And Jack Black was in an episode so that made me very happy. Oh, and we’re watching this as a family & my daughter is absolutely loving it too (Abed is also her favorite). So happy that we have the same sort of sense of humor. We’re binging this show like crazy. 🙂

And Just Like That…: S1 E10 – Ugh! I’ve bitched about this show enough in previous posts so no need to again. I’ll just say that episode 10 was no better than any of the rest. And I refuse to put an image into this post for it even though it’s annoying me that it’s the only one I’ve not used an image for in this section.

BOOKS READ

Not gonna use an image this time as I’m STILL just reading the same book I’ve been reading for bloody months (been too busy binging Community): A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. Less than 200 pages left!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As I’m watching fewer movies, it’s been easier to put together these roundup posts. If all is going well in life at the start of April, I’ll hopefully post my March roundup.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See In March:

Excited to finally be getting some 2022 films on services that look like they could be good: Turning Red on Disney & The Adam Project on Netflix plus I think I’m gonna sign up for Apple TV again which has an adaptation of a YA novel I read called The Sky Is Everywhere. Then I can also finally see CODA & Finch! Plus Spielberg’s West Side Story will be on Disney so am hoping to watch that before the Oscars.

I should end this post with Goblin’s brilliant Suspiria score:

Suspiria (1977) Review

Hi All! I’ve not been around as am having a difficult year. But I miss blogging & have still been watching & logging some movies. I do have a post ready to go with what I watched in January but I rewatched Suspiria recently & felt like doing a quick mini-review.

Okay – WHY are there no cool landscape posters for this film?! So I had to use that squished image above so this post doesn’t look crap in the preview & on Twitter. I like that image, though, and it’s the main one I always see for this movie so here’s the big version:

Suspiria (Latin: [sʊsˈpiːri.a]) (that looks cool) (1977)

Directed by Dario Argento

Screenplay by Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi

Based on Suspiria de Profundis by Thomas De Quincey

Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett

Music by Goblin & Dario Argento

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Jessica Harper as an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany but realizes, after a series of brutal murders, that the academy is a front for a supernatural conspiracy.

My Opinion:

I watched this once years ago but hadn’t seen it since. Then in the past few years I’ve tried to delve into the Giallo horror thing a bit & liked Argento’s Deep Red a lot, calling it the more “accessible” film compared to Suspiria. I’ve watched several other Argento films since as well, including the kooky Phenomena, but none of them have compared to Suspiria or Deep Red. I figured it was time to refresh my memory of this film & see how I really feel about it as I know its Goblin score FAR better than the film itself (god I love that bloody brilliant, loud & distracting score!!!).

I have to say that, on a rewatch, I think I may now absolutely love Suspiria. I still think it’s a mess story-wise, as most of Argento’s films (making Deep Red the most coherent in comparison). But I don’t really care about the story when it comes to films like these as I’m such a sucker for atmospheric films with stunning visuals & fantastic scores and this is one of the all-time greats in those regards. It’s gorgeous! I’m thinking of posting this mini-review separately just so I can add loads of images from the movie to the post (Okay – I’ve obviously decided to do that instead of just putting this in my monthly roundup post). Here are some more images:

And I’m still in love with the score. It was really hard to be sneaky & try to watch this one late at night when the Goblin music started BLARING in between the dialogue you can barely hear at all. Love it – it really adds to the film’s unsettling feel. I just love the overall vibe of horror movies from the ’70s. So few horror movies have style these days & even fewer are able to capture that eerie aura of classic horror. Am really happy I decided to rewatch this one as it’s definitely gone up in my estimation. Yay! Maybe I DO like Italian horror! Well, two of them anyway…

My Rating: 8.5/10

Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941) & The Invisible Man (1933) Reviews

I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as Dracula, etc. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. Thanks to the family for letting me watch half of them, too! I haven’t updated that list with these yet as I’m not sure where to place them at this point but figured that I should at least try to write a little something about these classics even though it’s after Halloween…

Dracula (1931)

Directed by Tod Browning

Based on Dracula (novel) by Bram Stoker & Dracula (play) by Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston

Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England and preys upon the blood of living victims, including a young man’s fiancée.

My Opinion:

I don’t know where to start with these “reviews” as I’ve not watched enough classic horror to be able to easily discuss them. I’ll say that Dracula was easily my favorite of those I watched Halloween weekend. Bela Lugosi was great as Count Dracula. Loved his look and the mood of the start of the film in his creepy old castle in the fog & full of cobwebs. The whole thing just said traditional “Halloween” to me, so that was great. A proper vampire movie! Also, I noticed it was directed by Tod Browning who did the movie Freaks, which I absolutely adore & think is a fantastic film that was ahead of its time. So I was eager to see another Browning film.

Vampires aren’t usually my favorite when it comes to the typical “Halloween” monsters. As far as these type of movies go, it seems to be the zombie ones I like the most (thanks, George Romero!). So I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be my favorite (I thought it would be Frankenstein). But Lugosi was so good & I loved seeing all the “vampire rules” played out, which I admittedly know best thanks to The Lost Boys. No “death by stereo” in Dracula, though! Ha!

Am so glad I finally watched this. I want to see all the Hammer Horror now too to compare, especially Dracula! Am guessing that just has more heaving bosoms. They loved heaving bosoms in old English movies. So between this Dracula, Nosferatu & my beloved The Lost Boys, maybe I do love vampires after all. It’s made me want to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula now as well. Or… maybe even read the book! Maybe. I did read Frankenstein recently. We’ll see!

My Rating: 8/10

Frankenstein (1931)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Frankenstein (novel) by Mary Shelley & Frankenstein (play) by Peggy Webling & John L. Balderston

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward van Sloan, Frederick Kerr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

My Opinion:

Unlike the rest, I do think I at least saw bits of this as a kid. I definitely remember the part with the girl. I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. Yes, I stick with Stephen King. I’m old, busy & tired. I’ll watch a serious film as it takes up less of my time but don’t have the energy to read War And Peace or some shit. Give me light entertainment for reading! I admit reading Frankenstein, with its 1818 language, was hard going. But I love the overall story. It’s damn good.

So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I have no clue how close Dracula was to Stoker’s novel so that’s probably why I was able to just enjoy that movie as it is. Looks like Frankenstein was also partly based on a play adaptation? I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s a 1931 film. It’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character (which is also unlike described in the book). And I’ve now seen Boris Karloff in action as well as Bela Lugosi! It’s about time, I suppose.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Premise suggested by Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

My Opinion:

This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. Well, a little. We get a bit with the blind guy and I really liked that part of this movie. My favorite part of the book was when “the creature” hid in a family’s cottage for a very long time & sort of became fond of them & learned from them and the blind man in the movie was I guess a nod to that.

I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Didn’t know that, as I knew nothing whatsoever about this film beforehand. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo!

I also liked a super weird part of this movie in which a mad scientist guy has some tiny people in jars. In looking it up, I found they’re called “homunculi“. Fascinating! Here’s what it says at that Wikipedia link: “A homunculus is a representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human.” So that seemed silly at first but now I kind of love that bit. Fun film and, overall, I like the two of these movies together as one.

My Rating: 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941)

Directed by George Waggner

Starring: Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Larry Talbot returns to his father’s castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman. One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where they meet a mysterious gypsy fortune teller.

My Opinion:

Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Well, I know about werewolves thanks to An American Werewolf In London & the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, of course! Oh, and Teen Wolf. I’m so ’80s! Hey – did you know a guy in Teen Wolf flashes his penis at the end of that movie?

So, anyway – Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. Hairy guys are just a little less sexy than those bloodsuckers, I guess. Lon Chaney Jr. stars as the Wolf Man in this (I knew that thanks to Warren Zevon). So I’ve seen another classic monster movie & actor. Feel like I have a tiny bit more movie blog cred now! Wow – this was a pathetic review. Oh! I like the Silver Bullet movie too. God I’m so ’80s…

My Rating: 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933)

Directed by James Whale

Based on The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Starring: Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O’Connor, Henry Travers, Forrester Harvey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

My Opinion:

I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. In all honesty, I think the 2020 movie was my first real introduction to this character (which I assume is very different from the book!). So I’d feel like an ass saying too much about this movie.

I enjoyed it but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! I know jack shit about filmmaking but, with all the stupid CGI these days that rarely moves me, I was more impressed by whatever probably super simple tricks they used in this movie to make this guy’s head, etc, invisible in some scenes. Brilliant! Way cooler than computer magic.

FYI – the star of this one is Claude Rains and, once again, I’m happy to finally see these actors in these iconic roles. And, hey – the old lady from Titanic, Gloria Stuart, is in this. Her heart will go on! God I suck at reviewing old movies. This was good, though. All of these were. I’m glad I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel!

My Rating: 7/10

Halloween 1 Through 6 Mini Movie Reviews

Happy Halloween! My final post today contains my thoughts on Halloween 1-6, which I rewatched throughout October.

Even though I’m an ’80s kid & always enjoyed watching horror on TV every October, I just never quite managed to see all of the Halloween movies. To be fair, we didn’t have it as easy as you whipper snappers! I had to sneak around & try to watch what I could late at night on TV. And my mom was certainly not going to be renting violent slasher flicks for me. Well, I would’ve been old enough to rent the 6th Halloween movie… But I was an Elm Street girl by then, so that’s what I spent my time watching in its entirety instead. And, after now finally watching all of the first “Halloween timeline” movies, it has confirmed what I already knew: I’m still definitely an Elm Street girl.

As for other slasher franchises from the same sort of era, I’ve seen even fewer of the Friday The 13th movies. Can’t even say for sure but I’ve seen the first two then maybe a few others but couldn’t tell you which ones. Well, okay – one was that Jason in space one. Ha! Fucking hell. And, of course, Freddy Vs Jason where I was Team Freddy. As for Child’s Play, I never saw beyond the first three but I have no interest as they look really bad. However, I actually enjoyed those films, cheesy as they are, more than what I’ve seen of the Friday The 13th movies. Maybe I’ll try to watch all of Friday The 13th someday but I’m in no rush, especially since refreshing my memory & finding out just how bad the Halloween sequels actually are.

I saw more of Halloween than I’d realised, though, I just didn’t remember much other than the first movie. And I’ve watched the first movie plenty – it’s in a completely different league from the sequels. I believe it was only 5 & 6 which I’d not seen at all. I have no energy to watch every Halloween movie, though. Look at this shit!:

Okay, so what I’ve watched is “The Loomis Timeline” (and Halloween III). There are actually only three others I’ve not seen now: Resurrection, Halloween Kills (I’ll watch it when it’s on services), and Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (which I will never watch as I hated his Halloween film with an absolute fucking passion. Almost as much as I hated the Elm Street remake! Dreadful).

