Monday, August 13, 2018

79 Days to Halloween- 1940 The Ghost Breakers

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1940 horror comedy "The Ghost Breakers" starring Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, and directed by George Marshall.

The Ghost Breakers (1940)
Dir- George Marshall

A woman inherits a mansion and plantation on a small Cuban island only to get a dire warning not to take possession of the property. She is joined by a radio broadcaster who is fleeing a mob boss and along with his servant only to find that something menacing may be afoot in the old house. One of the most famous early horror comedies, The Ghost Breakers was a huge hit for Bob Hope who is joined by Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, and Anthony Quinn. The movie would be remade with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis under the title Scared Stiff in 1953 and would be an inspiration to the Ghostbusters franchise of the 1980s. 

80 Day to Halloween- 1939 Son of Frankenstein

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1939 horror film Son of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Basil Rathbone and directed by Rowland V. Lee.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Dir- Rowland V. Lee

Boris Karloff's final appearance as the famed monster. In this sequel to the classic movie Bride of Frankenstein, we find Basil Rathbone playing the son of a famed doctor who happens to discover the still living monster in the ruins of the laboratory. Lugosi is perfect as Ygor, who has cared for the monster in time before his discovery. Great settings and an impressive score only help to make this movie a classic. This film was a huge success and helped to reinvigorate the market for monster movies after a brief hiatus due to issues with British censorship and the Hays Code.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

81 Days to Halloween- 1938 I Accuse

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the French Anti-War film I Accuse (1938) starring Victor Francen and directed by Abel Gance.

I Accuse
Dir- Abel Gance

A scientist survives the horrors of the first world war and dedicates his time to developing a device that will prevent conflicts from being fought. Years later after he perfects the machine, he is then troubled by his Government wanting to use it against their potential enemy with World War 2 on the horizon. He then decides on an unorthodox method of convincing his government not to fight. This anti-war film draws on the horrors of the First World War to help show the audience that the grief and misery that motivate the main character are reflected by many and that making the mistake of waging another war will only bring more suffering and death. "I Accuse" is considered one of the most important anti-war movies ever made and comparable to Johnny Got His Gun and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Friday, August 10, 2018

82 Days to Halloween- 1937 Song at Midnight

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the Chinese language film Song at Midnight (1937) starring Jin Shan, Gu Menghe, Zhou Wenzhu and directed by Ma-Xu Weibang

Song at Midnight (1937)
Dir- Ma-Xu Weibang

This adaptation of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera is the first horror movie made in China and puts more focus on local politics as a subplot. The story focuses on the disfigured Song Danping who was thought dead after he was left to die when the Opera house was burned down by the angry father of the woman he pursued. Years later he now occupies the rebuilt theater hoping to guide their new star. Song at Midnight is considered an important film in China and is listed among the top 100 best films in China by Asian film critics. The movie has been remade four times with the latest entry in 2005.

We're gonna need a much bigger boat

The Meg (2018)
Dir- Jon Turteltaub

It has been over 40 years since Jaws terrified the nation and pretty much-demonized sharks in the minds of most moviegoers. So, of course, you have to up the ante, and the logical step is to make the shark bigger, meaner and scarier. The Meg is based on Steve Alten's 1997 novel "Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror" yet the movie makes a few changes that don't really change too much of the story. Jason Statham is diving expert Jonas Taylor who was disgraced after a botched deep sea rescue leaves him to take the blame for events that were the result of an unknown attack on a damaged navy sub. Five years later he is brought in after a research team is stranded in a deep part of the ocean after an attack by a similar unknown creature. Hoping to vindicate himself he volunteers to assist despite finding out the doctor who deemed him crazy is part of the crew. What he discovers will put the lives of the research team at further risk as he is determined to destroy the creature that is putting all of them in peril. There is nothing profound or complicated in the plot of The Meg, its a conventional game of survival for a group of people who just happen to be in the path of the mega-sized shark. The Meg is a B movie with a big budget and star power that includes Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis. The creature effects and sets are impressive and make for a thrilling ride. The real problem that the audience will deal with is the PG-13 rating that tones the violence down, make no mistakes the film does have plenty of shark action and attacks, but we don't see the level of gore that was present in Piranha 3D or Shark Night. The other issue is the slower first half that sets the stage for a wild and exciting ending. The Meg will not win any Oscars for acting, but it will bring in the crowds, leaving them entertained and will make them once again feel that it was never safe to go back in the water.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

83 Days to Halloween- 1936 The Devil-Doll

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1936 horror thriller "The Devil-Doll" starring Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan and directed by Tod Browning.

