Saturday, October 31, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Omen

The Omen is a 1976 movie that spawned three sequels (and a remake that didn't need to be made) and is my favorite horror movie of all-time. It starred Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Spencer Stevens, Patrick Troughton, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, and Leo McKern. Diplomat Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) doesn't want to tell his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) that their baby died at birth, so at a shady priest's urging, he adopts the baby of a woman who died in childbirth; the child is named Damien, and strange things happen in his presence because he just so happens to be the Antichrist. At Damien's (Harvey Stephens) fifth birthday party, his nanny hangs herself after shouting, "It's all for you, Damien!"  Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), who was there the night of Damien's birth, tries to warn Robert that Damien is not what he seems, but Robert refuses to listen because this is a horror movie. When Katherine takes Damien to a safari park, some animals run away from Damien, terrified, and others become violent, attacking the car Katherine and Damien are in. Kids scare me in general, but Damien is on a whole other level...he's such a little shit that he causes his mother to have a miscarriage after running his tricycle into her and knocking her over the upstairs railing; before Robert even knew that Katherine was pregnant, Father Brennan warned him that Damien would stop Katherine from having the baby.

I love The Omen, and watching the Omen Trilogy over a day or two inspired me to write my first Satan play...and now I've written almost twenty of them. Thanks, Damien!

My rating 10/10

Followed by:
Damien: Omen II
Omen III: The Final Conflict
Omen IV: The Awakening
The Omen (2006 remake)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Final Destination

Final Destination is a 2000 movie directed by James Wong (who also wrote the screenplay, along with Glen Morgan and Jeffrey Reddick) and starring Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Kirsten Cloke, Tony Todd, Seann William Scott, Amanda Detmer, and Chad E. Donella. After boarding a plane to Paris for his senior trip, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has a premonition about the plane exploding. He panics and gets kicked off the plane, along with a few of his fellow students, and they are horrified as they witness the plane explode during take-off. They're relieved to be alive, but soon realize that they're not off the hook...though they didn't die on the plane, Death is going to take them one way or another.

The idea that you can't cheat Death and that it will come after you until it gets you is a cool concept for a movie. I've seen all of the Final Destination movies, and they have some of the most creative deaths I've ever seen in movies, and after watching the first one again, I have no desire to get on a plane anytime soon. I really like Final Destination, and movies like this prove that the scariest villains are the ones you can't see.

My rating: 8/10

Followed by:
Final Destination 2
Final Destination 3
The Final Destination
Final Destination 5

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is a 2009 found-footage movie written and directed by Oren Peli and starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong, and Ashley Palmer. Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) move into a new house and soon begin experiencing paranormal activity (Hey, that's the name of the movie!) possibly caused by a demon that has been following Katie since childhood.

I first saw this movie not long after it came out on DVD, and I wasn't really scared while I was watching it, but I got scared afterward whenever I started thinking about it. For the first few nights after I saw it, I had a hard time falling asleep because I kept having thoughts like "What if the closet door just slides open by itself right now?" Most horror movies don't scare me at all since  the things I read about in the news every day are just as bad as the things that happen in these movies, but when I do get scared, it's usually because there's a ghost or demon involved. Paranormal Activity scared me more than most movies have because watching it feels like watching real people go through something awful.

My rating: 7.5/10

Followed by:

Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 3
Paranormal Activity 4
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 movie directed by Jim Sharman (who co-wrote the screenplay with Richard O'Brien) and stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, and Nell Campbell. An engaged couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) breaks down in a storm and goes to a nearby castle to use the phone. They happen to show up during the Annual Transylvanian Convention, so they meet an interesting array of characters, led by Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a mad scientist/transvestite who is keeping a man he created in his labratory.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which was a stage show before it was a movie) is a fun movie, and though all of the actors were great, Tim Curry was the clear standout as Frank N. Furter, one of the most memorable movie characters of the past forty years. The songs are catchy, and whenever I watch the movie, "The Time Warp" ends up getting stuck in my head for a few's a good song though, so I don't mind. : )

My rating: 8/10

Followed by:
Shock Treatment

Paranormal Jokes and Haiku on sale!

Paranormal Jokes and Haiku is on sale for 99¢ until November 2nd!