So here are some brief thoughts on each of the “Loomis Timeline” movies. By the 4th but especially the 5th & 6th one I was getting bored & just typing out random thoughts while they were on so, screw it, I’ll just post all those ramblings.

Halloween (1978)

Directed By John Carpenter

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis (her name is Loomis?! – Oh, interesting… she changed it. It’s really Nancy Kyes), Nick Castle

My Opinion:

Oh, it looks like I took a few notes while watching this: Cop daughter dodgy acting, Great score, Michael drives so well!

What can I say about Halloween? I’m not going to do some full review of any of these. I’ll just say that this one is SO much better than the rest. As with most slasher franchises, obviously. But, wow – the sequels are pretty dodgy after such a strong start with this one.

As in my notes, “Cop daughter dodgy acting“, I don’t think I have to look this up to see if anyone won an Oscar. But who wants good acting in a slasher movie anyway?? Jamie Lee Curtis is still one of the best “final girls” and makes up for the other two girls who are only there to be horny & murdered anyway. And I know Donald Pleasence was a proper actor & all that but he hams it up more and more in each of these movies. But it’s all part of the fun in campy slashers, which is what these sort of become. I far prefer the mood of this first movie, though, which has a more simple story & decent atmosphere & doesn’t get too over the top or silly. I have my Elm Street movies for ones that have a sense of “fun” & loads of other ’80s horror if I want campy.

Not gonna lie, though, there’s one thing I love above everything else when it comes to this movie & it’s the score. Carpenter’s Halloween theme is an all-time classic. It’s a damn masterpiece. That’s why it gets used over & over in all of the sequels & is the one truly great thing in each of them. Love it! I’m convinced these movies wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it wasn’t for that theme. Because, quite frankly, Michael Myers kind of sucks. Am I allowed to say that?! Blasphemy! He’s okay in this one, though. I like that he’s this purely evil psycho from a young age and I really like the beginning of the film & the image at the end of this review. That’s all good. But the character gets more & more ridiculous as these sequels go on & that starts to get boring. And I like the passion & desperation from Loomis in this one to catch Michael (before he gets too over the top & becomes slightly demented Loomis in the sequels).

I don’t mean to sound negative, though – this movie is a horror classic. Think I’m just frustrated by the sequels! They just aren’t ones I watched over & over as a teenager when I wasn’t so snobby & picky, I guess. So I don’t have that nostalgic love like I have for the Elm Streets but the first Halloween is great.

My Rating: 8/10

Halloween II (1981)

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Dick Warlock

My Opinion:

Wow, I made two notes while watching this: Guy blowing up was funny, The sister plot!!

Okay – So is this when they made up the “Laurie is Michael’s sister” plot? Because that wasn’t in the first one, right?? That was a little silly. But, whatever – this movie wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I know I saw it years ago but didn’t remember anything other than “it’s not as good as the first one”. But at least it’s still Laurie/Jamie Lee, therefore it was far more enjoyable than the other sequels. I also like that it carries on immediately from where the first movie ends & there’s none of that “a number of years later” bullshit. I liked that some of the other sequels did that too (or did they all do that? Bloody hell – I just watched these & am already mixing 4, 5 & 6 all up in my mind!).

This was fine. I liked that it was still Laurie & Loomis. I liked that it was still horny people getting murdered while being horny. I liked the hospital setting. The ending was ridiculous & this is when it starts getting stupid that Michael just won’t fucking die but I know that’s the point of these slasher villains so I can’t exactly complain. But, come on – how the hell did Loomis survive?! Well, I suppose you don’t know that until number four, right?? Whatever. That’s okay. I’ll forgive some of the stupid stuff since this is the best of the sequels & at least Laurie is in it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)

Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O’Herlihy, Nancy Kyes

My Opinion:

I made no notes while watching this. The hubby wanted to watch this one with me for some reason so I saw it last but knew it wouldn’t matter since it’s nothing to do with the Michael Myers story. I fell asleep & missed the end. I have to be honest – Watching this was a fucking chore. (I’ve still not finished it. I really should. I can’t be arsed).

Here’s what I remembered from seeing this one once as a teen: The jingle in the commercial & the masks. I can see why that’s all I remembered as those are the only things worth remembering. I gave this one a rating on Twitter already, though, and I think I was a bit too harsh. I’ll raise it by half a point as I love a horror anthology & like that they had the idea of doing these Halloween movies as unrelated individual stories. I wish they’d done that! I could live without the Michael Myers sequels. They’re better than THIS film but maybe they’d have made some really good movies if they’d continued with the anthology idea. And as far as the story goes, I think this movie has quite a good one! I like the story – it’s a clever idea. The Stonehenge connection is silly but, hey – Stonehenge is awesome & I love that place so that’s okay. The execution of the story just isn’t the greatest & the movie unfortunately comes across as very very bad film. But I can see why Film Twitter seems to love this one as it’s so unlike the Michael Myers Halloween films.

I wanted to like this. I thought I’d love it for some reason as I remembered liking that great jingle so much! Didn’t remember Tom Atkins being a dirty old perv. At least he finally asked that girl how old she was after sleeping with her once or twice. Ha! The ’80s. Gotta love ’em. Oh yeah – I meant to mention that I liked seeing a commercial on the TV in this movie for the first Halloween movie. Liked that they got that into this unrelated story.

My Rating: 5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)

Directed by Dwight H. Little

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Michael Pataki

My Opinion:

My notes while watching this: Dumb that Laurie is dead, How did both those fuckers survive blowing up?, I like the sister, I like the ending (but 5 fucking ruins that).

After watching 5 & 6, I decided that this one wasn’t horrible. I hated that Laurie was suddenly dead with some dumb story that she’d died in a car accident, leaving her daughter (brand new character Jamie Lloyd) an orphan. I hate when characters are just written out of a story like that.

I very vaguely remember seeing this but, again, remembered no specifics. I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked her in this & movie five (another character ruined by a sequel, though – I wasn’t happy with movie six!). That’s right – I’ve looked this up & it’s ten years after the events of movie two & Michael has been in a coma that whole time, which is to be expected since he was burnt to a fucking crisp along with Loomis who somehow just has a partially scarred face. But Myers has woken up now in 1988 because they decided they wanted to make another Michael Myers Halloween movie after all.

This movie has a couple things going for it. As I said, I liked the character of Jamie Lloyd & I also liked her foster sister. They were “nice”. I know that seems stupid but I want to have a likeable character or two, even in slasher flicks. They had a good relationship & Jamie was very cute. And I liked it now focusing on a girl much younger than the teenage Laurie Strode. But the foster sister is a teenager so we still get some horny teens fucking before dying (not the foster sister, though – she’s the good girl! Her boyfriend is a cheating bastard). Also, I really liked the ending. Okay, it’s maybe a little predictable and just ending the way the first Halloween began but I liked that full circle thing. Then the fifth movie had to come along and fuck that good ending up…

My Rating: 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)

Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glynn

My Opinion:

Loads of notes while watching this (I was clearly getting bored), so here are my random thoughts:

– Is that how he thanks the guy who nursed him back to health?!

– Telepathic link is dumb

– Now she’s a step sister? Thought she was a foster sister in number 4.

– Did they have to kill the sister so soon?!

– So did the “step mom” survive??

– Loomis is demented & getting on my nerves

– Cartoon sound effects for the cops?! WTF?!?

– Jamie being a killer was cooler

– Michael sucks. He has no personality. I’m bored with him.

– I’ll say it again – Michael drives so well!

– No story to these – only 1 had a story

– Uncle! Hahaha. Heartwarming. Like Mando taking off his helmet for Grogu. Um… Why is he not burnt to a crisp?!

– Using her as bait? Loomis has lost the plot. A net?? That was a cartoon trick! Or Ewok trick. Get the net!

– Meandering

– He survived burning to a crisp but can’t handle a beating

– Who’s the guy with the boots?! I was paying no attention since I was bored.

Okay, that’s the end of my random thoughts. I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen this one. I’ll say this: It was annoying that they decided they didn’t want Jamie to be a cold-blooded killer after all. Boo!! But, oh well – at least we get likeable Jamie again. That was nice that they forgave her for stabbing her step mom, I guess. I was annoyed that they killed her nice step sister so quickly. As these movies were so similar, I keep messing them up in my mind. This then focused on her sister’s teenage friend instead, right, and Michael killing horny teens in a barn at a Halloween party? It’s really bad I can’t keep these straight when I’ve just watched them this month, for crying out loud. Oh yeah – I liked that this too picks up right from where number 4 ended. But!! Then Michael goes into another coma (what a pussy) and wakes up one year later to again terrorize Jamie. Guess the story needed time for her to be rehabilitated or whatever. And I was thoroughly confused by the ending because I think I wasn’t really paying attention but they cover that (sort of) in the final stupid Loomis Timeline movie anyway…

My Rating: 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Directed by Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan

My Opinion:

Lots of random thoughts while watching this one too. At least I had cutie Paul Rudd to look at:

– Introducing Paul Stephen Rudd!

– Michael is slower than a fucking Romero zombie

– Michael Myers in space (what’s this note in relation to?! Oh, I think it was a radio caller? Is that where they got the Jason in space idea??).

– Shit, crazy Loomis is back

– Oh no, is cutie Paul Stephen Rudd bad?! (Later FYI – No, he wasn’t. Paul Rudd can’t be bad! He’s a sweetie!)

– This father is such an asshole – he better get killed by Michael!

– FYI – the mother is from the ’80s classic Better Off Dead… I’d recommend that over this movie…

– Is Loomis’s (Loomis’? Loomises?!) face not at all burned anymore?!

– Paul Stephen Rudd is blathering on about the Druids or some shit. Makes me want to listen to Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge. (Later FYI – wasn’t Stonehenge in the Halloween III plot? A link!!)

– Glad Paul Rudd got better at acting. He’s adorable in this, though.

– God, I was already out of high school when this came out. Maybe that’s why I never watched this one? Although I don’t think I saw number 5 either. Anyway – man, I’m so old. 😦 Almost as old as Paul Rudd! Although he looks much younger than me. But he looks younger than everyone…

– This just turned into Rosemary’s Baby. But, like, a bad Rosemary’s Baby.

– Wasn’t Jamie, like, 8ish in the fifth movie? And this is six years later & she had a baby?

– Oh shit – it’s over. I wasn’t paying much attention at the end there. What did I miss???

