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.

 

 

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Top Ten Canadian Horror Films

Happy Canada 150, my fellow proud Canadians and adoring non-Canadians! Here are my favorite scary Canuck movies to watch after the fireworks, or hungover the next morning, accompanied by Canada’s top snacks.

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10. The Brood  (1979)

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One of four Cronenburg and sons films on the list, it’s about a woman driven by her psychologist to do some pretty strange things, among them, lead a brood of lumpy lawn gnome look-alikes. The skin sack is a hard image to forget, so you may want to have a couple 2-4s and mickeys on hand.

Canadian Snack: Watch a woman lick her bloody baby while you nosh on some flavour-packed Lays ketchup chips and guzzle down a spicy Caesar with a green bean.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

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9. Terror Train (1980)

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A satisfying New Year’s Eve slasher movie about med students at a costume party held on a train who are killed off by a masked murderer. What a kerfuffle with everyone stuck on that train. Better grab your toques and runners and get a move on.

Canadian Snack: In order to stay up past midnight you’re going to need some caffeine. But since we’re on a moving train, better reach for a Coffee Crisp instead.

Review here

Trailer here

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8. The Fly (1986)

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Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis are surrounded by a hefty helping of that goopy, slimy, eighties blood and gore. It’s pretty much every superhero story, without the superhero part, leaving just- man turns into fly, and it doesn’t go too well.

Canadian Snack: If there’s one thing that flies like, it’s sugar. So give them what they want in a sweet, buttery treat: the butter tart.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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7. Black Christmas (1974)

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This is a film about a woman calling for her cat, Claude… I mean… it’s about sorority girls trapped in a house with a mystery killer. And also Christmas! So it’s snowing and no one is really around to help. Better than the 2006 version by a million kilometres, but not necessarily thrilling.

Canadian Snack: Our country doesn’t really have much to do with Christmas dinner, so instead, grab a Tims double double with a maple-glazed donut for breakfast.

Review here

Trailer here

 

 

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6. Dead Ringers (1988)

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Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie about twin gynecologists addicted to drugs, both played by Jeremy Irons? I generally dislike it when a movie is two or more hours long, but I didn’t mind it in this case. Felt like I was just watching a few episodes in a row of Twin Peaks. It’s labeled as a drama / horror / thriller, but it doesn’t have the typical tension of a horror or thriller; I found it heavy on the drama end.

Canadian Snack: Nothing goes better together than a Montreal-style bagel and Montreal smoked meat.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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5. Antiviral (2012)

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A film about a business that offers diseases (carried by celebrities) to the public, in order to allow the fans to feel closer to the famous person they’re obsessed with. So strange, and so creative with such a fantastically interesting lead character played by Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out). Lots of drug hazes, needles galore, and so many blood-soaked white things that even Tide couldn’t clean.

Canadian Snack: Some good ole fashioned brand-name KD with a dollop of ketchup. The Canadian way.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

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4. Cube (1997)

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Out of the three Cube movies, the first has the best ending- with a twist. A group of people are trapped in a room-filled structure, where each room has a different violent booby-trap waiting for them.

Canadian Snack: We’re too hip to be square, but a homemade nanaimo bar is to die for, and angular enough to accompany this franchise.

Review here

Trailer here

3. American Mary (2012)

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A revenge flick about a med student turned underground body modifier is American only by title.

Canadian Snack: To go with the American theme, believe it or not, the popular sushi order, California roll, was invented by a Japanese sushi chef who moved to Vancouver in the seventies.

Review here

Trailer here

2. Ginger Snaps (2000) 

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Good things come in threes, but the original of the well-known Canadian trilogy is the best. Nothing beats some simplistic teen werewolf angst, eh?

Canadian Snack: Unfortunately, ginger snaps aren’t really Canadian, so instead how bout some Chinese food? Surprisingly, ginger beef was invented right here in Calgary, AB. I think a werewolf would prefer meat over cookies anyway.

Review here

Trailer here

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1. Silent Hill (2006)

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This dreamlike fantasy horror about a mother searching for her daughter in an eerie, ash-covered town gets the top spot. This fantastic goth film is an adaptation of a survival video game and couldn’t have been done better. Around every turn is a mysterious creature, its details creatively imagined. I’d pay a lot of loonies and twoonies to see this at the theatre in 3D.

