Results tagged “Horror”

Alice, Sweet Alice Blu-ray Review: Has Surprisingly Aged Very Well

Alfred Sole's underrated shocker gets a new, superb upgrade courtesy of Arrow.
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When it comes to horror cinema, I think 1970s horror stands at the top for me. Everyone, even those who don't particularly care for the genre, has to have at least five or six favorites from that decade. There was something for everyone, meaning that every film, even the not-so-good ones had at least some type of theme to them. The '70s was a decade of hopelessness and uncertainty, and its horror flicks reflected that. Even more so, there were a lot of often overlooked gems that flew under the radar, including Black Christmas (1974), The Crazies (1973), Martin (1977).

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie Review: Terrifyingly Serviceable

Hardly any scary stories to tell.
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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark may be a Guillermo del Toro production, yet his singular directorial vision still feels present. Along with director Andre Ovredal, he incorporates his traditional mix of historical context and supernatural horror found in films such as The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. In this feature, the 1968 Presidential election and the Vietnam War attempt to act as an analog for the titular haunted tales. While the significance of the historical analog remains unclear, Scary Stories still works as a straightforward ghost story. In addition, it has the traditional machinations of a slasher film,

The Leopard Man (1943) Blu-ray Review: Subtle, Underrated '40s Chiller

A disappointment to its creators on release, The Leopard Man is one of Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur's hidden gems.
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Based on Cornell Woolrich's dark novel, Black Alibi, The Leopard Man was the first property Val Lewton wanted to develop when he became the head of a B-film unit at RKO in 1942. The studio, stinging from very public, very expensive commercial fizzling of wunderkind's Orson Welles' Magnificent Ambersons, wanted to pump out cheap horror pictures in the vein of Universal's famous monster movies. Val Lewton, a protégé of David O. Selznick who acted as, among other duties, an uncredited writer for some scenes of Gone With the Wind, was a literate and intelligent man who understood that without money

Universal Horror Collection, Volume 2 Blu-ray Review: Atwill Employment, Mostly

Scream Factory brings us four classics from the vault starring the legendary talents of Lionel Atwill and George Zucco.
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The phrase "classic Universal horror" is most likely to get a vintage monster movie enthusiast to talk nerd shop about the timeless charm and chills of the iconic studio's best-loved creations. Dracula. The Frankenstein monster. The Mummy. The Invisible Man. The Wolf Man. You know, those guys. But there were many more ghoulish productions filmed on the proverbial backlot than some people may realize. In fact, Universal Studios made nearly twice as many non-canon horror movies compared to their major franchise entries. But it wasn't until Scream Factory unleashed the first volume of the much-needed Universal Horror Collection ‒ a

Midsommar Movie Review: A Luminous Hellscape

Beautifully nightmarish and insidious with a tremendous Florence Pugh performance.
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When Ari Aster made his feature film debut with Hereditary, it was a demented portrait of grief and anxiety covered in near darkness. His follow-up film, Midsommar, is an equally demented demonstration of mental illness that is drenched in sunlight instead of darkness. As a result of its sunny disposition, it ends up being more unsettling than Hereditary and is proof that Aster is a potential horror master. The film’s opening sequence is one of the few points where our main characters are in the shadows. Dani (Florence Pugh), the main protagonist, is having a meltdown over her bipolar sister

Universal Horror Collection, Vol. 1 Blu-ray Review: Bela Lugosi Versus Boris Karloff

A nice collection of four films starring the Universal Horror icons.
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The year 1931 saw the release of both Dracula and Frankenstein. Both became absolute classics of the horror genre, cornerstones for the long-lasting Universal Monsters series, and made their stars, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, into cultural icons. If you’ve seen Tim Burton’s film Ed Wood, then you might be under the impression that the two stars were big rivals and rather hated each other. Certainly, the publicity departments surrounding their films gave off that impression as a means to sell more tickets. But family members of both actors have always stated that the two held no animosity towards one

Frankenstein Created Woman (Collector's Edition) Blu-ray Review: Hammer Created a Gothic Tale of Revenge