– What is this grunge music? Aww, how ’90s…

That’s the end of my random thoughts. This movie is the worst of these (not counting the unrelated Halloween III). I should rate it lower than number 5 as it’s definitely worse but I think I’ve upped the rating for adorable Paul Rudd. I also liked that he’s actually the character Tommy Doyle, who Laurie was babysitting in the first film, so that was a nice link. But I hated what they did with Jamie Lloyd’s character (what a waste!). Think I hated that even more than the Laurie Strode car accident write-off. Plus, um… Was she raped? Do they really explain all that? She’s actually kidnapped by this cult that, like, worships Michael Myers or some shit at the end of movie five so did they keep her those whole six years then impregnate her? Gross. She was really young in movie five – how was she of child bearing age only six years later anyway?

I admit that at one point I wanted more of an explanation as to why Myers was evil & also unable to be killed but I’ve changed my mind after this movie and its talk of Druids and some dumb curse & whatever other bullshit they were spouting. Dumb. Now I want to go back to the simplicity of the story in the first Halloween. He’s just evil. Sometimes that’s all the explanation you need.

In the movie’s defence, though, it sounds like there’s a better version. Maybe the story in that isn’t as much of an incoherent mess. From Wikipedia:

After the film’s home media release, the original workprint of the film, which featured 45 minutes of alternative footage and a different ending, was discovered by fans of the series. This version, dubbed The Producer’s Cut, developed a cult following, with bootleg DVD copies sold on eBay and online petitions targeting for an official release of it. In 2014, the Producer’s Cut was officially released on Blu-ray.

Well. I’ve rambled enough. This was a disappointing end to the Loomis Timeline but at least it gave us Paul Stephen Rudd.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Society (1989) Review

Happy Halloween! I decided it was time to bring this lovely post over to my own blog as it was lacking in shunting images. I don’t often review old favorites from before I started blogging but did this one for a fun blogathon over at Silver Screen Serenade (original post HERE). Enjoy!

Society (1989)

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a Beverly Hills teenager who finds his wealthy parents are part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.

***WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AND SLIGHTLY NSFW IMAGES TO FOLLOW***

My Opinion:

Here we go: I’m now going to talk about a film that all movie bloggers over a certain age should know well as I’m sure we all caught it on cable late one night & went “what the fuuuuuck?!?” (I know this was my experience with it). This is back in the days before the Internet was around to spoil a movie’s surprise ending for us before we had a chance to see it. You still had the occasional blabbermouth who might ruin a movie for you but it took a lot longer for word-of-mouth to travel back in the late 80s/early 90s and, although I think I saw this film a while after it was released, I’d managed to avoid hearing ANYTHING whatsoever about it. So imagine my surprise when I started watching a movie I’d not heard of on cable late one night that had that cute Billy Warlock in it. Yes – I’m talking, of course, about the 1989 film Society. For those who have somehow avoided seeing this one, there’ll first be some MINOR SPOILERS and then I’ll give another warning before giving MASSIVE SPOILERS regarding the crazy ending.

So, Billy Warlock plays a boy who is popular but just doesn’t seem to fit in with his rich family & their high society friends. Well, that seems pretty normal… who really gets along with their family? And rich people are wankers.

The movie is pretty boring at first & goes along really slowly with some dodgy acting. It felt kind of like an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 or Baywatch (which, hey – Billy Warlock was also in!). So I was getting ready to turn the channel & see what else was on when a couple of weird little things happened from out of nowhere.

Things like this:

And this:

Yeah – I think it was the “boobs on the back” thing that made me stick around. So some more stuff happens, blah blah blah… I still can’t really remember much of this movie until its ending – I don’t think anyone can. Then, after an hour of boredom, we get to the last half hour of this thing and WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!?! Shunting, that’s what! SHUNTING! What the fuck is shunting? I’ll tell you what shunting is! Now is your chance to turn back if you’re at all intrigued and want to see this movie spoiler-free. MASSIVE SPOILERS and NSFW images to follow………………
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Billy Warlock comes home to find his family and their high society friends all engaged in shunting: a big orgy-looking thing where they’re all melting into each other & feeding off poor people. Like this:

And Billy Warlock’s mother & pretty sister have turned into this (the sister is the crotch):

And his father has truly become a butthead:

But it gets even BETTER. There is a way to defeat these high society bastards & escape so that you don’t end up being their next meal. I’ll keep that a surprise in case you still wish to watch the movie at this point but here’s a little preview. I think it’s one of the greatest moments in cinematic history:

I have to say I really kind of love Society – it must be my favorite film that I don’t actually own. I should change that… I was a big fan of Cronenberg’s The Fly for a good few years before seeing Society (like, was kind of obsessed with it & watched it over and over again when my mom wasn’t around to yell at me for watching nasty stuff) and I think, between these two films, I was kind of turned on to the body horror genre (I did a top ten of my favorite body horror movies HERE). Don’t get me wrong – Society is NOT as good as a Cronenberg film (and it’s not meant to be) but I can guarantee that anyone who saw it at the time hasn’t forgotten the final half hour. It may be super tame by today’s standards but that’s fine by me – nothing beats the cheesy special effects of a good 80’s body horror film. It’s a genre I still wish to explore more than I have – does anyone have any good recommendations?

My Rating: 7.5/10

Happy shunting, everyone!

The Night House (2020) & Terror Train (1980) Reviews

Happy Halloween everyone!

I have two posts ready to go for later today (reviews for Society & for Halloween 1-6 which I rewatched this month). But I just recently watched these two horror movies for the first time so figured I better squeeze in quick reviews.

I’ll also say that I spent yesterday & part of today watching classic horror on the Horror Channel in the U.K. I’ve just posted My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies this week & was saying it’s terrible that I’ve not seen so many of the old classics so it’s great this has given me the chance to see some. It’s a shame it’s unlikely I’ll get around to reviewing them today but, oh well. I guess there’s no law that says I can’t review them after Halloween. Here’s what I’ve seen:

Dracula (1931) – 8/10
Frankenstein (1931) – 7.5/10
Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – 7/10
The Wolf Man (1941) – 7/10

And I’ll be watching The Invisible Man (1933) today.

Now here are my brief thoughts on these two movies…

The Night House (2020)

Directed by David Bruckner

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Evan Jonigkeit, Stacy Martin, Vondie Curtis-Hall

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Night House stars Rebecca Hall as a widow who discovers a dark secret about the house her late architect husband built.

My Opinion:

Was super excited to see a NEW film on Disney Plus! Well, Disney Star or whatever the grownup bit of Disney Plus is called – I believe America doesn’t get that?? Yay, we have something you don’t for once! And I can count it as a 2021 release as it’s the first time available in the U.K. This follows Disney also getting The Empty Man, which was quite new too. And it’s a supernatural horror where the hubby had some secret his widow now has to discover and that’s SO my type of guilty pleasure horror movie. Plus I thought the poster at the very top of this post looked pretty cool. Oh! And I thought the director’s film The Ritual was pretty good.

This movie was okay but disappointing. It’s the kind of thing I’ll forget in a year but at least the story kept me interested. I didn’t love Rebecca Hall’s character – Something about her was kind of annoying but she did well enough as a newly widowed woman who is grieving & then having weird shit happen to her. I don’t think the story was explored well enough plus we’re kind of just left hanging at the end without a satisfying resolution. Not that horror has that very often anyway! And she of course watched videos of her & the hubby from their wedding, etc, because that’s a requirement in these supernatural stories where someone has just lost their spouse. I did like a couple of creepy shots that were pretty effective in which Hall’s character saw shapes in her house, though. It was also a good setting, in a lovely secluded house on a lake. Cliché again, yes, but that’s because that’s the perfect setting for this type of story.

This was fine. It passed the time one afternoon & is the type of supernatural horror I go for but it could’ve been better.

My Rating: 6/10

Terror Train (1980)

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Starring: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner, Sandee Currie, Timothy Webber, Derek MacKinnon, Anthony Sherwood, Joy Boushel, Vanity, D.D. Winters, Greg Swanson, Howard Busgang, Elizabeth Cholette, David Copperfield

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three years after a prank went terribly awry, the six college students responsible are targeted by a masked killer at a New Year’s Eve party aboard a moving train.

My Opinion:

I’d never heard of this. An ’80s slasher!! I figured now was the perfect time to check it out as it’s October & I’ve also just spent the month rewatching Halloween 1-6, the first two of which obviously also star Jamie Lee Curtis (I’ve done a post reviewing all of those which I’ll post later today). I can see why Terror Train isn’t more well known but it’s not awful.

It starts out with a pretty pathetic prank being played on a fellow medical student at some party but the guy is unstable already, I guess, as it drives him off the deep end & he ends up having to be committed. Three years later, the students are having a party on a train & the bullied boy decides it’s the perfect time for revenge. Is it a Halloween party?! I guess I just assumed that as they’re all dressed up in costumes. And are parties on trains a thing? It looks like fun! Anyway – the bullied boy goes after everyone involved in the prank, including Jamie Lee Curtis who didn’t actually want to be part of the prank & I think didn’t know what they’d actually had planned for the prank so she’s had guilt over it ever since. And she has a much better hairdo than that frizzy hair she had in Halloween.

I liked this fine. It’s actually not overly “bloody” so not sure if it can be considered a slasher. Probably, but the kills are pretty mild (which is fine with me as I’m pretty wussy). And I know nothing whatsoever about filmmaking but I thought this looked quite good for a film from 1980?? It just didn’t have that low budget sort of look like many movies, especially horror movies, from that time. And David Copperfield is in it as a magician, surprisingly, that I guess they’ve hired as their entertainment. Didn’t know he’d ever done any acting? He was pretty good in this – I liked his character. I saw him live once when I was a kid! Got an autograph afterwards. Think I lost it.

This is well worth a watch for fans of ’80s slashers, especially if you like Jamie Lee Curtis. But it’s a bit slow & I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t into movies from this era as there are much better ones to check out. Oh – Vanity has a small role in this (she was so pretty). I kind of recognised some other faces, I think, but not well. One of my favorite things about watching ’80s movies I never saw is to see familiar faces. Always love that! So I enjoyed this but I can’t say it’s one I’d have watched over & over again in the ’80s like I did with things such as the Elm Street films. It was worth a one-time watch, though.

My Rating: 6/10

My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies

I figured it was time to update this list that I first posted five years ago. I did update it a few times but I can no longer bring up the post in my WordPress phone app to update it. How annoying! (I’m too lazy to do anything on this blog that I can’t do in the app). So here it is re-posted with lots of new stuff added.

