Midsommar (2019)

Score: 9/10

Length: 147 (yes, it’s like three hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it)

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, recent, recommended, supernatural

This is the director’s second full-length film after Hereditary, and let me say, I thought it was fucking fantastic. It has everything I want: flowers and hippy euphoria nonsense, strange plot line that actually somehow makes sense, uncommon gore, and a break-up story with a fantastic ending. I think most will probably like Hereditary more (though you have to look up what’s it’s actually about afterwards to appreciate it fully), but this movie was my jam. I also thought the acting was very well-done, the actors were well chosen, and the location was on-point. It’s a story about a rocky couple and their friends who venture to Sweden for a mid-summer festival. Things get very cult-y and weird as the group discovers (and participates in) more “family rituals”. Things go from bad to worse at a believable pace, and I found the choices the characters made strangely realistic for the situation they’re in. The one and only thing, in my opinion,  that’s lacking in this movie is the scare-factor. Don’t expect any tension or jump-scares in this film, it’s not really the director’s style. He’s more of a slow, repulsion kinda guy, and I can’t fault him for that, but that’s why it’s not at a perfect score.

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Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

Score: 6/10

Length: 91

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, gore

Although the cover looks like something I’d walk past in the video store every weekend, Incident in a Ghost Land is directed by Pascal Laugier, the man who brought us Martyrs, so there’s a definite reason why this is on my “likely decent, recent films” list. Funny enough, the film also stirred up some drama when one of the lead actors sued over an incident where she was directed to pound so hard on a glass window that it shattered, leaving her with glass shards in her face and ultimately, scars.

Don’t give up on this movie! I’ll admit, the first half is boring. I mean, I was barely keeping an eyelid open when suddenly, what felt like year later, the movie picked up and got all Texas Chainsaw Massacre-y. This film is really two parts. The part before the twist and the part after the twist. And I’ll be nice- I won’t throw any spoilers.

Our story involves a mother and her daughters who move into an old, creepy house full of antiques and unsettling collectables. They quickly discover others in the house, and have to fight for their lives against the insane killers. Some odd years later, one of the sisters is a successful horror writer, and the other has gone mad, struggling to live any sort of normal life, locking herself in the basement. Our twist is soon revealed, along with the hopeless horrors of reality.

It’s a psychological story about sisters that will leave you scarred. The best part is the ending, which is as optimistic or (more likely) as bleak as you need it to be.

 

For more about the lawsuit: https://www.joblo.com/horror-movies/news/actress-suffered-a-disfiguring-injury-filming-pascal-laugier-s-ghostland-249

Annihilation (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 116

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, sci fi, almost horror, woods, book, alien

Let me just start off with making sure it’s clear that this movie doesn’t exactly make sense. But who cares! The acting is decent, the story is creative, and the final product is really beautiful. Yes, it’s low-key ridiculous that a bunch of random scientists venture into this Bermuda triangle of sorts with no face coverage or breathing apparatus’. But once you get past the dumb details, it’s really an engaging movie. I wasn’t bored once, and I never quite knew what was going to happen next. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a sci-fi movie about nature is horror, but I suppose it’s no less horrory than a film like A Quiet Place. The group of women go on an expedition that had been preceded by Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband. He was the only person to return from the “affected zone”, and now she is following in his footsteps, being interviewed and telling the story of her adventure (to put it lightly). The characters are formed enough for my liking, and there are just so many unique qualities to the movie, allowing me to really enjoy it. The film does seem to have the theme of cancer spread throughout it, but I’m not 100% certain that this is the movie’s main concept. Either way, I thought it was a visually striking movie that is worth a watch.

 

Halloween (2018)

Score: 6/10

Length: 106

Rating: R

Language: English

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

Even though I saw this before (or maybe just around) Halloween, I saw it in theatres, so I’m just getting around to review it now. I was in Hollywood, wandering around in the middle of the day, when it was decided that we’d stop by TCL and check out the new Halloween. Especially as we had spotted Jaime Lee Curtis’ star earlier. It was awesome to see her as “a grandma” rocking grey hair in a similar style to her original 1987 role. It did, as mentioned, delve a little more into Michael’s character, but it stayed true to the mystery and the fact that he’s simply just a cold-blooded killer. It’s most likely because I was at the theatre, but the movie felt really fast. I wanted more hunt, more struggle to capture Michael, but I have a feeling that if I were watching it at home, I might not feel the same. Jaime Lee Curtis was fantastic, but I already forgot what the other characters were like. The kills were fast and random, true to M.M. style, and there were lots of fun throwback references. Definitely not disappointed with this movie, and glad it had fantastic timing.

