Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dark Was the Night (2014)

Dark Was the Night (2014)

Dir- Jack Heller

A small-town sheriff and his deputy try to keep the peace when the community notices bizarre tracks in town along with a series of brutal killings of animals and later people. Trying to get a handle on these events, the Sheriff must also work through some personal issues that have some in the town questioning if he is up to the task. Dark Was the Night is a 2014 creature feature directed by Jack Heller and starring Kevin Durand and Lukas Haas. The film is quite terrifying, and the mystery behind the brutal slayings adds to the tension as the Sheriff tries to protect his community and his family. The wintery setting and excellent creature effects make for a great thriller that will keep you terrified till the end. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

D-Railed (2018)

D-Railed (2018)

Dir- Dale Fabrigar

A murder mystery train ride is sidelined when a robbery goes wrong. The train derails into a river leaving a group of survivors at the mercy of something even more terrifying than armed robbers. D-Railed is a 2018 thriller directed by Dale Fabrigar and features a cameo by Lance Henriksen. This movie is best enjoyed when you don't read any reviews or descriptions of the plot. Although its low-budget D-Railed has a great premise, the cast effectively carries the story in a movie that features some twists that you may not expect. There are some great creature effects that fans of old-school monster movies should appreciate. Just a note that Lance Henriksen is only in the opening and closing scenes, so just be aware that he is not a significant character. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Dead Again in Tombstone (2017)

Dead Again in Tombstone (2017)

Dir- Roel Reine

Danny Trejo stars as Guerrero, a recently deceased outlaw who is bound to the Devil but seeks redemption by protecting his family from a band of soldiers looking for a stolen relic that could raise an army of the walking dead. Dead Again in Tombstone is a sequel to the 2013 movie Dead in Tombstone, also starring Mr. Trejo. Western-themed horror films are pretty rare, yet this supernatural-themed film plays like any standard western down to the frontier town with a saloon, country church, and cowboys in dusters. While the film is nowhere near the quality of The Unforgiven, Dead Again in Tombstone is entertaining with plenty of gunfights, desperados, and zombies. If you are a fan of Danny Trejo, this is a film you will enjoy along with Dead in Tombstone. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Apartment 143 (2011)

Apartment 143 (2011)

Dir- Carles Torrens

A trio of paranormal investigators visits a widower and his kids as they document reported incidents of strange phenomena. The group witnesses a series of bizarre events, including ringing phones with no callers, phantom door knocks, and flying objects. The researcher suspects these events may be related to the widower's deceased wife and daughter. Apartment 143 is a pseudo-documentary film that was directed by Carles Torrens, who is best known for his work on the 2016 film Pet. Despite the film being set in the US, Apartment 143 was filmed and produced in Spain under the title Emergo. The film relies on the found footage style to show occurrences that suggest a supernatural force at work. While terrifying, Apartment 143 does depend on the usual tropes found in films such as The Exorcist and The Blair Witch Project. Apartment 143 offers plenty of scares and provides some shocking moments to make the movie stand out on its own among the dozens of paranormal-themed found footage movies.    

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Chain Letter (2010)

Chain Letter (2010)

Dir- Deon Taylor

Chain letters were always a fun way to mess with people in the days before the internet with stories of terrible events that fell on those who did not share. The 2010 slasher Chain Letter takes this trope and pushes it into the internet era by showing a group of friends receiving mysterious chain letters on their phones only to find grizzly deaths that await them at the hands of a crazed murderer using chains. Deon Taylor directed Chain Letter and cast Nikki Reed in the lead. The film features Keith David, Brad Dourif, Bai Ling, and Betsy Russell in supporting roles. Chain Letter is a surprisingly gory movie in the style of Hostel or Saw, the story is at times rather implausible, but the death scenes are intense with some wicked plot twists thrown in. While Chain Letter may not be original, it certainly will surprise fans of ultra-gory slasher movies. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Hell Ride (2008)

Hell Ride (2008)

Dir- Larry Bishop

A motorcycle gang leader encounters several problems as a rival gang re-emerges, looking to take over their territory and their members. Hell Ride is a grindhouse-style film that mimics the style of biker films that were popular during the late 60s and early 70s. Hell Ride is directed by Tarantino regular Larry Bishop, who also stars as the gang leader known as the Victors. The movie has all the hallmarks of a Quentin Tarantino-style film and even features a number of Tarantino actors, including David Carradine, Denis Hopper, and Michael Madsen. Hell Ride is gritty, violent, and full of the kind of action that biker movies were known for. Quentin Tarantino was a producer on this film but did not appear.  