This was originally a Top 20 but I’ve had to make it a Top 40 this time. This is partly thanks to me deciding to include horror comedies in the list now. I already did a separate list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies but those have now also been added into all the lists I’ve been posting this week in time for Halloween:

My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies
My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies
My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Here are some I’ve left out as I don’t consider them horror: The excellent Battle Royale & Under The Skin. Also these that I really enjoyed: One Hour Photo, Colossal, Turbo Kid, Hobo With A Shotgun & VFW.

And, like my 1970-1999 list, I’ve grouped some things together such as franchises & a few directors I appreciate. Also, as with all my lists, I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include some great movies. In this case, as I started my blog in 2012, it’s most likely I forgot movies before the year 2012 as I wasn’t keeping record of them like I do now.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies:

Top Forty:

40. Rubber
39. TIE: Grabbers & The Final Girls
38. Color Out Of Space
37. The Conjuring Universe (The first film the best by far but I’ve liked the rest okay as well)
36. The Secret Of Marrowbone
35. Ti West (My favorites: The House Of The Devil & The Innkeepers)
34. Mike Flanagan (He has some higher on the list but I wanted to mention these too: Hush & Absentia)
33. TIE: The Hunt (2020) & The Invisible Man (2020)
32. Circle (2015)
31. Ginger Snaps

Top Thirty:

30. Trick ‘r Treat
29. Us
28. Ari Aster (I want to love his work more than I do but I find it interesting & want more of it, hoping to connect more with one of his films someday. I prefer Midsommar but Hereditary has some great moments)
27. Tucker And Dale Vs Evil
26. [Rec]
25. TIE: The Platform & The Host (2006)
24. The Girl With All The Gifts
23. The Purge (I’ve quite liked all of these films – I like the concept)
22. Gerald’s Game
21. Spontaneous

Top Twenty:

20. Shaun Of The Dead
19. A Quiet Place
18. The Village
17. The Orphanage
16. Final Destination (First film but the sequels I’ve seen have been pretty decent too)
15. The Others
14. Land Of The Dead
13. A Tale Of Two Sisters
12. Slither
11. Let The Right One In

****Top Ten:****

10. The Descent

9. TIE: The Mist & It/It: Chapter Two (Sadly, the first one was much better than Chapter Two…)

8. 28 Days Later… (28 Weeks Later also good)

7. Doctor Sleep

6. It Follows

5. Pan’s Labyrinth

4. Mandy

3. Train To Busan

2. The Babadook

1. Dawn Of The Dead

Lots Of Honorable Mentions:
30 Days Of Night (Remember really enjoying this but need to rewatch it), The Cabin In The Woods (Need to rewatch this too), Saw (First film only – hate the rest), Pontypool (Wanted to squeeze this into the Top 40), The Wailing, The Boy, Honeymoon, Cloverfield, What We Do In The Shadows, The Babysitter, Dead Snow, Teeth, Black Sheep, Splice, 1408, My Little Eye, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Ready Or Not, The Ritual, One Cut Of The Dead, Krampus, Ma, Horns, Child’s Play, Zombieland, Warm Bodies, Willy’s Wonderland, Vivarium, Malignant, Fresh

My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Oh man – this was a hard list to do since the majority of my favorite horrors are from the ’70s & ’80s. I’ll also have watched shitloads, so am sure I’ve forgotten to add some great ones & I’ll be annoyed I forgot them. Oh well – I can update the list if so!

Some Rules/Notes:

1. I’ve had to make this a Top Forty, and even then I’m missing some favorites. So I have some “honorable mentions” listed at the end. And the ’80s especially was the decade for “franchises” but it’s too hard to rank every single sequel in those cases plus I see each series as a whole. So, where I mention some, I kind of mean the series. I’ve only listed some specific sequels if any were actually really good (Dream Warriors!). And, let’s face it, the first movie is usually a million times better than the rest (Halloween! Almost wish it was a standalone film…).

2. Also, in order to do this, I’ve decided to leave a few films out that I love/really like but I don’t see as “horror” films…

Alien/Aliens (Two of my all-time favorite films. I don’t think “horror” with these – I think sci-fi)
Jaws (Again, I just think “action thriller”)
They Live & Hardware (Sci-fi)
The Crow (I’m not really sure what genre this one is but I adore this film)
Blade (See it more as a comic book movie)
Ghostbusters (Not horror to me – just comedy)

3. And I’ve added horror comedies into this list. I used to keep them separate (I did a list HERE). But… I figure they’re still horror as well. So some of these, including my second favorite, aren’t scary horror.

4. Finally, I’ll just add this (Is anyone actually reading my long & rambling intros?!): This list is absolutely ridiculous. There used to be a blogger I really liked who told me off one day for all the “ties” on my lists & that I need to number them differently if there are ties & I can’t have more than ten in a top ten. And I was all “My blog, my rules!”. He was awesome, though, and I’m really sad he completely disappeared. Anyway – he’d have a meltdown over this list. I mention 17 films in my top ten (seriously) and number 20 alone mentions 8. I admit that’s pathetic but, hey, I’m indecisive & also hate the thought of leaving anything out. Should I also admit that I go back & rearrange my old lists sometimes?! I think I have some sort of disorder. So I dedicate this list to that dude.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies (but including way more than 40 movies):

Top Forty:

40. The Blair Witch Project (Yes, I liked this first film)
39. Night Of The Creeps
38. The Exorcist (Low, I know – not big on this, mainly just love Tubular Bells)
37. The Hitcher
36. Tremors
35. Waxwork
34. Hausu
33. The Craft
32. The Stepford Children & The Stepford Wives (Children is a cheesy TV movie & big guilty pleasure of mine)
31. Magic

Top Thirty:

30. Society
29. Children Of The Corn (Only the first one)
28. The Changeling (Probably deserves to be higher but in all honesty I need to rewatch it – would maybe move up then)
27. Friday The 13th (I’ve shockingly only seen a few of these, so only really the first couple of films for this one)
26. Child’s Play (First three – Yes, I liked the third one too)
25. Chopping Mall
24. April Fool’s Day
23. The Return Of The Living Dead
22. The Sixth Sense
21. The Wicker Man

Top Twenty:

20. David Cronenberg – The Brood, etc (Sorry for the big cheat but what do you expect from someone who mentions 17 movies in their Top Ten?? 😉 Other than The Fly, I’m lumping all the rest of Cronenberg’s films that I like together. Big fan of his style, although his movies aren’t ones I revisit like a lot of other horrors. In order starting with my favorite of the remaining films of his: The Brood, eXistenZ, Scanners, Videodrome, Shivers, Rabid, Crash. Need to rewatch The Dead Zone)
19. Don’t Look Now
18. The Amityville Horror
17. TIE: Phantom Of The Paradise & The Rocky Horror Picture Show
16. Scream
15. It
14. Fright Night
13. Pet Sematary
12. The Fly (Unlike the other Cronenbergs, I’ve watched this many times)
11. Night Of The Comet

****Top Ten:****

10. Dario Argento – Deep Red, etc (Did it with Cronenberg so might as well with Argento too! Deep Red is my favorite followed by Suspiria, although I need to rewatch that. Next is Phenomena, which isn’t nearly as good, but the rest of what I’ve seen of his wouldn’t make this Top 40 list)

9. TIE: Carrie & Halloween (Only the first Halloween film & honestly for the score more than the film itself)

8. TIE: Poltergeist & An American Werewolf In London

7. The Lost Boys

6. The Thing

5. The Omen

4. A Nightmare On Elm Street (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is also great – Love the whole series but these two by far the best)

3. The Shining

2. Gremlins (Do like Gremlins 2 as well but the first one is much better)

1. Dawn Of The Dead & Day Of The Dead (Dawn Of The Dead is my favorite horror film while Day Of The Dead may not be quite as good but it’s a lot of fun & I love it too. Obviously, the Romero “Dead Trilogy” tops my overall favorite horror movies list I may post on Halloween)

Honorable Mentions:

Stephen King (I have several in the list but I watch every King adaptation & even like most of the bad ones. I ranked them all HERE once – the top two not horror! – but need to add ones from recent years. Some more I liked: Cujo, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Cat’s Eye, Misery, Firestarter, etc)
Body Horror (I did a separate list HERE as I find these fascinating but they’re not exactly Top 40 material: From Beyond, Re-Animator, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Altered States, Basket Case)
More: The Toxic Avenger (Didn’t feel right putting Troma in the 40 but I do like this one. Actually, I like the first three), The Evil Dead Series (Sorry, I don’t hate these but I never really got into them), Hellraiser Series (Also not really a fan overall but appreciate its fucking weirdness), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Not big on these either), Candyman (Meh), Arachnophobia, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, The Entity, Sisters, Dolls, Alice Sweet Alice, Pumpkinhead, The People Under The Stairs, From Dusk Till Dawn, Audition

Some I Need To Rewatch Again Before Really Knowing Where To Rank Them:

Stephen King (‘Salem’s Lot & The Dead Zone. Crazy I’ve not rewatched these when I’m obsessed with Stephen King & these are actually my favorite of his books – But I did rank them with the other King movies because my lists make no sense. Should also rewatch Creepshow, Misery, The Stand & Christine)
John Carpenter (Really liked The Fog but, again, need to rewatch it as well as these: Prince Of Darkness & Christine, as mentioned with King)
More: Ringu (I know I included it in my Top Foreign Horror Movies list but I really do need to rewatch it before knowing where to rank it here), The Hidden, The Blob, Phantasm, Near Dark, Black Christmas, Dracula

Want To See These!:

The Amusement Park
Martin
The Exorcist III
Puppet Master

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971) & Inferno (1980) Reviews

For the last Friday before Halloween, I thought I’d re-post my reviews of the only two Dario Argento movies I watched in the past two years. Certainly not up there with Deep Red, which I watched in 2019 & kind of loved.

I’m starting to feel like I’ve already seen all the best horror movies that have been made. And as I mainly only review movies that I watch for the very first time instead of revisiting old favorites, the majority of reviews that I posted for October Horror Month this year were for pretty rubbish films! Disappointing.

And I wanted to love these two but, meh……..

***DISCLAIMER: Hopefully I’ve grabbed images from the correct movies below as I don’t remember much of either of them now. Shit – the images are kind of impressive, especially for Inferno! I think the TV channel I saw it on had a dodgy copy or something because I don’t remember it looking that pretty. Maybe I need to give these another try?***

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (4 mosche di velluto grigio) (1971)

Directed by Dario Argento

Starring: Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Francine Racette, Bud Spencer

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film concerns Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon), who accidentally kills a man and is then tormented by someone who witnessed the event.