Oh right… it’s about Laurie and her two younger generations battling an escaped Michael Myers. Laurie is now a grandmother, living in fear and paranoia of Michael, and existing in a house on lock-down. She’s been practising for years, and finally works up the courage to hunt her hunter. A couple of journalists are looking to interview the murderer before he is transferred to a maximum security prison. They are dismayed that he chooses not to speak, and get nothing out of him before the bus driving the prisoners crashes and they all escape. Laurie and Michael chase each other through houses on Halloween and end up in her escape room for the final face-off.

Thirteen Days of Christmas Horror Shorts

Christmas is long and painful, but these mini movies are short and sweet! Here are my favorite holiday shorts under 15 minutes, from the weird and wacky to the disturbing and grotesque. Grab the eggnog and rum cookies and enjoy these stocking stuffers. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Also check out my Top Ten Christmas Horror Movies list!

13. I’ll Be Alone for Christmas (2015)
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Length: 7:09
The first of the lonely Christmas girl films on the list, this is simply about a girl stalked by a mysterious stranger. There isn’t much for the story, as it mostly centres around a text conversation. The acting is passable, but there’s a fun little scare.

12. Ghoul Log (2018)
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Length: 2:59
Clay people with gross teeth eat a feast with their mouths open. After they stuff their faces with yule log, the giant-handed puppets are trapped in trees. Horror ASMR. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
Watch here

11. Something Under The Tree (2014)
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Length: 4:26
A little boy watches Santa from the stairs. He rushes to open the present Santa leaves him, and finds a gift that will help him to rid of the elf under the tree. I wish there were a few minutes of character build and mood setting, as you’re just dropped into the start of the scene, but I enjoyed the tension and the sour turn of events.
Watch here

10. A Very Zombie Holiday (2010)
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Length: 3:11
A black and white instructional video for vintage ladies to survive Christmas… and zombies. It’s well-made and cute, but it’s in need of a bit of pop and pizzazz.
Watch here

9. Crafty (2018)
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Length: 3:34
This strange and original claymation is about a creature and his praying mantis friend who eat animals in a frenzy and then make the bones into a Christmas tree. The bone tree is displayed on top of the stump they live in, and a human child discovers it. Weird and gory, but definitely creative. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
Watch here

8. Elf on the Shelf (2017)
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Length: 2:00
The Elf on the Shelf toy comes to life and kills the babysitter and her boyfriend in the spirit of Christmas. The choice of the babysitter over family members seems like an odd and lazy choice. What parents go out on Christmas Eve, anyway? The Elf is creepy, yet charming.
Watch here

7. Eve of the Nutcracker (2016)
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Length: 5:59
There are a few good “gal drinking on the couch alone on Christmas” shorts, but I picked this one as the best because of the on-theme ending. Our girl receives a nutcracker which then seems to end up in a different spot every time she looks. She throws it away, but the giver of the gift isn’t too happy that the gift isn’t well received and… retaliates. The make-up could use a little love since we don’t know anything about the killer, but otherwise, it’s awesome.
Watch here

6. Twas the Night of the Tree Beast (2012)
Length: 6:04
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Josh decorates his video store, but is interrupted by holiday-hater, Kevin. Josh makes a Christmas wish and his tree comes to life when it’s plugged in. Unfortunately, the tree is hungry for money… and flesh. Very Canadian.
Watch here

5. Yuletide (2017)
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Length: 10:00
This is actually a short about Krampus! It starts off by introducing the family members/actors and then shows the cranky family silently eating dinner. Kelly smashes her antique present from her grandfather and ruins Christmas. A Krampus monster is discovered peeking out from the attic, and everything goes downhill from there. The cinematography is the best part.
Watch here

4. Slay Bells (2015)
Length: 11:23
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The main character (a girl who’s turn it is to host Christmas) is expressive and over-the-top, providing us with a hilarious and dramatic holiday short that’s fun for the whole family! This year, it’s the younger sister’s turn to host Christmas, and when the family ruins everything with their judgements, she has a meltdown, but in the end, gets the gift she’s been looking for.
Watch here

3. Do You See What I See (2016)
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Length: 14:01
A masked murderer with glasses crashes a Christmas party. When it’s discovered what is seen by putting on the glasses, a strange and quirky truth is revealed. Lots of character build (almost too much) and a fun storyline make this one a safe bet.
Watch here