Paranormal Jokes and Haiku explores the lighter side of the won't get scared reading these poems and corny jokes about ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, and other creatures of the unknown! The book contains 49 haiku and 26 groan-inducing jokes from paranormal blogger Crystal Smith-Connelly (of the blog Why would you want to be normal when you could be paranormal?).

Why do they call him
Bigfoot? Are they trying to
Make him self-conscious?

What is a ghost's favorite instrument?

The boo-kulele

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Evil Dead the Musical at the Knight Theater

My husband and I like to go out of town to celebrate our anniversary every year, so this year we went to Charlotte to see Evil Dead the Musical at the Knight Theater. Evil Dead the Musical covers the events of the Evil Dead series, but it's even better than the movies because there's singing (everything is better with songs). All of the songs were great, but "Cabin in the Woods," "Housewares Employee," and "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed By Candarian Demons" are the ones I'll be listening to over and over again when I get the cast recording (which should be pretty soon since I ordered the CD as soon as I got back to the hotel after the show).

I loved Evil Dead the Musical, and all of the actors gave incredible performances. Trent Mills was perfect as Ash, our charming, badass hero, and Merritt Crews was wonderful as Shelly and Annie, two characters who couldn't be more different from each other. Crews, Michelle Nash, and Saphire Demitro all have beautiful voices, and I got chills when Nash harmonized with Mills during "Housewares Employee." I'm glad I got to see the musical with this cast...each actor was phenomenal in his or her role (both as a regular person and as a Candarian demon), they all had great comic timing, and I loved listening to them sing. Evil Dead the Musical is a hilarious musical with catchy songs and impressive special effects, and I hope I'll be lucky enough to see it again someday. I know I'm biased because I'm a playwright, but I think there's nothing greater than live theatre...there's nothing I'd rather see than a good musical that makes me laugh. If Evil Dead the Musical is coming to your town, you should really go see it...there's a good chance it'll be the most fun you've ever had at the theatre. : )

My rating: 10/10

Horror Movie Month: Re-Animator

Re-Animator is a 1985 movie directed by Stuart Gordon (who also wrote the screenplay, along with William J. Norris and Dennis Paoli) and starring Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, and Robert Sampson. The movie was inspired by an H.P. Lovecraft story called "Herbert West-Reanimator." At New England's Miskatonic University, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and his girlfriend Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) are shocked when Dan's new housemate, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), uses a reanimating reagent to bring Dan's dead cat back to life. When Dan tells the dean (Robert Sampson) about Herbert reanimating the cat, Dr. Halsey doesn't believe him and bars Dan and Herbert from the school. Desperate to prove that the reagent works, Dan and Herbert sneak into the morgue to test it on a corpse, but things don't go exactly as planned.

Re-Animator is a fun movie that will definitely keep you entertained. If you don't like gory movies, you might want to skip it, but if you don't mind gore, Re-Animator might be something you'll really enjoy.

My rating: 7/10

Followed by:
Bride of Re-Animator
Beyond Re-Animator

Monday, October 26, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Creep

Creep is a 2014 found footage movie directed by Patrick Brice, who co-stars in the movie with Mark Duplass (the two also wrote the script together). When Josef (Mark Duplass) posts a Craigslist ad in search of someone willing to spend a day filming him, videographer Aaron (Patrick Brice) answers his ad. Josef tells Aaron that he only has a few months to live and wants to record some videos for his unborn son since he won't be around to see him grow up. The filming starts in the bathtub, and of course things get weirder from there.

I enjoyed this movie and thought both actors gave impressive performances. I mostly know Mark Duplass from The League and The Mindy Project, so I had no idea he'd be so good at playing such a creepy character, but Josef was so creepy that I found myself looking over my shoulder quite a few times to make sure no one was sneaking up behind me. I also loved the ending and am really looking forward to the sequel. Creep is a realistic, unsettling horror movie (and the realistic ones usually scare me the most), and Josef is a fascinating character. People like Josef really exist, and they might live next door or work in your building...and that's terrifying.