The Devil-Doll
Dir- Tod Browning

The Devil Doll focuses on a man who was sent to prison wrongfully and his desire to seek revenge on those he feels were responsible for framing him. He utilizes a shrinking formula developed by a scientist he befriended and when he gets back to his home he puts revenge scheme to work only to find that others may want the formula for their own purposes. The Devil Doll made effective use of camera tricks to simulate the smaller size of the characters showing techniques that were mastered by King Kong and The Invisible Man. The film was not a financial success but did get good reviews from the critics of the day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

84 Days to Halloween- 1935 Bride of Frankenstein

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the sequel to Universal Pictures 1931 classic Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and directed by James Whale.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dir- James Whale

The monster having survived the fire in the mill that had supposedly killed him is taken in by a blind hermit.  He teaches him to speak and falls under the evil influence of another scientist who presses him to demand a mate from Dr. Frankenstein. A rare sequel that is better than its predecessor, the film marks the reappearance of Boris Karloff as the monster and Elsa Lanchester as both Mary Shelley and the classic bride we all remember.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

85 Days to Halloween- 1934 The Black Cat

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the pre-Hays Code 1934 horror film The Black Cat starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Black Cat (1934)
Dir- Edgar G Ulmer

A young couple on honeymoon in Hungary meets an older psychiatrist who they share a train compartment with. The doctor intends to visit an old friend he has not seen since the war and invites the couple to join when the young wife is hurt in an accident. When they arrive the couple learns that the two friends have unsettled business and that their lives may be at risk as their host has other intentions besides hospitality in mind. The Black Cat shares the name of an Edgar Allan Poe short story but not much else. The cast featured Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the first of many collaborations between the two horror icons. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

86 Days to Halloween- 1933 King Kong

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the pre-code 1933 monster adventure King Kong starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot and directed by Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack

King Kong (1933)
Dir- Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack

King Kong will always be remembered as the monster on the rampage, but even more, it is a classic in every sense and will be known as an FX triumph. Fay Wray plays the fair maiden who soothes the giant ape as he is taken from his island home to New York where he escapes and climbs the Empire State building where he meets his sad fate. Tragic and Endearing, Kong is so convincing that the viewer forgets he is not real and sees him as a tragic victim of circumstance. Another classic that would be followed by inferior sequels and a number of big-budget remakes that failed to live up to this Hollywood classic.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

87 Days to Halloween- 1932 The Mummy

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1932 Universal horror thriller "The Mummy" starring Boris Karloff and directed by Karl Freund.

The Mummy (1932)

Dir- Karl Freund

Boris Karloff once again sets the screen afire with yet another excellent performance as a classic monster. He portrays an excavated mummy who is brought back to life by a Sacred Scroll. Ten years later the mummy, who is now in the guise of a scientist seeks to return his beloved princess with whom another modern woman matches. All the elements are present in this beautiful classic horror film that would be followed by many inferior copycats, Hammer remake, and a few recent productions.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

88 Days to Halloween- 1931 M

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1931 German Horror Thriller M  starring Peter Lorre and directed by Fritz Lang.

M (1931)
Dir- Fritz Lang

Set in a dark industrial world, M is the tale of a frightened city held hostage by a serial killer who is targeting children. The search is so intensive that the local crime organization joins in because the killer's reign of fear is bad for their business. Once identified with the eponymous M, the killer finds himself at the mercy of an angry mob out for revenge. M was an intense film for its time with a subject matter that was a warning to families about watching out for their children. The film also tackled the important topic of the crime and what sort of justice can be had if it's at the hands of an angry mob. A powerful German Crime/Drama that has great Horror elements and will remain a classic of all three genres. Peter Lorre's first film and one of Director Fritz Lang's greatest movies.