Canadian Snack: The number one spot deserves nothing but the number one Canadian food. So versatile and comforting, you can’t do better than a proper poutine.

This movie doesn’t yet have a full review.

Trailer here

 

BONUS! The legendary tv show, Are You Afraid of the Dark, is of course, also Canadian.

Looking for more? Try Pontypool, Hobo With a Shotgun, Pin, The Changeling, Videodrome, The Shrine, Prom Night. 

The Clinic (2010)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 94

Rating: R

Language: English (Australia)

Categories: 2000s, murderer, recommended, SPOILERS

This well-developed story is about a mother who is kidnapped and surgically robbed of her child. She wakes up in a bath of ice in some sort of factory warehouse and soon finds out that she’s not the only one searching for her baby. There are lots of twists, and it’s a film that keeps you guessing. Although parts of the reveal are quite silly if you think about it, I didn’t feel any disappointment about how the film closed. The only thing I may have liked to catch a glimpse of was what happened to the other babies. This felt like a lady-version of Saw, with strong, emotional acting and an engaging and original plot. I don’t even really have anything sarcastic to say about it, because I can’t think of any part that was stand-out bad. The tension is there in many different scenes, but at the same time, nothing bad happens to the dogs or the cows! Just the right amounts of gore, tragedy, and build-up make this movie well worth a watch. (Unless you’re pregnant, maybe.)

Tales of Halloween (2015)

This (mostly) Halloween-themed horror anthology is comprised of 10 stories which are individually rated below. (Segments are rated in comparison to each other, not to movies of the horror genre as a whole.)

Length: 92

Rating: R

Language: English

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Sweet Tooth (dir David Parker)

Score: 7/10    Villian: monster, human

It’s almost a shame that they put the best story first. I forgot that I was watching an anthology and was disappointed when it ended. Although I liked some of the others, I might have preferred to watch a whole movie about this. It’s a simple spooky story about a monster who eats your insides if you inhale all the candy and don’t leave him any. It’s fun and creative, with an ending I can appreciate. I’m sure this was the reason I bought that box of over-priced Halloween candy at the grocery store.

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The Night Billy Raised Hell (dir Darren Lynn Bousman)

Score: 5/10    Villian: devil/demon

A young kid dressed as a devil is pressured into pulling a prank on an old man. He is tied up while a look-alike demon wreaks havoc on the town with the old man devil snickering behind trees and such. The hot mom line was a little overdone and the cheesy noises and sound effects take away from the short. I would have preferred the same idea without the comedy.

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Trick (dir Adam Gierasch)

Score: 5/10     Villian: human

On Halloween, kids decide to trick instead of treat, killing the young adults in vicious ways. That’s all I can really say. I wish this segment had more. It was way too simple and easily forgettable. It deserves a like review.

 

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The Weak and the Wicked (dir Paul Solet)

Score: 5/10            Villian: (monster), human

A kid who is bullied by three hoodlums on bikes returns as a young adult with an evil spirit to invoke his revenge. It’s mostly shots of the female leader of the pack slowly sucking on a cigar and trying to give fire eyes.

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Grim Grinning Ghost (dir Axelle Carolyn)

Score: 6/10             Villian: ghost

Nothing much happened in this segment either, but I could easily empathize with the main character and it has a nice climax build-up. The acting seems genuine and this is a nice, little spook. It’s about a woman at a party who is told a story about a ghost who cackles behind you as she follows. If you turn around, she gets you. After the party on the way home, the tale  comes to life as the frightened gal wills herself not to turn around.

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Ding Dong (dir Lucky McKee)

Score: 5.5/10           Villian: monster/human

This strange story about infertility feels like I’m watching the Babadook in a Bjork video. Probably the strangest out of the bunch and the most unsettling. A couple unable to reproduce, struggle to keep cheery faces on when floods of children come to their door. As the husband tries to make light of the situation, the monster inside his wife appears more and more. The husband is dressed as Hansel, however, he looks more like Stewart from MadTV.

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This Means War (dir John Skipp and Andrew Kasch)

Score: 6/10           Villian: humans

Two generations of Halloween-lovers fight over the better way to enjoy the holiday. Loud, metal music, gory decorations, and a big party -or- classic family fun with animatronics and spooky effects. In the end, no one wins. The idea worked well for a short story, but there weren’t really any surprises, and it left the episode feeling too cute.

