Friday, October 31, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Halloween

October 31, 2008: Halloween
In this 1978 classic we are taken into the world of Michael Myers and introduced to one of the best independent movies ever made – John Carpenter’s Halloween.
As a young boy, Michael Myers stabbed his seventeen year old sister to death. After this event, he is locked away for years in the Smith’s Grove: Warren County Sanitarium. He is put under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis, who had worked with Michael for years, before deciding that Myers needs to be tried as an adult and locked up forever.
The night they planned to escort Myers, he manages to escape, steal a car and return home to Haddonfield, Ill., just in time for Halloween.
We are then introduced to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, in her first role) who has plans to stay in on Halloween night and watch one of the neighbors kid. Little does she know that Michael is coming home and is planning a killing spree.
The movie becomes a cat and mouse game between Strode and Myers, which would become the staple formula for slasher movies to come.
With out giving too much away, I want to say my favorite scene in this movie involves Strode, Myers, a closet and a wire hanger. If you seen the movie you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.
This movie is the standard in which all modern horror films are measured. Halloween deserves all the praise it can get, it’s because of this movie we have films such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Without this important film, I doubt slasher movies would have ever been proven to be a successful market.
The movie has spawned sequels that never lived up to the original and also there was a remake of this film in 2007, directed by Rob Zombie.
What I will say about the remake is that I appreciate how Zombie tried something different and new with the franchise, but seeing Myers’ childhood and back-story made the character less scary for me. The less I know about a psychotic killer the better.
I can’t really recommend the remake, I will say only watch it if you have seen the original and then you can form your own opinion on it.

Halloween Bonus: James’ Tips on Surviving a Horror Movie

If a psychotic is chasing you with a chainsaw through a dark forest, find a place to hide and don’t scream. By screaming you’re giving up your position and the person chasing you is as blind in the dark as you are.

When it seems you have killed the monster or killer, you didn’t, so make sure you defend yourself when they come back for their final scare.

If you find a book on how to summon demons, don’t read it.

Please, do not solve any strange puzzles.

If you’re a male and find yourself trapped in a horror movie situation, find the quickest way out, because only the females survive.

Never go camping at a place that has been dubbed “Camp Blood”.

If a huge home is being sold for cheap, please ask the realtor why before you commit to anything.

Never be arrogant, because they are usually picked off first.

Kids, do not let your parents send you to summer camp.

I suggest not to stay at any unchain motels or hotels stick with the franchises.

Angry mothers are more dangerous than I psycho with a chainsaw.

If your friend has a pale face and they’re moaning, they’re not sick they’re a zombie – get away from them.

If you start to hear the Halloween theme, don’t try to find the source, just run.

Do not go down dirt roads.

If you are in a horror situation and you need to split up, I recommend the buddy system. Just make sure your buddy doesn’t leave you to save him or herself instead.

If a killer is chasing you, do not run deeper into the woods. Please … for the sake of survival go somewhere where there is people.

If you your being chased, don’t constantly look back at the killer. I mean he’s not changing positions; he’s always going to be behind you.

Don’t investigate strange noises. If the strange noise comes from upstairs and you are alone, please leave the house.

If your power goes out and you see your neighbor still has power, do not try to fix the fuses. Again, please just leave the house.

Always keep your clothes on.

Do not go skinny-dipping.

Do not drink.

If you are able to get into a house and lock the door, don’t stand by the door and just wait for the killer to start banging on it. Use that time to increase your distances between him and you.

Never say, “Oh … It’s finally over,” because it’s not!

It’s Friday the 13th; do you know what I’m doing? Well, I can tell you that I’m not camping.

Hiding under the covers will not make the killer vanish.

If you are n the woods and you have to relief yourself, don’t wander miles away, because the killer is out there.

If girls are jump roping outside your house, singing about a guy named Freddy, please just move.

If you live on an Elm Street, relocate as fast as you can.

If you were suppose to meet someone at night in the woods and they haven’t shown and you hear someone approaching you. Do not say, “Is that you?” because its not, it’s the freaking killer.

If someone tells you a story about a boy who drowned in a lake and still roams the woods surrounding you, jump in the car and leave.

Don’t rent cabins in the woods for a weekend of partying.

Don’t rob the dead, because that only makes them mad.

Make sure you always have a full tank of gas.

If you do run out of gas, don’t go to the house that’s in the middle of nowhere to use the phone. Keep walking until you reach a neighborhood.

Never take a short cut the locals tell you about. Please always stick to your MapQuest directions.

If you come across a deserted town, don’t explore it; it’s that way for a reason.

Never visit the backwoods of the United States.

If you meet someone named Pumpkinhead, just run.

Avoid Sleepy Hollow and the Western Woods that surround the town.

If locals tell you a story about a legendary ghost, killer or monster – don’t say, “That’s impossible,” because it’s not and most likely you will run into them for just saying that.

Do not say the name Beetlejuice three times.

If you have a pet named gizmo, don’t feed him after midnight, don’t get him wet and please keep him out of the sunlight.

If you’re just a supporting character, there is a good chance you’re not going to survive, no there’s a great chance.

If a mysterious fog blankets your town, you’re pretty much in deep trouble.

If Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are haunting your house, it’s not really a bad thing, it could be worse.

Don’t expect to be entertained by clowns who just arrived from outer space. In fact if you find yourself in this situation, just leave town.

If Freddy Krueger starts haunting your dreams, remember it’s just a dream and it’s your dream. So, when it’s your dream you can fight back and make out with any outcome you please.

