Mania (1986)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories:

Also known as: Mania: The Intruder, Mania: Episodes in Terror

This is a Canadian anthology horror film that appears to be little-known. I decided to give it an overall rating, as there’s not going to be much fluctuation in the individual short’s scores. They were all pretty original and entertaining, though it felt like I was reading a murder mystery short story novel written in the late eighties. I mean, this movie is from the eighties, yes, but it didn’t really feel like a horror and there was a slight cheese to it. Someone in the comment section of the film mentioned the peculiar Canadian accents. So I listened really hard for them but I just couldn’t hear it. Maybe you can? There is a very Canadian forced apology, but that’s aboot it. Get your maple beers and your Coffee Crisps ready to enjoy with some thoughtful, yet mediocre short films! (Yes, it’s on YouTube.)

See No Evil

After a hooker leaves his house, a man sees her stabbed on the street. The murderer stalks him and frames him, wrapping him up in a sticky situation.

The Intruder

A neighbourhood is victim to a string of robberies, so a couple looks to get a watchdog. Guy is clearly afraid of dogs, but nonetheless, they get the biggest one there and it drives him nuts. In the end, the lesson is… you need dogs.

Have a Nice Day

A mysterious man kidnaps a woman’s daughter and manipulates the mother over the phone. And then suddenly, he shows up on her couch. She’s been fooled!

The Good Samaritan

After leaving a pub, a Scottish man picks a fight with some young punks on the street and is pulled away by his friend. When they get off the train, the friend saves a woman in the subway who’s being attacked. The woman and the friend run for a really long time and end up at his house. The tables turn, and the ending is pretty guessable.

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The Initiation (1984)

Score: 6/10

Length: 97

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, murderer, psychological, recommended

I’d never heard of this movie, but YouTube recommended it for me, and I was pleasantly surprised. I figured it’d be a typical sorority slasher, which it was, though definitely not typical. It was fairly well thought-out, and had a big twist that I wasn’t expecting. When you look back on the clues, it’s easy to guess, and although it may not it be overly original, I just wasn’t planning on a twist of any sorts, so it was exciting! I watched this movie over a few days, as it isn’t exactly thrilling, and I mean, it’s hot out. It’s summer. It’s hard to watch non-beachy horrors right now. But this one is set in a mall! And that’s always fun.

It’s about a sorority initiation gone wrong, where the girls are set to steal the guard’s clothing, and instead, everyone dies. Our main gal has been having nightmares and trying to get therapy. Her dreams might be reality, and she’s in store for a few revealing surprises. There are loads of characters you don’t care about, but their acting is decent and never distracting. There are, of course, needless boob scenes, as this is horror in the eighties, but overall, there isn’t much to turn my nose up at. It was fairly enjoyable, but I could have done with with a fleshier character story build.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 90

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monsters, aliens, murderer, recommended

This film was smart, original, and had some nice tension. It starts in the middle of the action, and finishes before the craziness dies down. It’s about a family living in a world where there are strange creatures that have taken over, and I’m assuming they can’t see or smell very well, as they attack mostly when provoked with sound. So, the big thing about this movie is that it’s mostly silent. And it’s by that guy from The Office. The silence creates tension and drama, but at the theatre, I was annoyed every time someone cleared their throat or coughed. Would have been cool if the theatre put on a performance version where people dressed up as monsters and grabbed you every time you made a noise. I’d pay a fair amount for that. Anyway, the movie had good actors, a good story, and was well-paced.  It’s a mix of a horror, drama, and action, and that works well, but it all felt a little neat to me. There isn’t much to criticize, but I wasn’t moved enough by it- whether that be scared, stunned, or angry- to have an overwhelming opinion. I almost might have enjoyed it more as a television series. It’s a very watchable movie, and a wide audience will enjoy it.

Pin (1988)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 203

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 90s, murderer, toys, psychological

This strange Canadian gem probably isn’t quite what you were thinking. Yes, it’s about a life-sized, plastic medical dummy. But it’s also got a Psychoesque tinge to it and there’s a heavy lean on psychology. This definitely isn’t a fast-paced slasher, but it’s thoughtful and fairly original. As the training doll ages, it will be scarier in its vintage. If you can see through the awkward cheesiness of the film, you might be able to experience the realistic yet unique character and his development. I couldn’t help but be drawn to Leon, yet he was also easy to be revolted by. His words were very vulnerable and familiar, yet he was creepy, and very mannequin-like himself. Leon and his sister grow up with the doll, learning life lessons from their father who acted as the ventriloquist. A schizophrenic, Leon brings the doll into his adult life, giving it more lifelike accessories and talking to himself in Pin’s voice. Ultimately, Leon acts on his impulses, hiding behind Pin and spiraling out of control. The movie isn’t necessarily memorable as a Canadian movie, but it’s definitely memorable nonetheless.