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Friday the 31st (dir Mike Mendez)

Score: 3/10             Villians: alien cartoons, possessed humans, and Jason

Deformed freak and movie murderer Jason Voorhees meets a cartoon alien that looks like it could be from an Eiffel 65 video. He finds the creature annoying and stomps on it, which in turn allows the alien to possess a female victim who launches herself at Jason. They hack away at each other and then the alien goes home. I don’t think I need to give any additional comments towards this description.

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The Ransom of Rusty Rex (dir Ryan Schifrin)

Score: 4/10                        Villian: gremlin

Two men kidnap what they think is a child, but what turns out to be a little imp-gremlin of sorts. The vertically-challenged monster torments the kidnappers as they do everything possible to get rid of it. This episode is mildly comical, but easily forgettable.

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Bad Seed (Neil Marshall)

Score: 6/10            Villian: killer pumpkins

This is probably my second-favorite segment, as the director really understands how to make horror cheesy and fun. It’s about an evil jack-o-lantern that eats humans head first. The idea isn’t anything fantastic, it’s the delightful little ending that gives it a small sparkle… of doom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Top Ten Movies Of 2015 I’m Still Looking Forward To Seeing

I’ve seen a lot of new movies this year, but in October I fell a little behind, and there are still a lot of great ones left that I’d like to conquer. In the time I took to get this list together, I could have probably watched all of these movies, but that’s how I roll. In no particular order, here’s a list of the films I’m still looking forward to from this year.

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The Witch

category: supernatural indie era 

level of excitement to see it: I’m a sucker for originality, and I feel like this one is going to deliver, so I’m very much looking forward to it

stars: new actors you haven’t heard of

A Sundance selection, this independent history-horror set in the 1600’s is about sorcery, family, and tension. The trailer doesn’t give away much, but it looks like it’s full of unease and uncertainty, and that’s attention-grabbing in itself. I’m interested in unlocking the mystery, but will surely have to be in a cold, grey mood before diving into this one.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQXmlf3Sefg

 

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Krampus or A Christmas Horror Story

category: holiday fun

level of excitement to see it: I wouldn’t want to watch either after Christmas so there’s limited time to see these ridiculous yuletide monsterpieces

stars: Adam Scott, Toni Collette / William Shatner

I’m cheating a little here, but there are two Krampus movies this year, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I’ll probably watch both and have a theme night of it. In case you didn’t know, Krampus is a goat-headed Christmas demon from folklore. This character has been hidden from the movie scene until recently, for unknown reasons. Neither of this movies look exceptional, but holiday horrors are rare, and this might make for a great face-off review.

trailer: Krampus  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cVyoMH4QE

A Christmas Horror Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSSSUbB-mYk

 

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Nina Forever 

category: it’s been done 

level of excitement to see it: it’s there if I need it

stars: new, Irish-named actors you haven’t heard of

This one doesn’t seem so original. In fact, it sounds a lot like Life After Beth. It looks a lot like a bunch of sex had in a bloody bed. No, no one is having their period, it’s just a dead ex-girlfriend who appears during deed-doing. I’m not dying to see this one, but it’s worth a glance.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IokJt_05co

 

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The Final Girls

category: horror comedy film within a film

level of excitement to see it: silly, girly, scary- I couldn’t ask for much more

stars: Taissa Farmiga from AHS,  Malin Akerman from mediocre comedies

Here’s our comedic relief of the year-end! It’s got a chunky story, but none of the parts are that original. It’s an Oh Henry! bar. A girl and her friends get trapped in a film from the eighties- and her mom is the star! The goal is to beat the machete maniac and be the final girls standing. Sounds like a fun movie to watch at a grown-up sleepover wearing onesies and drinking Winter Ale.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zreNh78kTjg

 

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Cooties

category: zombies in school

level of excitement to see it: this better be good as I’m not thrilled to watch another film of the flesh-eating genre

stars: Elijah Wood!!! and Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill

This movie has been out for awhile, but I’ve already had my fall flu and I don’t want to jinx it. It’s the made-up virus from your childhood come to life, but it’s from the perspective of the teachers. The staff try desperately to fight off children-zombies, and it seems super fun and hilarious, but I am reeeeallly over the zombie thing. This movie will put me at my limit, so hopefully it’s worth it. Let me work it.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzJVA0KWljk

 

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The Hallows

category: a bed time story to give you nightmares

level of excitement to see it: I can’t miss a rare opportunity like this, and it’s a great film to watch before bed

stars: Bojana Novakovic from Devil, Joseph Mawle (you’d recognize his face)

The Hallows, also known by its other boring title, The Woods, is a film about Irish folklore- fairies, banshees, and the like. I can’t imagine this being too good, but it’s not often that we get any horror fairy tales, so I’m going to watch it anyway and like it more than 100% of the shaky-cam movies that I refuse to watch. I can only hope and pray that there’s little to no CGI and the plot isn’t full of holes. Here’s to the fae!