If you’re traveling down a rural road and see a shady character dumping buddies down a pipe, just keep driving. And please don’t go back to investigate the pipe.

Jason Voorhees is NOT afraid of water! SO, if you run into him don’t try to use it against him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Exorcist

October 30, 2008: The Exorcist
The Exorcist, the movie many consider the scariest movie ever made. The film was released to the public in 1973 and quickly became a nationwide success. People were actually fainting in theaters after seeing the horrific images the movie shows and religious groups constantly boycotted it. Yet, it had huge box office returns.
The film centers around a young girl named Regan (Linda Blair), a 12 year-old who has been recently possessed by the devil. Her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn), becomes aware of her daughters strange behavior and exhausts ever medical effort to find a cure. She soon discovers that her daughter’s condition can’t be solved medically but spiritually and recruits Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) to perform an exorcism.
Karras is not only dealing with the supernatural in this film, he also has scarce faith and displaced quilt over his mother’s recent death.
During the exorcist he is joined by a strange Jesuit exorcist Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and together they have to confront the evil that possesses young Reagan.
The great thing about this movie that I really admired about it is how it grounds itself in realism and has the everyday tone, and then it lets the terror come in slowly and then hits you hard with it.
Watching the movie now, it still holds up and remains a classic. If you had to choose a movie for Halloween that will really give you a scare I would go with The Exorcist.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Alien

October 29, 2008: Alien
When I first wrote the master list of what horror movies I was going to use, I received a lot of criticism on the inclusion of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
I added this movie, because it is a horror with sci-fi elements mix into one big science fiction horror, it really can be counted as a classic film for the horror genre and also the science fiction genre.
The movie stars Sigourney Weaver as the infamous warrant officer Ellen Ripley and focuses on the crew of the space cargo ship named, Nostromo.
During the course of the movie, the ship comes across a faint S.O.S and they decide to land on the strange planet Moribund. While there, they find the crashed ship and come across strange looking pods, which hatch out an insect-type creature that locks onto the face of Kane (John Hurt).
Ripley is alarmed by this event and urges Ash (Ian Holm) not to allow Kane access to the ship, but Ash refuses to take Ripley’s advice and lets him back aboard.
With Ash’s lack of concern, the ship would become the creature’s domain after one of the most infamous scenes in any movie and of course that’s the scene where the creature bursts out of the stomach of Kane and escapes within the walls.
After this, Dallas (Tom Skerritt), the ships’ captain, leads the others in search for the rapidly growing, acid-dripping alien before it can cut them down.
A breakthrough film for Ridley Scott that has beautiful art direction, set design and special effects that really gains the movie its atmosphere.
The original movie will always have that feeling of being new and exciting, but the sequel Aliens in my opinion surpasses the original and that’s hard to do. So, I will say watch Alien and Aliens, stay away from Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Dawn of the Dead

October 29, 2008: Dawn of the Dead
After securing an apartment building overcome with flesh-eating zombies, two Philadelphia area S.W.A.T team members, Peter (Ken Foree) and Roger (Scott Reiniger), flee to a television station, where they escape in the station's helicopter with Francine (Gaylen Ross) and Stephen (David Emge), two station employees. Seeking refuge from the zombies and the ensuing madness, they land on top of a Pittsburgh area shopping mall, despite the fact that the undead seem to be flocking there. What begins as a stop for supplies becomes a longer stay as the four become involved in a pointless war within the mall to remain alive and not a zombies’ supper.
The movie is a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, I don't really like giving sequels a spot on this list but this one really stands out as it's own movie.
This movie stands as one of the most riveting and fun zombie films that has ever been produced. The movie is able to throw together horror, gore and social commentary that work well together.
They remade this movie in 2004 and I'd have to say that it wasn't bad, it wasn't great, but it was enjoyable.

Monday, October 27, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Birds

October 27, 2008: The Birds
Alfred Hitchcock had just delivered us one of the best movies in cinematic history, Psycho and he followed it up with this thrilling and edge of your seat tale about killer birds in The Birds.
What I love about the birds is how Hitchcock puts together tones of painstaking morality and dark humor to have it all come together as a thriller that begins as a light hearted comedy and finds itself ending as an apocalyptic parable.
The movie stars the mother of Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren, in her first role in a film, which would lead her onto a career as a leading lady.
The story begins with Melanie Daniels (Hedren), who is a wealthy woman who has just given up her life as a party girl. She enjoys a brief flirtation with a lawyer by the name Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet shop. She enjoyed his company so much that she decides to follow him to his Bodega Bay home. (I guess stalking wasn’t a big deal back then.)
The upside of her following a man she hardly knows is that she’s bringing his sister a birthday gift - she bought her two lovebirds.
Before any of the major events happen, we see Melanie getting attacked by a seagull. I mean it’s something small, but I always found it eerie and a kind of Hitchcock way of giving us a taste on what we can expect.
Melanie and Mitch quickly start up a romance, but Melanie has to contend with his possessive mother and boarding at his ex-girlfriend’s house.
Strange events soon start occur, during a birthday party for Mitch’s younger sister. We see a flock of birds attack the children, but no one seems to pay much attention. They really pass it off as something random.
Little do they know that this event was only the beginning of massive aerial assaults on the residents of the town. Flocks of birds start to wreck havoc in a serious of events that no one can explain.
I did some research on the Internet and found out that this movie was loosely based off of a Daphne du Maurier story and a Santa Monica newspaper account, “Seabird Invasion Hits Coastal Homes”.
The movie was originally released in 1963 and still holds up in my opinion. My favorite scenes in this movie, and without giving too much away, would be the scene where the children from the school house are being chased down the road by a flock of menacing birds, which are pecking them. The other scene is the very end, I won’t describe it, but I think it’s an epic shot of just endless terror.
If you haven’t seen The Birds, then I strongly suggest seeing it. I mean I strongly suggest seeing all the movies I put on 31 Days of Horror.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