My Opinion:

Was excited to see this Dario Argento film available on Amazon Prime as I’ve been wanting to explore more of the Italian giallo horror thing since finding Phenomena interesting then thinking Deep Red was pretty damn great. Was super disappointed that Four Flies was only available dubbed in English. Argh! I hate when films are dubbed. It’s distracting & definitely ruins the film but, meh – I was in lockdown so I watched it anyway.

It’s certainly nowhere near the level of Deep Red or Suspiria. As usual, there was some imagery I liked (like that doll thing up there – I love a creepy doll thing & Argento clearly does too). Shit, I dunno – I remember almost nothing about this five months later whereas I remember all of Deep Red plus its brilliant score. And, damn, I saw later that this score was done by Ennio Morricone so I wish I’d been paying more attention because I love Morricone. I’ve added the score to my playlist to properly check it out sometime.

At least the story was ALMOST coherent in Four Flies, which I can’t say for all of Argento’s stuff (especially Inferno). It also had a truly silly but fun way in which the killer got discovered so I guess I’ll give it an extra point for that. But if you’re new to Argento just watch Deep Red, which is his most accessible film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Inferno (1980)

Directed by Dario Argento

Based on Suspiria de Profundis by Thomas De Quincey

Starring: Eleonora Giorgi, Gabriele Lavia, Veronica Lazar, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Irene Miracle, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoeff, Alida Valli, Leigh McCloskey, Feodor Chaliapin, Ania Pieroni

Music by Keith Emerson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a young man’s investigation into the disappearance of his sister, who had been living in a New York City apartment building that also served as a home for a powerful, centuries-old witch.

My Opinion:

Again, I was excited to see a Dario Argento film was going to be showing on TV on Film4. I don’t have a way to record anymore so, as it was the start of lockdown & everything was shit, I was determined to stay up to watch this at its 1:30am showtime. Not worth it!! Damn.

First of all, this was ALSO dubbed. What? Why?? Let’s be honest – only proper film nerds are gonna watch foreign films in the middle of the night and film nerds want subtitles. So, again, this will have hurt my enjoyment of this one. When I mentioned that Four Flies was somewhat coherent (as far as Argento films go)? Inferno was an incoherent mess. I don’t know what the fuck was going on, but of course it didn’t help that I was exhausted & worried about viruses at that point (well, I still am now).

Anyway – I don’t think anyone watches Italian horror for a good story so I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the imagery & bright red blood & supernatural weirdness. Again, there’s some good imagery in this one but not nearly enough to make up for how weak this movie is compared to Suspiria. Here’s a bit about it from Wikipedia: A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, though it is the first in the trilogy to explore the idea of the Three Mothers. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. Yeah, so this is sort of a sequel to Suspiria. Too bad it sucks. But it doesn’t sound as bad as the third film! Released in 2007? I’ll skip that one. Give me good old Seventies/early Eighties horror.

At least this one is worth a try if you like Argento’s style as it’s still almost a 70’s film but with a weird ass early 80’s prog score from Keith Emerson. But at least that gives it a cheese-factor that often works for me personally. I kind of hated yet liked the score – I think I’ll add it to my playlist now & I bet it grows on me along with all the other horror scores I like to have creepily playing in the background while I work from home. Give me a Goblin score instead, though! Goblin are a huge part of the reason for Deep Red & Suspiria being the superior Argento films I’ve seen so far. Watch those. Only watch Inferno if you absolutely love Suspiria and want another witchy Argento fix but go in with very low expectations. And don’t watch it dubbed. I’m just too broke to watch films in the way I prefer.

My Rating: 6/10

My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies

After doing two horror movie lists years ago (My Top Ten Horror Comedies & My Top Ten Body Horror Movies), I decided to do more this year to attempt to get all my favorite horror movies together.

I posted My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies yesterday. Tomorrow will be My Top Horror Movies 1970-1999 then My Top Horror Movies Of The 21st Century.

I knew this Pre-1970 list would be interesting as I’ve not watched nearly enough classic horror. So I’ve listed all I could think of that I’ve seen. It’s embarrassing as I’m missing ALL the classic “monster” movies like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc etc (most of which will be on the Horror Channel this weekend in the U.K. FYI! I badly want to watch them all but no way will the family let me watch movies all weekend). I’ve seen one Vincent Price movie and NONE of the Hammer Horror stuff. Pathetic for a movie blogger!!

In my defence, though, I didn’t catch this stuff while growing up for some strange reason & I now have no disposable income to support this hobby. And I’m very against stealing movies so I slowly watch what I can if it becomes available to me at no extra cost. I need to get off the boring mainstream streaming services – They have a terrible selection, especially when it comes to horror or anything more than ten years old. So that’s my excuse!

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies:

Top Twenty:

20. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962) (but really need to rewatch this)
19. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
18. Repulsion (1965)
17. A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
16. Seconds (1966)
15. House On Haunted Hill (1959)
14. Cat People (1942)
13. Carnival Of Souls (1962)
12. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956) (could do with rewatching this too)
11. The Innocents (1961)

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Eyes Without A Face (1960) & Dead Of Night (1945)

9. Les Diaboliques (1955)

8. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

7. Nosferatu (1922)

6. M (1931)

5. The Birds (1963)

4. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (1920)

3. Psycho (1960)

2. Freaks (1932)

1. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

Some I Need To Rewatch:
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (as mentioned above)
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (this too)
Village Of The Damned
Spider Baby
Gaslight
The Bad Seed

Cat People (1942) & House On Haunted Hill (1959) Reviews

It’s almost Halloween! Here are two old classics today for October Horror Month…

Cat People (1942)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of Irena Dubrovna, a newly-married Serbian fashion illustrator obsessed with the idea that she is descended from an ancient tribe of Cat People who metamorphose into panthers when aroused. When her husband begins to show interest in one of his coworkers, Irena begins to stalk her.

My Opinion:

I’m loving all the classics on BBC iPlayer, especially old classic horror like this & the one below as I shamefully haven’t explored pre-1970 horror much (besides Alfred Hitchcock). This is a great story & I suppose a bit saucy for its time (1942). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland’s fables if they are intimate together.

I did actually see the 1982 Cat People with Nastassja Kinski years ago but don’t remember a thing now other than I think it was a lot more “sexy” (obviously). Anyway, the girl in this is great (actress Simone Simon playing Serbian immigrant Irena) and I enjoyed the story and there was some cool creepy stuff going on with a panther stalking people (IS it a panther or is it actually Irena? Hmm!). Guess I should watch the sequel, The Curse Of The Cat People, sometime soon.

My Rating: 7/10

House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Directed by William Castle

Starring: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Elisha Cook, Carolyn Craig, Alan Marshal, Julie Mitchum, Richard Long

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Vincent Price plays an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, who, along with his wife Annabelle, has invited five people to the house for a “haunted house” party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn $10,000. As the night progresses, the guests are trapped within the house with an assortment of terrors.

My Opinion:

I have another shameful confession to make: I’m not sure if I’ve seen an old Vincent Price movie before? I may have many years ago but too long ago to remember now. Which is odd, as I loved scary & creepy stories from a young age (my two favorite TV shows as a kid were the Alfred Hitchcock TV show & The Twilight Zone). But I missed out on these sort of films on TV as a kid, I guess. Being my age, Vincent Price to me is the cool voice from Michael Jackson’s Thriller & the awesome inventor in Edward Scissorhands (adore that film).

Anyway, to show my age even more, the main reason I’ve wanted to see this for years is because I knew it was the movie the horror-loving character in my favorite Amazing Stories episode was playing on his TV. That was called Go To The Head Of The Class, FYI, and it RULES. It’s a short horror comedy starring Christopher Lloyd & Mary Stuart Masterson (I reviewed it very briefly HERE). I always assumed I’d had the ending of this movie ruined for me but it turned out the scene they used in Amazing Stories wasn’t the ending (phew).

This was a fun story with a lot of twists and back stabbing and you don’t know who can be trusted & what’s going on. Good stuff. I’d happily take recommendations of other old horrors to watch (I’ve always been curious about Hammer Horror films as well…).

My Rating: 7/10

My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies

I decided it was time to try to put together a bunch of “My Top Horror Movies” lists. I already did these two lists years ago:

My Top Ten Horror Comedies
My Top Ten Body Horror Movies

So I plan to post these the rest of this week:

My Top Horror Movies Pre-1970
My Top Horror Movies 1970-1999
My Top Horror Movies Of The 21st Century (I did a list for this here several years ago which I’ll update)

Then I might do an overall all-time My Top Horror Movies list (but the majority will be from the 1970-1999 list, I’m sure!).

I’ll probably call them all “Top Ten” to stay consistent with my other lists but, especially with this one, I was curious as to how much foreign horror I’ve seen & have listed everything I could think of. I will definitely be missing movies from these lists, though, and am sure I’ll be kicking myself for forgetting something.

I had to put some rules on this list:

1. It has to not be in English (not counting the silent films! Ha!). I disagree with the lists I saw online with The Babadook & loads of British horror listed as foreign. Not foreign to me.

2. I at first spent ages looking up each film on IMDb to see if “Horror” was one of the genres listed. It starts getting complicated as people may have different ideas of what makes a film a horror. If it’s horrific in any way, I usually consider it horror. But then there are other movies people consider horror which I never have (Jaws, a thriller and Alien/Aliens, sci-fi). So you can argue with my choices if you want. 🙂 But I did look up each for this one list & only one isn’t classified as horror on IMDb: M (1931). I’ve left out Battle Royale, though, which I had very high on this list at first then decided it’s not really horror. But M is a horror to me.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies:

Top Twenty:

20. Troll Hunter
19. Dead Snow
18. The Wailing
17. Tetsuo: The Iron Man
16. Audition
15. [REC]
14. The Platform
13. The Host
12. Eyes Without A Face
11. Les Diaboliques

Top Ten:

10. Ringu (but I could do with rewatching this)

9. The Orphanage

8. TIE: A Tale Of Two Sisters & Hausu

7. Let The Right One In

6. Nosferatu (1922)

5. M

4. Pan’s Labyrinth

3. TIE: Deep Red & Suspiria (Included these together but I really need to rewatch Suspiria, which I think looks & sounds great and is iconic, but I enjoyed Deep Red more)

2. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari

1. Train To Busan

Honorable Mentions:
The Grudge (I remember liking this but really need to rewatch it. Same as with Ringu, although I did include it in the list as it’s so iconic)
Four Flies On Grey Velvet
Inferno
One Cut Of The Dead
Goodnight Mommy
Sputnik
Veronica
Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead
Ils

Some I Want To See (and I’d happily take more recommendations!):
Pulse
High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance)
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Ones I Need To Rewatch:
The Grudge & Ringu (as mentioned above)
The Devil’s Backbone (don’t remember at all)

Splinter (2008) & Escape Room (2019) Reviews

Splinter (2008)

Directed by Toby Wilkins

Starring: Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner, Rachel Kerbs

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still-living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.