Friday, August 3, 2018

89 Days to Halloween- 1930 The Cat Creeps

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the pre-Hays Code 1930 mystery thriller "The Cat Creeps" starring Helen Twelvetrees, Raymond Hackett and directed by Rupert Julian.

The Cat Creeps
Dir- Rupert Julian

A remake of the 1927 film "The Cat and the Canary" based on the story by John Willard, this version of the classic silent film featured sound and was one of the early horror films by Universal Studios. The movie is about a woman who stands to inherit a fortune unless she is found to be insane, this proves important as someone is plotting to drive her to insanity after the lawyer disappears under mysterious circumstances.  Unfortunately, "The Cat Creeps" is a lost film as no complete copy is available and only short clips remain to view. Despite this, "The Cat Creeps" featured a good cast and was directed by Rupert Julian who directed The Phantom of the Opera. The surviving clips of the film were made into a short film called "Boo!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

91 Days to Halloween- 1928 The Man Who Laughs

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The next film presented here is the 1928 American silent romantic drama The Man Who Laughs directed by Paul Leni and starring German actor Conrad Veidt

The Man Who Laughs (1928)
Dir- Paul Leni

A boy named Gwynplaine who was disfigured with a permanent smile after his Lord father was executed grows up working in the circus and finds love with a woman who is blind but true to him. Once his royal title is revealed he then must decide if he wishes to take his father's title or live the life of a commoner with the woman he loves. The Man Who Laughs is not really a horror story but like The Phantom of the Opera is a romantic tale that is best remembered for the disfiguring appearance of the main character. In a role created for Lon Chaney, German actor Conrad Veidt took up the task and created a character that would inspire one of the great comic book villains of all time The Joker. His role as Gwynplaine would be remembered for its freakish grin even if his name is not as well known as Lon Chaney.

92 Days to Halloween- 1927 London After Midnight

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The eighth film presented here is the 1927 American silent horror classic London After Midnight directed by Tod Browning and starring actor Lon Chaney. 

London After Midnight (1927)
Dir- Tod Browning

The sudden death of a wealthy man made to look like suicide sets into motion a mystery as to what may have lead to his death. A police inspector intends to uncover the truth of the suicide and will have each suspect undergo hypnotism to seek the truth while a mysterious man in a top hat accompanied by a thin woman seems to menace all the suspects. Lon Chaney appears in two roles as the Inspector and the mysterious man. It should be noted that this film was lost after the last copy was destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, a working film has been partially restored thanks to the effects of Turner Classic Movies. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

93 Days to Halloween- 1926 The Student of Prague

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The seventh film presented here is the 1926 German Expressionist silent horror classic The Student of Prague directed by Henrik Galeen and starring Conrad Veidt.

The Student of Prague- (1926) Germany
Dir- Henrik Galeen

A poor student named Balduin decides to sell his mirror image to a man named Scapinelli, a stranger he meets. In exchange for this, he is promised success and the love of an aristocratic woman. When his doppelganger becomes an annoyance, he actively seeks to halt it. This classic tale was told in Edgar Allan Poe's story of William Wilson and makes a great early chiller for its wonderful setting and direction. Unlike its predecessor, this version had a better budget and better feel due to the many years of progress made in filmmaking. This silent remake would be remade once again with sound in 1935.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

94 Days to Halloween- 1925 The Phantom of the Opera

94 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The sixth film presented here is the 1925 American silent horror classic The Phantom of the Opera directed by Rupert Julian and based on Gaston Leroux's novel Le Fantome de I'Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Dir- Rupert Julian

After 90 years no one has yet to match the unforgettable presence of Lon Chaney as the disfigured skull-faced Erik, who courts a lovely young singer in the Paris Opera House behind a faceless mask. A sad tale of a man who is driven into madness and becomes a monster due to rejection and hatred from those around him. Chaney's presence is unforgettable in such scenes as his appearance as Poe's Mask of the Red Death during the masked ball, the abduction scene through the catacombs of the opera house and the famous unmasking which even today packs a shocking blow. Phantom is remembered as a classic horror and tragedy, and Chaney's portrayal would establish an archetype that has yet to be matched even by the romantic musical version of The Phantom

Saturday, July 28, 2018

95 Days to Halloween- 1924 The Hands of Orlac

95 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The fifth film presented here is the 1924 Austrian silent thriller The Hands of Orlac directed by Robert Wiene and starring Conrad Veidt.