2. Christmas Clay Massacre (The Beauty of Horror) (2018)
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Length: 2:05
In a commercial for a colouring book (yes, really), Santa gains Krampus-like qualities and decapitates reindeer with a chainsaw.
Watch here

1. Humbug (2016)
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Length: 6:59
Probably the most memorable on the list, this horror tale shows the contrast between the goth Christmas-hater and Mrs. Christmas herself. The problem is solved when the humbug is exertisely removed from our anti-holiday gal, so she can live her life the way it was meant to be- merry!
Watch here

Top Ten: The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror Episodes

Since season two, The Simpsons have had a Halloween episode. Some are hilarious and fantastic, some are meh, and some are immediately forgotten. In each episode, the family remakes three or four popular (usually horror or sci-fi) movies. As an added touch, even the names in the credits are altered for Halloween. These are my favorite Treehouse of Horror episodes based on my personal tastes. It took me a lot of rewatching and narrowing down, but I’ve finally decided on my top ten (twelve).

Rank: 10
Episode: XX 21×04
Intro: Classic Monsters Halloween Party
Segments: “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ‘#’ to Return to Main Menu”, “Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind”, “There’s No Business Like Moe Business”
Summary: In black and white, Bart proposes a “criss-cross” with Lisa to kill each other’s enemy. Krusty Burger’s new creation turns Springfield into zombies. A musical of mostly Moe making beer with Homer’s blood.

 

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Rank: 9
Episode: XXI 22×04
Intro: Bart vs Homer presented by Professor Frink, The Monster Office
Segments: “War and Pieces”, “Master and Cadaver”, “Tweenlight”
Summary: Bart and Milhouse are sucked into a board game world. Marge and Homer rescue a man on their boat vacation but end up having a change of heart. Lisa meets the vampire boy of her dreams and introduces him to the family.

 

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Rank: 8
Episode: XXV 26×04
Intro: Kudos and Kang Celebrity-style
Segments: “School is Hell”, “A Clockwork Yellow”, “The Others”
Summary: Bart excels in hell-school. Homer, Moe, and friends form a gang and terrorize the town in white outfits. The Simpsons’ house is haunted by ghosts of their former selves.

 

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Rank: 7
Episode: XXVIII 29×04
Intro: 3D Simpsons Candy Bars
Segments: “The Exor-Sis”, “Coralisa”, “Mmm… Homer”
Summary: Maggie becomes possessed after she is given a demon statue. Lisa finds a magical tunnel which leads to a secret family with button eyes. Homer develops a taste…for himself.

 

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Rank: 6
Episode: IX 10×04
Intro: Main Intro Murder Bits
Segments: “Hell Toupée”, “The Terror of Tiny Toon”, “Starship Poopers”
Summary: Homer gets a hair transplant and becomes possessed by the hair’s former owner, Snake. Bart and Lisa are transformed characters on TV while watching Itchy and Scratchy. Maggie’s true, tentacled identify and father are revealed.

 

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Rank: 5
Episode: II 03×07
Intro: Marge Presents, Gravestones, Too Much Candy
Segments: “Lisa’s Nightmare”, “Bart’s Nightmare”, “Homer’s Nightmare”
Summary: An old monkey’s paw grants three wishes with terrible consequences. Bart is a gifted child who can read minds and has the power to turn people into strange creatures. Mr. Burns and Smithers make a robot with Homer’s brain.

 

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Rank: 4
Episode: I 02×03
Intro: Marge Presents, Gravestones, The Simpsons Kids Tell Treehouse Stories
Segments: “Bad Dream House”, “Hungry are the Damned”, “The Raven”
Summary: The Simpsons’ new mansion wants them out. After the Simpsons are abducted by aliens, they fear they are outer space food. The classic Edgar Allen Poe story is told by Homer.

 

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Rank: 3
Episode: VIII 09×04
Intro: Fox Censor, Death Penalty Simpsons
Segments: “The HΩmega Man”, “Fly vs. Fly”, “Easy-Bake Coven”
Summary: Homer is the last man on Earth… besides the lepers. Bart switches bodies with a fly when Homer buys a matter transporter at a garage sale. Marge and her sisters are tried as witches in Salem.

 

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Rank: 2
Episode: XII 13×01
Intro: Burns’ Bat
Segments: “Hex and the City”, “House of Whacks”, “Wiz Kids”
Summary: A gypsy curses Homer, and bearded Marge attends a leprechaun’s wedding. The family is sold a futuristic robot-house which is determined to rid of Homer. Bart and Lisa attend Wizard school and fight the dragon, Mr. Burns.