31 Days of Horror: 28 Days Later

October 26, 2008: 28 Days Later
A deadly and powerful virus escapes out of a British research facility, which spreads through a single drop of blood. Once infected with the virus you’ll be in a permanent state of murderous rage.
It only takes 28 days for the country to be overwhelmed by the virus and it’s now up to the survivors to salvage a future in a big, empty, eerie world with zombie like creatures trying to eat you.
The movie is one of, if not, the best post-apocalyptic movies I’ve ever seen. The feeling you first watch this movie is epic. You actually feel for these characters and as the movie goes on you feel the loneliness they have to push through and you also feel the constant fear of something always hunting you.
The movie spawned a sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which is another good movie and I would recommend you watch both. But, please watch them in order to get the full effect of them.
The movie was directed beautifully my Danny Boyle, who brought us the lackluster movie “The Beach”, but he comes together for this one and proves to be one of his best pieces of work yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Omen

October 25, 2008: The Omen
Robert, a U.S. Ambassador to Italy (Gregory Peck) and Katherine Thorn (Lee Remick) are a happy married couple that has everything they both ever desired. They want nothing more in their life except for one thing – a child.
Yet, tragedy strikes the couple when the baby Katherine gives birth to is a stillborn; a priest at the hospital who suggests that he should take a healthy newborn, whose mother had died in childbirth, approaches Robert.
Robert agrees and without telling his wife and the couple relocate from Italy to London, when they arrive, eerie events occur and a warning from a priest leads Robert to believe that the child he took from the hospital in Italy is evil incarnate.
This movie introduced Damian to the world and till this day he continues to scare us and his story continues to fascinate us.
The movie is well worth any price if you haven’t seen it or if it shows up on TV, I strongly recommend you watch it.
Like so many other horror movies this one was also remade, which was release in 2006 and I suggest just not watch it and stick with the 1976 original. I mean Richard Donner, the guy who brought us Superman I and II and also one of my favorite movies – The Goonies, directed this original.Some might like this more then others and I warn there are some disturbing scenes in this movie.

Friday, October 24, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Fog

October 24, 2008: The Fog
On April 21st, 100 years ago, the wealthy leper Blake bought the vessel Elizabeth Dane and relocated himself and his family from leper colony to California and effort to build a town for them to live with less aggravation and more comfort.
Problems occur when the family is crossing Spivey Point in a very thick fog. The problems only worsen when they are misguided by a campfire onshore, causing the ship to come to close to land and crashing into rocks - Blake, his family and crew die.
We are then brought to present day, where they are preparing for the Celebration of the centenary at the fishing town of Antonio Bay. On this very day a strange, glowing fog appears, bringing the zombies of Blake and his crew back from the dead with the intentions of killing the residents of Antonio Bay.
The zombies want revenge for their deaths and as the movie goes on we see why.
A John Carpenter film, one with a lot of atmosphere, that makes one very eerie and memorable movie. And no I'm not talking about the 2005 remake, which was a total miss, I'm talking about the 1980 classic that should be the only one you watch.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Haunting

October 23, 2008: The Haunting
The movie is set in Hill House, a house that is known for its dark and evil history that includes accidents, suicide and human misjudgment.
A doctor by the name John Markway (Richard Johnson) a psychic researcher, assembles a group of people who have histories linked to paranormal activity.
One of the group members is a woman by the name, Eleanor (Julie Harris), who was the subject of unexplained poltergeist activities as a child. She also is feeling guilt over her mother’s death, but when she arrives at Hill House she slowly falls into obsession with the estate.
When the group gets together they explore Hill House, and their own insecurities. Little do they know that the estate holds darker horrors, as the souls from the house’s troubled past begin to make themselves known.
Released in 1963, this movie still holds all the scares and thrills it delivered so well all those years ago.
It’s based off of the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House, and in my opinion is one of the best psychological horror films ever made. Because it doesn’t rely on blood, gore or monster to get its scares it plays with your mind.
The big reason everyone should watch this movie because it’s one of the very, very few movies that leaves its audience with an unsettling feel. It also leaves you with questions that you can answer for yourself.
I highly recommend this movie but please avoid the really awful 1999 remake that goes by the same name.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Scream

