Mania (1986)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

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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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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.

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!

Top Ten Most Memorable Horror Movie Masks

I’d first off like to apologize for my absence. I’ve been working on a few Top Tens, and even though I saw a crapload of horror movies in October, I went on a sunny vacation right after and forgot most of them. So now, I present to you, an interesting theme: masks! Masks are the ultimate murdering accessory. Although makeup is more in than attachable face plastic, there are lots of awesome famous horror movie masks out there.

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I’d like to start off with an honorable mention that couldn’t be included in this list because it’s a tv show: Goosebumps, The Haunted Mask. This was most likely one of the first ever spooky masks that I encountered, in the book and then on tv. The mask that doesn’t come off has definitely been done before, but that doesn’t make the it any less awesome. I plan to add this detailed, green monster to my costume collection someday.

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10. Alice, Sweet Alice;s Plastic Make-up Mask (1976)

Although this movie isn’t super well-known, this type of see-through, second skin is still in every store selling Halloween costumes today. The plastic, makeupped adult face supposedly worn over a child’s innocent face makes it even creepier, as worn with a yellow rain jacket in the film. There is also a similar, updated version in V/H/S.

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9. Halloween III: Season of the Witch’s Silver Shamrock Masks (1982)

The Jack-o-lantern, witch, and skeleton masks intended to melt children’s faces appear only in this installment of Halloween that has nothing at all to do with Michael Myers. Although entertaining, the whole Stonehenge thing and evil mask-manufacturer situation doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

      

8. Terror Train’s Groucho Marx Mask (1980)

On New Year’s Eve, a murderer kills college kids on a train. He wears several different masks on the train that he swaps with his victims, but they don’t quite have the off-putting creepiness that the Groucho seems to have.

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7. Trick ‘R Treat’s Burlap Sack (2007)

This film is technically an anthology, but I find that it’s really only remembered for the character, Sam. It’s kind of cute, kind of creepy, and definitely silly-scary underneath.

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6. Phantom of the Opera (1925)

The phantom changes over time, but the mask doesn’t really. The first film is included in this list because it’s the only one that is actually a horror film besides the virtually unknown 1989 version with Robert Englund. It’s white, it’s simple, and it’s close enough to the iconic half-mask in the musical versions.

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5. The Strangers’ The Man in The Mask, Pin-Up Girl, and Dollface Masks (2008)

This is one of my favorite movies, as I’m terrified of stalkers and this had great tension and character story. Each of the torturers wears a mask, but the face has nothing to really do with anything besides their gender. They’re all equally scary in that they don’t have any rhyme or reason to them, and the faces behind them are never revealed.

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4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Skin Mask (1974, 2003, and sequels)

Leatherface is inspired by Ed Gein who was obsessed with making things out of human body parts such as bones and skin. Throw in a chainsaw and some off-beat, grotesque characters and you’ve got yourself a gore fest phenomenon. Whether it be the original or the remake, both have the iconic stitches and skin mask. I wonder how Leatherface would feel about a peel at the spa.

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3. Scream’s Ghostface Mask (1996 and sequels)

If you asked people to blurt out the first Halloween mask that comes to mind, I bet Ghostface would be at the top of the list. Inspired by Edvard Munch’s The Scream painting, this franchise and its unforgettable mask made a huge dent in film history.  The return to the slasher was immensely popular, and ever since the film’s release, the Ghostface mask has been on shelves. Even though the movie has some nineties cheese, the twist is all that matters.

2. Halloween’s Michael Myers (William Shatner) Mask (1978 and sequels)

Let’s be real here, this is a bad mask. Even when you see it sold in stores the hair’s all matted and the skin is lumpy. But it serves its purpose in the movie, because the expressionless face easily gives you the creeps. Halloween is just another slasher movie with no real backstory, but it’s a fun, mindless film to watch, and there are lots of sequels to binge-watch on my favorite holiday.

