Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Score: 4/10

Length: 97

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, supernatural, gore, slasher

I may have watched this on actual Friday the 13th, but the Freddy in me had me sleep on the review (heh). We start the film with Freddy flashbacks, and he explains that people have forgotten about him so he needs Jason to come back (from the dead) and help him kill. (Queue massive eye roll.) So Freddy returns as Jason’s mother to rise her son’s body from the grave. Some random girl with giant, exposed (for no reason) boobs is killed, and then the story begins.

You can tell it’s going to be bad right from the start because the script is so obviously horrible, but then its awfulness is secured by the presence of Kelly Rowland. There are lots of typical (but still fun) Freddy and Jason kills that take up most of the middle of the movie. By the time you get this far in a franchise, the decent thing to do is to include some wild originality and laughs. I mean, there’s definitely some bad CGI weirdness like a mossy worm with a hookah, but as you may be able to guess, it makes zero sense.

Freddy does fight Jason near the end, when he tries to go after the victims that Freddy wants. Yeah, it’s pretty stupid. Jason cuts off Freddy’s arms which he grows back. Lots of AAHHs and HAAHHs and other obnoxiously bad fighting grunts. Then, Jason is flung around by Freddy’s dream powers, but of course, doesn’t die. One fight is in Freddy’s world, the other is in Jason’s. And then there’s a final showdown, with the other characters trying to kill them both as well. I can’t say it’s not entertaining. It’s a great background movie for when you want to eat popcorn and talk, or make-out and not really pay attention.

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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.

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.

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.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2016)

Score: 5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, girly, hotel

As obvious by the film’s poster, there are two stories here. One about two girls left behind during break at their boarding school, and the other about a young, escaped mental patient who is taken in by a man and his wife. There are hints throughout this movie that lead to the twist, and it’s a good one. However, there are too many problems in this film to make it work. *Spoiler section* The first issue I have is why they couldn’t make the girls look alike. They put zero effort into this besides the fact that they are both blonde. The girls look, dress, and act totally different from each other for no reason. Even if you are thinking of yourself as an alter ego, your hair might be different, your clothes might be what you’d ideally wear if you were more confident, sure, but I’d assume at least your face shape would be the same, no? The second biggest annoyance is that the “rescue dad” has no idea what the girl who killed his daughter looks like. I find that a tad hard to believe. And what’s with the beheading? There could have been a really easy reason given as to why beheading was the preferred kill method. I would have taken anything that fleshes out the story of the demon a little more. Because, let’s be real, no one really cares about the dark-haired girl that much, and considering she dies so quickly anyway, it would have made more sense to focus on the demon.

*Spoilers over* Besides these three things, the story was strong, the acting was solid, and there was lots of tension and atmosphere. It’s so disappointing that this could have easily been a great film, akin to The Witch.

Top Ten Horror-Comedies

I may love French romance-comedies and horrors of all sorts, but horror-comedy is my true favorite genre. So as you can imagine, it was really hard to narrow it down to just ten fantastic films. I could have easily done twenty, but I like a challenge. This list is not of the movies I think deserve to be labelled as the best per se, but they are my personal choices based on preference. (Which is why you might see a lack of zombie movies on here. There are great movies out there, but I just want a very small teaspoon of zombie in my horror cereal.) Here are my favorite, funniest, fright-filled films accompanied by their snack pairings, because nothing goes better together than fear, laughter, and sugar.

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10. Dead Alive or Braindead (1992)

I don’t even know quite how to describe this movie, but there are definitely some very scarring scenes included in this memorable monstrocity. Zombies, rats, blood, gore, and disgusting monster babies… this is for sure one to watch on a first date.

Snacks: Well, to be honest, probably nothing, but chips sound like a safe option.

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9. Snarknado (2013)

Lame CGI, C-list actors, and a ridiculous plot- this one’s got it all! Several spin offs were created based on this films crazy, creature creation. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s action-packed and loads of fun to see these over-dramatic actors battle sharks whipping around in a tornado.

Snacks: if you don’t live in Iceland and can’t get fermented shark, try a shark or whale-shaped candy instead from your local 711.

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8. The Gingerdead Man (2005)

One of my favorite Christmas movies, if not just for the title of the original, and more importantly, the sequels (Passion of the Crust, Saturday Night Cleaver). Gary Busey is a serial-killer-turned-cookie who creepily, and kind of cutely, stalks the girl who sent him to the electric chair. It’s barely over an hour, so it’s not much to chew through.