 

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Film Face-Off: Without Name vs. The Nameless

The only thing that might make this face-off better is to snack on various no-name brand munchies while watching them.

 

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Without Name (2016)

Score: 7/10

Length: 93

Rating: NR but probably PG-13

This film is about a surveyor who works on measuring a gorgeous, Irish forest with his lover-assistant while staying at a cabin on the land. The shots of the forest and trees were stunning each time, and if the entire movie was just the camera moving through that forest, I wouldn’t be upset. It’s artsy, it’s earthy, and it has something to say. It makes me want to open my windows and breathe the air of the trees. I mean, I live in the city so it’s only like, five trees on this block, but that’s okay. The problem with the film is that the second half is so dreamy with vivid images and murky with hallucinations that it’s difficult to really remember anything exactly when the movie is over. This is more of a visual trip than a horror movie, but luckily, I’m into flashing tree lightning.

 

The Nameless (1999)

Score: 4/10

Length: 102

Rating: R

There’s a mom, who is sad and depressed, grieving for her deceased daughter. A call comes in, supposedly from the dearly departed, and the mother begins to question if her daughter is really dead, or if she is captured by a cult and the body belongs to another child. ‘The nameless’ are pretty much described as crazy angels, and they may have captured the daughter and are keeping her in this earth angel house. I’m not sure if it’s the script or the translation, but the lines are so awful it’s distracting enough to ruin the movie. There are a few stories going on, but none is too exciting, and the film just drags on until the nonsensical climax. I kept realizing as I went on, how much of this I had already fallen asleep to on the first attempt. Cloudy clues, retro slasher music, and needless repetition like the movie wishes it were a soap opera mini series. And the whole thing with the nipples… what’s up with that?? A ridiculous ending finally finishes off the film and leaves you only feeling relieved that it’s over. My favorite part of the whole movie was the creepy dude (pictured above) in the asylum talking in riddles. His blotchy skin patterns made the movie, in my opinion.

 

*!Winner!*:

Without Name, without a doubt. Although I forgot what this movie was about and had to watch it a second time before reviewing it, the film was a lot easier to enjoy than The Nameless. Devoid of bad writing and dullness, Without Name is my Film Face-Off champion!

Hereditary (2018)

Score: 8 the first time, 8.5 the second /10

Length: 127

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, recommended, SPOILERS, supernatural, murderer, devil, psychology

Here comes a spoiler in stars that you may or may not want to read. I, personally, would have appreciated it before watching the film. *No matter what direction you think the movie may be going in, it is supernatural and demonic.* I spent half the movie paying attention to the wrong clues because I was hell-bent on it being about multiple personalities. I love Toni Collette, she has a really emotional ugly cry and always gives it her all. I loved her show about D.I.D. titled, United States of Tara. The pieces mostly fit together and everything was making sense, until the ending smacked me across the face like a wet glove. My friends have also mentioned that they weren’t prepared for the ending, even though they had most likely watched the previews and went in open-minded. This is just one of those films that you have to watch, read up on, and watch again. The ending definitely wasn’t a predictable let-down like in The Witch, but it seems to leave the viewers intrigued, though left in the dark. It’s about a family with two strange kids going through the motions of grief. Moreover, it’s the story of a woman suffering complicated relationships and horrible circumstances. Each character is well-fleshed out, and even though most aren’t entirely likeable, they’re captivating and unique at the very least. The family members are just relatable enough to watch, but each are tormented in their own individual and strange ways. Psychology intermingles with tension and witchcraft, and the viewers who find the beginning too slow, I’m sorry, don’t appreciate strong acting and character build. I wasn’t bored for a second, even though there weren’t many jump scares or bloody scenes until the second half. Overall, I thought everything in this film was strong from the costumes to the location to the pure creativity. The ending could have been glued together better to make it easier to stomach and understand without having to research it online. I recommended seeing the movie with a chocolate bar in your hand.

