The Conjuring Universe has become a significant horror movie franchise in the past decade thanks in part to Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga's portrayal of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of their most famous cases involved the cursed doll Annabelle, featured in many of the movies along with a massive collection of cursed objects in the basement of their Connecticut home. In this installment featuring Annabelle, the focus is on the Warrens 10-year-old daughter Judy (McKenna Grace) and her babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). After taking custody of Annabelle and learning of its dangers, the Warrens put the doll in a glass case and have it blessed by a priest. A year later their daughter Judy is shown reacting to the media attention her folks are getting and the harassment she faces. Her babysitter Mary Ellen is quick to defend her, and they plan a pre-birthday evening when Judy's parents go out of town. Mary Ellen's friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) decides to invite herself over and due to her curiosity accidentally unleashes evil spirits when she opens the case containing Annabelle. The events that follow will put the three girls lives in danger as the evil forces within Annabelle unleash the other spirits contained in the Warrens basement. Gary Daubermna sets Annabelle Comes Home in the Warren home putting special attention on the menagerie of cursed objects kept behind lock and key. The result is a film that blends A Cabin in the Woods with The Babysitters Club, yet it works so well in adding to the frightful nature behind those items. The film relies on old school horror techniques with no blood or gore, but plenty of jump scares both visual and audible. This entry is one of the better installments of the Conjuring franchise and ranks behind The Conjuring 1 & 2 and well ahead of The Nun. McKenna Grace and Madison Iseman carry the film quite effectively and stand out in a series that usually focuses more on the Warrens. The movie has positive reviews from critics and fans alike making this a film that will rank as one of the better franchise movies of the year.
In the past few months, I have undertaken a challenge of watching 300 horror movies I have not seen that are sitting on my massive watchlist. Many of these films include slashers, psychological thrillers, and the occasional horror comedy. I have also undertaken the task of watching several Italian crime thrillers that were popular in the 1960s and '70s called Giallo's. Giallo's were named for the cheap paperback crime novels with yellow covers popular in the pre-war era. These movies often had creative titles like Blood and Black Lace, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, and What Have You Done to Solange. These films were often crime thrillers that eventually matured into slasher films that were quite popular in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Giallos often employed a standard set of tropes that were ubiquitous to the films. Most featured a killer wearing black leather gloves and often featured murders from the perspective of the villain. Weapons used were most often knives, ropes or plastic bags with a convenient slash of the throat to get that bright red blood flowing. Giallos were usually set in Europe in cities like Rome, Paris or Milan and captured the beautiful architecture and prominent landmarks of those cities. The victims were beautiful women who were often models, students of a prestigious school or actresses in a stage production. As the story would unfold and victims were revealed, there were discussions by the characters of the film who were often witnesses and potential victims themselves, yet one more common lesser trope was the appearance of a distinctive bottle of liquor. In a region known for its fine wines and beers, the notable green bottle and yellow labeled Scotch J&B was often seen in the background or consumed by the cast.
Like a fun easter egg hunt I am now enjoying looking out for that distinctive green bottle that seems to turn up in Giallo films and several other horror films such as The Thing, Don't Look Now and even recent films such as American Psycho. As to why that particular brand of scotch is used it is most likely because the distinctive color of the bottle and yellow label stand out so well that even if it is in the background, you recognize that brand. The round bottle also makes it easier for it to roll and it's not uncommon for an actor or actress to knock a bottle of J&B over for a quick cameo. So next time you watch a thriller, horror or Giallo don't forget to look out for that bottle of J&B as it may be the last drink the characters get to enjoy.
Here is a collection of 8 fathers who fight to protect their families in the face of great danger.
Seok-woo (Train to Busan)
A workaholic businessman taking his daughter to his ex-wife becomes a better father in his daughter's eyes after he and others fight to survive amid a zombie outbreak on their way to Busan, South Korea
Dr. John Collinwood (The Last House on the Left)
John Collinwood is a devoted husband and father who despite his concerns, allows his daughter to attend a concert and even gives her a necklace. When their new houseguests are revealed to be responsible for his daughter's death, he and his wife exact revenge in a manner that is genuinely shocking.
Jesse Hellman (The Devils Candy)
Struggling artist Jesse Hellman finds the perfect home for his family and puts his attention on a contract piece that begins to haunt him as the house reveals a dark and sinister force that threatens his families safety.
David Drayton (The Mist)
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 enormous size.
Steve Freeling (Poltergeist)
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)
Losing a child is the hardest tragedy that a parent can face and find 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.
George Lutz (Amityville Horror)
A man marries a widowed mother of three and wants to provide the perfect home for his new family. The ideal house is found, but the recent history may be too much for this family to handle.
Lee Abbott (A Quiet Place)
In a country house, Lee Abbott tries to maintain a perfectly normal life with his wife and children making sure they make no noise at all in a world where dangerous and seemingly indestructible creatures have killed off most people and animals.
Here is a collection of fathers and father figures who you certainly don't want to have to call daddy.
Father (The People Under the Stairs)
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.
Jerry Blake/Henry Morrison/Bill Hodgkins (The Stepfather)
After walking out of the home of his freshly murdered wife, Henry Morrison changes his name and identity to seek out a new lonely widow to make his next victim. His latest stepdaughter Stephanie is at first skeptical but warms to him not realizing that he genuinely is dangerous.
Chris Cleek (The Woman)
This family man and an attorney is the model of the perfect husband and father, and he will even help a wayward soul out who needs civilizing. Just ask this wife and daughter.
Dad Meiks (Frailty)
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 on board with his father's mission from God.
Rev Harry Powell (Night of the Hunter)
Reverand Powell is a serial killer who learns of a widow who has a fortune and decides to marry her to determine the location of the money. The secret of the fortune resides in the doll of his stepdaughter and he is willing to kill to get it.
Papa Jupiter (The Hills Have Eyes)
Papa Jupiter leads his family of mutated adult children as they kidnap and murder people who wander into their desert domain.
von Geisler (Frontiers)
Herr von Geisler seeks the perfect guests in his family Inn to help keep his family traditions alive, those who fail to live up to his standards find a fate worse than death awaits.
Jack Torrance (The Shining)
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.
Daddy Stone (The Loved Ones)
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.
Don (28 Weeks Later)
During the Rage outbreak, Don does what he thinks is best to survive despite leaving out his wife and children's safety from his plan. His desire to seek forgiveness will only make things worse
Nathan Grantham (Creep Show)
Nathan Grantham built a fortune through dirty business practices and enjoyed making his spinster daughter suffer from his emotional abuse. She will learn that even in death, he wants his cake.
Doctor Genessire (Eyes Without a Face)
After his daughter had her face disfigured in an auto accident, a respected plastic surgeon uses his skills to help his daughter get a new face even if it takes a few murders to get the right face.
Frank Parker (We Are What We Are)
Family traditions are essential to every family, but in this family, the annual feast requires a special forbidden ingredient. Some traditions can be quite a mouthful.
A parent has a strong desire to protect their kids from the outside world, yet this family keeps their three adult children ignorant of the world outside the walls of their private home.
Louis Creed (Pet Sematary)
Another father who must handle a problematic 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.
This week I review a home invasion movie with a twist, better yet it has an ass-kicking final girl who will impress the hell out of you. So enjoy this week's Lowdown With the Losman film... You're Next
I just posted the first movie review video that will be part of my YouTube channel. These videos will be posted weekly or semi-weekly and will be edited by my brother Rob. These videos will join my Weekly Round-Up videos and other content related to my website and blog. So check it out and subscribe. The first video is for 2017 found footage movie Phoenix Forgotten.