My rating: 8/10

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a 2010 movie written and directed by Eli Craig and starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, and Jesse Moss. Hillbillies Tucker McGee (Alan Tudyk) and Dale Dobson (Tyler Labine) are mistaken for killers by a group of college students who are camping in the woods near Tucker's vacation home...the very woods where the Memorial Day Massacre took place twenty years earlier.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has been in my Netflix queue forever, and I don't know what took me so long to watch it...I enjoy horror movies that are also comedies, and this one was really funny. I don't normally laugh when people die in movies, but the deaths in this movie are so funny and creative that I laughed at every one of them. I don't know how these kids got into college because they're pretty dumb that a few of them accidentally kill themselves while trying to kill Tucker and Dale. All of the actors were great, and I'm happy that there's talk of a sequel...I would love to see Tucker and Dale in another movie. : )

My rating: 8/10

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Poltergeist (2015)

When I heard that a new Poltergeist movie was coming out this year, I knew I had to go see it. The trailer was pretty good, and I was sure I'd like it more than Poltergeist 2 and 3.  The 2015 version was directed by Gil Kenan and stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Jane Adams, Susan Heyward, and Nicholas Braun. This movie is about a different family than the one that was being tormented in the other Poltergeist movies, and I was glad that the little girl wasn't named Carol Anne in this one...after hearing that name more than 100 times in Poltergeist 3, I would be happy to never hear that name again. ; ) The Bowens are the ones being tormented this time around: father Eric (Sam Rockwell), mother Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), teenage daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), son Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements). When Madison is taken by evil spirits, the family must do everything in their power to bring her back, which includes enlisting the help of Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), the host of a show called Haunted House Cleaners (note to networks: please make this a real show ASAP).

I'm not one of those irritating people who think that no movie should ever be remade and then spends way too much time complaining about it on the internet, so I really liked Poltergeist. I enjoyed every minute of it, and while I wouldn't necessarily say the movie scared me (the original didn't either), there were parts that really creeped me out, and I spent the whole movie feeling a sense of dread and anticipation about what would happen next. Each member of the cast gave a wonderful performance (especially Sam Rockwell and Kyle Catlett), and I liked the way the movie used technology that wasn't around when the original Poltergeist came out in 1982 (drones, cell phones, GPS, etc.).  If you don't like clowns, you probably won't see this movie in the first place since there's a terrifying clown on the movie poster, but if you're planning on seeing it anyway, just be warned that there are a bunch of them in the movie (if I'm remembering correctly though, only one of them really does much). (Horror movies: making people hate clowns since 1990.) If I moved into a new home and found a box of creepy-ass clown dolls in the closet, I'd be tempted to burn the house down. ; )

My rating: 8.5/10

Friday, October 23, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Stephen King's It

Stephen King's It (based on the 1986 novel) is a 1990 movie directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and starring Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O'Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, and Tim Curry. Thirty years after seven kids fought back against an evil force that could take the form of a person's worst fear (though most often appeared in the form of Pennywise the clown), the group must reunite to battle it again.

Stephen King's It is a great made-for-TV movie and basically ruined clowns for everyone; I didn't think clowns were particularly funny as a child, but I didn't think they were scary until I saw Tim Curry as Pennywise. These days, it seems like most people think clowns are creepy, and scary clowns are a common sight in Halloween stores (I love decorating for Halloween, but my house is staying clown-free). Though It is longer than the movies I generally like to watch, I still enjoyed it because it's creepy and has great characters who are easy to care about.

My rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Exorcist

The Exorcist is a 1973 movie directed by William Friedkin and starring Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, and Jason Miller. It is based on a novel by William Peter Blatty. Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) is concerned when she notices her 12-year-old daughter (Linda Blair) exhibiting strange behavior after playing with a Ouija board. Doctors can find nothing wrong with Regan, so Chris enlists the help of Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), who agrees to perform an exorcism.

The Exorcist is considered by many to be the scariest movie ever made, and while it didn't scare me as much as I thought it would, I remember watching a DVD extra that talked about the real-life case that inspired the movie, and that scared the crap out of me. You can read about the case of Roland Doe here:

The Exorcist is a creepy movie, and I can see why it has scared so many people. All of the performances were great, and Linda Blair was incredible as young, possessed Regan...such an impressive performance for a 13-year-old. The version I watched this time was the theatrical version, but I watched a different version a few years ago that had a scene with Regan running down the stairs like a spider, and I thought it was creepier than anything in the original version of the movie. I have to say that Chris MacNeil is the most devoted mom ever...if I had been in her shoes, I would've been out the door after the whole "bed shaking and lifting off the floor" thing. I guess it's a good thing I'm never having kids. ; )

My rating: 8/10

Followed by:

Exorcist II: The Heretic
Exorcist III
Exorcist: The Beginning

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays on sale!

Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays is on sale for 99¢'s the perfect time of year to read about Satan! ; )

Satan is sure that his overachieving son will run Hell someday, but his wife has a secret that may change everything. Jesus wants to quit his job to start a Christian metal band, and now it's up to God to find a new Messiah...but the person he has in mind doesn't want the job. Will God be able to find a suitable Messiah? Will Christian metal be as terrible as it sounds, or will Jesus take the music business by storm? Will Satan and Angel's relationship survive Angel's betrayal? You'll find answers to these questions and more (How did Judas end up with a courtroom TV show?) in Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays.

Never Trust an Angel and Other Plays was voted best comedy book of 2013 in the Turning the Pages Book of the Year contest.

Horror Movie Month: Urban Legend

Urban Legend is a 1998 movie directed by Jamie Blanks and starring Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, Loretta Devine, Tara Reid, Michael Rosenbaum, and Robert Englund. When someone begins committing murders inspired by urban legends, college student Natalie (Alicia Witt) must try to figure out why all of the victims have ties to her.

I loved this movie when it first came out and liked that they incorporated various urban legends into the deaths because it made this movie different from all of the other slasher movies. I do skip the part where they use the "dog in the microwave" urban legend though because I can't handle it when bad things happen to dogs. Urban Legend is an entertaining movie, and I thought the killer's motive made more sense than the motives in some other horror movies.

My rating: 7/10

Followed by:
Urban Legends: Final Cut
Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 movie (based on the 1979 musical by Stephen Sondheim) directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jayne Wisener. In nineteenth century London, barber Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) murders his customers, then sends them through a trapdoor into a meat pie shop, where Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) bakes them into pies.

I love musicals, and Sweeney Todd is dark and twisted, so it was right up my alley. I liked the songs, and all of the actors gave wonderful performances...and even though Sweeney Todd is a murderer, I thought he was a likeable and sympathetic character. Pee-wee's Big Adventure is still my favorite Tim Burton movie, but Sweeney Todd is a close second.

My rating: 8/10

Monday, October 19, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Bad Milo!

Bad Milo! is a 2013 movie starring Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Mary Kay Place, Kumail Nanjiani, Toby Huss, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Root, and Peter Stormare.  Ken Marino (who is awesome in everything) stars as Duncan, a man who has been plagued with stomach problems for most of his life.  His doctor tells him to avoid stress, but Duncan's boss (the always hilarious Patrick Warburton) has other plans and puts him in charge of firing people.  Duncan soon discovers that a demon lives in him and comes out of his ass to kill people when Duncan is stressed out.

I really enjoyed Bad Milo!, and I'm so glad I got to see it.  All of the actors were great, and I thought that Milo was the cutest demon ever...he reminded me of Junior from Dinosaurs, but with razor-sharp teeth and a nasty smell (I'm assuming...he comes out of an ass, after all).  I recommend Bad Milo! to anyone who has a good sense of humor and isn't grossed-out by blood or ass demons. ; )

My rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Diagnosis: Death

Diagnosis: Death is a 2009 movie written and directed by Jason Stutter and starring Raybon Kan (who co-wrote the script), Jessica Grace Smith, Suze Tye, Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement, and Rhys Darby. During an experimental drug trial, Andre Chang (Raybon Kan) and Juliet Reid (Jessica Grace Smith) begin having hallucinations about demonic spirits and a double murder that occurred in the facility. The building (which was an asylum before it was a cancer ward) is on lockdown, and they must find the truth in order to escape.

I watched this movie because I love Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement, and Rhys Darby, and even though Jemaine and Rhys didn't get much screentime, I ended up liking the whole movie. All of the actors were great, and the movie was funny...especially the two scenes Rhys appeared in. Comedy is my favorite genre, so I'm always happy to find funny horror movies.

My rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Evil Dead

The Evil Dead is a 1981 movie written and directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, and Sarah York. Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker), his sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) and two friends stay at a cabin in the woods during spring break. Instead of the fun night they'd been planning, they end up accidentally raising the dead  (I hate when that happens.) when they find a book called the Necronomicon (aka Book of the Dead) and must fight for their lives.

