The Eighth Annual Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Begins!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 3, 2017 by Justin T.

Hand

Kidnapped. Waylaid, imprisoned, bound, and tortured by gibbering, frothing beasts. I was kept against my will for no stated crime or offense but who can expect reason from the cackling monstrosities who seized me in the deep, dark night? It could have been worse… couldn’t it? That would be difficult to imagine. I begged, sobbing my pleas to spare my life, free me and not leave my projects unattended. “My children,” I cried. “My family, my life, my… my movie blog…” The monsters cared not. They brayed their evil laughter, bared their sharp teeth in my face, and tightened the screws.

But I escaped. The bread crumbs I left behind were found, as I knew they would be. My saviors arrived after what I learned was months later. They burst through walls of dirt, rock, and bone to find me and we fought our way out. The taste of freedom invigorated me and I fought alongside my rescuers with renewed energy, relishing the pain of my captors as they fell.

Arriving home I found the rest of my poor creatures ecstatic upon my return. Overjoyed as they were, they still wailed over my suffering and mourned the abrupt, violent interruption of the Seventh Halloween Horror Movie Marathon. “Three movies only,” they moaned. “Yes, I know,” I whispered. “But I watched more…”

They pointed at the screen. “Three! Three only!” They gnashed their teeth and hissed. Though they knew it was beyond my control they seemed to hold on to a seed of resentment I knew must be prevented from blossoming. My brood must not be angered.

“I know,” I said, praying they would forgive me. “There will be more. I promise.”

My dear readers must have suffered as well. That time cannot be reclaimed. The Seventh Annual Halloween Movie Marathon was cut short and my online devotees were left wanting. Please set aside your curses and refrain from casting your nefarious spells. I have returned and I vow to set things right, to realign and feed my sweet, horrible followers.

Seriously though, last year my life got in the way of being able to keep up with the blog, along with doubts about the quality of the reviews I was writing. Maintaining things became a source of anxiety and frustration so it became easier to let it slide. But this year I resolve to push myself and keep this year’s blog filled with the horror movie reviews you’ve come to expect. I’m determined to see this to completion. I look forward to all the great, not so great, and terrible horror movies I’ll be writing about this Halloween season!

And now… on with not just one, but TWO reviews to get this year kicked off!

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‘Cronos’ and a trip to the LACMA to be ‘At Home with Monsters’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2016 by Justin T.

cronos

‘Cronos’ (1993). Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Starring Frederico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Tamara Shanath, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, Daniel Gimenez Cacho.

Guillermo del Toro is a unique visionary in the horror genre. The imagery in his films is colorful and detailed, full of references to fairy tales, comic books, insects, and death. He never goes straight for the gross out, instead exploring the darker sides of fairy tale motifs, sometimes mixing innocent wonder with the terror of a child hiding under their bed covers. Or giant robots smashing the hell out of giant monsters.

Cronos is his first feature and although it’s not as visually compelling as some of his later work, it’s still a fantastic film. Jesús Gris (Frederico Luppi) is the owner of an antique shop in Mexico. He and his granddaughter Aurora (Tamara Shanath) discover a golden device that, unbeknownst to them, was created hundreds of years ago by an alchemist searching for eternal life. What first seems like an amusing toy becomes a terrifying device that latches on to Jesús’s hand and pierces his wrist with a sharp, golden barb.

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‘Paranormal Activity: the Ghost Dimension’

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2016 by Justin T.

'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' poster

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). Directed by Gregory Plotkin. Starring Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Dan Gill, Ivy George, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Krawic, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Hallie Foote.

Ahh, yes, the ever so divisive Paranormal Activity series, one of the main reasons that naysayers of found footage movies say their “nays”. I imagine they’re pretty happy to see the series end with The Ghost Dimension, the final entry in the franchise. Honestly, I don’t think these films are that bad overall. I am aware of their flaws. That rumbling sound that is our signal to anticipate something scary is about to happen is annoying and each movie is more or less a copy of the one before. Still, there have been a couple of clever tricks and even some genuinely creepy moments. Unfortunately things didn’t get any better after the third film and if this final entry is any indication of what we’d have see more of, the end of this franchise is occurring just this side of too late. It is time to move on.