My Opinion:

Was recommended this one (thanks, Film Miasma!). Didn’t really know anything about it but think I may have avoided it at the time as the poster looked so nasty and I’m a wuss with really gross stuff. Well, it is pretty gross to be fair. But it’s kind of borderline body horror gross in that sort of fake-looking way that I like from old Cronenberg movies so I was fine with this.

The characters are also strong, which is important to me (especially as horror movie characters are so often rubbish & hateful). We even have a baddie who ends up not being such a baddie after all & I liked that. And the girl is pretty kick ass. It’s also mostly set in one place while they’re trapped in a gas station by this weird, um, parasite thing and I’m always impressed with movies that manage to stay interesting in pretty much just one location. Thought they did a good job with this film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Escape Room (2019)

Directed by Adam Robitel

Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jay Ellis, Yorick van Wageningen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of deadly escape rooms.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this, even though it was a bit f*^king ridiculous. Especially the very end, but most horror movies like these have stupid endings. I don’t know what to say about this… It’s the usual sort of shit but at least it has a fun idea & the different escape rooms the characters find themselves in are entertaining. And I liked some of the characters, especially the two girls.

When it comes to horror, I lower my expectations a lot as most modern horror sucks. I prefer the classics from the ’70s & ’80s. There have been some good ones in recent years, though (The Babadook, It Follows, and especially the delightfully bonkers Mandy which is very much my type of thing). But the good ones are rare so I’m happy to watch these lightweight & utterly predictable ones to pass the time in between the good ones. This was a bit like the recent Countdown and both have a Final Destination vibe (though not as good as that one, of course).

Whatever. I actually quite liked this. The characters were decent & the story was entertaining. I expect nothing more from this sort of thing.

My Rating: 6/10

The Platform (2019) Review

The Platform (El hoyo) (2019)

Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Starring: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. Only one food platform and two minutes per day to feed. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole.

My Opinion:

I’ve been extremely disappointed with the majority of movies I’ve seen the past couple of years. The Platform was a nice surprise after a crappy year of films. I really liked this – it was my favorite I watched at home in 2020.

I always appreciate a good concept & seeing something that feels truly original as so many movies are cliché & predictable. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The Platform is a 2019 Spanish social science fiction-horror film directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. The film is set in a large, tower-style “Vertical Self-Management Center”. Its residents, who are switched every 30 days between its many floors, are fed via a platform which, initially filled with food at the top floor, gradually descends through the tower’s levels, stopping for a fixed amount of time on each. The system inevitably leads to conflict, as the residents at the top levels get to eat as much as they can, with each level getting only the leftovers from the previous ones.”

Yeah, it’s a bit of a grim dystopian tale but I’m still a fan of this genre despite the real-life dystopian Covid year so I realise it may not be the sort of thing people wanted to watch in 2020. But it’s a great story that poses some interesting questions & is well worth the watch on Netflix if you appreciate this sort of story. I liked it a lot.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Halloween Horror Music: Ice Nine Kills

I first discovered this band in early 2020 when a guy from work recommended them to me as he knows I like heavy metal music as well as horror movies. I admit I’ve not listened to their other albums as it was The Silver Scream album that appealed to me. It’s a heavy metal album with each song being about a different horror film. It couldn’t be more perfect for me & my interests & this blog! I’ve been meaning to write a little something about them & now seemed like the perfect time just before Halloween. Plus, they’ve just released The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood!

Well, my main focus here is movies but I do love music too. I’ve never written about music, though, so I’ll be very brief. This post is mainly just to maybe introduce these albums to others. I don’t know how the hell to write about music. Well, I don’t know how to write about movies, either… Ha!

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream

I really like this album, although it’s heavier (well, “screamier”) than the classic type of metal I tend to go for. A lot of the movies they did songs for on this first album are favorites of mine (A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Shining, The Crow & even the not-so-horror Edward Scissorhands). Now, with both of these albums, I don’t love every song. Some are definitely better than others but I absolutely love the concept & it’s a lot of fun having two albums based on some of the best horror movies. (I should point out that they also did an album of songs based on books, Every Trick in the Book, which I’ve not checked out yet.)

From this album, my favorites are probably The American Nightmare & Stabbing in the Dark. Here’s the full list of songs & the movies they’re based on (from Wikipedia):

1. “The American Nightmare” – A Nightmare on Elm Street
2. “Thank God It’s Friday” – Friday the 13th
3. “Stabbing in the Dark” – Halloween
4. “Savages” – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
5. “The Jig Is Up” – Saw
6. “A Grave Mistake” – The Crow
7. “Rocking the Boat” – Jaws
8. “Enjoy Your Slay” – The Shining
9. “Freak Flag” – The Devil’s Rejects (not seen this. not bothered)
10. “The World in My Hands” – Edward Scissorhands
11. “Merry Axe-mas” – Silent Night, Deadly Night (not seen this either but want to)
12. “Love Bites” – An American Werewolf in London
13. “It Is the End” – It

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood

I’ve only just found out about this new album so have only listened to it a couple of times while working. I believe that some have videos as well? Will check it out more this week but the first one to really catch my ear was the Child’s Play one Assault & Batteries. It seems to be a take on the old Toys R Us jingle (in America), so I thought that was clever. Here’s the track listing for this one from Wikipedia:

1. “Opening Night…”
2. “Welcome to Horrorwood”
3. “A Rash Decision” – Cabin Fever
4. “Assault & Batteries” – Child’s Play
5. “The Shower Scene” – Psycho
6. “Funeral Derangements” – Pet Sematary
7. “Rainy Day” – Resident Evil (not seen this)
8. “Hip to Be Scared” – American Psycho
9. “Take Your Pick” – My Bloody Valentine
10. “The Box” – Hellraiser
11. “F.L.Y.” – The Fly
12. “Würst Vacation” – Hostel (not seen this. not interested)
13. “Ex-Mørtis” – The Evil Dead
14. “Farewell II Flesh” – Candyman

Willy’s Wonderland (2021) & Saint Maud (2019) Reviews

Happy “Halloween Week”! Here are two horror movies that I thought were pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed one but didn’t love the other, although I thought it was a good film. Probably obvious which was which…

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Directed by Kevin Lewis

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Christian Del Grosso, Caylee Cowan, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, David Sheftell, Beth Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It follows a quiet drifter who is tricked into cleaning up an abandoned family entertainment center haunted by eight murderous animatronic characters.

My Opinion:

I was never a huge fan of Nicolas Cage but he’s finally growing on me since Mandy. Mandy grew on me a lot too – I wasn’t sure how I felt right away but now I love that film & its look and its amazing score. I now want every Nicolas Cage movie to live up to Mandy but I don’t think any ever will. I did enjoy Color Out Of Space & it certainly gave Mandy a run for its money on “weirdness”. I love weird. It was no Mandy but I’m loving that Cage chooses such bizarre films with cult movie potential.

He’s done similar again with Willy’s Wonderland but in the horror comedy genre this time (a favorite subgenre of mine). I was so damn excited to see the trailer for a film starring Cage battling demonic animatronic characters. Love this idea! The film sadly didn’t quite live up to its amazing potential but I still had a lot of fun with it. And Cage was as bonkers as always, even while remaining silent through the whole film. It has a good ’80s slasher sort of vibe to it as well, so I appreciated that. The ’80s had some of the best “bad” horror movies & I’ll always happily watch this kind of thing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saint Maud (2019)

Directed & Written by Rose Glass

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

My Opinion:

Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.

The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun.

My Rating: 6.5/10


Black hole sun, won’t you come? And wash away the rain?

Ten Horror Movie Mini-Reviews

Since I mainly just do really short reviews the last couple of years in monthly posts, I have quite a few “reviews” of horror movies that are way too short to re-post alone. So here are all the mega short horror mini-reviews from the last two years. They’re in order from best to worst (the last few were dreadful). Love And Monsters isn’t exactly a horror movie, either, but it has monsters so I included it since it was more enjoyable than the rest.

Love And Monsters – This was a lot of fun but I weirdly have very little to say about it. Don’t know why. It’s a fun idea and the main character is sweet & likeable and OH MY GOD I loved the cute dog in it and there’s a fun robot and I LOVE robots (and cute dogs!) and there are funny big monsters and there’s honestly nothing to not like about this one. It also feels very original, which I can say about very few films these days. It’s a fun family film (well, not for really young kids but fine for slightly older ones). But I didn’t quite connect with it when I thought I’d really love it. I liked it. It’s good. Maybe I just need to watch it again sometime… Cool Robot above, Cute Dog at top of post! – 7/10

Run – This one was “fine”. Man I’m bored with movies that are just “okay”! But I do love a good ’90s-style thriller and do love a CRAZY MOM (Margaret White is the best!). So I did enjoy this movie despite it not being very good. Actually, I should maybe give it a slightly higher score. Meh. Maybe not. The young girl, Kiera Allen, was good but Sarah Paulson was a bit silly. I liked the story and the couple of twists at the end were fun. Okay, I’ve kind of talked myself into liking this one. Wish it was a better film overall. – 6/10

Sputnik – I was excited about this. Foreign sci-fi!! A Russian Alien!! Sadly, I was disappointed. I think it had a good idea (even though, yes, it’s very similar to Alien), the alien dude thing looked good, and the acting was decent. There’s even a mini twist at the very end. But… I dunno. It just didn’t quite work. I can’t explain why, though, as this is totally my type of thing. Maybe my expectations were just too high as one of my favorites last year was a foreign dystopian sci-fi film (The Platform). – 6/10

I See You – This was decent. Preferred how it started out to how it ended but liked the completely unpredictable turn it took. I appreciate that as the majority of horror films’ plots fail to surprise me in any way. But this is one of those movies that sort of switches genres halfway through & the mysterious horror at the start is more my type of thing. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “It follows a suburban family beset by unexplainable events that may be linked to the recent disappearance of a young boy.” And that really tells you nothing about this movie… Worth a watch if you like a crime horror that keeps you guessing. – 6/10

