Results tagged “Horror”

Sundance Film Festival 2019: Sweetheart is a Terrific Creature Feature

A simple yet effective throwback to classic monster movie fare.
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Despite Sweetheart being a pretty standard creature feature, it still proves to be quite effective. One reason is because it features a strong central leading performance from Kiersey Clemons. Another is because writer/director JD Dillard crafts such masterful suspense leading up to its climactic finale. The premise may be simple. It’s a survival horror film about a woman who survives a shipwreck and wakes up to find herself stranded on an island with a mysterious creature. Yet Dillard is able to craft it so innovatively. During the film’s first half, there is very little dialogue. It’s mostly the main character

Sundance Film Festival 2019: Wounds Is Indeed Rather Hurtful

Wounds starts off promising before slowly going off the rails with its overly ambiguous premise.
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One way to describe Wounds is that the experience of watching it doesn’t feel like self-inflicted pain. However, it does feel like a slight bruising in the end because it’s such a mindbender and it becomes hard to decipher how you feel about the film in general. The first half offers strong promise but things go off the rails as the film progresses to the point where you can’t comprehend what you just saw. The basic premise is as follows. Will (Armie Hammer), a bartender from New Orleans, is working a shift one night. But when a customer accidentally forgets

Suspiria (2018) Blu-ray Review: Wildly Reinvented, Massively Flawed

This remake of the 1977 horror classic completely reinvents the story, rarely for the better, and is very, very long.
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Suspiria is a strange film to remake, because most of what makes it an effective movie has nothing to do with the stuff that can be readily borrowed for a remake. The characters are mostly functional; the story is an excuse to string together episodes of suspense or horror. Everything good about the 1977 original comes from director Dario Argento's style, his mastery of tone. The lighting and the soundtrack are more central to its power than its story. So for a remake of Suspiria to be worth anyone's time, it would have to run in a very different direction

Sundance Film Festival 2019: Velvet Buzzsaw is Wonderfully Chaotic

Velvet Buzzsaw is incredibly off-kilter and grotesque yet brilliant.
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Writer/director Dan Gilroy has proven himself as a master of demonstrating the craving for more. Whether it’s more ratings or more money, the characters in his films have a desire for more than they possess or the best of what they seek. For instance, the sinister Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler is always on the hunt for the next juicy story and is willing to shed blood in order to get it. But in Velvet Buzzsaw, our main characters that are involved in the world of art dealing are always craving the most marketable paintings. They even go far enough to

The House That Would Not Die (1970) Blu-ray Review: A Clear Case of Repossession

Barbara Stanwyck's lackluster TV-movie debut is pulled out of the vault by Kino Lorber.
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Originally broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week just four days before Halloween in 1970, The House That Would Not Die was one of umpteen-gazillion TV movies produced by the one and only Aaron Spelling. In this strange little blast from the past, former screen goddess Barbara Stanwyck ‒ one of many Hollywood stars who found much-needed work during the TV-movie heyday (in fact, she makes her debut in one here) ‒ stars as a silver-haired woman who has inherited a Revolutionary War-era home in Pennsylvania's Amish country. Yeah, it sounds positively terrifying already, I know. Moving into the

Halloween (2018) Blu-ray Review: A Pleasing Sequel

Eleven films into the franchise and Halloween is suddenly looking fresh again.
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Up front I’ve got to admit that out of the eleven films in the Halloween franchise, I’ve only seen John Carpetner’s original Halloween (1978), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and Rob Zombie’s remake Halloween (2007). That means there are eight films in the franchise that I’m missing. I’m not an expert on the franchise. Which winds up being a good thing because this new film, Halloween (2018) - and can we talk just for a moment how there are now three films in this series simply named "Halloween"? I mean, come on guys, stop making everybody put dates behind your

Zombie: 40th Anniversary Limited Edition (1979) Blu-ray Review: A Real Eye-Opener