I first watched The Evil Dead about a year ago, but I wanted to watch it again before I see Evil Dead the Musical at the end of the month. It's a fun movie, and the special effects are pretty cool...especially considering that the movie was filmed in 1979 on a fairly small budget. I'm really excited to see the musical...I like the movie, and adding a bunch of songs will only make me like it more because I'm basically obsessed with musicals. ; )

My rating: 7.5/10

Followed by:

Evil Dead II
Army of Darkness

Friday, October 16, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Stage Fright

Stage Fright is a 2014 movie directed by Jerome Sable and starring Allie MacDonald, Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf, Douglas Smith, Brandon Uranowitz, and Melanie Leishman. Ten years after her actress mother (Minnie Driver) was murdered backstage after a production of The Haunting of the Opera, Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) wins the lead role in a kabuki version of the same musical at theatre camp. However, someone is trying to put a stop to the killing everyone.

I love horror movies and musical theatre, so of course I had to watch Stage Fright...and after seeing it, I just have to say, "Stage Fright, where have you been all my life?" I loved Stage Fright, and I really wish there were more musical horror movies. I laughed out loud quite a few times during the movie and thought the deaths were pretty creative (and I loved that the killer made a pun or two whenever he murdered someone). The music and performances were great, and that theatre camp looks super-fun when there are no murders happening. ; )

My rating: 8.5/10

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Horror Movie Month: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 mockumentary about vampires living together in New Zealand, and it stars Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Ben Fransham, Jackie Van Beek, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, and Rhys Darby.  I've been a huge fan of Jemaine Clement ever since I saw Flight of the Conchords on HBO's One Night Stand ten years ago (so if anyone's ever wondered why I've had hamsters named Bret, Jemaine, and Murray, now you know why), so I'd been excited to see this movie for awhile and was thrilled that I got to see it on the big screen.  Jemaine co-wrote and co-directed What We Do in the Shadows with Taika Waititi, and what a wonderful movie they've made!  What We Do in the Shadows is, without a doubt, the best vampire movie I've ever seen...every actor was perfect in his or her role, and the movie was hilarious. The scene involving 317-year-old Viago (Waititi) and his female victim is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and I laugh just thinking about it.  I loved every second of the movie and would've been perfectly happy to stay in the theater and watch it again immediately (my theater didn't have this option though since they're only showing it once a day), so of course I bought What We Do in the Shadows the day it came out on DVD and watched it twice within the first few days I had it.

What We Do in the Shadows is the best movie I've seen this year, and I feel bad for anyone who hasn't seen it. Now that it's on DVD (and available to rent from Redbox), it shouldn't be too hard to find. You might not know it yet, but you need this movie in your life. ; )

My rating: 9/10

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Save Neville the Dog!

This isn't paranormal at all, but it's something I really care about, so I'm posting it here anyway.
To make a long story short, Neville the dog has been sentenced to death because of negligent parents. Shelter workers told these parents not to put their toddler on the ground near a group of playing dogs, but the parents chose to do exactly what they were told not to do, which resulted in their child being bitten after he cornered and grabbed Neville. Neville has been sentenced to die on October 17th, and those of us who care about injustice and animal rights are trying to save him. You can read more about the story and sign the petition here:

Nearly 200,000 people have signed so far, but of course Neville needs as many signatures as possible, so please sign the petition and share it. Thanks! : )

Horror Movie Month: House of 1000 Corpses

House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 movie written and directed by Rob Zombie and starring Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Matthew McGrory, Sheri Moon Zombie, Karen Black, Erin Daniels, Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, and Rainn Wilson. In 1977, the day before Halloween, Jerry Goldsmith (Chris Hardwick), Bill Hudley (Rainn Wilson), Mary Knowles (Jennifer Jostyn), and Denise Willis (Erin Daniels) are in search of strange roadside attractions for a book they're writing. After Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), owner of The Museum of Monsters and Mayhem, tells them the legend of Dr. Satan, they decide to find the tree where Dr. Satan was hanged. On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker (which of course ends up being a huge mistake since this is a horror movie) and are soon taken prisoner by her family.

House of 1000 Corpses is a brutal, yet entertaining movie, and the Fireflys are the most twisted family I've ever seen...they make the Manson Family look like the Brady Bunch. I'm a fan of Rainn Wilson and Chris Hardwick, so I liked seeing them in the movie even though I didn't like how their characters ended up.