The Borderlands – I love a good horror. We get so few good horror films these days. This one was… Okay. Not even close to being a great modern horror (like It Follows, Train To Busan or The Babadook). But it was a perfectly decent example of the found footage & religious horror subgenres & had a good creepy atmosphere. I also kind of liked the ending as it got a bit weird. I like some weirdness! The whole thing could have done with more of that. I have NO clue why but this one made me think of horror movie The Ritual. That was an odd one. Oh, probably just because they’re both British. Anyway, The Ritual has gone up a bit in my estimation since I first saw it. That one was better. But if you like that, you might like this. And vice versa. – 6/10

The Haunted Mansion – Finally decided to check this one out. It’s… Fine. I’m sure it’s a favorite film for some who were kids at the right sort of age when this came out. But I only saw this two months ago & am already forgetting it. Safe & fun but forgettable family film. – 6/10

Dark Places – Oh, look – it’s young Beast from X-Men! Holy shit – I barely remember this movie either. It was only three months ago! My mind has clearly been elsewhere during this pandemic. What’s sad is that I also read this book. From what I remember of the book, this was a faithful adaptation. It just wasn’t my favorite story from Gillian Flynn. Flynn also wrote Gone Girl, which was a very enjoyable book (review here). But what I liked even more was her novel Sharp Objects (sort-of review here). That book was fucked up! And the TV adaptation with Amy Adams was decent. Dark Places was okay but meh. The characters are all pretty hateful (but that’s the case with all of Flynn’s books that I’ve read). Here’s the synopsis from IMDb: “Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.” – 5.5/10

Brahms: The Boy II – Well, this was a massive disappointment after really enjoying the first film (which I reviewed HERE). The first film had a solid story (as far as horror goes) & a very ’80s vibe to it. Two things I love: ’80s movies & creepy dolls! The story in this sequel gets really dumb & kind of undoes the simplicity of the story in the first movie. Yet another pointless horror remake. – 5/10

Tales Of Halloween – Wow. This was absolutely dreadful. It’s a collection of short “Halloween” tales (obviously). I love a good horror anthology (Trick ‘ r Treat & Dead Of Night, for example). Watch those instead. Besides the very first story (I think) being a fucked-up but fun tale of a boy wanting his Halloween candy back, the rest are silly & ridiculous. A waste of time. – 3/10

Unfriended – I absolutely fucking hated this movie. I’m not gonna even bother to re-post my long rant about it here or add an image. Yuck. Hated these characters so much. – 4/10

As Above, So Below (2014) & Dark Skies (2013) Reviews

A couple of movies today that probably aren’t anyone’s favorites but I quite liked the alien abduction movie. Aliens freak me out. Don’t experiment on me!!

As Above, So Below (2014)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
It is presented as found footage of a documentary crew’s experience exploring the Catacombs of Paris and was loosely based on the seven layers of Hell.

My Opinion:

This was disappointing. I have a fascination with the catacombs in Paris. I’ve been there and walking through row upon row of skulls & bones is a pretty freaky experience so I can see why it has inspired horror movies. But they have yet to make a good horror movie set there. There was a truly dreadful 2007 movie called Catacombs, starring Shannyn Sossamon & Pink, that I would never recommend to anyone. I actually bought that stupid DVD just because I’d been wanting a horror movie to be set in the catacombs. From what I remember, though, it did at least manage to be a little creepy.

As Above, So Below is certainly the better film of the two but it’s such a weird mishmash of genres that it just didn’t work for me. And it’s not creepy enough. I think a movie with this setting needs to be pure horror but this movie had a sort of Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider thing mixed in with the horror. And then some weird supernatural stuff which is something I normally love but was just too dumb in this case. And the characters were okay but extremely underdeveloped while our lead girl was a tad unlikeable (although the actress was fine). Oh, it’s also a “found footage” film, which not everyone likes (I don’t mind found footage). Oh yeah – there’s also some weird religious stuff going on & ancient artefacts & that kind of shit. I wanted to like this movie but the weird Lara Croft thing going on with the main girl was just awkward. I guess I was expecting a more straightforward horror film but I also give the movie credit for trying to do something a little different.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Dark Skies (2013)

Directed & Written by Scott Stewart

Starring: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, J. K. Simmons

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
As the Barrett family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.

My Opinion:

This was fine for a horror about aliens. We’ve not had a horror movie involving aliens experimenting on us in a while. This sub genre was a big thing at one point! I’ve always found the alien abduction movies pretty effectively creepy & thought this movie was an okay example of this type of film. Maybe I liked it as the whole alien abduction thing really scared me as a young kid. I honestly thought I’d be abducted & experimented on. Seriously. I think I watched way too much old sci-fi and original Twilight Zone episodes as a kid. I also like Keri Russell as an actress (love the film Waitress). The family were likeable (as far as horror movies go – it’s not the best genre for character development) & the story was fine & it was fairly creepy. Good enough.

My Rating: 6/10

The Bachman Books by Stephen King aka Richard Bachman (Book Review)

I re-read The Bachman Books this year (a collection of four Stephen King stories originally published under his pen-name Richard Bachman). I don’t normally re-read books but it had been over 20 years since I read these. I remember absolutely loving one & really liking another but couldn’t remember anything very specific from either. The other two stories I had zero memory of whatsoever. Weird how memory works. Here they are in the order they appear in the collection…

Story 1: Rage

I can’t believe I didn’t remember a thing about this story as it later became very controversial. In fact, it is no longer being published (which King requested) so I was lucky to get an old copy of The Bachman Books at a charity shop which still includes this story. The topic is one that makes me as angry as the whole social media & bullying thing I went on about in my review of that dreadful Unfriended movie: Guns. The massive gun problem in America in general but especially in schools.

Anyway, King wanted this to stop being published after it was too strongly linked to five school shootings. I won’t go into censorship here (oh boy, another fun topic!) but I’m mostly very much against it. It depends on the situation, though, and King made the right choice. In the story, a troubled teen boy brings a gun to school & holds his class hostage. As far as the topic of guns & school shootings go, that’s not really the focus of this story and the story doesn’t go how you’d expect. I’m trying to stay spoiler free but it’s more about the struggles of growing up & the things that shape you & mental illness & fighting back against authority (maybe – it’s not made all that clear).

I kind of made the story sound better than it is. I don’t think King quite gets his point across in this story as to why this boy does this. At least he doesn’t make you sympathise with the character, which would be very irresponsible as no one should think they have the right to bring a gun into their school. The ending also goes off the rails and I didn’t see the point of that either but at least it ends in an unpredictable way. It’s terrible to think it may have inspired real shootings as it’s not the point of this story (although I’m not sure what the point is) and probably not something King would have expected to come from this short novel. Overall, the story could’ve been better had it made its point a little more clear.

My Rating: 3/5

Story 2: The Long Walk

This was the story I remembered loving. My opinion hasn’t changed. This is a great story and could make such a fantastic movie. I know Frank Darabont had the rights to it for years & I’d been desperate for him to adapt it as he did such a brilliant job with The Green Mile, The Mist and especially The Shawshank Redemption. But I just looked into it and he’s lost the rights (oh no!). There’s a plan for it to now be made by Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark & Trollhunter director André Øvredal. I’m not happy! Did like Trollhunter but was very excited at the thought of Darabont making The Long Walk. Damn.

Anyway, the story is so simple yet so horrifying: In a dystopian reality, each year 100 teenage boys have to walk until only 1 of them is still walking. The final boy wins the big final “prize”. You get to know a few of the characters pretty well, which is what I most care about in a story. This is a short novel, though, so there’s less character development than I’d like and I think this could be one of those occasions where the movie could improve on that if done by the right person (Darabont would’ve been great with the character development!). Oh well. It’s still a great story & I still hope they finally make it into a movie.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Story 3: Roadwork

I can see why I didn’t remember Roadwork as it’s not one of King’s more memorable stories. It’s about a guy who goes off the deep end when a new road being built means both his house & his company will be torn down. I’ll be honest – I haven’t quite finished reading it but I’m almost done & am gonna just review it anyway. (FYI – as I’m re-posting this I’ve of course finished it now & my opinion hasn’t changed).

I think the story is far longer than it needed to be. It does drag on & I wasn’t eager to pick it up & keep reading, which is why it took me over a month to read a novella. While the reader does have some sympathy for the guy, especially as he had a tragedy in his past, he’s really hard to fully sympathise with overall (especially as he doesn’t care at all about ruining his wife’s life along with his). The story is okay, I guess. I always enjoy reading King’s writing but this certainly isn’t a favorite.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Story 4: The Running Man

The Running Man is my second favorite of these four novellas. I think it’s a good story & am looking forward to the new film adaptation from Edgar Wright (if that’s still happening??). But I did also really like the Schwarzenegger film which, if I remember, was nothing whatsoever like the book anyway?! Need to rewatch that now to refresh my memory of that too.

What can I say? I like dystopian future stories and I liked this world where people have to “play for their lives” on game shows. I didn’t find this story very far-fetched when I first read it over 20 years ago & I find it even more plausible now. The ending is maybe a little silly but, whatever – it’s Stephen King! Who cares. I’m a fan. I feel like I’ve read only Stephen King books in 2021, though. Hmm. Oh well – libraries were closed thanks to the pandemic & I mainly only buy King’s stuff these days so it’s pretty much all I have to read in the house. 🙂

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Innocents (1961) Review

The Innocents (1961)

Directed by Jack Clayton

Based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Pamela Franklin, Martin Stephens

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a governess who watches over two children and comes to fear that their large estate is haunted by ghosts and that the children are being possessed.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for years. It’s one of many adaptations of the famous 1898 story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I’ve not read the story, although I really want to now, and I had somehow managed to completely avoid having it spoiled for me in all this time. I had an idea in my mind of what it would be about and I was way off!

This sort of story is so my kind of thing. I love supernatural and I love creepy and I especially love creepy kids (and they’re always extra creepy in old movies). Here’s the very simple IMDb synopsis: “A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.” I should say that I watched this live on Talking Pictures TV (U.K.). They have a really interesting selection of old films so I recommend checking out their schedule or following them on Twitter (thanks to the hubby for telling me about the channel!).

I don’t really know what to say about this one. For one thing, I want to stay spoiler free for anyone who’s interested in watching this. Secondly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s a great film. It’s eerie, I loved the scary kids and not knowing what was going on, and Deborah Kerr was very good (that’s two movies I’ve seen her in this year, the other being the beautiful Black Narcissus).