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1. Friday the 13th Part 3’s Hockey Mask (1982 and sequels)

Jason Voorhees sure is a man of the times. His mask style changes in each movie, and although for the most part, he sporting a generic hockey mask, he also tries on a sack and a metal, alienlike option. Jason is supposed to be a deformed psychopath, so I suppose any old mask will do. The great thing about the Friday the 13th films are that there is a little bit of comedy, a few scares, and countless ways to kill featured. Jason has a decent backstory, and the original film’s twist makes up for the fact that the mask doesn’t appear.

 

 

Face Off: The Mist (2007) vs The Fog (2005)

Two types of weather, two very different monsters lurking in what we can’t see. Tonight I’m reviewing The Fog and The Mist to see which one comes out on top!

The Mist (2007)

Score: 6/10

Length: 127

Rating: R

I’m honestly surprised that there’s only one movie about this, but at least there’s a TV show out now. This is your typical people trapped in a grocery store because of mist bug aliens. They do dumb things like continuously try to leave and go out into the mist in search of something or other and ALWAYS DIE. There’s your regular good guy family, the old people, the bad crew, the romance, the family, and the crazy evangelical. All the usual ingredients for the blurry dessert that is this movie. I mean, for it being from 2007, the CGI alien bug monsters weren’t too bad. It’s a typical King movie. Not overly scary, but a good story and decent (although mildly cheesy) acting. A really strong ending to this one as well. The surprising thing, however, was that this movie was two hours (also in typical King fashion), but it didn’t feel long or action-deprived for a second. I’m not overly into bug and alien movies, such as, I won’t go out of my way to see them, but in the end, I didn’t feel like my time was wasted here. I’m sure you’ve also heard about the ending. It’s a great twist, but the desert music is a little over the top.

 

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The Fog (2005)

Score: 3/10

Length: 100

Rating: PG-13

I’m going with the 2000’s version of The Fog, as the eighties are always better, and this is a more fair option. I totally saw this in theatres for some reason, and at the time, it felt very ‘Halloween TV marathon’. It starts off strong with some Fall Out Boy… oh, and Tom Welling from Smallville in a chunky turtleneck. Should be terrifying…

It’s about some ghosts getting revenge in the dumbest way possible. The movie is littered with bad party scenes and awkward flirting, and the acting/script/directing isn’t very strong. There is just so much going on and so many awful CGI effects. It’s a Simpsons and Are You Afraid of the Dark episode wrapped up and spit out into a movie. This fog is just too complex and random and you don’t really care about the characters until it’s too late. The was one part that gave me a jump-scare, and I enjoyed the scenes with the ship as well as the kid with his scotch tape, but that’s about it. There was also a twist ending, and it was so surprising it was truly laughable.

 

My brain might be foggy and my eyes might be misty, but there’s a clear winner here. I’m shocked to say that alien bugs won over leper ghosts, but The Mist was just a better movie in every aspect. I suppose now that I’ve seen them both, the 1980’s version of The Fog likely would have been a tighter race.

Masters of Horror: The Washingtonians

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Peter Medak (The Changeling, Species II)

Evil Category: old white people with bad teeth

Score: one out of five really bad childhood car songs

The summary for this sounds really neat. But let me share with you this line from the opening family scene: “Oh my. Look at the mess that you’re making. When did my princes turn into such a little slob, huh? Just like her daddy!” You never realize how difficult acting is until you see really bad acting. The idea that if you found a scroll you thought was written by George Washington, and you didn’t immediately take it to an appraiser is absurd. This episode is about a family who moves into their grandparent’s house, and discovers the friend old folk in the town are bunch of cannibals who like to dress up and act like George Washington. This episode really proves that this is just Goosebumps for adults.