My rating: 7.5/10

Followed by:

The Devil's Rejects

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a 1980 movie directed by Sean S. Cunningham and starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Kevin Bacon, Jeannine Taylor, Mark Nelson, and Robbi Morgan. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for years because of a drowning and two brutal murders that happened there. Twenty-one years later, the camp is being prepared for reopening, and the counselors are stalked by a killer who wants to make sure the camp stays closed forever.

I haven't seen most of the Friday 13th movies (only the first, second, and Freddy vs. Jason), but I liked the ones I've seen, so I'm going to try to watch all of the ones the local library has. I remember reading the Friday the 13th book series when I was younger (probably before I ever saw any of the movies) and really liking them, and I know I played a Friday the 13th Nintendo game too (Fun fact: According to Wikipedia, the Friday the 13th game is considered one of the worst Nintendo games of all time.)

My rating: 7.5/10

Followed by:

Friday the 13th Part II
Friday the 13th Part III
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
Jason X
Freddy vs. Jason
Friday the 13th (2009 reboot)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Zombieland

Zombieland is a 2009 movie directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray. Two months after most of the American people have been turned into zombies, survivors "Columbus" (Jesse Eisenberg), "Tallahassee" (Woody Harrelson), "Wichita" (Emma Stone), and "Little Rock" (Abigail Breslin) join forces to try to find a non-zombiefied place to live.

A little about the non-zombies of Zombieland:

"Columbus": has IBS and tons of phobias
"Tallahassee": obsessed with Twinkies and great at violently killing zombies
"Wichita" and "Little Rock": sisters and con artists
Bill Murray: awesome

I'm usually not that into zombie movies, but Zombieland is funny and has a cameo by Bill Murray, so it's my favorite of the zombie movies I've seen. Though the movie is a comedy, some of the zombies are pretty scary-looking...especially the clown zombie (of course).

My rating: 8/10

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Mist

The Mist is a 2007 movie written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, and Toby Jones. The movie is based on a novella by Stephen King, and it's my favorite movie based on his work. When a strange mist envelops a small Maine town after a bad storm, the townspeople must fight for survival against the monsters the mist brought with it.

I really like The Mist and thought all of the performances were great...especially Marcia Gay Harden as religious fanatic Mrs. Carmody. (I think I would've taken my chance with the monsters rather than stay trapped in a grocery store with this insufferable woman.) The movie's ending is heartbreaking, and it's one that pissed a lot of people off, but it's an ending I've never forgotten and probably never will. The monsters are pretty scary and realistic (they look like giant insects, and the big ones can rip a man in half), but if you really hate spiders, you might want to skip this one. ; )

My rating: 8/10

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Hell Baby

Hell Baby is a 2013 movie written and directed by the hilarious Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.  Hell Baby stars Rob Corddrey, Leslie Bibb, Keegan-Michael Key, Michael Ian Black, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, David Pasquesi, Riki Lindhome, and Kumail Nanjiani, along with Lennon and Garant.  Jack (Rob Corddrey) and Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) move into a (unbeknownst to them) haunted house in New Orleans known as the "House of Blood."  Vanessa begins acting strange soon after they move in, and though Jack wants to believe it's just because of the pregnancy, there's really something more sinister going on.  The Vatican sends Father Padrigo (Thomas Lennon) and Father Sebastian (Robert Ben Garant) to help, but they are easily distracted by sandwiches and strippers.  A rottweiler keeps showing up in the yard, staring at the house, which I'm going to assume is a nod to The Omen, which also featured rottweilers and was about a demon child (and is also my favorite horror movie).

I love many of the actors in Hell Baby, and they all did a wonderful job, especially Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel as two of the worst cops ever...they would be right at home on Reno 911.  Some of the movie's biggest laughs come from Keegan-Michael Key as the neighbor who tells Jack and Vanessa about the history of their home and has no boundaries. I loved everything about the movie, and the hell baby was pretty scary...though to be fair, I think regular babies are kind of scary too. ; )

My rating: 9/10

Friday, October 9, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Red State

Red State is a 2011 movie written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Michael Parks, Kerry Bishé , Nicholas Braun, Melissa Leo, Kevin Pollack, Stephen Root, Anna Gunn, and Matt Jones. When teenagers Travis (Michael Angarano), Jared (Kyle Gallner), and Billy Ray (Nicholas Braun) go to Cooper's Dell for sex with a woman Jared met online, she drugs them instead of giving them what they came for. They wake up in the Five Points Trinity "church," which is led by homophone/bonafide crazy person Abin Cooper (Michael Parks).