Blue Underground gives Lucio Fulci's groundbreaking "massacre-piece" a gorgeous new 4K restoration, and the results are even more shocking than ever.
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It's hard to keep a good zombie down, and the regular re-emergence of Lucio Fulci's seminal Dawn of the Dead rip-off onto home video is quite the indication it will never go out of style. One of the most quintessential Italian splatter flicks ever made, this epic bastard sequel to George A. Romero's masterpiece launched the horror movie career for director Fulci, whilst simultaneously leaving a noticeable boot print on the map for Italy itself. Known around the world by an oft-bizarre assortment of alternate titles ‒ including Zombi 2 (its original title, as christened to cash-in on the release

John Carpenter's The Fog Movie Review: A Thrilling Ghost Story

Even though the story has room for improvement, The Fog is an entertaining horror movie that does a lot of things right.
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Currently in limited release across the country thanks to a new 4K restoration by Studiocanal, John Carpenter's The Fog is a thrilling ghost story. It opens with an old boat captain (John Houseman) telling a story to a group of kids about a clipper ship, Elizabeth Dane, having crashed in a fog 100 years ago because they were drawn into rocks by a campfire. The sailors drowned but are supposed to rise again when the fog returns. And return it does as the town of Antonio Bay celebrates its centennial. Father Malone (Hal Holbrook) is nearly clobbered by a chunk

Book Review: The Teenage Slasher Movie Book by J.A. Kerswell

A comprehensive, lavishly illustrated overview of the reviled, but ever popular, slasher-movie genre.
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Before the late '90s-early 2000s revival of horror as a mainstream money maker (thanks largely to Scream and the new slasher boom which followed), there were four big modern boogeymen of horror: Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and, to a lesser extent, Leatherface. Sure, other monsters came and went, and had whole series playing out on direct to video, but those four guys all got theatrical releases. They had mainstream patina: hell, two of them got TV shows. It's one of the oddities of the horror genre that it's the villains, not the heroes, who make the series. Halloween is not

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection Blu-ray Giveaway

Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances.
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Cinema Sentries has teamed up with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to award one lucky reader the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection on Blu-ray. For those wanting to learn more, the press release reads: Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes all Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the

Horrors of Malformed Men Blu-ray Review: Complete Malformed Japanese Madness

Teruo Ishii's strangest film of murder, doppelgangers, and the titular malformed men finally makes it to Blu-ray.
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Escaped asylum inmates, mistaken identity, resurrection from the grave, bizarre biological experiments, murder, incest, and a plot for world domination via freaks - the barest bones of a plot outline makes Horrors of Malformed Men, directed by Teruo Ishii, sound itself malformed - overstuffed with ingredients that can’t cohere. Surprisingly, the film maintains an integrity to its own oddity and perversity, never pausing for a moment to let a hint of self-awareness turn the proceedings into farce. We meet our protagonist, Hirosuke Hitomi, in a woman’s cell of an insane asylum, where half-naked women dance around him and try to

John Carpenter's Halloween Celebrates its 40th Anniversary in Select Theatres Beginning September 27

The horror classic is being re-released in advance of the sequel Halloween (2018).
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Press release: CineLife Entertainment, the event cinema division of Spotlight Cinema Networks, has teamed up with Compass International Pictures and Trancas International Films to bring John Carpenter's seminal 1978 classic back to select theatres worldwide beginning September 27, 2018. In the film, the villain, Michael Myers, has spent the last 15 years locked away inside a sanitarium under the care of child psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis. On October 30, 1978, Myers escapes and makes his way back home to Haddonfield, turning a night of tricks and treats into something much more sinister for three young women, including Laurie Strode, the

John Carpenter's The Fog 4K in Theaters for Halloween

The new 4K restoration will roll in October 26 with NYC, LA, and Chicago runs.
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Press release: New York based Rialto Pictures will release John Carpenter’s landmark horror movie The Fog on October 26, in its first-ever major restoration. The horror classic, in a full 4K restoration from Studiocanal, opens October 26 for limited runs at the Metrograph, in New York, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Additional screenings will occur during the week of Halloween throughout the Alamo Drafthouse circuit and other specialty theaters. Carpenter’s first post-Halloween venture into the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired, apocalyptic vein that he would continue to mine in films like The Thing (1982) and Prince