Top Ten R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour Episodes (Seasons 3 & 4)

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour is a modern-day teen horror show that started in 2010 and plays on YTV (and I’m sure some other channels).  It was extremely hard to pick a top ten for several reasons- I had no emotional childhood attachments to any of these episodes, there are a lot of creative ideas, and none of them are really scary, but they’re all pretty much Goosebumps-style twisty-ended. They all have teenage cheese and they’re all watchable. Here are my top ten most memorable episodes from seasons 3 and 4 of The Haunting Hour!

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10. Grampires

Cute, creepy, and the season’s two-parter, this episode is about siblings who go to visit their grandparents in a retirement village. Unfortunately, soon enough, the kids learn the elderly folk are actually vampires, and rely on their grandfather to keep them safe. Normally, old people tend to be horrific in a frail and fragile way, but these grampires are more reminiscent of The Bailey School Kids book characters-comical.

 

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9. The Girl in the Painting

A young girl dreaming of a life of luxury finds a painting in the trash of a girl in a beautiful pink room. She becomes obsessed with living in the fantasy world of the posh painting. After the paining changes scenes and a voice is heard advising the way in is through the closet, the girl finds herself in the world she dreamed of. I think most little girls imagine themselves going into another land through the closet, all Chronicles of Narnia-style. The end is twisty of course, and unexpected, and laughable.

 

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8. The Cast

While playing a prank on and old lady, a group of boys get caught, and one falls, breaking his arm. He ends up with a cast, but the cast turns out to be a lot worse than just a cradle for shattered bones. I’ve never broken anything major, but the fear of the unknown comes into play here, and paranoia, and all of the possibilities of what could be lurking underneath all that plaster and bandage. In this case it’s rats, and while the guilt feeds delusions, in the end, everyone gets their just desserts. The moral of the story is: don’t lie or karma will get you.

 

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7. I’m Not Martin

A helpless boy in a hopeless horror- Martin is set for surgery, the only issue is he’s not Martin and no one believes him. As a kid, it would be pretty terrifying to be mistaken for someone else at a hospital, especially if that person is set to have their leg taken off. This episode is fairly nonsensical, but the desperation and fear of being trapped in a situation without having any control over it is pretty scary for a kid.

 

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6. Detention

This isn’t just a ditzy episode about high school stereotypes stuck in detention, it’s about three teenagers who take ownership of their mistakes and learn a valuable lesson. Obviously written by a dad, but not too cheesy. The setting of the decoration-trashed school with no one around sets a terrific atmosphere, and the possible consequences of the unassuming kids ups the scare factor. In true horror way, however, I wish it would have ended with the prom princess going her own way.

 

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5. Seance

A younger sister wants to fit in with her big sister and her friend, and while following them around mercilessly, annoys the friends. Little sis, who also stars as a little sister in The Conjuring is the victim of a prank, but ups the ante she gets her revenge. Seances are fun and spooky, and I bet every younger sibling got a few ideas of revenge after watching this episode.

 

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4. My Imaginary Friend

Another twisty story that ends kind of sad because you don’t really see it coming. It’s about a boy with an invisible friend who’s kind of a bad-ass, and is very much a negative influence. The boy’s good-natured brother doesn’t get along with his sibling’s imaginary friend and the conflict between the two goes from bad to worse. There are a lot of interesting ideas in this episode such as listening to your conscience and being able to control what you’d created with your own mind.

 

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3. Terrible Love

A Valentine’s Day episode where a girl wishes for cupid to make the popular boy like her… but she goes too far, and their love turns sour. This is another example of a mature episode that discusses jealousy and obsession in love. It’s creepy in a very real way and I appreciate how it’s guessable but still likable it can be. There’s a spotlight on awkwardness and desperation, and isn’t that every teenager’s nightmare?

 

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2. Lovecraft’s Woods

Time loops (in my opinion) are not used enough in movies, and I’ve definitely never seen it be used in a kid’s show, so this is all sorts of awesome. It’s about three friends who are trapped in the woods. One of the kids gets bitten and turns into a horrible creature who tries to warn her friends. Werewolves aren’t my usual horror cup of tea, but I fancy a spooky stroll in the forest, mind you.