Scream Factory created a Blu-ray for fans to enjoy and study.
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Frankenstein Created Woman is the fourth film in Hammer Films Frankenstein series and has been released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory. Instead of Hammer's version of Bride of Frankenstein, this is a gender reversal of the story, but don't let on to the internet monsters who are overly sensitive to that kind of thing. The film opens as a young boy named Hans sees his father guillotined. Cut to years later, he (Robert Morris) assists Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters) and together they revive Baron von Frankenstein (Peter Cushing), who had been dead an hour in a deep freeze, leading Frankenstein

Us Blu-ray Review: A Stunning Second Effort by Jordan Peele

The writer/director crafts a horrifying portrait of humanity forced to look at itself, definite flaws and all.
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When comedy icon and new horror master Jordan Peele made his 2017 smash, Get Out, he created a new type of horror, a horror that reflects the social bleakness of the world we live in today, especially in terms of racism. With his fantastically scary 2019 follow-up, Us, he goes even deeper and darker to depict how we have totally lost our identities to excess and privilege. In this case, he gives us a glimpse of something far more sinister and personal underneath the false comfort we have subjected to. The film starts in 1986, where young Adelaide 'Addy' Thomas

Us Blu-ray Combo Pack Giveaway

Movie enthusiasts and horror fans alike can watch Us again and again to unravel its darkest secrets.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader an Us Blu-ray. Us is available on Digital now, and it will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand June 18. For those wanting to learn more, read Matt St. Clair's review of the movie and Dave Hollingsworth's review of the Blu-ray and the press release is below: Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele follows the success of his blockbuster hit, Get Out, with the masterfully executed and viscerally terrifying Us. Fans around the world can now untether the truth with more than

Starfish (2019) Movie Review: A Wonderfully Ambitious Sci-Fi Pic About Grief

Starfish has a jumbled narrative yet is wonderfully jumbled due to its inventiveness and focus on human emotion.
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Starfish is an ambitious piece of science fiction that manages to keep afloat despite its attempt to juggle two vastly different storylines. The film aims to be both a poignant demonstration of grief and a post-apocalyptic monster movie at once. While both stories don’t exactly blend together, Starfish still thrives thanks to its immense panache and a commanding performance from its leading actress. The storyline follows Aubrey (Virginia Gardner) who’s reeling from the death of her best friend, Grace (Christina Masterson). However, after spending time in Grace’s apartment, the world becomes invaded by monsters from another dimension and Aubrey becomes

Ma Movie Review: Octavia Spencer Elevates Campy Thriller

Despite Ma being merely serviceabile, Octavia Spencer is delightfully maniacal as the titular antagonist.
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Most horror films don’t always rely on star power with Ma being a rare exception. With the involvement of names like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, and Missi Pyle, it seems like a possible indication of the film’s quality. The trailer makes it appear to be a standard stalker thriller but with actors like the ones above, could it something more? Well, sort of. Although Ma nearly succumbs to being a quasi-B-movie, there are moments of brilliance to be found. The picture’s greatest source of brilliance is easily Octavia Spencer as the title character. It shouldn’t

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Blu-ray Review: The Genre Blending Works Well

"You got your horror on my martial arts!"
"You got your martial arts in my horror!"
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Released on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires is the ninth and final entry in Hammer's Dracula film series and finds Hammer Film Productions teaming up with Shaw Brothers Studio to create a fun horror/martial arts mash-up. In the '70s, horror was on a down turn for Hammer but martial arts had become an international sensation thanks in part to the movies of Bruce Lee, so the blending made business sense. While Peter Cushing performs his fifth and final portrayal of Van Helsing for Hammer, Christopher Lee finally gave up the mantle of Dracula. Instead,

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Blu-ray Review: Sad Retread from a Master

This rote sci-fi horror thriller from a former master has some good ideas that it does nothing with.
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The hero of John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is introduced asleep and handcuffed to a train. It seems like an apt metaphor for the entire film itself - tired, uninspired, and forced to move forward on a rail. Unsurprisingly, it was while making this film that John Carpenter decided he had better things to do than make movies he didn't like, and he mostly turned his back on the film industry since, with only three projects directed by him in the nine years following, and none since 2011's The Ward. John Carpenter's films have always had firm grasps on the

The Skin of the Teeth Movie Review: A Rare Queer Horror Flick Done with Effort and Intent