Not much scares me more than Westboro Baptist Church-like hatred and delusion (and in this case the crazies have assault weapons), so Red State is the scariest movie I've ever seen. All of the performances are great, and I like that the movie stars actors from some of my favorite TV shows (Newsradio, Veronica Mars, and Breaking Bad). Michael Parks sure knows how play a villain that might give me nightmares (he was also great as the villain in Kevin Smith's Tusk), and I'd rather be stalked by Michael Myers than spend five minutes with Abin Cooper and his brainwashed family/followers. ; )

My rating: 8/10

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Halloween

Halloween is a 1978 movie directed by John Carpenter and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, Nick Castle, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, and Brian Andrews. Fifteen years after being committed to a sanitarium for murdering his older sister, Michael Myers (Nick Castle) escapes and begins a reign of terror in his hometown while his psychiatrist (Donald Pleasence) desperately tries to prevent Michael from killing his younger sister (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. The movie takes place on Halloween, of course, because Michael Myers is a jerk and wants to ruin the best holiday for everyone. ; )

The first time I saw Halloween, I thought it was kind of boring, so I tried watching it again...I didn't think it was as boring this time, but it still couldn't keep my attention as well as some other horror movies (Scream, for example, which never loses my attention even though I've watched it a bunch of times). However, I do think that Jamie Lee Curtis gave a great performance, and John Carpenter's score was really effective in giving the movie a creepy and ominous feel. The fact that Michael Myers stays silent throughout the film somehow makes him seem scarier than villains like Freddy Krueger, Ghostface, etc....though maybe that's because he kind of reminds me of the creepy silent guy who used to stalk me at the library. ; )

My rating: 7/10

Followed by:

Halloween II
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Halloween: Resurrection
Halloween  (2007 prequel/remake)
Halloween 2 (2009 sequel to the 2007 remake)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Unfriended

Unfriended is a 2014 movie directed by Leo Gabriadze and starring Shelley Hennig (who you know from Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous if you're a cool person who likes things that are hilarious), Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halveron, and Heather Sossaman. Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) killed herself at her high school after her classmates posted an embarrassing video of her (entitled "LAURA BARNS KILL URSELF") online. The movie takes place on Blaire Lily's (Shelley Hennig) laptop exactly one year after Laura's death when Blaire begins receiving messages from Laura's Facebook account.

Having everything take place on a computer screen is an interesting concept, and though it seems like that could get boring after awhile, it never did. I enjoyed Unfriended and thought the deaths were pretty creative, so I'll definitely watch the sequel when it comes out.

My rating: 7/10

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Horror Movie Month: A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 movie directed by Wes Craven and starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, and Nick Corri. In Springfield, Ohio, teenagers are stalked in their dreams by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a serial killer who has burns all over his face. His weapon of choice is a glove with razors attached to it, and if he kills someone in their dreams, they die in real life too.

I haven't seen many of the movies in this franchise (just this one, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, and Freddy vs. Jason), but I really liked the first movie in the series. The idea of someone being able to kill you in your dreams is a cool and scary concept, and the deaths were pretty creative (Johnny Depp in particular got an epic death scene in his film debut).

My rating: 8/10

Followed by:

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Freddy vs. Jason
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010 remake)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Horror Movie Month: The Conjuring

The Conjuring is a 2013 movie directed by James Wan and starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston.  It is based on a true story involving clairvoyant Lorraine (Farmiga) and demonologist Ed (Wilson) Warren and the haunted house of the Perron family.  The movie begins in 1968 with The Warrens being consulted about a possessed thing I've noticed about supposedly haunted or possessed dolls is that the dolls are usually pretty creepy-looking and kind of look like they would be haunted (I'm so glad my family never gave me any old, horrifying dolls).  Luckily, the scary doll isn't in the movie too much since I was already creeped-out five minutes into the movie because of that thing.

The movie skips ahead to 1971, when Roger (Livingston) and Carolyn (Taylor) Perron and their five daughters move into a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island.  Their dog refuses to go inside the house, which should've been a pretty big clue that something is off with the place, and paranormal activity starts occurring almost immediately.  After one of the daughters sees a spirit in her sister's room, Carolyn contacts Lorraine and Ed for help.

