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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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‘Halloween 2’ and ‘Halloween 3: Season of the Witch’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2014 by Justin T.

Hey, remember when I said I’d be watching all of Halloween movies? Finally, I got around to a couple! Let’s check ’em out…

'Halloween II' movie poster

Halloween II (1981) Directed by Rick Rosenthal. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, Pamela Susan Shoop, Lance Guest, Charles Cyphers, Leo Rossi, Dick Warlock.

Laurie Strode is having a really, really bad night and it’s only halfway through. Halloween II picks up right from where we left off on the first movie, finishing off that fateful Halloween evening. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) has shot Michael Myers a half dozen times but the monster still got right back up and disappeared into the Halloween night. As the town begins piecing together the tragedy that has taken place, Laurie Strode is rushed off to the hospital and Loomis continues searching Haddonfield for his escaped patient. Meanwhile, the evil named Michael Myers continues his own terrible pursuit…

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‘Annabelle’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2014 by Justin T.

'Annabelle'

Annabelle (2014) Directed by John R. Leonetti. Starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Tree O’Toole, Eric Laden.

I can’t think of many quality scary doll movies. No doubt some dolls can be creepy but it’s a difficult feeling to translate onto film without venturing into ridiculousness. The main trap is that any movement from the doll will easily appear ridiculous, unless that’s your intent, i.e. the Chucky franchise. Off the top of my head, the only films I can think of that succeed in frightening us with their dolls are Poltergeist and Trilogy of Terror. Annabelle, the recent spin-off/prequel to The Conjuring, provides one of the duller entries not just into the creepy doll genre but to horror movies in general. To be fair, there are some decent scares but, as creepy as it is, the doll is rarely a factor in them. Nor could I get past the thin screenplay, dull main characters performed by wooden actors, and cringe-worthy racial stereotypes. And when do we retire the long haired girl dressed in a white gown as our go to ghost?

John Gordon (Ward Horton) and his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) are a young, boring couple who live in a boring suburb. Their clothes are boring, their house is boring, and their discussions about the upcoming baby are boring. Screw the late 60s counterculture they’re living in, it’s squaresville up in here, Daddy-o. Their neighbors are boring too, right up until they’re murdered by their daughter, Annabelle, who had run away to join a group of damned hippies… er, a satanic cult. After the daughter and her crazed boyfriend brutally slaughter her parents, they make their way over to the Gordons’ home and attempt to kill them as well. Mia is stabbed, the deranged boyfriend is shot by the police, and the daughter slices her own throat, bleeding her life into the creepy doll she clutches, thus giving birth to the titular Annabelle.

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‘The Corridor’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2014 by Justin T.

The Corridor (2010)

The Corridor (2010). Directed by Evan Kelly. Starring Stephen Chambers, David Patrick Fleming, James Gilbert, Matthew Amyotte, Glen Matthews, Mary-Colin Chisholm, Nigel Bennett.

Helmed by first time director Evan Kelly, The Corridor takes the classic horror film set up of the cabin in the woods in a unique direction. There’s no crazed killer lurking in the dark forest this time, but what happens to the characters is no less violent. The Corridor is a quiet horror film that successfully blends drama and science fiction elements. Instead of Friday the 13th, this is more like The Big Chill… except it’s all guys, there’s no weird wife-swapping, and the screenplay was influenced by Stephen King instead of Lawrence Kasdan.

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The Fifth Annual Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Begins!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2014 by Justin T.

Halloween decoration and candy in Lucky's

Recently in the local grocery store I stumbled across the inflatable jack-o-lantern you see above, leering at me with his obnoxious smile. “Come here, gullible fool,” he seemed to say. “Buy some Halloween candy before it runs out in the middle of September! You wouldn’t want to be the only idiot on the block with no candy for the kiddies, would you?” I shook my head and the decoration leaned into me. “Well then,” he cackled, blowing a whiff of stale, plastic air and grocery clerk tobacco breath. “It’s time to get started on your Halloween Horror Movie Marathon!” Yes, dear polymer pumpkin. It most definitely is.

This will be my fifth year spending the weeks before Halloween watching horror movies and writing reviews. This being the Fifth Anniversary of my Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, I suppose it is a milestone of sorts, worthy of commemoration, if only in my own mind. It has occurred to me that for a fan of horror, I’ve seen surprisingly little of each of the major horror franchises. Just a couple of the Friday the 13th films, maybe a few of the Elm Street movies… So this year I’ll honor five years of my favorite Halloween tradition by catching myself up on a series. Since we’re getting a new, complete release of it on blu-ray this year, the Halloween slasher films seemed like a decent pick. Well, apparently the box set isn’t completely complete as, sadly, it leaves out Official Halloween Parody Nevertheless, it’s time to spend Halloween 2014 getting to know the original slasher, Michael Myers.

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