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH3NCjfr7n4

 

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The Hive

category: memories and bad blood

level of excitement to see it: I could skip it, but I’ll give it a shot

stars: up and coming kids you’ve never heard of

You’d think this movie would be about bees, but it’s actually a psychological infected-by-a-virus thriller. (If you want bees, try Stung, which I’ll also watch eventually.) The trailer isn’t very revealing, but there seems to be a lot of choking on black blood and it’s reminiscent of the latest Evil Dead. The film is also from the producers of Saw so it can’t be that bad, but I have a feeling the romance side of things is going to get a little too mushy (not in a smashed brains way) for my liking.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdd4UaiJJg

 

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A Tale of Tales

category: fantasy fantastic 

level of excitement to see it: I don’t have high hopes but I’m very excited to see how it compares to Crimson Peak

stars: Salma Hyek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reily

This one is all imagination breathed through fashion and set design, and I’m actually quite surprised it’s labelled as a horror. Makes me think- is Game of Thrones a horror? This is film of three stories (as made pretty obvious by the title) that tell of the kingdom staples: intricate and colourful costumes, grotesque fable beasts, and of course, pale, young, naked girls. I doubt it’s going to bring any scares, but I wouldn’t mind adding another dreamlike storybook fiction movie to the list. Salma also goes hard on a really big bloody heart.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3hVmpGzl7A

 

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Circle

category: sci fi game

level of excitement to see it: I’m thrilled to be thrilled

stars: Julie Benz (from Dexter and Saw V)

This looks like a contender for my Top Ten Strangers in a Small Room list. I am so pleased that there’s another game show horror flick coming out. Fifty people are trapped in a room unable to move from the circle. Each person dies until one is left. This one looks different from the rest as there are way more people and surprisingly, children are involved.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAlpm2oRzy8

 

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Maya

category: fear-free ghosts with subtitles 

level of excitement to see it: it’s been awhile since I’ve seen an Indian film, so I’m looking forward to it

stars: two actors that each only go by one name so they must be special- Nayantara,  Aari

I’m sure there’s a bunch of really great Korean or Japanese or French horror films from 2015 out there that I could be picking (suggest them to me!), but I’ve decided to go with one of the (probably) five Indian horror attempts this year. This movie seems quite Westernized, so some of the magical cheese I love is missing, but it still looks like a true-to-heart Bollywood ghost story. It’s also got great spooky settings- a dark forest, an asylum, and lots of shadowy rooms and buildings. One thing I’ve never missed from an Indian movie is a fantastic story, but I’m not expecting to be scared.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x43dvfqYSE

 

photo credits: sundance.org, youtube.com, fatmovieguy.com, ew.com, clickmaza.com, filmfad.com,

telegraph.co.uk, nerdist.com, cdn4.thr.com, gamesradar.com,slashfilm.com

 

Top Ten (Scream) Queens of Nineties Horror Films

Because I can.

In order from aiight to the bomb to all that and a bag of chips, with nineties slang galore,  here are the top ten horror movie (and some tv) actresses of “the last great decade”.

10. Patricia Arquette

Patricia is/was a star for more mature teen horror lovers, yah know what I mean? She thrilled in Stigmata, Nightwatch, and everyone’s favorite series, Tales From the Crypt. Even though to some, she’s old school, Patricia is one of the few stars still relevant today.

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9. Drew Barrymore

Raise the roof for Drew who began her horror reign as a nine year old in Firestarter (1984). A little older, she starred in Waxwork 2, but really broke out when the Jiffy Popper died at the start of the first Scream movie. Word.

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8. Clea Duvall

You probably won’t remember her by name, but she has a very recognizable face. Her main horror movie of the decade was The Faculty, but she also starred in the tv version of Buffy. She put a few more horror films under her belt in the 2000s, and made a horror tv appearance later on in her career as Wendy in American Horror Story.