The Hands of Orlac
Dir- Robert Wiene
A concert pianist named Paul Orlac loses both his hands after a train wreck, his wife pleads with a doctor to save them, so he transplants the hands of a murder. Soon after Orlac feels the hands are not those of an ordinary man and not only is he unable to play the piano he feels the urge to harm others. The Hands of Orlac follows some of the expressionist techniques of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari without the bizarre visuals. Despite the seemingly absurd plot, the portrayal of Paul Orlac stands out, and the film did gain some controversy concerning the use of fingerprint impressions, but these techniques were shown to be fantasy. The Hands of Orlac was remade twice, and the concepts used in the film have been utilized in more recent films.

Friday, July 27, 2018

96 Days to Halloween- 1923 The Hunchback of Notre Dame

96 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The fifth film presented here is the 1923 American silent romantic drama classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame directed by Wallace Worsley and based on the classic novel written by Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Dir- Wallace Worsley

This adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel is notable for the casting of Lon Chaney and his extensive use of makeup to transform him into the crippled Quasimodo. The story centers on Quasimodo being sent to kidnap a beautiful gypsy girl named Esmeralda who is desired by the evil brother of the archdeacon. Esmeralda takes sympathy on the crippled man as she is thrust into a plot that involves a peasant revolt and attempted murder of an officer who has also taken a liking to Esmeralda.    

Thursday, July 26, 2018

97 Days to Halloween- 1922 Nosferatu

98 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The fourth film presented here is the 1922 German silent classic Nosferatu directed by FW Murnau and written by Henrik Galeen based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker

Nosferatu (1922) Germany
Dir- F.W. Murnau
In all of cinema history, no villain has ever topped Dracula in darkness and evil, and no version of the vampire has yet to match Max Schreck as the dreaded Count Orlok. Considered to be the first vampire movie and as one of the most creepy looking monsters to grace the screen. Count Orlok swept through the German town of Bremen (Wisborg in some film prints) like a plague claiming the innocent until a brave heroine takes it upon herself to stop this monster. Schreck's somewhat stiff and corpse-like Count makes this film a pure classic and as well as a pioneer of horror. The film was almost lost after a lawsuit by the family of Bram Stoker successfully had most copies of the film destroyed yet copies were found and restored to preserve this classic film.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

98 Days to Halloween- 1921 Destiny

98 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The third film presented here is the 1921 German expressionist film Destiny aka Der Mude Tod directed by Fritz Lang and written by Fritz Lang & Thea von Harbou.

Destiny aka Der Mude Tod
Dir- Fritz Lang

This German expressionistic anthology follows a young woman who confronts Death after he took her beloved despite helping Death in the opening scene. Death then offers a challenge to the young woman to use love to save one life in three tragic romances set in exotic locations that include the Middle East, Italy, and China. With love as her inspiration, she feels that she will defeat death and save the man she loves. Destiny was inspired by the Indian tale of Sati Savitri as well as the personal tragedies faced by Fritz Lang. The film was praised for its photography, direction, and use of special effects to create the ghosts as well as the use of a flying carpet in the Middle Eastern story.     

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

99 Days to Halloween- 1920 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

99 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The second film presented here is the 1920 German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari directed by Robert Wiene and written by Carl Mayer.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari-(1920) Germany
Dir- Robert Wiene
Long considered to be the first true horror movie, Dr. Caligari is the archetype mad scientist out to do evil deeds with the aid of a sleepwalker named Cesare. Cesare murders those whom the Doctor feels are too close to his evil deeds. The setting is both nightmarish and expressionistic in its use of exaggerated sets and weird angles. The shock ending is only the icing in a movie that invents a whole genre of horror devices- the mad scientist, the zombie, the helpless heroine carried onto the roofs.