October 22, 2008: Scream
This movie is one of the best and refreshing horror films that I've ever seen.
It was released in 1996 and during this time, slasher movies were all dying. Jason's and Freddy's hay days were over and the Friday the 13th franchise just took a terrible turn in the 1993 release of Jason Goes to Hell.
The Slasher films went silent until 1994 when Wes Craven released New Nightmare, another installment in his Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. It was better then Jason Goes to Hell, but still didn't add anything new to slasher movies.
Two years would pass and Wes Craven releases, Scream. A slasher movie that will be remembered for putting new life into the genre and making it fun and scary again.
The movie is about a quiet, peaceful town in California that becomes a stomping ground for a psychopathic killer, who is targeting high school students. The killer aka "Ghostface", seems to be the name the horror community gave him, calls he's victims on the phone and asks them questions (example: Name the killer in Friday the 13th?) If you answer that question correctly you win and if you don't you'll loose and the penalty is death. He might also just play around with you and just have a casual, yet scary conversation.
That's what I liked most about this movie, because the characters/killer does go to the movies and know all the horror cliches. So in order for them to survive they have to out smart someone that has seen one too many horror movies, by using their own knowledge of the genre.
I don't want to say much, because if I do it will ruin the movie for you, if you haven't seen it. The movie did spawn two sequels, making the Scream trilogy. The sequels are watchable but not as original and refreshing as this one.
There is also talk about a fourth scream movie and Wes Craven (director for these movies) is also considering on returning to direct.
Side Note: Thank you all for the positive feedback that I've been receiving. If anyone wants to see a deeper look into a movie on the 31 Days of Horror list or any movie, just request it and I'll do I full length review. I'll also do reviews of books, games, and even TV shows if you want, so all you have to do is ask.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Thing

October 21, 2008: The Thing
The Thing is one of John Carpenter’s stunning masterpiece of horror.
The movie focuses on a group of scientists who are braving the winter in an isolated camp deep in Antarctica.
They soon come upon an alien spacecraft buried in the ice. Near the alien craft they find a body of an alien being, which has been frozen solid by the harsh environment. This becomes a find of a life time for the group and they bring back the alien body to camp and they let it thaw out.
Soon the alien awakens and turns out its not friendly and proceeds to take over the identities of the scientists.
It’s now up to Helicopter pilot MacCready (Kurt Russell) to lead the surviving men in discovering who among them is human and who is “the thing” that they must destroy in order to all survive. Their ultimate goal is to stop the alien from spreading to the mainland and infecting massive amounts of populations.
This is truly a horror classic. The special effects might seem dated, but over all the movie really boils down to a very impressive who can I trust and who can't I trust kind of film.
I strongly recommend this movie for anyone, whose looking for a good scare and something that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Night of the Living Dead

October 20, 2008: Night of the Living Dead
Director George A. Romero at his best, when he tell us a story about the rising dead and the people that fight against them in order to survive in Night of the Living Dead.
It all begins when the brains of the recently deceased become reanimated, allowing them to rise from the dead and eat human flesh.
How are they coming back from the dead? Well in the movie they talk about a NASA satellite returning from Venus being covered with radiation and due to this it could have caused the dead to rise. Note that this is only left as speculation in the film.
What we do know is if anyone dies during this crisis and their brains are not destroyed they will return as a flesh craving zombie, you can also be infected if your bitten by one of the monsters. The only way to kill them is to destroy the brain - which makes for one great horror film.
As the movie unfolds we see a young women, who was visiting her father's grave taking refuge in a nearby farmhouse. While there , she is met by a man who protects her and barricades them inside. They then later discovery that there is people hiding in the basement and they all come together to try to understand what is happening and to get an idea on their situation.
They soon realize that if they want to survive they need to get gasoline from a nearby pump and put it into a truck. In order to do this they have to brave the hordes of walking corpses that surround the house outside. As the movie sees these characters putting their plan into action, panic and tension arise and that only adds terror to the group and makes it harder to survive.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Children of the Corn

October 19, 2008: Children of the Corn
Another Stephen King novel adaptation and in this one we find ourselves in Nebraska in a town called Gatlin in a horror classic – Children of the Corn.
Gatlin almost seems deserted at first glance, but we soon learn that a boy preacher by the name Isaac Chroner (John Franklin) has gotten all of the children together and had them kill all the adults that resided in the town, talk about a brat of a kid.
We then meet a young couple who has a murder to report and the nearest town is Gatlin, the Children of the Corn’s territory. When they arrive they notice that there is no one left and they are trapped in the town with a small chance of survival.
This movie I find entertaining, but it might seem very dated and dumb to others. I added it to the list, because people still mention it and I also find it to be a creepy concept that proves to be a good scare.
The effects in the movie were good for the day, but are extremely dated, so don’t expect to have mind blowing movie making experience, just enjoy the story and get involved with the characters and you’ll enjoy the movie.

31 Days of Horror: Shaun of the Dead

October 18, 2008: Shaun of the Dead
Sorry I’m late with this one but better late then never.
Shaun of the Dead is a horror and a romantic comedy all rolled into one big entertaining movie.
The story is about Shaun (Simon Pegg), whose life isn’t what he thought it would be. He lives with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), he leaves his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) feeling empty and he hates his step-dad (Bill Nighy).
Liz gets fed up with the lack of attention from Shaun and dumps him and after this Shaun decides he needs to get his life back on course. But, the same day he decides to get his life back on course the dead come back to life.
Shaun grabs a cricket bat and his best friend, Ed, and Shaun sets out to rescue the ones he loves and bring him to his favorite bar and safest place he knows – the Winchester.
This might be the best horror-comedy mix in a long time. Everything in this movie goes together so perfectly and in the end we have more than just a satisfying movie, we have a movie that will stand the test of time for new generations to enjoy.
The movie is funny and the comedy takes up most of the films run time, but I will say that as the movie reaches its end it becomes more serious and in my opinion a little depressing – but its still great.
If you haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead and you are looking for a horror movie for Halloween but don’t want to be too scared, then I suggest you pick this one up and enjoy it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Child's Play