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The Seventh Annual Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Begins!

Posted in Found Footage, Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on September 15, 2016 by Justin T.

halloween-1350375283oewIs it that time of year already? Is that the rumble of a passing truck I hear or is it the low growl of some hideous monstrosity from the underworld? Do I hear the paws of indescribable beasts padding on the ground outside my window? Is that a thin, pale hand clutching at the gates? Am I seeing things or is that gleam in the dark emanating from the eyes of some ancient spirit come to clutch at my soul?

Halloween is coming! The first two weeks of September have already sped on by and here I silently sit, terrified by the sounds of unnatural monsters and wailing wraiths. One of those creatures has just hopped out of its crib… er, cage… and is quickly stomping its way to my door, which I know will be flung open in a rage to be followed by the shrill screams and cries of a mad demon. Never has the word “Daddy” stricken such terror in my heart until it has come from the slavering mouth of this tiny hellion.

Never mind that now. As it frantically pounds its fists on my door, I must chant the incantations that begin the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon season. Once again I neglected a wrap up post to cap off the previous year and so sacrifices must be made…

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The Final Six of 2015

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on November 16, 2015 by Justin T.

Time barreled on by like the midnight meat train… there’s about a half dozen films I’ve seen since The Nightmare and it’s time I get write-ups done and posted. Here goes, the final stretch of my Halloween Horror Movie Marathon for 2015. Let’s get through these quickly…

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The Nightmare

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on November 7, 2015 by Justin T.

The Nightmare

The Nightmare (2015) — Directed by Rodney Ascher. Starring Siegfried Peters, Steven Yvette, Yatoya Toy, Nicole Bosworth, Elise Robson, Age Wilson.

The Nightmare grabbed my attention after seeing a trailer for it earlier this year. The premise of this new documentary from Rodney Ascher, director of Room 237, is simple– several people who suffer from sleep paralysis describe their experiences while we watch recreations of their descriptions. The concept and the chilling imagery intrigued me. It looked like it could be a frightening little flick. When it recently appeared on Netflix I moved it to the top of my list.

If you’ve never heard of it, sleep paralysis is an inability to move while a person is drifting off to sleep or waking up. It is often accompanied by specific types of hallucinations, typically of someone or something sitting on your chest or a shadowy figure lurking in the room. It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon to read up on or, you know, watch a documentary about.

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The Black Scorpion

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on October 21, 2015 by Justin T.

The Black Scorpion

The Black Scorpion (1957) — Directed by Edward Ludwig. Starring Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas, Mario Navarro, Carlos Múzquiz, Pedro Galván, Pascual García Peña.

I loved monster movies as a kid. Aw, heck, I still do. You might think it’s all about seeing people picked up by giant claws and devoured by a gigantic creature or buildings smashed to pieces by enormous feet, which is a lot of fun, but for me it’s just as much about seeing things brought to life that don’t exist in the real world, someone’s imagination realized on film. I remember watching the original King Kong, captivated by Kong and the dinosaurs even on my parents’ tiny black and white TV. I marveled at Ray Harryhausen’s Cyclops in The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Later I would be terrified of Medusa’s green gaze in Clash of the Titans; I almost couldn’t look at the screen, convinced I would turn to stone just by catching a glimpse of her eyes. Stop motion animation, particularly in older films, may look hokey if you didn’t grow up on it but I still love the craft. The patience and attention to detail required to simply walk a model across the screen still blows me away. We still see stop motion in current films but the trend is more towards animating an entire movie instead of integrating models with real actors and locations. I look forward to sharing these old classics with my sons at an age where they can be as dazzled by them as I was. Unfortunately The Black Scorpion, though featuring some impressive animation by one of the pioneers of the craft, isn’t one of the best examples of this dying art form.

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