Monday, July 23, 2018

100 Days to Halloween- 1919 The Plague of Florence

100 Days to Halloween 

Over the next 100 days, I will present one movie of significances in horror, suspense or thrillers for each year from 1919 to 2018. The first film presented here is the 1919 German silent film Die Pest in Florenz (The Plague of Florence) directed by Otto Rippert and written by Fritz Lang.

Die Pest in Florenz (The Plague of Florence) 1919

An exotic woman arrives in the town of Florence during the 14th Century and charms the whole community including the towns leader and his son who both fall madly in love with her. As the town falls into wanton behavior a mysterious woman arrives with a terrible curse. The story was based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story The Masque of the Red Death.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

They Paid To Be Scared But How Much Will It Cost Them

Ruin Me (2017)
Dir- Preston DeFrancis

With the popularity of horror films, haunted houses and escape rooms there is a great environment for upping the ante for the ultimate horror experience. In the movie Ruin Me by Preston DeFrancis a young woman named Alex and her boyfriend Nathan join a group of strangers in a horror movie experience called Slasher Sleepout that puts them in the woods with tasks to compete while being stalked by an unknown assailant. What is at first playful turns deadly serious when one of their party appears to be murdered by someone who wanders into their camp leaving the rest of the group searching for a way out. "Ruin Me" plays out as a standard slasher movie, yet the movie does take some creative turns that set it apart from the usual slasher fare. Marcienne Dwyer plays Alex with confidence that hides her deep secrets that are revealed as the film progresses. Matt Dellapina as the supportive boyfriend Nathan will have you hoping he can get them to safety. "Ruin Me" may start out like a copycat 80's slasher film but don't let that fool you as the film does offer some interesting twists and will keep you guessing to the very end. What also helps "Ruin Me" is the relatively unknown cast that adds to the genuine feel of the film as you are not sure who will be next and if all of this is for real or part of the experience.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Sometimes the biggest terrors are found in a house of God

The Devil's Doorway (2018)
Dir- Aislinn Clarke

One of the worst real-life horrors were the Irish Magdalene Laundries that held "fallen" young women and forced them to work without pay to seek redemption for their sins. Irish director Aislinn Clarke's film "The Devil's Doorway" uses a Magdalene Laundry as the backdrop for this found footage movie that focuses on a pair of priests who are sent to investigate a reported miracle. The elder priest Father Thomas is a scholarly man who has traveled the world and is very skeptical of events like the one he is sent to check out. His younger colleague Father John films the events using a 16mm camera and displays a much more hopeful outlook on the possibility of witnessing a blessed sign from the Lord. Once inside the Laundry, they are met with hostility from the Mother Superior and appalled by the conditions the young women are subjected to. Yet the real terror emerges when the younger priest begins to hear voices of children in a place that has no children and witnesses some unexplained events. It gets worse when the two priests find a young pregnant woman who has the staff on edge and what happens next will test the faith and stamina of the two priests. The Devil's Doorway effectively captures the dismal condition of the notorious Irish Catholic Laundries that were prisons for many young women who worked like slaves and often had no legal protections. Ms. Clarke spent years researching the history of the Magdelene Laundries and uses an old manor house and linen mill as the setting for the movie. The institutional look of the buildings reminds one of prison while creating the perfect environment for the found footage setup. The movie does follow common tactics of found footage movies so much of the film will seem familiar, yet the realistic looking sets and dark interiors will terrify you as the events unfold.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

10 Great Horror Films of 2018 So Far

The Ritual 
The Ritual plays on a theme similar to that of Deliverance as well as The Descent. Both films center on a group of friends who find their friendship challenged when they get lost and face a threat in the woods. The Ritual does make efficient use of the wooded scenery that adds significantly to the element of fear in much the way that The Blair Witch Project did two decades ago.

Mom and Dad 
A mysterious static noise triggers parents into killing their kids as mass hysteria sweeps the nation. Carly and Josh Ryan fight for their survival as their mom and dad plot their demise in this black comedy that features Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair.

Art, the Clown, was the center of the horror anthology All Hallows Eve and this film gives this most creepy clown a chance to showcase his bloody bag of tricks. Like the gory slashers of the 80's this film is bloody in its gore and surprisingly well made given its small budget and cult following.