October 17, 2008: Child's Play
He’s a doll and he kills people, which makes for another great horror movie and the birth of another horror icon – Chucky.
The story begins with the Lake Shore Strangler, a mass murderer who stalks the streets Chicago area. He meets his end in a toy warehouse and is left for dead, yet, he has a little strength to chant a voodoo spell and transfer his soul inside a doll.
This spell causes a freak-lightening storm and a bolt strikes the warehouse and burns it down to the ground, only leaving one doll unharmed.
This doll soon finds it’s way into the hands of Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) and she gives it to her son Andy (Alex Vincent) as a gift.
Andy then starts to communicate with the doll, only causing the horror to begin. Chucky then slays Andy’s babysitter and this is only the beginning of the bloody things Chucky has on his mind.
A classic in every sense of the word, Chucky is as well known as Jason and Freddy. He’s been scaring generations after generations and it’s been a fun ride with Chucky.
I did like the Child Play’s sequels except for “Seed of Chucky”, but all the other ones were scary and really worth watching.
The movie is being remade like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street and I really hope these remakes don’t fall short of what the originals did so well.
If you haven’t seen Child’s Play you should it’s a perfect scary movie to watch before Halloween.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Lost Boys

October 16, 2008: The Lost Boys
A mother, Lucy Emerson (Dianne Wiest) and her two sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) are forced to move to a small coat California town, because of financial problems. When they arrive in town, we see that it’s plagued by bikers and mysterious deaths.
Sam, the youngest son soon meets and befriends Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander), who claim to be vampire hunters.
His older brother, Michael, is lured into the world of vampires by a gang of bikers who are really a gang of vampires. Mike falls for the girl in the group and soon becomes a blood drinking creature of the night.
The leader of this gang is Max (Kiefer Sutherland), but as the movie goes on we learn that someone else is pulling the strings, someone that they don’t expect and someone Michael and Sam both love might be in danger.
I won’t give a lot away, but if you haven’t seen The Lost Boys then I strongly suggest you do so. Yes, I will admit that the movie seems a little dated in parts, but the overall product still holds up as a good and fun movie to watch. It truly reminds me of The Goonies in some ways, just for an older audience and with teenagers on motorcycles instead of kids on bicycles.
The movie has some moments of horror, but over all it has a lot of comedy to balance the two out. This isn't a horror movie that is going to keep you from sleeping like others and the gore factor is not as intense as other horror movies, but it still effective none the less.
I suggest you rent this one, catch it on TV or buy it, whatever you choose to do its worth it, because this is a fun movie to watch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

31 Days of Horror: A Nightmare On Elm Street

October 16, 2008: A Nightmare on Elm Street
“One, two, Freddy's coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.
Five, six, grab your crucifix.
Seven, eight, better stay awake.
Nine, ten, never sleep again.”
I know a lot of you have been asking for it and here it is the burnt corpse with a razor-sharp glove that haunts your dreams in the horror classic – A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The movie is about a group of teenagers in the town of Springwood, who are being haunted by a burnt figure that invades their dreams and turns them into their worst nightmares.
This burnt figure is the ghost of Freddy Krueger (a.k.a The Springwood Slasher), a child murderer that was killed by the neighborhood parents.
He seeks revenge and finds he can take vengeance where the parents can’t save them, where they’re most vulnerable – in their dreams.
Now, one by one, as they fall asleep the teenagers are beginning to be picked off by the claw wielding maniac and even pills and coffee will not work and as they lay their head down they know that they are going to be battling Freddy for their lives.
Freddy Krueger, like Jason Voorhees, is an icon in this genre. I will admit that I enjoyed the first one immensely but unlike the Friday the 13th sequels, I really did not care for the Nightmare on Elm Street follow ups.
Yet … I will recommend the first one, because it’s a fun, scary and something that hasn’t been done before. Freddy is a sick person, but his sense of humor is sharp and you will catch yourself laughing at some of his one liners.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Nightmare Before Christmas

October 14, 2008: The Nightmare Before Christmas I know this is not a horror movie, but I was looking through my list and I seemed never to offer a decent film for children and I find this one to be one of the great holiday movies.
The movie is about Jack Skeleton who is bored with his repetitive life in Halloween town and has a strong desiree to seek more.
One night after the annual Halloween party, Jack wonders away from town and finds a door into Christmas town.
Jack then finds everything he's been looking for in the magic and wonder he finds in the town of Christmas. He then decides that instead of being the mascot for Halloween, he'll be the mascot for Christmas and the crazy actions of other holidays taken control of other holidays become too much for both to take and all trouble breaks loose.
Here is a movie that is classic in my book and one of the most enjoyable animated films for me in years. I loved it as a child and I still love it as an adult, its by far one of the most creative stories and it also has a very unique look that separates it from all the other animated films.
If you haven't seen this movie, stop depriving yourself and go out and buy it. Yes, this movie is a must own for anyone. It just been re-released on DVD and I suggest you make the purchase.
The movie is for all ages, there is no gore and violence but there is somethings that might scare the youngest viewers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Friday the 13th