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1. Le Poof de Fromage

The kid painfully trying to have a funny french accent may be hard to sit through, and the plot may be… ahem… cheesy, but it’s silly and fun and original. It’s simply ridiculous and I like that about it. This episode is about a foreign exchange student who moves in with a family to hunt down the alien cheese puffs that are trying to invade Earth. It kind of reminds me of 10 Cloverfield Lane because of the paranoia and flip-flop beliefs. Must be eaten with the puffy Cheesies, not the crunchy ones.

Also read: Seasons 1/2 Top Ten

Masters of Horror: Imprint

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer)

Evil Category: black-smear-toothed, red-headed whores

Score: five out of five skin-sweeping scars

In regular Takashi Miike form, this episode is strange and intense. Considering the rest of the season is at times a little dull and watered-down, this was a fun finish to season one. I saved this movie for a night with sushi, and I’m going to have to have another sushi night because I want to watch it again. There was just so much going on I don’t think I was able to absorb it all. It’s about this guy (he’s in Charmed, acting as badly as he does in this episode) who is looking for his lost lover. Instead, he learns of her torturous death through the stories of a woman with distorted features. This gnarly, complex episode features everything from a weird little pimp with a nose scab to a conjoined hand twin. (What?!) At the same time, the colours are rich, the costumes are intricate, and it’s beautifully filmed. I didn’t love everything about it, but for sure, the best episode so far.

Masters of Horror: Right to Die

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn, The Alphabet Killer)

Evil Category: a burnt, revenge-seeking wife

Score: four out of five mistress body parts lost

I decided to watch this episode after reading an article about a girl in Europe who had assisted suicide after years of sexual abuse. It’s an interesting topic with good points on both sides of the debate. I actually really enjoyed this episode, and although at times it seemed like a TV drama series, there was a lot of gory horror mixed in. I would not recommend watching this while eating, as there are several bloody, slimy wife and cringe-worthy skinning scenes. The director has only worked on a handful of movies, but funny enough, I liked this episode more than most. It feels like a real movie; like has more story than should be condensed into an hour. The ending can be taken a few different ways, and I prefer the more grim option. It’s about a husband and wife who end up in a horrible car accident during a fight. The husband comes out okay, but the wife is horribly burnt and disfigured and doesn’t have long to live. He goes back and forth between the decision to let her die (and inherent a large amount of her family’s money) or let her live. Unfortunately, the decision is made a little too late, but the journey revealed in layers is exciting, interesting, and new. I feel like it could easily be remade into a full movie with even better effects and music.

 

photo: http://www.grimmovies.com/

Masters of Horror: Valerie on the Stairs

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Mick Garris, (Sleepwalkers, Hocus Pocus [writer])

Evil Category: a dreamed-up, dominating demon

Score: one out of five paper mache men

I’ve never seen a film start at 10 and so steadily count down to 0. It just got worse and worse as it went on and ended in peak badness. This is probably going to be spoilertastic, but I need to explain it out because  I’m going to forget what happens, (it’s so forgettable) and later, wonder why I gave it such a low score. Mick Garris, again, should not be writing horror. Maybe romance, suspense, but there is nothing scary about these episodes by the same director. So we start off strong with a writer moving into a sort-of boarding house for aspiring novelists. The characters are intriguing, and the story is set. Our hero then begins seeing a (frequently) naked girl on the stairs, but each night she is pulled away -into the walls- by a lumpy green-grey demon. The writer, of course, becomes inspired and begins his book. The episode slides downhill fast when the occupants of the house are accused of bringing their strange and sick story to life in the very house they live in. It finishes with the protagonist realizing he’s the protagonist in the story-come-to-life and then… AND THEN… he dissipates as a bunch of pages. Wow. Intense…

 

photo: http://fanpop.com/