Showing posts from October, 2017

Saw 2 (2005)

After spending last night at the Edgar Allan Poe reenactment, I decided that I wanted some violent horror for my Halloween night. Thinking back over the past month, I couldn’t believe that I had never reviewed half of the Saw franchise and figured that I would start that undertaking by revisiting Saw 2 from 2005.

Plot/ A detective and his team must rescue eight people trapped in a factory by the twisted serial killer known as Jigsaw.

The original Saw was one of the best horror/thrillers I had seen. It was atmospheric, dark, and the storyline was tremendous. Creating a sequel to a movie such as that is almost an impossible task. Yet, now after revisiting Saw 2, it is clear that Darren Lynn Bousman did just that with a tightly woven storyline that differs from the original but captures the essence of the classic perfectly. I remember when this one first came out and the clear differences between the two made it an uneven watch for me. However, today, that feeling is completely differen…

A Night with Edgar Allan Poe

With tomorrow being Halloween, it was nice to see the rain from the weekend clear and allow us to get out. Not knowing what tomorrow will hold, i was able to get tickets to see to something different: ANight with Edgar Allan Poe.
Tonight I had a chance to sit back and watch a tremendous performance by literary historian Rob Velella. During this hour and a half show at Fort Necessity Nation Battlefield, he was able to channel his energy and take us into the life and words of Edgar Allan Poe with a combination of well-known and lesser-known works including Shadow A Parable, The Oblong Box and of course, The Raven

This special evening program was held at the Visitor Center at Fort Necessity National Battlefield and the amazing performance drew a packed house. For me, as a huge Poe fan it was nice to see such such a diverse group on hand to learn about the works of one of the greatest authors of all time. Especially in a performance that was both entertaining and informative. 

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Having returned from a wet but amazing trip to Haunted Hills Estates, it was time to cocoon myself in a blanket and review the movie I decided on after watching Jigsaw last night. That movie was the 1981 classic An American Werewolf in London.

Plot/ Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Even after all these years, this movie remains one of the best werewolf films ever made. Complete with a great mixture of comedy, drama, gore, and horror, everything seems to fall perfectly into place. The storyline is both entertaining and interesting, the performances are outstanding, the dialog and scripting work and the special effects are tremendous, as they still run circles around much of the subpar work that is seen in films today. Most importantly, between the soundtrack and the masterful work of director John Landis, everything works to create a dark but uplifting atmosphere in a film that is an easy w…

Jigsaw (2017)

The weather outside today is absolutely miserable and I have until tomorrow for my trip to Haunted Hills Estates. While I could have sat and watched some type of horror flick, instead, I decided to head out to the theater to see the next entry in the Saw franchise, 2017s Jigsaw.

Plot/ Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for ten years.

I was fun being back in the theater for one of my favorite franchises. For me, it has been too long, with the last time being for the Halloween re-release of the original a few years ago. While this one did not quite reach the level of the originals, there were many facets that left me again wanting more. The pacing was perfect, with the layered storyline continually moving forward instead of wavering during the non-action sequences, the storyline was interesting and tied into the series in…

Metamorphosis (1990)

With Halloween around the corner, it is nice to finally see the weather changing. In fact, the chill has been a refreshing change from the heat we had a few weeks ago. It is also a great excuse to watch horror movies of some type every night. My next selection is the 1990 entry Metamorphosis.

Plot/ Dr. Peter Houseman is a brilliant geneticist who is working on a serum, which will stop human aging, but his colleagues don't believe in his work. When his skeptical benefactors threaten his university funding, the doctor takes a desperate measure to justify his work. He administers the serum to himself, but the results are unexpected and horrendous.

This is one that I had no recollection of from my formidable years in the late 1980s, so I expected some low budget cheese. Guess what, that is exactly what I found with this one, and therefore, it may not have been quite as disappointing as many other viewers will say. While this is nowhere near a good movie, it isn’t terrible either. Sur…

Found Footage 3D (2016)

After spending so much time lost in the classics, I figured it was time to return to the present for my next review. That film is the 2016 entry Found Footage 3D that I found on Shudder.

Plot/ A group of filmmakers sets out to make the first 3D found footage horror movie, but find themselves IN a found footage horror movie when the evil entity from their film escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage.

This is one that I had never heard of and knew nothing about going into it. Unfortunately, I wish that I had an idea of what was in store. I have to admit that I enjoyed it more than most found footage films, although it does (in an attempted non-serious way) fall into many of the same traps that plague the subgenre. The storyline and premise are interesting (albeit almost predictable), as the attempt to spoof the found footage genre is somewhat original. The characterizations, dialog, and some of the gore does make it a better watch than most. Unfortunately, the satire only goes so …

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It has been a slow evening as I mentally prepare myself for the Halloween parade tomorrow and with that, I decided to finally venture into Riverdale. Before I got to that point tonight, I decided to watch the 1956 sci-fi/horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Plot/ A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

There many great sci-fi movies from the 1950s, most of which built on the paranoia of the era and created horrific narratives that resonated with the population of the day. In many ways, it is those elements that allow this somewhat simple storyline to develop into something much darker and memorable. This movie is a tremendous watch featuring solid performances, a claustrophobic dark atmosphere, perfect pacing, and a soundtrack that allowed everything to build a tense mood. Of course, the realism of the aliens being human added a depth that was often misplaced by the creatures in the rubber suits that…