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7. Courtney Cox

Courtney’s only horror role has been as the needy, Sydney-pestering reporter, Gale Weathers in Scream (1-4). But don’t be a hater, she was such a popular tv star in the nineties (and eighties, and now) that she deserves a spot. Score!

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6. Sarah Michelle Gellar

OMG, SMG. Not only did she scream in both I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2, she got to play a bad-ass beeotch in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (tv series). She also was one of the few to continue on with the horror genre. Sarah Michelle was the shit in newer horrors such as The Grudge (2) and The Return. To top it all off, she lent her voice to the Call of Dead video game.

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5. Katie Holmes

Before she became a nutty cult follower and while she was making tough teenage decisions on Dawson’s Creek, Katie starred in Disturbing Behavior and Teaching Mrs Tingle, as a worried, but strong-willed brunette beauty. The Gift, in 2000, was her last attempt at a horror film.

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4. Rebecca Gayheart

Probably the most underrated actress of the nineties, chica is equipped with distinctively beautiful features and wacked eyes. Rebecca dominated nineties films such as: Scream 2, Urban Legend, Jawbreaker, From Dusk till Dawn 3, and most awesomely, a straight-to-video horror-western, mmmkay.

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3. Rose McGowan

Sensual lips and a Snow White complexion make the former girlfriend of Marylin Manson hard to forget. She acted in such films of the decade as Phantoms, Scream, and Jawbreaker, and later went on to star as a phat witch in the tv show Charmed and a gun-legged zombie survivor in Planet Terror. She will be showing off her mad plastic surgery in the upcoming Poe film, The Telltale Heart.

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2. Jennifer Love Hewitt

Although the, like, only horror films she ever starred in were, like, the two installments of I Know What You Did Last Summer, this was her, like, break-out role and what made her a house hold name. Most of her earlier and later movies fall into the romance or drama category, and she revived her career in 2005, starring in The Ghost Whisperer television series. Also, lets be honest here. We gotta give props to a scream queen with great boobs.

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1. Neve Campbell

Ohhh snap. Did you really think I’d go against the ways of the Universe? Not only did she star in all of the Scream franchise films, in the nineties she was also in The Craft and an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark titled The Tale of the Dangerous Soup.

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Poltergeist (2015)

Score: 4.5/10* (+1 for being in 3D)

Length: 93

Language: English

Categories: recent. 2000s, remake, ghost, haunted house

This was the best Goosebumps episode I’ve ever seen! I mean… it was okay for a horror movie. It was super fun and entertaining to watch, but they missed a few of the best parts of the original and it all seemed to happen too quickly. It unfortunately had one of my most hated movie flaws- characters under-reacting to an insane situation. I also didn’t love how the very very end of the movie was put together- it was just lazy with excess film. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the effects and the imagination behind how the “otherworld closet”  was done. The acting wasn’t too painful, excusing the ho-hum reactions issue. You really have to go into this wanting to have a good time at the movies as opposed to wanting to be actually scared. The tension is short-lived, and this remake of a classic poltergeist story is just like the original in many ways- it’s cheesy, a great time, and when you watch it again years later, it won’t be as good as you remembered it.

* 10/10 if it was a Goosebumps episode

photo credit: http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/2015/02/Poltergeist.jpg

Top Ten ‘Strangers in a Small Room’ Movies

Here I will count down the top ten mystery/ thriller/ horror movies featuring group isolation in a small space where the victims have to play a game to win/ free themselves/ stay alive. (In order from worst to best.)

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10. Nine Dead (2010) 3/10

A typical mystery thriller where nine people are handcuffed in a room and advised one will die every ten minutes if they don’t find the reason they have been brought together. The usual stereotypes: angry black guy, old white guy, cocky Italian guy, and also the not so common characters: gay pedophile and intense lawyer lady played by the one and only Melissa Joan Hart. Felt like I was watching an NBC drama.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0D9yqV3Aas

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9. House of 9 (2005) 4/10

A generic group of “diverse” people are locked in a house and forced to ration while they wait to see if anyone will win the cash prize and be the last man standing. A little cheesy and humdrum but well-paced with a twist ending.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqH-ZpPNPNs

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8. Unknown (2006) 4.5/10

A sausage fest of B-list actors are stuck in a warehouse and slowly regain their memories, ultimately trying to decide who the bad guys are. It’s crippled with boring monologues, but the second half is full of little twists and although they aren’t shocking or dramatic, they were fun to watch unravel.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_5Yh17oDOE

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7. The Killing Room (2009) 5/10

It’s really hard to get past Nick Cannon’s ridiculous piercings, but this film about a few test subjects being watched and evaluated by the government has a great backstory to hide its bland characters (not to say the acting is lacking).