Nightbreed (1990)

Score: 7/10

Length: 202

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 90s, supernatural, murderer, monster, Stephen Kingy, underground, recommended

In light of a Nightbreed television series soon to premiere, I’m taking a look back at the original cult-classic film! Even though I’m a big Clive Barker fan (currently reading The Scarlet Gospels… would like to remember where I left it…) I haven’t actually read the book the film is based on, Cabal. I love the crusade of creative characters. I adore the idea of a magical city that looks like a drawing of a graveyard in Calgary, Alberta, which is where I freaking live!!! But, unfortunately and ironically, I could give a rats ass about the main character, Cabal. How funny that the book is named after him (I can only assume much more character building was involved), and I, myself, right now am working on some character building in my assignments.

If they don’t feel something towards your character, if they don’t want him to succeed, then who cares?

All I see in Cabal is that he is really into having sex with his girlfriend and he dreams of a place called Midian. He is also named Aaron (first name) and Boone (last name), although he’s mainly referred to as Bonone. The story of the killer with the iconic mask- button eyes and a crooked zipper smile is smartly weaved into the story, and I wish it played an even bigger role. I never, ever say this, especially thinking about how many Stephen King mini series I’ve slept through, but this film could definitely have been longer. That being said, the television series should be the perfect remedy, and I’m excited to give it a go!

Chopping Mall (1986)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 77

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, horror comedy, murderer, robots

Alternate Title: Killbots (Original)

A shopping mall is a fantastic location for a movie. Especially a horror movie. There aren’t many malls I’ve visited recently, and each year, they become more nostalgic, a thing of the past. We could stand to have more masked killers and monsters slashing at Starbucks and murdering at the M.A.C. booth. Underground parking lots, store stalkers, and creepy cashiers are all potential fun ingredients in a horror movie recipe and there should be more!

Robots are introduced to a crowd of sceptical employees as the latest in security technology. There are a few scenes with people doing typical mall things, and then the low-budget R2D2s are suddenly somehow affected by a freak lightning storm. Seconds later, teens are locked inside the mall after having a party in a store (is this something that happened in the eighties??) and they’re being attacked by the malfunctioning security bots. Most of the movie is watching young adults run, dart, and hide from the lasers, and it gets a little tedious after awhile as there’s no added quirk or humor. Not evenk gore to jazz it up. The teens get creative trying to put an end to the killbots, and it’s fast paced enough. An easy watch for a cheesy movie marathon.

I hear there might be a remake of this movie coming, but with mannequins instead of robots. Perhaps then it is equally a remake of Mannequin?

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 85

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, slasher, woods, recommended, murderer

I didn’t notice that the title included “Prey at Night” which is obvious, meaningless, and just plain dumb. The director for this sequel is different, but he follows the original enough so that you can’t tell if you don’t focus on it. This one has a tense but loving family (though the mom and dad have a lot of similarities to the couple in the original) who stay at a trailer park and are stalked and killed off by the three masked strangers. Since there are more people to kill (an aunt and uncle, others in the campsite), there are fewer mind games and slow tension scenes which is the only thing making this film stand apart from the first. Strong acting from Bailee Madison who I’m excited to see evolve from the over-dramatic characters she played in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. A few scattered jump scares and mini-twists make this second-go entertaining, but it’s lacking the intense tension that makes the original a memorable favorite.

From A House on Willow Street (2016)

Score: 3/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR (R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, demon, zombie, monster, murderer, ghost

This movie is a mess. The idea isn’t too bad: the daughter of a wealthy man is taken hostage, but the kidnappers soon find out that their plans have changed when she turns out to be possessed by a demon. Somehow, this film is short yet feels long, and is overly complex, yet dull. There’s lots of gore, the makeup isn’t bad, and the characters all have a story. But ugh, it’s just all over the place and with the ridiculous CGI… over it. The acting was a little painful, but the movie starts off decent focussing on the kidnappers instead of the victim. There are a few scares that don’t make sense yet and although it’s fairly guessable, the movie feels like it’s going somewhere. As it continues towards the crash and burn that is the ending, watching it gets harder and harder to bear. The Indian priest’s character and lines were just awful and awfully acted. I found I cared less and less about everyone as the film went on and then those goddam spiky tongues. Unfortunately unforgettable. I’d say it’s a mix between Th13teen Ghosts and Don’t Breathe, but those are both good movies and this one is not.