Creepy Video of the Moment

Sticks & Stones - The Pierces

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween Saga

The Return of Michael Myers

Halloween - released 1978
Halloween II - released 1981
Halloween III - Season of the Witch - 1982
Halloween 4 - The Return of Michael Myers - 1988
Halloween 5 - The Revenge of Michael Myers - 1989
Halloween 6 - The Curse of Michael Myers - 1995
Halloween 7 - Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later - 1998
Halloween 8 - The Resurrection - 2002
Image from IMDB

Here's another saga that I must watch every year or it just doesn't feel like Halloween. Halloween III is seemingly unrelated, but there's this underlying cult plot that didn't crop up until Halloween 4, and I've only seen it once, so I can't say for sure that it doesn't really have any connection. Sure, Michael Myers isn't in it, he's healing from the burns he receives at the end of II, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, it might be a cover for bringing him back from the dead. When I watch again, I'll be sure and update this idea.

There are two more Halloweens, but they are remakes, and not continuations.
Halloween 9 - Halloween I remake by Rob Zombie - 2007
Halloween 10 - Halloween II remake by Rob Zombie - 2009

I haven't seen either of these yet, but topping the original will be hard to do. As much as I like Malcolm MacDowell, I just can't see him as Dr. Loomis. Donald Pleasence has always been Dr. Loomis, and always will be. Plus, Jamie Lee Curtis really was good in this role, and I don't see how she'll ever be outdone.

In fact, Nick Castle, the original "Shape" was the best. He looked creepy, and looked just strong enough, and most of the rest just didn't have it, and that took away from the character of Michael Myers. That was one problem I did have with this series, it didn't keep the same guy for each movie. Seriously, it would have made sense to keep one guy for all of the movies.

Those of us who've watched each movie more than once know that there's four people from Halloween 6 who survived - Kara Strode, Tommy Doyle, Jamie Lloyd's baby Steven (Laurie's granddaughter) and Kara's son, Danny, who was hinted at being similar to Michael when Michael was that age - hearing "the voice". All 4 of these people escaped.

Where did they go? Far away from Haddonfield, IL I'm assuming, but still, where did they go?

We know that Laurie's son John and his girlfriend get killed at the beginning of Halloween: Resurrection, but nothing has ever been mentioned of Tommy, Kara, Danny or Steven. If so, I missed the references the two times I've watched it on TV. However, there is no mention of them in either Halloween 7 or 8, which I find annoying because it's a dangling storyline.

Plus, what actually happens to Michael as a result of not being successful with the ritual killing of the infant? Does he really and truly stay dead? Did he really let these people go because they saved his own child? In any event, isn't that what he did when he killed all of those geneticists? He saved his child from something, but the question is what? Of course, one could also be left wondering if he really saved Steven and Danny or had the procedure already been done?

Without a true continuing movie, we'll never know. There are some comics, but they aren't considered part of the "official" storyline.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scream Series

Scream 4

Scream - released 1996
Scream 2 - released 1997
Scream 3 - released 2000
Scream 4 - Scre4m - due for release April 15th, 2011 - hehehe
Image from IMDB

It wouldn't be October without watching this series. This is a must watch series for me. I don't care that I remember what happens, I just sit back and enjoy the ride. The first three are well done and I'm eager to see what happens next, every time I watch them.

They've run the gambit with the killers, so I'm curious to see who it will be in Scream 4. I figured that Martha Meeks - Randy's younger sister - would be an interesting, albeit potentially predictable choice. No matter what happens, I'm glad to see that the original characters of Sid, Dewey and Gale will be in the movie to help it transition from one generation to the next because, honestly, I can't think of any of the Scream movies without hearing the words, "Hello Sidney," in that distorted voice.

Is it just me, or is Hollywood trying to make Tax Day into the next Halloween? It seems to me that less and less scary movies are released during the month of October and more and more are being released in mid April. But then again, it could be just me.:)

Monday, October 4, 2010

30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night

Released October 2007
Image from IMDB

This is a film adaptation of the graphic novel trilogy of the same name.