 

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Rank: 1
Episode: V 06×06
Intro: Marge Presents, Graveyard Deaths, FrankenSimpsons
Segments: “The Shinning”, “Time and Punishment”, “Nightmare Cafeteria”
Summary: The Simpsons are caretakers at a lodge where Homer goes insane and Groundskeeper Willy tries to save the family. Homer tries to fix a toaster and accidentally creates a time travel machine. The school cafeteria decides to spice up the menu with new kinds of meat to solve the detention capacity issue.

 

 

Honorable Mention

I wanted to include these episodes as, although they contain my least favorite segments, they’re still some of the best and they deserve to be included.

 

Episode: VI 07×06
Intro: Sleepy Hollow Krusty, Hung Simpsons
Segments: “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores”, “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”, “Homer³”
Summary: Giant mascots come to life and terrorize the town. Groundskeeper Willy kills in various forms in The Simpson kids’ dreams. Homer finds a portal behind a bookcase which transports him to a dimension where he is 3D.

Episode: IV 12×01
Intro: The Munsters
Segments: “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad”, “Scary Tales Can Come True”, “Night of the Dolphin”
Summary: Homer’s horoscope predicts death by broccoli, and his ghost is forced to do a good dead in order to get to heaven. The Simpsons version of Hansel and Gretel. The dolphins plot revenge and take over Springfield.

 

 

 

 

The House that Jack Built (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 155

Rating: NR (but definitely R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, gore porn, shaky cam, devil

If you’re not familiar with Von Trier, his films are quite imaginative and intense. This one is even artsier than his usual, and a thousand percent more nauseating. The movie can kind of be split into three parts. Serial killer hilarity and gore, frantic arty scenes, and weird fantasy hell. There are apparently two parts that are “shock factor” causing some to walk out. The duck scene I closed my eyes for, so I can’t really comment on that. But the shooting children wasn’t very shocking. Are these people blind to Aleppo??

Serial Killer Hilarity
Yes it might be a little intense for some, but I really loved the realness of the awkwardness. Both Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman were fantastic. I loved the obsessive cleaning thoughts and how easy it was for our murderer to get away with being sloppy. The irony of something so vile bringing a laugh through the haphazard approach is disturbing in and of itself.

Frantic Art Scenes
There I was, in a sold-out theatre, with my eyes closed trying to breathe deep and slow while clutching my turquoise Powerade. The whipping the camera back and forth and spinning around in circles in addition to the colourful grass that’s being trampled was almost as rough an experience for me as watching the Blair Witch Project. I appreciate the camera movement from characters and from character to scene, but lordy, I really could have done without the motion sickness.

Weird Fantasy Hell
We’ve been watching this movie now for two hours and suddenly… Wait. Are we still watching the same movie? Serial Killer Matt is now on a firy bridge in hell? This part of the film did not fit at all, but it was an entertaining ending and a bit of a relief. There was no bad CGI or over-the-topness, so I was okay with the random fantasy.

I’m not really sure what to say. Points for uniqueness and creativity, but isn’t that what’s expected in a Von Trier? The unexpected? I’m not too happy about the mysterious duck scene, but I didn’t mind the gore and the acting was very well-done. Perhaps not the director’s finest works, but a must-see for weirdos.

Bait (2012)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, animal, murderer, small space, gore, almost horror, underground

Hello, and happy Shark Week! Hope you learned some interesting shark facts.
This sharky action-horror gem is a bit of a special flavour in the genre. It actually tries to be good, and although the CGI isn’t up to par, the Australian film puts in a rare effort that’s definitely appreciated. A group of people in a grocery store are in the middle of dealing with a robbery when a tsunami crashes upon them. People are trapped in their  cars in the parkade and on top of shelves in the supermarket to stay clear of the sharks that came with the waves of water. For some reason, these sharks are starving for human flesh, and ten seconds in the water assumes a flesh-ripping death. Also, for some reason, the silly humans keep trying ways to escape which inevitably leads to their demise, but with unbridled enthusiasm, they keep trying anyway. They are creative, but it gets old fast. The action laced with the horror is a rarity that typically works well. I was entertained, and although there were many characters (none of which I really connected to), I was still curious to see whether they swam or sank. If the acting was stronger and the story made a bit more sense, this movie would get a big boost. But it’s a great movie to watch during shark week in a sea of action and horror-comedy fintastic films. Perhaps if I had gotten to see it in 3D it would have been amazing, since most things are amazing in 3D.

 

 

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: 6.5/10

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.