Monday, January 17, 2022

Scream at the Devil (2015)

Scream at the Devil (2015)

Dir- Joseph Paul Stachura

Some of the best horror movies come from situations where a person is left alone in an unknown setting and has to work through issues that question their sanity. Scream at the Devil is a 2015 psychological thriller that focuses on an artist with schizophrenia who battles through problems involving her husband's infidelity, annoying neighbors, and hallucinations that may make us question what we are seeing. Shari Shattuck stars as Mirium, and her struggles do make for a compelling story. Still, the rest of the film suffers from too many interactions with random visitors that don't seem to work in this movie. Scream at the Devil is trying too hard to follow in the style of classic isolation thrillers like Repulsion. There are some fun cameos by Bill Oberst, Jr, and Tony Todd, but these are just minor roles, and their talents seem wasted on this movie. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Haunting at Silver Falls (2013)

A Haunting at Silver Falls (2013)

Dir- Brett Donowho

A Haunting at Silver Falls is a supernatural thriller directed by Brett Donowho and starring Alix Elizabeth Gitter. The troubled girl named Jordan moves in with her aunt and uncle after her father dies. She soon encounters a pair of ghosts of a wrongly murdered man as she discovers secrets that may put her life in danger. Using a real-life murder as an inspiration, director Donowho weaves a unique story that features a supernatural event with a more true crime event. Alix Ginter is well cast as the troubled teen, and her search for answers makes this ghost story a little different as the film reveals the true nature of the plot. A Haunting at Silver Falls looks well made for a low-budget movie and appeals to horror fans who enjoy ghostly crime tales.  

Friday, January 14, 2022

Shangri-La: Near Extinction (2018)

Shangri-La: Near Extinction (2018)

Dir- Nick Wauters

A small group of renegades travels the plague-stricken frozen wasteland of Earth undergoing a manufactured ice age, looking for clues to a fabled sanctuary they call Shangri-La. Unfortunately, they face danger from soldiers who are set on stopping them as they try to find trust with new members they pick up along the way as well as their unique superhuman abilities. Shangri-La: Near Extinction is an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that almost seems like a failed tv pilot rather than a stand-alone movie. The actors are all unknown, and the sets are minimally decorated warehouses suggesting this may have been done to seek out financing for a series of films. The events also jump around with several flashbacks to explain the viral outbreak and the drastic attempt taken to contain the pandemic. Shangri-La: Near Extinction does have some good storylines, but the extensive use of flashbacks will make you wonder if the director took two different movies and combined them into one. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Dark Encounter (2019)

Dark Encounter (2019)

Dir- Carl Strathie

A young girl disappears from her home, and the family's grief is shown a year later when a memorial service is held to offer closure. However, that evening the circle of friends and family witness a series is strange lights that put them all on edge as they fear it may be related to the disappearance. Dark Encounter is a 2019 sci-fi thriller directed by Carl Strathie and starring Laura Fraser, Vincent Reagan, and Alice Lowe. Despite the film being set in the US, Dark Encounter was filmed in the UK, with most actors not showing a hint of an accent. The movie does feature a series of terrifying events that fans of alien abduction movies will appreciate, yet the film is more than it appears to be and worth the time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Coven (2020)

Coven (2020)

Dir- Margaret Malandruccolo

One of the most popular horror movies of the 1990s was the teen witch movie The Craft, featuring an impressive cast of young and talented ladies; the film was a hit with younger audiences and remained a popular film even after 25 years. The 2020 movie Coven tries to follow in the heels with a story that copies The Craft but with young women in lingerie. The young coven is seeking to unleash the power of an ancient witch named Ashura, and the leader promises any wish they desire despite not knowing how dangerous it is to dabble in dark arts. Directed by Canadian photographer and music video director Margaret Malandruccolo, Coven is beautifully shot for its small budget. The actresses benefit from her eye for fashion and the minimalist sets used for the rituals. Coven does feature a good cast of young actresses, but the film recycles the plot of The Craft too much to make the film nothing more than a derivative knockoff movie.   