Call me picky, but for a story to even hold water and be watchable, it needs to get its facts right, or at least be credible.

For example, the setting of the film is Barrow, Alaska and boasts how there is 30 days of darkness, which you'll discover from some internet research that, there is a period of 65 days where the sun dips below the horizon. It doesn't get completely dark during this time, as there it waning twilight hours as light appears for less and less periods each day, with the winter solstice being the shortest time of 3 hours. While it may be dark, there is still sunlight to be seen and we need to remember that nighttime occurs because of the earth's rotation about its axis, which gives the appearance of the sun doing the "rising" and the "setting" when in fact the earth is the one turning about the sun.

The movie doesn't really explain this, but just tries to focus on a misrepresented fact of "darkness" for 30 days. Picky, yes, I admit that, but presentation of the facts is key when determining whether or not I'll be able to dive right into a story.

Honestly, Barrow, Alaska, is not like that planet in Pitch Black when there was an eclipse of all the planets which plunged it in total darkness. That's not what happens. I will admit that it does make for a good setting for vampires in that the city is overcast about 50% of the time anyway. However, due to the fact that the population is low and not going to continue to boom, I don't see how it would really be a desirable location for a food source, especially since most people are going to be bundled up and stay in doors as the temperature ranges for that period are as high 5 whole degrees Fahrenheit (high) to -6.5/-16.5 (low) for November and December while January through March plunges even colder with averages about -8/-10 (high) to -20/-22 (low).

Since vamps suck blood, another thing we must consider on this is that your blood gets thicker in cold weather, and your overall movement slows down, the same would have to hold true for vampires. Yeah, okay, I buy the whole strength thing and the fact that they may not "feel" cold, but they survive off of blood, which means they still have blood in their veins, and their movements would still slow in cold and snowy weather because the water in their muscles would freeze (blood is 70% water), even if they can't "feel" the cold.

Okay, griping aside, I just couldn't get into this film. Hey, I don't mind a good vamp flick (Queen of the Damned is my favorite), nor do I mind a good survival movie (I'm a sci-fi junkie), but I didn't make it past the first 30 minutes of the film.

Some critics have put this film on par with 28 Days Later, but 30 Days' storyline was much less credible than 28 Days'. I guess it all depends upon what you're looking to get out of your movie. Me, I'd prefer to watch The Thing (Kurt Russell) from 1982, Aliens (Sigourney Weaver) from 1986 or Pitch Black (Vin Diesel) from 2000.

And no, my dislike for this movie has nothing to do with the fact that it's based on a graphic novel. I find many of them to be quite entertaining, which is why I am working on an entire section devoted to them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut

Released 2009
Image from IMDB

According to the documentary with the film, this movie is based on factual events in the lives of the Snedecker family, notably the son Matt. While the real family has 4 of their own children plus the mother's sister and her two girls staying with them, the movie family only portrayed 4 total kids and two adults. Nor does it cover the fact that other people came to visit without incident and were completely safe.

I'm not necessarily judging the truth of the movie here, but I'm just pointing out that the story has been exaggerated and adjusted on screen by Hollywood, so don't take the whole movie and every event as fact. The facts don't match up with the movie at all, at least in my opinion anyway.

The movie's story begins with a very sick teen, a boy (Kyle Gallner), Matt, suffering from cancer. The drive from the family's current house to the hospital was too long, so the parents decide to rent a place closer.

The mother (Virginia Madsen), Sara, and Matt look around at different houses. They find what they think is the perfect house, but it has a past, one they aren't completely familiar with at first, so they are reluctant to rent. In fact, they weren't going to rent the place, but the son was in so much pain from his recent treatment, that the mother makes an "executive decision" and rents the place anyway, much to the father's dismay.

When cleaning out the house and making it livable for everyone, Sara discovers very creepy death photos that were taken in the house in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Spooked by this discovery, Sara tosses the photos. Soon after they move in though, Matt - undergoing treatment for his cancer, so is pumped up on who knows what - experiences strange "visions" and "waking dreams" that are both disturbing and scary.