I want to read the story now as there’s some psychological stuff going on here and I’d like to see how it’s presented in the novella. This being an old British film, there’s some f*^ked up sexual repression going on here (old British films are the best at that). I think the story can be interpreted in different ways and I’m still thinking about the ending and its meaning. It’s probably why this story remains so popular and is still being adapted to this day (the latest being Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor). I’d watch this one again as I missed some of it (the joy of having to watch live TV! First world problems, I know).

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Witches (2020) & Hubie Halloween (2020) Reviews

A couple of kid-friendly Halloween movies for Horror Month today. Although I’m not sure how kid-friendly those hideous witches in The Witches actually are…

The Witches (2020)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Based on The Witches by Roald Dahl

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Chris Rock

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A young boy and his grandmother have a run-in with a coven of witches and their leader.

My Opinion:

Okay, I actually thought this movie was bloody terrible but I liked the main kid (Jahzir Bruno) and Octavia Spencer so much that I’m giving this an extra point to make up for the -1,000 points I want to subtract from it for Anne Hathaway’s dreadful performance and those horrible witches that I found far too disturbing for a kids’ film. I know they’re meant to be hideous but bloody hell! And Hathaway was so over-the-top and what in god’s creation was that stupid accent?!

Honestly, the kid and his grandmother were so likeable and the beginning had great Motown music and the whole thing was going far better than I was expecting until those stupid ass witches showed up & ruined the whole film. Kind of important to get the witches right in a movie called The Witches! Disclaimer: I probably have no right to judge this anyway as I never read the Roald Dahl book NOR watched the 1990 film with Anjelica Huston that everyone seems to far prefer.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Hubie Halloween (2020)

Directed by Steven Brill

Written by Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, Karan Brar, Paris Berelc, Noah Schnapp, China Anne McClain, Michael Chiklis

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a Halloween-loving delicatessen worker who must save the town of Salem, Massachusetts, from a kidnapper.

My Opinion:

I liked this, although it’s certainly not my favorite Adam Sandler film (I did a top ten of his movies HERE so I suppose I should add this at some point). Not sure where I’d rank this – maybe around 10th place or so. But I’ve seen way more than ten of his movies so I should rank all of them – Hubie Halloween is probably somewhere in the middle.

What I liked about this movie more than anything was 1) the fact that it’s set at Halloween & I want more movies set at Halloween and 2) the inappropriate t-shirts his character’s sweet old mother wears and especially 3) Steve Buscemi. I love Buscemi.

I do like Adam Sandler, unlike some snobby people who refuse to admit to ever liking his films. However, I also fully admit that some of his movies are complete & utter shit. Where Sandler does best is when he finds people who make his movies better. Drew Barrymore & Steve Buscemi elevate the Sandler movies they’re in. Too bad Drew wasn’t in this one! Sandler has great chemistry with Drew & Buscemi has ended up being surprisingly hilarious in all of his small Sandler movie roles. Well, Buscemi was great again & the highlight of this film for me (plus it’s a much bigger role than most of his Sandler cameos). My kid was like “Steve Buscemi!” as soon as he came on screen. How many pre-teens get excited over Steve Buscemi, let alone even know who he is?? I’m a cool movie parent.

My Rating: 6/10

Color Out Of Space (2019) Review

Color Out Of Space (2019)

Directed by Richard Stanley

Written by Richard Stanley & Scarlett Amaris

Based on The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Elliot Knight, Madeleine Arthur, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.

My Opinion:

Not sure how to review this. I’m a very big fan of Richard Stanley’s Hardware (I never shut up about it – my review is HERE). So I was very excited about this one, especially as it looked weird & beautiful and Nicolas Cage is finally growing on me thanks to the wonderfully batshit Mandy and it’s based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. It sounded like it would be right up my alley!

Suppose I was hoping for some kind of Hardware crossed with Mandy crossed with Re-Animator film with this one. It’s nothing like them other than it being weird as shit. Yay! I love weird as shit! Not entirely sure what was going on here. Is it about how we’re ruining the environment? Maybe. I guess there’s some sort of message. Wanted to love this one like Mandy & Hardware but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. It starts out veeeery slow until finally going WHAT THE FUCK near the end. Then it got good. Enjoyed the final bit of the movie even though I’m not entirely sure what point the film was trying to make.

And I loved the pinky purple colors I’d seen in all the images of this movie – it was lovely and I wanted more of it. I… think I liked this movie? Even if I didn’t love it. But I think it’ll grow on me, just like Mandy did. I started out not sure how I felt about Mandy but now consider it one of my favorites of the past decade. As I always say, I watch way too many movies & far too many are boring & forgettable. I like when a movie is unpredictable or shocking. I’m not sure if I can say Color Out Of Space is a good movie, but I’ll certainly never forget it. I appreciate that.

My Rating: 7/10

Villains (2019) & C.H.U.D. (1984) Reviews

I have two NEW horror reviews today!!! Likely to be the only new ones I write all month instead of just re-posting stuff I’ve already written. Well, maaaaaaybe I’ll review Halloween 1 through 6 since I just rewatched all of those (well, I watched 5 & 6 for the first time ever). Dunno. I’m not in a blogging place at the moment. Find it difficult to put any words together on anything lately. We’ll see! Now what the heck am I going to say about these two films…

Villains (2019)

Directed & Written by Dan Berk & Robert Olsen

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Blake Baumgartner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgwick

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out.

My Opinion:

I liked this one. For some reason, I’d not heard of this one at all despite it being recent & on Netflix (it’s actually a 2021 release here in the U.K.). It doesn’t have huge megastars but it still has names well known to movie fans so am not sure why I’d heard nothing about it. So thanks, Film Miasma! I first heard of this when reading your review.

I’ve liked a lot of the films Maika Monroe has done so far, especially It Follows which not everyone loves but I do. She’s admittedly been in some real rubbish but I think she stands out in those films & expected her to be a bigger star by now. I didn’t love The Guest but appreciated its style and the fact that it felt original plus, again, I liked Monroe in it.

I also really liked a film of hers called Bokeh, which I keep putting off reviewing since nothing whatsoever happens in that movie. Honestly. Which is quite an accomplishment for a movie about everyone on the planet suddenly disappearing other than Monroe & her new fiancé (or maybe it was new hubby, I dunno) while vacationing in Iceland. But I’ve always been obsessed with end-of-the-world stories so I liked it plus the movie was gorgeous and I badly want to visit Iceland now. It was a really good tourism advert for Iceland! But, see? This is why I can’t write anything lately. I’m way off topic! This is turning into a Bokeh review. (But, hey – I did like Bokeh a lot so watch it if you just want to watch a pretty young couple do nothing other than wander around & go swimming while looking at beautiful landscapes. I’d give it 6.5/10).

So, yeah, I liked Monroe in this film too. But what I liked the most was Bill Skarsgård & the relationship these two had. I’d even say that this somewhat strange sort-of-horror-thriller-almost-horror-comedy-movie had a nice romance going on with these two. They were good together & had a nice chemistry. But Skarsgård was kind of adorable. I’m not sure why. I mean, he’s Pennywise FFS. That’s creepy. And I’ve never given him much thought other than thinking he looks bizarrely like a young Steve Buscemi. So maybe it’s because I adore Buscemi but I really liked Skarsgård in this and I wanted these two to get married & live happily ever after. And I liked the thing she did with her hair to calm him down. It was cute.

So, I won’t give away the story as wanting to find out the crazy secret that the two above weirdos, played by Jeffrey Donovan & Kyra Sedgwick, were hiding was the whole reason I wanted to see this movie after reading the synopsis. I’ll just say it wasn’t as crazy as I was expecting for some reason but it’s still a decent story and these two did a good job playing normal looking middle class American psychos. Those are the worst kind of psychos, right?! And I liked it being one of these movies with slightly bad people who meet really bad people, which makes the slightly bad people the really good people. And I can see some not loving the very end but I really liked how this one ended up. Overall, it’s not a movie as over-the-top as it may sound, it’s just a bit quirky. And it has an interesting mix of genres & better characters than we get it in a lot of horror-comedy-thrillers. It’s also one where, after writing about it, I like it a little bit more.

My Rating: 7/10

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Directed by Douglas Cheek

Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, J C Quinn, Michael O’Hare, Peter Michael Goetz, Sam McMurray, Frankie R Faison, John Goodman, Jay Thomas, Hallie Foote, Graham Beckel, Jon Polito, George Martin

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot concerns a New York City police officer and a homeless shelter manager who join forces to investigate a series of disappearances, and discover that the missing people have been hunted down by humanoid monsters that live below the city.

My Opinion:

I don’t have as much to say about this movie. I’ll just start by saying, yes, I love the ’80s. I grew up in the ’80s. The majority of my favorite movies are (and always will be) those from the ’70s & ’80s. That includes some movies I know are bad. Is C.H.U.D. bad?? Okay, it’s not great. You know what? I never saw this one until now!!!

I admit I’m always happier to find an older film like this to watch for the first time than to watch some mediocre & boring modern film. Give me some ’80s nostalgia instead! And this one has lots of old familiar faces, so that was cool. I’d always known of the existence of C.H.U.D. thanks to great old videotape covers but never realised it had so many people I knew in it. Plenty of old horrors star unknowns. (This one isn’t on the level of those starring in The Sentinel from 1977, though – what a waste of a good cast that was).

If you’re old like me, you’ll know that C.H.U.D. stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. And that D.A.R.Y.L. stands for Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform. But C.H.U.D. actually stands for something else in this movie. I can’t remember the exact words & I’m too lazy to go check. Besides – it’s a big plot spoiler anyway. It’s a part of what this cheesy looking movie is actually about: How the homeless are cast aside & ignored in society. The problem of these mutant cannibals crawling out of the sewers & killing people is completely ignored while it’s at first only affecting the homeless community.

The biggest roles are played by Home Alone‘s John Heard as a photographer doing a project on the homeless people of NYC who live in the city’s underground and, interesting connection, also Home Alone‘s Daniel Stern as a man who runs a homeless shelter. They were both good, especially for this type of film, and I liked Stern’s character. There are other familiar faces but not exactly household names & most would only be known to old people like me. But worth mentioning that John Goodman & Jay Thomas have small roles as two cops. James P. Sullivan!

Well, I liked this. You probably won’t like it unless you’re a fan of ’80s horror & special effects. I mean, yeah, these mutant cannibals look cheesy as hell now. But I was surprised that the story was actually pretty good & also that it had a message about how homeless people are treated. The acting was also better than you expect from this sort of thing. All of my blog posts auto-tweet or I tweet them again for various reasons but this is the only one recently to get a couple replies on Twitter from people who like it so I guess it has its fans. Too bad I didn’t watch it in the ’80s but am glad I finally took a chance on it now.

My Rating: 6/10