Monday, January 10, 2022

Abominable (2020)

Abominable (2020)

Dir- Jamaal Burden

A research team travels to a remote mountain looking for a plant that can offer a cure for most illnesses. The team finds several challenges that include rival parties and a deadly creature that may not let off of the mountain alive. Abominable is a creature feature that does little to distinguish itself except for a memorable kill scene. The creature costume is laughable, and at times you can see visible signs of gloves and sleeves. The one decent note is the practical effects that offer some gory kills and the kill mentioned above, making the movie worth checking out. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Harpoon (2009)


Harpoon (2009)

Dir- Julius Kemp

Iceland is a nation that is rarely mentioned in movies unless it is a Cold War thriller, so it is unique to find a horror movie set in such a remote area. After a freak accident kills the captain of a whale-watching boat, the international guests are rescued but fall prey to a group of people on an old whaling ship who have turned to hunt humans on their rusting ship of horrors. Harpoon is a 2009 Icelandic slasher movie notable for the appearance of Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface actor Gunnar Hansen in a small role. Harpoon is a bloody movie with a fair amount of dark humor and creative kills that one has to appreciate the casting of Icelandic-born actor Hansen. The movie's plot and isolated setting on the old ship make it a nice homage to TCM, and it could have been called the Icelandic Harpoon Massacre as a result. Harpoon can also be found with the title Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Sacrilege (2020)

Sacrilege (2020)

Dir- David Creed

In recent years, movies about cults have become a popular trend, following notable films like The Wicker Man and Midsommar. Four lifelong friends decide to reconnect at a rural UK country home with a weekend to reconnect. They indulge in some of the local libations with a nearby festival that results in them confronting their fears. Whether they will survive will depend on their choices, and if they are strong enough to face the dangers they don't know are present. Sacrilege is a 2020 UK horror film that uses the reliable horror trope of outsiders facing troubles from a seemingly peaceful community. As a result, the film is another knockoff of The Wicker Man with a cast of unknown actresses as the victims. However, the film does have some beautiful scenery, and the location is idyllic as it was filmed in Wales. If you haven't watched Wickerman or Midsommar, this movie will scare you the same way, but it certainly isn't in the same arena as those cult horror classics. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Gothic Harvest (2019)

Gothic Harvest (2019)

Dir- Ashley Hamilton

Mardi Gras horror is a sparse genre, with Hatchet being the only significant movie worth checking out, so it is welcoming to find another movie set in New Orleans. Four women partying meet a handsome gentleman who invites one of the ladies to dine with his family in their Southern Plantation. When her friends notice her absence, they find a local voodoo expert who is happy to help and explains that their friend's life is in danger. Gothic Harvest is a movie that plays off the stardom of horror superstars Bill Moseley and Lin Shaye. Still, it follows in the footsteps of films like Spider Baby and Texas Chainsaw as families avoid having dinner. Gothic Harvest is a confusing movie in that it seems to be a vampire movie without vampires and instead plays off underutilized voodoo tropes. The acting is decent, but the film seems to be a mess of random horror tropes instead of just playing on the voodoo lore and crazy family aspect. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Altered (2006)

Altered (2006)

Dir- Eduardo Sanchez

Five friends were abducted by aliens 15 years ago; only four were found. Fifteen years later, they have captured one of the creatures, and their greatest fear is now what to do with it. Directed by Eduardo Sanchez, Altered is a tension-filled tale that focuses on the aftermath of a terrifying event and how it has affected the survivors who are lifelong friends. Director Sanchez is best known as one of the men behind The Blair Witch Project, and his direction of Altered shows his skill in using setting and isolation to create a compelling and scary story inspired by the film Fire in the Sky. The alien and gore effects are done well and don't distract too much from the good performances by the small cast.  

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)


Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Dir- Al Adamson

A young couple visits a castle and encounters an eccentric couple who plans to imprison them to satisfy their bloodthirst. Directed by legendary B movie director Al Adamson, Blood of Dracula's Castle has the look of a low-budget movie with actor John Carradine receiving top billing despite his role as the family butler. Alexander D'Arcy portrays Count Dracula, but he might have settled for Count Chocula as his part is pretty dull compared to Carradine's role. One of the other problems is the film's poor quality that may result from a degraded master print that is in desperate need of restoration.      


Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Haunting of Molly Bannister (2019)

The Haunting of Molly Bannister (2019)

Dir- MJ Dixon

A family at Christmas time is surprised when their youngest daughter opens up a gift containing a doll that neither parent purchased. The daughter names the doll Little Molly after herself and speaks on behalf of the doll. However, her personality changes as the following months bring a series of terrible events that the family believes may be related to the daughter's doll. "The Haunting of Molly Bannister" is an English paranormal movie that mimics deadly doll movies such as Annabelle and Robert and does not stand out. The cast is decent, especially Tiana Rogers as Molly, but there isn't enough to make the film appear anything more than a copycat of other possessed doll movies.