Marrowbone (2018) Blu-ray Review: A Cure for Insomnia

A talented young cast and impressive production pieces can't save this meandering debut from Sergio G. Sánchez.
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Based on its trailer, its look, and the fact that it has Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split) and Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness), one could easily mistake Sergio G. Sánchez’s directorial debut, Marrowbone, for a horror movie. And while there are certainly horror elements that appear throughout, Marrowbone plays more like a drama about a family trying to stick together than it does a terrifying, haunted-house thrill ride. It’s especially frustrating because there are moments within the movie where Sanchez implements the tacky jump scare method and then retreats to focus on the issues the family faces - which

Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973) Blu-ray Review: Please, Don't Act So Sheepish

The American Genre Film Archive and Something Weird Video present something so delightfully awful, it'll leave you ecstatically screaming "Ewe!"
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Even established connoisseurs of strange little motion pictures generally regarded as "bad" can occasionally step into something they are wholly unprepared for. And that can certainly apply to anyone who decides to leap off the beaten path only to set foot into the sulphuric pile of sheep dip that is Godmonster of Indian Flats. The fourth and final feature film from recently departed artist/filmmaker (and Cornell graduate also, I might add) Fredric C. Hobbs, this bizarre 1973 offering is truly difficult to categorize, as it appears to be an environmentally-conscious retrograde science fiction/horror hybrid about an eight-foot-tall mutant sheep housed

Book Review: Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White

A compelling alien tale that fits the established mold while keeping you guessing to the very end.
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How much you come away from a story loving or loathing a character is a testament to how well they are written or portrayed. In just about any Alien story that involves Weyland-Yutani corporate sleaze, the disdain felt for those people is usually stronger than we feel toward the aliens themselves. The horrific violence and dehumanization by the banana-headed, sci-fi monsters manages to consistently pale in comparison to what human beings do to one another in the interest of personal greed or glory. Such is the case in Alex White's Alien: The Cold Forge, a story set shortly after the

A Quiet Place Blu-ray Review: Shhhhhh

Surprisingly effect horror film from that goofy guy in The Office.
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To make a film filled with long silences and almost entirely free of audible dialogue is a bold choice. To then make it a genre picture - a horror film no less - is pretty close to insane. To then have it become one of the most critically and commercially successful films of the year is about as close to a miracle as Hollywood gets. A Quiet Place is a horror movie filled with monsters that quickly devour you the moment you make any sound. It focuses on one family (the credits list them as the Abbotts, but I don’t

The Last House on the Left Blu-ray Review: A Video Nasty Gets Its Day

Wes Craven's first film gets an excellent new set from Arrow Video.
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A few weeks ago I called a dirt-bike drama from Paul Verhoeven a vile piece of work. It was sexist, homophobic, and all around brutish in his depiction of teenagers in Holland. Yet here I am about to give a much more positive review to Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, a film that depicts brutal violence, torture, rape, and murder. The natural question is why do I find one film’s depiction of deplorable things vile and the other’s depiction of the same and worse somewhat entertaining? The answer lies both in genre and directorial intent. Spetters is

The Bloodthirsty Trilogy Blu-ray Review: Dracula Goes East

Three Japanese movies directed by Michio Yamamoto that involve Western-style vampires, with style, atmosphere, and some decent sprays of blood.
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As one of the great national cinemas, the Japanese movie industry has invented whole cloth many genres and excelled in many non-native filmic conventions… except arguably the Western-style horror movie. Until the late '90s, when The Ring brought out a rather short-lived craze of ghost stories (usually with a long black-haired ghost, which is cribbed from Japanese folk-lore), Japanese example of horror were rather sparse, and rather different than Western films. In the West some of the acknowledged greatest movies of the silent era are horror films. There are several distinct studio and national traditions: Universal horror creatures, the '50s

Hereditary Movie Review: Give Toni Collette The Best Actress Oscar

The film itself is a twisted experience that had me quivering by the time the credits rolled.
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It’s hard to know how exactly to describe Hereditary as a film. On one hand, it’s a dark descent into a person’s damaged psyche. On the other hand, it’s an enigmatic supernatural thriller that serves an allegory for the “demons” we inherit from our family. The film itself is a twisted experience that had me quivering by the time the credits rolled. But one thing about Hereditary that is perfectly describable is the brilliance of Toni Collette’s leading performance. Collette gives what is perhaps the best performance in a horror film in recent memory. One that will potentially join the
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