October 13, 2008: Friday the 13th
Here it is one of my most favorite horror movies of all-time – Friday the 13th. This movie was released in 1980, thus making way for the 80’s slasher films.
I like this movie, because for me every time I watch it, it’s still as smart and fun as it was the first time you lay your eyes on it.
The movie centers on Camp Crystal Lake, which we all know now is the famous stomping grounds of the killer Jason Voorhees (you know the hockey mask wearing and machete wielding killer).
Steve Christy (Peter Brouwer) is the owner of the camp and is looking to reopen it, despite a series of strange and unexplained deaths that plagued the camp 20 years earlier.
He’s being helped by a new group of camp counselors that are “Babes in the Woods” as Christy puts it.
With the counselors settling in, someone lurks in the woods surrounding the camp. They are spying on the care free campers and plotting a revenge on those who have woken the camp from its years of slumber.
I can’t really say anything else, because then it would ruin the movie for you. I will say this, that Jason only makes a small cameo in this movie and he doesn’t start his murderous rampage until “Friday the 13th part 2” and his hockey mask doesn’t make it’s way onto his face until “Friday the 13th part 3”.
This movie is really a who done it kind of film, where everyone becomes a suspect and it’s not until the end we find out who is behind the grisly murders and what it their motivation to carry them out.
This movie set the style and tone for all slasher films to come. It really is a classic and one that defined the genre back in 1980.
The movie was followed by 10 sequels and a spin-off entitled “Freddy vs. Jason”, where Freddy Krueger finally meets up with Jason Voorhees and they duke it out.
The ten sequels that followed this movie, really started to become less and less believable as they went on, but I love them all and I recommend them to everyone because they’re just all fun to watch.
I can’t really say enough about this film or this series of horror films, because for me it’s one of my favorite series in the horror genre. If you haven’t seen Friday the 13th go out and pick up a copy, you most likely can find it and it for very cheap.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Salem's Lot

October 12, 2008: Salem's Lot
Yet, another Stephen King novel adaptation even though the movie is very loosely based off of it. I shouldn’t even really call this a movie, because it was actually a mini-series that aired on TV back in 1979.
This movie or mini-series, it’s really what ever you want to call it, follows a writer named Ben Mears (David Soul) who has returned to Salem’s Lot to write a book about the rumored haunted house called the Marsten House. This house is just as creepy as the one used in Psycho.
Soon after this we meet Richard K. Straker (James Mason) and learn that he has a partner who is the mysterious antique shop owner, Barlow, who eventually comes to the Lot. But there's something strange about him, something that makes the town feel uneasy about his presence.
The town is then plagued by mysterious vanishings and people dying of unknown causes that puzzle everyone.
The answer then becomes quite clear when it’s revealed that Barlow is a vampire that is ancient and very, very resourceful. He’s goal is to turn everyone is Salem’s Lot into what he is – a blood sucking monster.
Once this revelation comes to Mears it is up to him and a 12 year old named, Mark, whose brother was taken by Barlow and the alcoholic priest, whose questioning his faith to stop the Vampire.
What I loved about this movie is the vampire and every time I watch a movie about vampires I compare them to the movie monster of Salem’s Lot and nothing can ever compete to the effect you get when you first see the vampire in Salem’s Lot, he’s more than creepy he’s horrific looking.
When released on cable back in 1979, it contained the most explicit violence than any other made for TV miniseries. This movie was always followed by a sequel “A Return to Salem’s Lot”, which I DO NOT, and I stress DO NOT, recommend this movie to anyone, because it was so badly miss executed that it was just nothing a dud in the horror genre and an insult to the original.
The remake of the original Salem’s Lot was released on TV back in 2004, starring Rob Lowe as Ben Mears and it wasn’t bad, but the original will always be my favorite.
Salem’s Lot is worth more than just renting it is really worth owning if you’re able to find a copy anywhere.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Cujo

October 11, 2008: Cujo
Stephen King's Cujo is one movie that has stayed with me over the years and every time I see a dog showing its teeth I think of this crazed canine.
The movie begins with a frustrated housewife named Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace). Her life is thrown upside down after her husband finds out she is having an affair, which gives the characters some depth.
Then there is a young boy by the name of Brett Camber (Billy Jacoby) who's family owns a car shop and also a Saint-Bernard named "Cujo".
When first seeing Cujo this dog is huge and made up of muscle, power and teeth. He's a nice companion until he is bitten by a rabid bat and Cujo becomes infected with rabies, thus creating a monstrous killer.
When we come back to the main characters we learn that Vic Trenton (Daniel Hugh Kelly) is away on a business trip, and also to think over his marital troubles. This leaves Donna and her five year-old son, Tad Trenton (Danny Pintauro) alone.
As Cujo is infected by rabies we have Donna deciding she is going to bring her Pinto to Brett Cambers' dad's car shop ... but of course the car fails and Cujo is out for blood.
This movie is violent and bloody, it will surly scare anyone of any age. I don't recommend it for young children, because the terror in this movie is non-stop.
What I like about this movie is that like other horror movies the victims have done something to make them not likable and in like in the book Cujo is basically the punishment they have to face.
So when we see Donna facing Cujo, we see someone who has accounted for her sin and facing her final test. This message is in the movie, but it doesn't go as deep as the book does. Yet ... I find that the movie does a surprising good job in capturing some of it.
The last half hour of this movie is what really made it for me, it's fantastic and something I look forward to seeing every time I watch Cujo. I won't say what happens, but I will say its scary and will keep you on the edge of your seat in pure fright.
This isn't you grade A horror movie like Rosemary's Baby, but it's scary and does its job effectively.