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoqAszG5EYc

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6. Fermat’s Room (2007) 6/10

This Spanish thriller is about four mathematicians who are brought to an isolated location to solve a puzzle, but instead they find themselves rushing to figure out enigmas and connections before they are squashed by a shrinking room. Even though this was not a horror and I had a feeling about the twist from the start, I found this entertaining and I enjoyed all the secrets revealed. 

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ9y4SCLvNc

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5. Would You Rather (2012) 6.5/10

A dinner party to die for, where the guests must play a gruesome game of ‘would you rather’ to earn a cash prize. The claws come out as strangers have no problem receiving the pain or deferring it. Really gory, but the idea of it is fun and the tension is high. Nice little twist at the end. 

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it5XICr93wU

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4. Exam (2009) 6.5/10

This little thriller-mystery from the UK does an excellent job of character building right from the get-go. It’s about potential job candidates who are given a piece of blank paper and a set of rules and told to answer the “question”. It’s one of the more original ones for the genre and it’ll keep you alert with its consistent pace and excitement.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkdt2Sygew0

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3. Devil (2010) 7/10

Strangers are trapped in an elevator with the devil, but are unable to tell which of them is possessed. The lights go out, and one by one they die until only good and evil are left. A fun little ‘guess who’ mystery game. 

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7l3nzjHYTg

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2.The Cube (1998) 7.5/10

This film and its sequels come from Canada, and can be described as a rubix cube mind-fuck where strangers with different skills have to navigate through a giant cube full of rooms set with killer booby traps. It’s pretty ninetiestastic watching it now, but it’s timelessly creative, nonetheless.

 

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY5PkidV1cM

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1. Saw (2004) 8/10

The first installment of the horror series takes place in a dirty bathroom in a warehouse and has loads of twists. Two men must prove that life is worth anything to them (and will probably have nightmares for the rest of their lives about that creepy mask.) 

Full Review here

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKPy5RWuqNA

Seen all of these? Also try:

Vile (2011), Are You Scared (2007), The Experiment (2010), Death Tube (2010), Breathing Room (2007), Hunger (2009)

New!

The Circle (2015), full review here

The Belko Experiment (2016), full review here

The Clinic (2010), full review here

Top Ten Are You Afraid of the Dark Episodes

Seven seasons of childhood horror gold, this was one of my favorite shows as a kid (especially on Halloween with a bag of candy splayed out on the living room floor) and I still love it now.  There were so many monsters from this show that kept me up at night; even the opening sequence was shiver-inducing. I clearly have a preference for Betty Ann’s stories, but there were very few episodes/stories that I didn’t enjoy. A list of the scariest and most memorable episodes featuring Gary Glasses (Ross Hull) and a diverse, Canadian cast. Guest stars include: Ryan Gosling, Melissa Joan Hart, Neve Campbell, Tatyana Ali, and Hayden Christensen. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I count down my top ten favorite episodes.

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10. The Tale of the Dollmaker (S3E5)

It was a toss-up between this one and The Tale of the Fire Ghost for the last spot, but this is one people usually remember.

A girl stays the weekend with relatives but begins to suspect a strange dollhouse might have something to do with her friend’s disappearance. “Yeah, yeah. Not bad for a doll story.”

Told by: Betty Ann

Scariest part: When Melissa and her doll friend jump out the attic window.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMrUnyJVhPs

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9. The Tale of the Dream Girl (S3E10)

A haunting romance, believable acting from the main characters, and a light and unexpected twist make this the most memorable episode with a love story.

Johnny finds a school ring in his locker and puts it on his finger only to find it won’t come off. He soon discovers that it belongs to the girl of his dreams, but does she really exist?

Told by: Sam

Scariest part: More sappy-spooky than frightening, when Donna’s ghost appears in the graveyard.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSfYCEVAq5A

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8. The Tale of the Bookish Babysitter (S3E6)

I loved having babysitters over as a kid and I loved reading, especially Chose Your Own Adventure-style books. I enjoyed all of the different characters, and learned a valuable lesson about watching too much TV (not really).