The Conjuring is one of the scariest movies I've seen in the past few years, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even scarier.

My rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Dead-Alive

Dead-Alive (aka Braindead) is 1992 movie directed by Peter Jackson and starring Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, and Ian Watkin. On Skull Island in 1957, explorer Stewart McAlden (Bill Ralston) is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey, so his team kills him and ships the monkey to New Zealand's Wellington Zoo. Later (we're not sure how much later), Lionel Cosgrove's (Timothy Balme) mother (Elizabeth Moody) is bitten by the monkey while spying on Lionel and his date (Diana Peñalver) at the zoo. Lionel then must take care of his zombie mother (who was bad enough when she was just a regular person) and keep her victims hidden in his house.

Dead-Alive is really disgusting and violent in parts, but it does have New Zealand accents, an ass-kicking priest, and a creepy zombie baby, so it's worth watching. The movie is pretty ridiculous, but in a good way, and though it's disgusting enough that I felt nauseous during most of it, I recommend it anyway. Just don't eat anything while you watch probably won't stay down. ; )

My rating: 7.5/10

 (The movie is really expensive on Amazon, so if you want to see it, try checking your local library system...that's where I found it, so yours might have it too.)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Child's Play

Child's Play is a 1988 movie directed by Tom Holland and starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent, Dinah Manoff, Tommy Swerdlow, and Raymond Oliver. When serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) is shot by detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) in a toy store, Charles uses voodoo to transfer his soul into a doll. Karen Barclay (Catherine Hicks) gives the Chucky doll to her son (Alex Vincent) for his birthday, and it turns out to be the worst birthday present ever.

The regular Chucky dolls are a little creepy-looking, so of course the one who murders people is even creepier. The moral of this story? Don't buy overpriced dolls for your never know which one might have the soul of a murderer in it, and it's better to be safe than sorry. ; )

My rating: 7.5/10

Followed by:

Child's Play 2
Child's Play 3
Bride of Chucky
Seed of Chucky
Curse of Chucky

Friday, October 2, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a 2006 mockumentary directed by Scott Glosserman and starring Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger, of course), Ben Pace, Britain Spellings, Bridgett Newton, Kate Lang Johnson, and Scott Wilson. The movie takes place in Glen Echo, Maryland and follows journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her cameramen as they document Leslie Vernon's (Nathan Baesel) attempt to become a serial killer that rivals villains such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers (who are real in this movie). When we first meet this aspiring legendary slasher, he seems pretty fun and likable, showing off his pet turtles and offering to do magic tricks for Taylor and her crew. Throughout the movie, he's so excited about his mission that you can't help but root for him, even though his goal is to do terrible things.

I really enjoyed Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and I wish that I had found out about this movie when it first came out instead of nine years later. The actors were great, especially Nathan Baesel as the most likable serial killer ever, and I loved the idea of a film crew following a guy around while he tries to kill a bunch of teenagers. The movie was entertaining and made me laugh a few times, so I would definitely watch it again. : )

My rating: 8/10

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Horror Movie Month: Scream

Scream is a 2006 movie directed by Wes Craven, written by Kevin Williamson, and starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Drew Barrymore, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, and Henry Winkler. A year after her mother's murder, high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) must cope with the fact that she is being stalked by a murderer.

I saw Scream on TV a few years after it came out, and I loved it so much that I made a special trip to Kmart the next day to buy Scream and Scream 2 on video (and was traumatized later that afternoon by a Scream 2 death that made me throw my remote at the TV). I bought my first DVD player because The Ultimate Scream Collection was getting ready to come out, and I really needed to see the disc of bonus features. Scream is one of my favorite movies (I like all of the sequels and the MTV series too), and despite the brutal opening scene, the movie is full of humor, which is a major reason I like it so much. Most horror movies don't scare me, but the Scream movies do because they're more realistic than other horror movies...anyone could be under the Ghostface mask, and it just might be someone you know and trust. Another reason I love Scream is because it introduced me to one of my favorite movie characters: Randy Meeks (played by Jamie Kennedy). Randy is the resident horror movie expert who schools his classmates on the rules of horror movies: no sex, drugs, or alcohol, and never say you'll be right back because you definitely won't. Scream is an awesome movie, so if you haven't seen it, go watch it now! ; )

My rating: 10/10

Followed by:

Scream 2
Scream 3
Scream 4