As the story plays out, it's revealed that the house was once a mortuary. Yes, a funeral home, complete with a blood pit and dumbwaiter for dead bodies. Yes, that in its own right is creepy.

But it gets creepier.

When the four kids are playing hide-and-seek, they discover some more old stuff. Stuff they don't understand, but are spooked. Now, because Matt has been having hallucinations that he hasn't told anyone about, he decides to contact someone undergoing cancer treatment too, a priest, to help him identify what the items are and what they mean. While it is revealed through brief flashes, it's still creepy to discover that one of the tins contains dozens of pair of human eyelids. Eeeew!

He explains that this was a necromancy practice to control the spirits.

Okay, now we have the makings of a decent scary movie, true or not.

In truth, it didn't matter whether or not this was based on fact because the writing and the acting was pretty good. Virginia Madsen never disappoints and Elias Koteas and Martin Donovan played their roles so well that you couldn't help but get drawn in to the story.

While not everyone agrees that this is a great "scary" movie or an instiller of fear, it is downright creepy and will make you wonder the next time you step into a funeral home. Besides, because this movie was based on facts, they couldn't go too over-the-top anyway. If you want over-the-top, watch Poltergeist again. It just depends upon what you're wanting from your movie when you watch it. If it's terror and gore, watch Saw or Wrong Turn.

I consider this movie to be great because it does a decent job of blending real life with the paranormal and making the untrue feel true, at least for the duration of the film.

Would I watch it again?

Yes, but maybe not for another year or two.

Saturday, October 2, 2010



Released in 2002
Image found on IMDB

Today's offering is has an interesting premise even though it's carried out in a somewhat cheese-ball manner despite it's 2002 release. Spliced, a.k.a. The Wisher, has an 80s feel to it, as though it were recorded through an old analog video, not the digitized versions we've been getting used to, and in some cases expecting, from Hollywood and indie films. It's very grainy whether on purpose or not, it doesn't add to the effect of the film, but detracts from it. I like the premise of the movie. The acting, outside of Ron Silver, may have been lacking and the effects cheese-ball, but the story itself was interesting enough to keep me watching to find out what happens.

The setting could be any big city (sorry, can't remember the name of the city used). We have Mary, a 17 year-old high school student obsessed with scary movies to the point she sleepwalks in her nightmares, only to find herself in very dangerous situations. On more than one occasion, she finds herself standing in the middle of the street, having no idea how she got there. In a conversation with her high school counselor, played by Ron Silver, she claims to be turned on, or sexually excited, by the fear she feels watching scary movies. The problem is so severe that her father forbids her from seeing this new slasher flick, The Wisher, but she lies and goes anyway. Her parents are surprised by this. Duh! She's a teenager, what else would she do?

Anyway, the flick within the movie is where this premise falls short of its promise. It's hard to believe that this person, so into horror movies would even consider going to see one with as lame a premise as this one, let alone finding it so scary she gets sick in the theater and doesn't even get passed the beginning.

Of course, her lame-ass reaction to the movie makes her think there's something more to this, especially since she starts seeing "The Wisher" in real life, even though no one else does. Not only does she see him, but people around her begin to die. It isn't until she reads a newspaper article that she starts suspecting something really funky is going on. She does some research and begins to think that there's something up with the reel-film itself, and goes to look through the film.

Of course, it just so happens that her friend works in the film booth, so she can easily gain access to the film. She finds frames with weird symbols on them scattered throughout the movie.

Like I said, interesting premise, but that's where it starts to lose me, but by this time, I've watched too much of the movie to stop watching, even though I want to.

Basically, the frames are subliminal messages that infect some viewers, and provide the reason for her illness, because she's "more resistant." Um, ok. The killer turns out to be a local kid, a friend, who was "infected" and so obsessed with the movie that he saw himself as the villain from the slasher movie. Again, cool premise. However, how do you get rid of "the wisher"? You tell him to die and he kills himself. Huh? How is that supposed to be even remotely scary?