A terrifically inviting and rather progressive thriller.
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If there are any fallacies within the horror genre that people like to bring up, it’s the never-ending set of plot cliches. Ranging from characters making stupid decisions to knowing who will live or die, there are a fair amount of machinations that are constantly subjected to criticism. However, one thing that should be a point of criticism is its poor to near lack of queer representation. Usually, gay horror characters are either portrayed as psychosexual villains or are just completely nonexistent. The latest psychological thriller The Skin of the Teeth proves to be a rare exception, though. In addition,

Tribeca Film Festival 2019: 'In Fabric' is Terrifically Sewn Together

An atmospheric horror-comedy with classic schlock value.
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Pardon the pun, but In Fabric feels like it’s cut from the same cloth as classic giallo fare. The emphasis on color along with the euphoric sound design recall what feels like a forgotten era within the horror genre. Even the opening sequence makes watching the film in theaters seem like a retro screening. As a film, In Fabric isn’t entirely stitched together properly. However, it’s still applaudable thanks to its craftsmanship as well as its unorthodox premise. The story involves a dress that curses and leaves an imprint on anyone who tries it on. Its victims include a single

The Brain (1988) Blu-ray Review: Giant Brain Eats Man

A ridiculous, fun '80s horror sci-fi flick about a man-eating alien brain with hypnotic powers.
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There are levels to shlock. And inside many a terrible movie, there are seeds of interest and enjoyment. The Brain is, by most metrics, a terrible movie. Mediocre acting, a rather inert story, a screenplay that does not add up. But it has, at least for its first hour before it runs out of ideas, an assured craziness that makes it worth a watch. It is not a subtle film - we see the titular Brain in the first couple of shots, sitting in a vat of unidentifiable goo. Then we get the traditional horror movie opener: the shock death

The Wind Movie Review: A Traditional Psychological Thriller with Unsettling Flair

A promising feature-film debut that provides effective scares despite its loose structure.
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Loneliness can be killer. Living in a world of both physical and mental isolation can cause a whirlwind of despair and madness. The latest horror film The Wind is a well-orchestrated demonstration of the severe toll isolation takes. While the film may have a rather confusing start, as it progresses, it becomes an effective exercise in psychological terror. In addition, it proves that director Emma Tammi who makes her solo feature-film debut has a distinctive filmmaking voice. When Lizzie (Caitlin Gerard) is left alone in her cabin while her husband (Ashley Zukerman) runs some errands, she becomes haunted by possible

Monstrosity (1987) / Weirdo: The Beginning (1989) Blu-ray Reviews: Why? WHY?

Garagehouse Pictures releases a pair of awful horror obscurities which may either induce vomiting, blindness, or death, depending on how lucky you are.
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Just when I thought the world was starting to get over its nasty habit of not making a whole heck of a lot of sense, Garagehouse Pictures dropped a major bomb on me. Sure, on the surface, the HD offerings of two Los Angeles-made minor indie horror flicks from the late '80s may seem like good cause to rejoice. Alas, both 1987's Monstrosity and 1989's The Weirdo (or, Weirdo: The Beginning, as it is also called) stem from the sadistic and unimaginative world of the late Andy Milligan, so any and all signs of something amazing being found in these

Us Movie Review: Discomforting and Hauntingly Ambiguous

Jordan Peele's sophomore effort is another simplistic look at the dark parts of humanity.
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With his directorial debut Get Out, Jordan Peele presented us with a searing, satirical portrait of liberal racism in America. Now, with his sophomore effort Us, he takes another look into the darkest facets of people’s souls. Us may seem like a home-invasion thriller with effective jump scares. But at its core, it’s really about the beast within ourselves that we desperately try to keep hidden. When the Wilson family goes on vacation only for it to be disrupted by their doppelgangers, they must literally come face to face with manifestations of the darkness within them. It’s unclear what exactly

Kolobos Blu-ray Review: Terrible Name, Even Worse Movie

A '90s slasher has plenty of violence and little else.
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If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to cross MTV’s seminal reality TV series The Real World with a trapped house horror film on an extremely low budget and a totally late '90s aesthetic then look no further than Kolobos. It is all those things and more. Now with an Arrow Video release, you can see it in all its restored glory with plenty of extras to fill you in on all the behind the scenes trivia. Answering a classified ad, a group of attractive, young, obnoxious people show up at a house filled with video cameras to
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