A woman's sanity is called into question as she is committed to a mental institution against her will. While there she is being pursued by someone and not sure if its real or imagined. Unsane uses ones own suspicion and paranoia to fuel this creepy film directed by Steven Soderbergh and featuring Claire Foy.

Ghost Stories 
Andy Nyman appears in this creepy ghost movie that has him playing a skeptic who investigates a number of supposed hauntings. The cases are told in anthology format and follow in the tradition of the great English horror films of the 1960's. Martin Freeman also appears in this film that wowed the critics and has excellent word of mouth from the audience.

"Upgrade" is an intense action thriller that shows the perils that technology can offer despite the promises of making our lives better. In many respects, the movie reminded me of the original Robocop movie of the 80's with all the action, violence and some of the dark humor thrown in to lighten the mood.

This film is a more conventional horror film in the style of The Conjuring and does not rely on found footage. Instead, we see a paranormal movie that plays into the standard possession tropes that involve Quija board, Catholic teachings and misguided kids playing games they shouldn't.

A biologist is called in to investigate a region that has been quarantined with a mysterious force called The Shimmer. Once inside the team sent in to find the laws of physics don't seem to apply. Annihilation is a sci-fi horror thriller that critics complimented for its ambiguity and style that owes significantly to HP Lovecraft.

Hereditary is a slow burn kind of film that presents an uncomfortable situation for the family and throws in some shocking scenes and unsettling moments of terror. The young daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) stands out with her odd habits such as her tongue clicking as well as the creative but strange toys she makes.

A Quiet Place 
A year after an unknown event has left the world mostly empty of people a family somehow survives by keeping as quiet as possible. Despite all efforts to maintain as normal a life as the circumstance allows the threat of death looms closer as the family prepares for its future. How one can survive and fight back is portrayed quite effectively in this thriller from first time Director John Krasinski

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

15 Movies to Watch If You Love Jaws

Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Peter Benchley novel Jaws is a return to the major elements of fear and the use of suspense in telling a story. With its release in June 1975, Jaws proved to be a huge commercial success and became the first ever Summer Blockbuster. Here is a list of films that involve dangerous water creatures or terror on the sea. After 43 years it's still not safe to go back into the water.

Jaws 2 (1978) 
Sequel the 1975 Blockbuster picks up a few years later with a group of teens going sailing and getting stranded after a shark causes the boats to collide. Not as huge a movie as the first one yet the young cast are all likable, and you do cheer for them to survive.

Piranha Series (1978 & 2010) 
The original Piranha was a surprisingly fun Jaws ripoff that has become a cult classic and one that even Steven Spielberg liked. The 2010 remake is an amazingly well made B movie that amps ups the blood, gore and scares with a great cast and campy style. This remake is easily one of the best horror films of the past decade.

Deep Blue Sea (1999) 
The crew of a remote research facility finds trouble when their genetically modified sharks escape and show off their newly enhanced abilities as they stalk the survivors after a devastating hurricane has damaged the facility.

The Shallows (2016) 
A young woman travels to Mexico after her mother's death and goes surfing only to find herself injured and stranded on a small rock with a shark stalking her. She then must find a way to survive as the tide threatens her safety.

The Reef (2010) 
A yacht carrying friends sailing to Indonesia hits a reef and capsizes. The survivors then find more trouble when they become the target of sharks looking to attack. The Reef is based on an actual event that occurred in the early 1980s off the coast of Australia.

Open Water (2003) 
A couple on a scuba charter are mistakenly left behind by the crew of the boat and find themselves stuck in the middle of the ocean with no means of rescue in sight. They then face the elements as well as predators hoping to be rescued. Open Water was based on a real event and is a fictionalized account of what the couple may have faced when they were lost at sea. 

Orca (1977) 
A salty old fisherman faces off against a pissed off killer whale after he accidentally kills its mate. This Jaws ripoff is one of those rare movies that has you cheering for the deadly creature. A genuine drive-in classic that seems a bit absurd in a few scenes but delivers the goods and plenty of thrills.