Okay, at this point, I suppose I should talk about "the wisher" himself. Well, the costume is so cheesy and kind of a rip-off of other killers. Basically, "the wisher," is looks kind of like a walking tree with a white face and what must be glass blades for fingers. At the end of the movie, in true info-dump style, you find out that kids all over the country are being effected by this movie.

Here's the real reason why this flops - there is no true antagonist and it tries to do too much in one movie and falls short. It would have been better off if it were separated into two different movies.

"The Wisher" could have been a simple slasher flick - with a good premise to that plus decent writing and acting, it could be interesting. I keep thinking a movie like this was made, and was one of the "8 films to die for" a couple of years ago, but I can't be sure. If I ever find that movie, I'll add a comment.

"Spliced" could have, and in my opinion should have, focused on the subliminal messages in the movies storyline. It could have been a killer suspense flick. It would have made more sense for the lead to stumble upon the frames, take the idea to a cop, have to convince him of the truth, and then get chased by killers trying to prevent them from discovering the truth.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Daughters of Satan

Daughters of Satan

First in our goal of one movie a day for the 31 days in October.

From 1972, viewed via cable TCM, I think.
Image found on IMBD
This movie contains some nudity - (a topless woman or two, but part of the story line)

I found this movie to be more Gothic-style than horror, but it's classified as horror. This movie is creepy or eerie more than it is scary, but oddly enough, I thought it was still enjoyable to watch, despite the cheesy way some of the scenes are carried out. The cheesiness couldn't really be helped, it was the 70s after all and Star Wars wasn't around to change the way movies were made yet.

I really liked the premise of the movie. Set in Manilla, Philippines during the 70s - in other words, present day for when it was made. Tom Selleck plays an art collector, James Robertson, brought to an art store on leads of some old, very rare tapestries, but instead, discovers a painting circa late 1500s, in which three witches and a dog are burned. The reason he purchases the painting is because the witch in the middle looks just like his wife, Chris.

At first, it all seems a legit coincidence, but as the story unfolds, you realize it was a rouse to get him to the shop to buy that very painting.


Because his wife is the reincarnation of that particular witch, and that witch's spirit resides in the painting, as well as the other two witches and the dog. This is revealed through a very interesting twist in the storyline - when night falls, the images in the painting disappear, indicating that the witches are out to "play".

It's not really as simple as all that though, as each witch must reaffirm her place within the coven. At first, the torture scenes don't really make sense, and they do appear very cheesy, but for that era (again, pre-Star Wars), they were well done. These scenes hold the bulk of the female nudity that exists within the movie. Some might think it's just gratuitous, but upon further consideration, it really fits into the scene as the leaders of the coven are trying to "break" the current spirit of the reincarnated witches' bodies.

What we don't see, is the lead witch (European/white) being tortured, as that was done prior to the painting coming into Robertson's hands. What we do see, however, are the remaining two witches tortured until they "reaffirm" their position in Lucifer's coven. The first woman seen tortured is of Manillan descent. You don't see her face, so it's not really clear what's going on, which adds to the creepiness and eerie feeling the movie creates. What you do know, is that the woman's spirit is very strong, as the torture took time and was extensive.

Soon after, a woman local Manilla woman shows up on the Robertson's doorstep in response to an ad for a housekeeper placed by Robertson. Apparently, the wife, Chris, is a fragile, frail, woman. It isn't long until Chris is the next witch tortured. It doesn't take her long, demonstrating her weak-willed spirit and mind.

All the while this is going on, Robertson notices the women in the artwork, "fading," and contacts an art dealer he trusts to find out if that's normal. Well, it's obviously not normal, but it isn't until he discusses this with Chris' psychiatrist that he discovers what the fading images mean. The fading only occurs at night, so the people are generally normal during the day.

The entire goal of the movie is to real why the witches are coming to life at that point in time and place. The reason is tied not just to them being burned, but who was responsible for being burned.

It turns out that Robertson is the descendant of the man responsible for having the three women and their dog burned.

The big question - do they succeed in their goal? I'm not telling! You need to watch the movie to find out....