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Over the past few days as I continue my countdown toward Halloween, I have enjoyed my trip back into the world of classic Universal Studios monsters. Today, I decided that it was time to venture into that world once again with the 1935 entry Bride of Frankenstein

Plot/ Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Sequels to movies can be a mixed bag with only a handful living up to the baseline set by the original. In this case, that could not be further from the truth, as it not only meets but also surpasses the original in almost every way. There is so much to like with this one, as it builds upon an idea mentioned in the Mary Shelly classic novel. The cast is wonderful with solid performances littered throughout including the returning stalwarts Colin Clive and Boris Karloff repeating their roles from the original, the setting and atmosphere work really well, the storyline is layer…

Dracula (1931)

After spending most of my night last night working on my video for the Poe Arts Festival Poetry contest, I decided to jump back into the classics today. My next selection from Shudder was the one that started it all, Dracula from 1931.

Plot/ The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

For me, this was one of my first horror films that I watched back in my younger days and one that still resonates with me today. While I do love the classic silent unauthorized adaptation Nosferatu, there is something with the adaptation that takes the Bran Stoker story to an all-new level especially when you remember that the movie was made in 1931. Whether it was the amazing performance by Bela Lugosi or the technical vision and work of Tod Browning, this film creates one of the most iconic and memorable films of the history of cinema. Of course, there are other factors that help make this one great. All of the performances are solid and work w…

Poe Arts Festival Entry - Darkest Night

As a huge fan of the works of Edgar Allan Poe there are times when I draw on him for inspiration. That was the case with this piece that was done for the POEtry Contest for the Poe Arts Festival. Please check out the video that was made for this contest (just remember, I am a writer not an actor)! #ShowUsYouPoe

Darkest Night

Help me please; protect me, as these shadows close,
Oh, what have I done, cleanse my darkest darkened heart.

The eyes! Stop…no! The eyes!
Staring deep within the bounds of my soul,
Why me, why now, why?
The screams grow louder as the howling winds grow,
Swallow me whole, silence my cries,
Bury me alive, inside these walls; entomb me by your side.

Midnight nears, hear the echoes of bells?
Fetid flesh binds every move; every quiver,
Scarlet tears, sips of blood, the oceans swell,
Your whispers call, heartbeats shiver,
Something is coming, something from the well,
Save me, do not allow me to die alone!

The aging stones hide the illicit deeds,
Your soul removed, impal…

The Invisible Man (1933)

With Halloween being right around the corner, it is fun to sit back and enjoy the classics from Universal Studios. Last night it was The Mummy, and tonight, I followed that one with the classic The Invisible Man from 1933.

Plot/ A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Being in a classics mood, this adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi classic may be one of the best movies of the golden era of the Universal Monsters. Complete with some of the best special effects of all time, this movie boasts tremendous creativity, cinematography, and technical aspects. The performances, especially Claude Rains, are outstanding, the storyline is interesting, and as I mentioned already the effects are tremendous especially considering that this movie was shot decades before the first computer was ever thought of. Yes, it does lack the scenery that made the other Universal Monster movies so memorable and the overall story lacks the layered depths of…

The Mummy (1932)

After watching an entire series last night in Lore, I decided that I wanted to go back to the roots of horror for my next movie and review. My viewing choice for the evening is the 1932 Universal Studios classic The Mummy.

Plot/ In 1921 a field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Im-Ho-Tep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. One night a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll aloud, and then goes insane, realizing that he has brought Im-Ho-Tep back to life. Ten years later, disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated into a beautiful young woman.

People who suffered through the latest reboot of The Mummy should definitely head over to Shudder and revisit the 1932 Universal Studios classic to burn the modern monstrosity out of their minds. While this is not a straig…

Lore (2017)

I know that I have been in a retro mood lately, but I decided to change things up as we creep closer to Halloween. With that in mind, I decided to marathon the Amazon Prime series Lore.

Plot/ This anthology series brings to life Aaron Mahnke's "Lore" podcast and uncovers the real-life events that spawned our darkest nightmares. Blending dramatic scenes, animation, archive, and narration, Lore reveals how our horror legends - such as vampires, werewolves, and body snatchers - are rooted in truth.

This was a series that I was actually looking forward to seeing. As a huge fan of folklore and the supernatural, this seemed right up my alley. Now that I have watched all six episodes, I can tell that this will be one of those series that falls into the love/hate category and there will be little middle ground. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed the series and found it both entertaining and informative. Yes, it was not perfect, but the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. Th…

And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)

Last night I decided to continue venturing down that retro path and turned to Shudder to find something interesting. After some debate, I decided on the 1973 gothic ghost story And Now the Screaming Starts!

Plot/ England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night, she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.

This was a different film than I expected and I was actually quite entertained by the odd elements that were added in. From Amicus Studios, this gothic ghost story offers an interesting (albeit somewhat clichéd) storyline that was brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Peter Cushing. The performances were solid, the cinematography and setting were captivating, the atmosphere was heavy, and the visuals and color pallet used was amazing. Yes, the special effects were lacking in quality and the end game was a bit drawn out, but those are small flaws…