Bait (2012) 
A group of shoppers is trapped in a grocery store after a tsunami floods their beach community only to discover that a deadly shark has swum into the store and begins to stalk them as they are waiting for help. As silly as this movie sounds it comes off better than you would expect and is surprisingly entertaining.

Shark Night (2011) 
A group of college kids vacationing on a remote lake finds themselves being attacked by sharks that are not only out of place but purposefully released by some group looking to profit on shark attack videos. This shark movie is not as well received as many of the other films on this list yet is still fun to watch for the over the top special effects and variety of deadly sharks shown.

47 Meters Below (2017) 
Two sisters on a Mexican vacation go on a shady boat tour that promises a once in a lifetime shark cage encounter that leaves them stranded under water after the cable breaks. With limited air and injuries drawing sharks it is a race against time to see if they can survive in this distressing thriller.

Sharknado Series (2013-2018) 
This franchise is pretty absurd, yet the movies are fun and best enjoyed if you sit back and watch the likes of Ian Ziering and Tara Reid battle all sorts of crazy storms and sharks flying about causing havoc. Get your chainsaw ready as there are now six movies as of 2018. 

Below (2002) 
A US Navy submarine picks up the survivors of an attack on Allied hospital ship. Once aboard the survivors begin to question the actions of the Captain and crew as they face an attack by an enemy ship and encounter some bizarre events that seem supernatural. 

Lake Placid (1999) 
A very salty Betty White highlights this movie about a giant saltwater crocodile that is feasting on the local wildlife and people in a Maine lake. The efforts to catch or kill the beast pretty much cover the plot in this standard monster movie. 

Deep Rising (1998) 
A group of armed mercenaries set out to hijack a luxury cruise liner on the high seas instead find an abandoned ship save for a few survivors who are terrified of something. They are then stalked by a savage seaborne tentacled creature that is an FX extravaganza of what is great and bad about CGI in action movies.

The Deep (1977) 
Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset's wet t-shirt highlight this thriller by the author of Jaws that focuses on the pair finding a sunken treasure and a World War Two era cargo ship that has a secret cargo that someone is willing to kill to get their hands on. No deadly sharks in this one but did I mention Jacqueline Bisset's wet t-shirt. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

10 Good and Bad Dad's for Father's Day

Daddy Stone- The Loved Ones (2012)

This father is willing to do anything to please his little girl even if it means kidnapping, hot water lobotomies and giving his daughter the best pink princess prom ever. 

David Drayton- The Mist (2007)

In the middle of an unknown foggy event, this dad must keep his cool while people panic and get carried away by giant critters and creatures of gigantic size.  

Steve Freeling- Poltergeist (1982)

You try to raise your family in a beautiful house only to find that a shady developer hid some details about that perfect plot of land. Plus he makes sure to keep the TV time down.  

John Baxter- Don't Look Now (1973)

Losing a child is the hardest tragedy that a parent can face and finding the strength to cope and overcome is what drives this couple to Italy in the hope that a new job will help ease the pain.

Daddy- The People Under the Stairs (1991)

A good mother and father believe that discipline is the best way to raise a child, yet what if the parents are complete whack jobs with a habit for kidnapping, murder, and a few other vices.

Chris Cleek- The Woman (2011)

This family man and an attorney is the model of the perfect husband and father, he will even help a wayward soul out who is in need of civilizing. Just ask this wife and daughter.

Daddy Meiks- Frailty (2001)

This father is on a mission from God to find and kill demons that are hiding in plain sight. The trouble is one of his sons may not be fully onboard with his father's mission from God.

Louis Creed- Pet Sematary (1989) 

Yet another father who must handle a difficult family moment until he finds a way to fix the mess. This solution is not as simple as he hopes and he will find that maybe it's best to leave the dead buried.

George Lutz- The Amityville Horror (1979)

A man marries a widowed mother of three and wants to provide the perfect home for his new family. The perfect house is found, but the recent history may be too much for this family to handle.

Jack Torrance- The Shining (1980)

Being isolated in a remote hotel can be a tough experience especially if your sanity is in question. It also does not help that the previous caretaker went nuts, but I'm sure All Work and No Play Will Make Jack a Dull Boy.