Snacks: gingerbread men, obviously, and perhaps a holiday beverage of sorts

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7. Scary Movie (1996)

This is an iconic nineties movie that mocks a bunch of classic, popular horror movies. It spawned loads of other comedy copycat films that were all pretty bad cheese-fests, but a few have the potential to squeeze a laugh out of you. This film in particular pokes fun at Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch, The Exorcist, and a whole slew of others including unscary films as well. Holding it all together is a story about a teenager being stalked by a slasher-killer.

Snacks: I’d be funny and say mashed potatoes (from the scene in Scary Movie 2), but I’d also like to recommend a snack you’re actually going to eat, so how about Jiffy Pop and a batch of special brownies.

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6. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

This quirky, sarcastic, horror movie turned out to be a surprise hit. It’s the usual crew of young adults vacationing at a cabin in the woods. I’m not going to ruin anything, but if you know nothing about this film, I suggest you watch it continuing to know nothing about it beforehand. It’s imaginative and unexpected at every turn. The only downfall to the movie is the cheesy ending cushioned by an appearance by Sigourney Weaver.

Snacks: a good old-fashioned pizza with loads of various toppings

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5. Killer Klowns From Outer Space, 1988

Kooky karnivals klowns kausing kalamity. Characters straight off a poster and whimsical sci-fi make this lesser-known movie a kult klassic. It’s bad, but it’s also good. Nothing beats silly alien-clowns who cause havoc and terror with their popcorn guns and deadly cream pies.

Snacks: Kotton kandy and ice kream

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4. Dead Snow (Dod Sno), 2009

Another one I saw at film festival, and I’m ashamed to say that even though I OWN the second one, I still haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Here, nazi zombies (that are actually scary af) attack a group of young adults staying at a ski lodge. Dumb and extreme decisions are made, somehow resulting in laugh-out-loud hilarity. These zombies aren’t dummies that are falling apart, they’re determined, undead, soldiers on a mission. Yikes.

Snacks: hot chocolate

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3. What We Do in the Shadows, 2014

Probably one of my favorite movies of the decade- it was genuinely funny and creative, and unfortunately, that was pretty shocking to me. I wouldn’t think I’d be attracted to a film that can be described as a documentary about vampires living in New Zealand. But the characters are lovable and hilarious, the story could carry on for decades without letting go of your interest, and there is just nothing to hate about this heart warming, blood-sucking, horror-themed comedy.

Snack: fries (“chips”) or spaghetti (“worms”)

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2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975

An iconic cult film that I’m saddened is not on Broadway yet. A couple arrives to a castle where a transvestite and his alien assistants create a man, host a party, kill a biker, and sing a lot of sexy songs. It’s a musical that’s fun for everyone fun. There’s nothing better than a movie theatre or bar event where everyone dresses up and throws half of their props in the air. Look forward to a purse full of uncooked rice.

Snack: hot dogs (frankenfurters) and Hot Lips candies

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1. Troll 2, 1990 (alongside Best Worst Movie)

I saw Best Worst Movie at a film festival and then fell in love with the ridiculousness that is Troll 2 shortly afterwards. It has absolutely nothing to do with Troll 1 and the trolls are called Goblins… the words troll isn’t heard once. The town is named Nilbog, which is Goblin spelled backwards, and the goblins turn people into plant goop because they’re vegetarians. In a land where popcorn fills sexy trailers and hospitality is literally pissed on, anything can happen in this mean, green, horror-comedy machine.

Snack: corn on the cob, popcorn, green jello, green cupcakes, milk, anything vegetarian

 

Title image from House IV, another fantastic horror comedy.

Here Alone (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 98

Rating: NR (18A-R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, zombie, woods, murderer

This survivalist film isn’t heavy on the horror. It’s a slow, building storytale of hard decisions and remorse. A woman’s backstory is weaved in through her current actions which are mostly about pouring piss and animal dumps on herself and eating maggots. It’s not all bad though- a teenage girl and her mother’s boyfriend stumble across the loner’s campsite, and thet share meals and hide from the rain together in the car. A lot of predictable events happen, but the last bit takes a spin into unchartered territory and I didn’t mind the ending. The characters could be more likeable, even though the entire film has you involved with their lives, close up. In actuality, this is a zombie movie, but there aren’t many appearances of the undead, and it really just feels like a horror version of Last Man on Earth. (Which isn’t exactly a bad thing.)