Friday, October 10, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Rosemary's Baby

October 10, 2008: Rosemary's Baby
A movie that is a horrifying satanic story that will forever haunt fans for generations to come, I don’t say this to often but Rosemary’s Baby is most likely a perfect film. It was directed by Roman Polanski and he makes it his way, which comes out stylish and scary.
The movie is set in Manhattan’s Dakota building, which has some dark history, being the place where John Lennon was assassinated.
Back to the film we have a young and happy married couple, Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor of a husband Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes). They move into an apartment in a respected old building off of Central Park.
Their next door neighbors soon become their friends, Roman (Sidney Blackmer) and Minnie Castavet (Ruth Gordon), this was the performance that won Gordon the Oscar. They are an elderly couple and soon take interest in Rosemary’s well being.
Soon Rosemary is plagued by disturbing dreams; one of these dreams is where Rosemary is attacked by something inhuman surrounded by a crowd of spectators. These dreams are strange, because they follow a suicide of a woman in the building.
After the dreams Rosemary finds out that she is pregnant and becomes ill. The neighbors are quickly there for all of her needs and even find her a doctor of their chose and then soon we learn that the neighbors are part of a witches’ coven. Rosemary then finds out she is part of an evil plan and everyone might be against her.
This movie is scary, eerie and intelligent. Polanski delivers most likely the best film of his career and for a movie that came out in 1968 it still scares you.
If you haven’t seen this movie, then you must. This is one that everyone should see and experience, it’s a work of horror art and it is a thrilling as the day it came out.
I strongly caution all of you, this is not a movie for children and is made for mature audiences only.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Amityville Horror

October 9, 2008: The Amityville Horror
Alright I like this movie, because I was young when I saw it and I personally think it still stands up for a good quick chill for anyone who hasn’t seen it.
The movie is based on the true events that happened to the Lutz family back in the year 1975.
The movie begins with George (James Brolin) and Kathleen Lutz (Margot Kidder) and their children moving into the Dutch Colonial at 112 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, N.Y.
Yet, 13 months before the Lutz moved in Ronald DeFeo Jr. had shot and killed all six of his family members in the house.
The real story goes that after 28 days of living in the house, the Lutz family fled in fear. They claimed they were being terrorized by paranormal activity.
The movie covers those 28 days and we slowly see George Lutz turning on his family and being tormented by the entity that drove Ronald DeFeo Jr. to kill.
I did a lot of reading on these murders and this specific haunting and a lot of the stories don’t add up, which to me makes the movie and book more a work of fiction then anything.
Yes, DeFeo killed his family and that’s terrible, but he had multiple stories before telling the one about being possessed.
The movie itself is entertaining even though they might have stretched out some of the facts. If you haven’t seen the movie before I suggest you watch this one, because I think it’s one of the best horror movies about a haunted house.
The remake is also entertaining, not a good movie, but still one that’s a fun time.
The scene that really makes the movie for me in the orginal 1979 version is the opening credits with eerie music playing and the camera just being fixed on the outside of the house.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Evil Dead

October 8, 2008: The Evil Dead
So after “The Blair Witch Project” I return to another low budget horror and this one is legend in the genre.
The film is about five young friends who take a trip to a cabin in a very rural part of Tennessee. While staying in the cabin they stumble across the Book of the Dead, an ancient tome that is bound in human flesh and inked in blood.
The group of friends soon decides to read the book and they unknowingly awake the horrific terror told of in the book.
Soon one by one the friends are transformed into the evil dead, except for Ash (Bruce Campbell) who becomes the hero of this movie and one of horror’s most famous faces.
Ash is the only one left with no real options to survive, the woods are against them and his car won’t start (of course). He then realizes that the only way to defeat the evil dead is to dismember the living corpses in which they possess.
This means he had to kill his sister, girlfriend and two of his friends in order to defeat the evil dead.
The movie was shot with basically no budget, it has very impressive camera work and the gore effects are extremely over-the-top. It also sports a slight sense of humor, but nothing like the humor in the two sequels that followed.
This movie is everything a horror movie should be and I recommend this to everyone. The way I describe this movie is its sort of like “The Blair Witch Project” but with better camera work, story and if you gave the witch the camera rather than the students.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Blair Witch Project

October 7, 2008: The Blair Witch Project
Here is a movie that takes a lacking budget and cast of unknowns and makes into a all too effective horror movie.
The movie was made for a mere $30,000 by two filmmakers from Florida and was praised at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.
What made this movie so effective was its marketing of the footage being “found” that was shot by three missing college students who made their way to the woods of Western Maryland in 1994 with the idea of making a documentary about the Blair Witch.
The Blair Witch is local legend who is really linked to murders and mysterious occurrences spanning about 200 years. So the Blair Witch is a real thing and the filmmaker took something everyone knew and made an original film out of it.
When the movie starts we are at the house of Heather and the three students are preparing for their trip into the woods.
So … after interviewing some of the locals we find ourselves in the woods and lost. Soon, strange things start to happen, with the voices of screaming children piercing through the night and from there the three students, Heather, Josh and Michael are in for a fight for their lives.
The whole movie experience is frightening and sometimes leaves you wondering what the hell we are looking at, since the film is being shot by the actors. One bad thing about the film is after its first screening it does loose some of its momentum and becomes less and less scary the more you watch it.
With that said the positive point about this movies is its decision to play with your imagination. The movie does not show you the horror or graphic images, but it lets you hear them, which in my opinion makes a horror movie scarier.
If you’re looking for a fun time that won’t take up a lot of your time, then I suggest you watch The Blair Witch Project, but if you have seen it then you already had the fun and you should move onto other horror films.

Monday, October 6, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Sixth Sense

October 6, 2008: The Sixth Sense
In M. Night Shyamalan’s first movie that ever shocked us, he made movies before this, but this is the movie he will probably be remembered for.
The film stars Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a Philadelphia child psychologist who has one of his past patients commit suicide and will be forever scarred because of this event.
Soon Dr. Crowe meets a troubled young boy by the name of Cole (Haley Joel Osment) and this patient reminds him of the one that committed suicide.
We soon learn that Cole is tormented by Ghost, which he sees and they talk to him. The story starts to really unfold when Cole decided, with the help of Dr. Crowe, to help the troubled spirits and learn not to be afraid of them.
This movie had one of the most famous scene in this genre, it is where Cole finally tells Dr. Crowe about his ghostly secret and his uses the line “I see dead people”, one of the most quoted and well-known cinematic moments of the ‘90’s.
This movie has some scary moments, but what makes it good is its story and most people will walk away with chills.
I’m sure most of you already have seen this movie and if you haven’t please do yourself a favor and watch it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Poltergeist

October 5, 2008: Poltergeist
The movie that made the line “They’re Here” famous and creepy.
The movie focuses on a the Freeling Family moving into a new home and soon find out that their house starts acting odd, with furniture moving and ghosts communicating with their youngest daughter, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), through the static on the television.
Soon these harmless activities accelerate into more malicious doings and the thought to be friendly ghost kidnap their daughter Carol Anne, and keep her hostage in the spirit world.
In order to get back their daughter Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) and Diane Freeling (JoBeth Williams) ask a team of parapsychologists and a psychic who come into the house a perform a intense exorcism.
The movie may scare a few people but I think the family element in this movie over shadows the horror. Yet, everyone I ask still say this movie scared them and it is also a movie that has stuck out in people’s minds as a must see horror movie.
The movie spawned two other sequels, but those sequels never reached the caliber of the original and I recommend you watch them if they’re on TV, but I wouldn’t necessarily make it an effort to hunt them down and purchase them. But, buy or rent the first one and enjoy it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Jaws

October 4, 2008: JawsHere is one of my favorite movies from director Steven Spielberg and based off of the best selling novel by Peter Benchley.
In this movie it’s the height of the beach season at a Massachusetts resort town of Amity Island. Soon this peaceful summer town begins to be terrorized by a man eating shark.
It is then up to three unlikely partners to team up to hunt down the shark and destroy it. We have Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), a young university-educated oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and a crusty old-time fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw), which is one of the best casts I’ve seen in a movie.
This film was the first to ever surpass 100 million dollars and it is also the reason for so many people to be scared to go into the water.
The shark is also one of the notorious movie villains of all time. If you haven’t seen this movie you really need to invest and watch this movie, it’s a classic.
Also, the theme by John Williams has become a theme of doom.

31 Days of Horror: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

October 3, 2008: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This movie is inspired by the mass murderer Ed Gein of the 1950s and is the granddaddy of all splatter films.
It opens up with five unsuspecting teenagers who are driving a van through the rural parts of Texas. They soon pick up a crazy hitchhiker and then they find themselves at an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Soon the seemingly abandoned house becomes the stage for some of the most gruesome things I’ve seen in film.
Soon the teenagers start disappearing one by one and the star of the movie, Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) must muster up all of her strength and escape from the psychotic family who want to put her on the dinner table (yeah they eat their victims). It becomes more and more difficult for her as she meets her match in the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen).
After this movie we would see the formula it used to present day slasher/splatter films. That formula being all the victims suffer horrible deaths and the one lone female becoming the heroine of the story.
I would NOT recommend this movie if you don’t want to be really scared or disturbed. Ever since I’ve seen this movie there’re two scenes that stick with me, I can’t describe them because I think it would be too much information.
Yet … this movie has stood the test of time and is still shocking and scary as it ever was back in 1974.
If you go and pick this one up, do not pick up the 2003 remake, it’s not as good or nearly as scary as the original.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

31 Days of Horror: Psycho

October 2, 2008: Psycho
The movie focuses on Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a blonde women on the run with stolen money. Due to a storm she pulls over for the night at the Bates motel.
In this motel we meet the nice, clean cut, lonely Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Bates presides over the motel and under his overbearing mother. When he meets Crane he seems to light up and be glad that someone has come to stay.
Yet … once mother finds out about the women, she makes it clear that she doesn’t like loose women. This sets up one of the most famous horror stories ever told and of course the infamous shower scene, which I consider to be one of the best scenes in not only in horror but in film history.
This film is credited in inventing the modern horror film genre and I will not argue with that. The sequels and imitators that came after this film are movies that should be missed, because none will ever achieve the standard that this 1960 original achieved in terms of terror and pace.
If you do go out and buy or rent this movie please do not confuse it with the shot-by-shot remake directed by Gus Van Zant and released in 1998. This remake was terrible, even though it was shot-by-shot, the actors couldn’t pull of what the originals did and it really came off as more of a spoof rather than a serious remake. I mean Vince Vaughn played Norman Bates; he’s really not Norman Bates material.
If you do go and get this one just make sure it’s the original 1960 version.
Rated: R
Where to Buy
Best Buy - $24.99 – (Only available online and not in stores until released on Oct. 7, 2008, if the store carries it)
Wal-Mart - $19.86 – (Only available online and not in stores until released on Oct. 7, 2008 if the store carries it) - $19.99 – (Pre-order available and will be released on Oct. 7, 2008)