* I would like to note that I saw nothing wrong with this girl’s hair when I watched this as a child. I don’t think I even noticed it.

A unique babysitter gets a boy to stop watching TV and give reading a chance. But Ricky gets more than he bargains for when he unleashes the monsters of the unfinished books.

Told by: Betty Ann

Scariest part: The old man ghost coming down the hallway.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HSYK5VpNv8

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7. The Tale of the Twisted Claw (S1E4)

The only episode that starts off with a story- a cliff hanger to be resumed never. Even though this is not the first episode, I feel like it’s a classic; the one that started it all. (Even The Simpsons copied it).

On Mischief Night, two kids play a prank on an old lady. When they return for Halloween candy, they are given a monkey’s paw that grants wishes… with an evil twist.

Told by: David

Scariest part: When the ghost of Dougie’s grandfather comes to the door.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u_qZ3RY-CM

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6. The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner (S4E9)

This blue and yellow clown is probably the most recognizable character on the show. It’s a silly episode but it’s also action-packed and colourfully created.

A greasy-haired aspiring artist buys a strange comic book featuring an evil jester who turns people into blue slime-drooling zombies. Soon enough, the laughing joker comes to life, and Ethan has to finish drawing the comic in order to stop him. Microwaves and a giant eraser save the day.

Told by: Betty Ann

Scariest part: The first appearance of the Ghastly Grinner

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQilMMDYXzg

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5. The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor (S2E4)

The pastel Willy Wonka-like factory and the aliens who do a horrible job at trying to act sane makes this a favorite episode of mine. The hairstyles are zany and the aliens’ real faces look like the Styrofoam heads used for displaying wigs.

Aliens open a toy factory in an apartment building and invite a brother and sister to test out the toys in a secret plan to lure one of the kids back to their planet.

Told by: Betty Ann

Scariest part: The man operating the elevator seriously freaked me out as a kid, but I can’t really explain why.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSOCeKaS68c

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4.The Tale of the Lonely Ghost (S1E3)

The title probably doesn’t spark your memory, but that little girl ghost girl sure will. Even though this has some pretty over-the-top acting and wonderfully regrettable nineties fashion, it is for sure one of the scariest episodes.

As part of a friendship initiation, a girl must stay in a house haunted by a young girl. She enters a bedroom where a ghost appears in the mirror and scribbles HELPME backwards all over the walls.

Told by: David

Scariest part: The first time the ghost appears in the bedroom mirror.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_eGURFyUWo

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3. The Tale of the Super Specs (S1E6)

In my opinion, this is the most original and clever episode, and I’ve watched it again and again. I feel like there aren’t enough television shows and films about subjects such as parallel universes and time travel. I really enjoy the confusion and fear the characters face over what’s real and what isn’t, and the music/sound effects are amazing. This episode doesn’t disappoint, even though the specs themselves look hokey.

Gary kicks it up a notch in this story about a teenager called Weeds who is into magic and loves playing pranks on his friends. In a specialty shop, he sprinkles magic dust on a pair of x-ray vision glasses, opening a gate into a parallel dimension. Too bad only one of the universes will survive… can Sardo (no mister, accent on the ‘do’) help to save the world?

Told by: Gary

Scariest part: When the group of figures playing basketball notice Mary Beth.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0onu8xGMhVU

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2. The Tale of B.A.D.G.E. (S5E7)

I love this episode so much I’ve considered a B.A.D.G.E. tattoo. Quirky, non-sensical, imaginative, and most of all, the hilariousness of trying to imitate the acting. The drawings of the Setterwind women and the menacing (bagpipe?) music will make you laugh out loud, but this episode definitely won’t give you the Willys.

A girl receives a music case and flute which must be used to trap an ancient evil badger-monster who talks like Yoda.

Told by: Gary

Scariest part: Definitely not when he’s doing that “shaky legs” thing in the doorway.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZyMpYi5Acs

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1. The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float (S5E1)

This episode gets the number one spot because it HORRIFIED me as a kid. The special effects are well-done for a kids’ show in the 90’s, and the sound effects and tension building really helped to make this pool ghoul the scariest monster on the show.

A science nerd and a swimmer discover a pool in their school’s basement. Too bad Zeke is afraid of the water, considering a bloody, scrap-covered skeleton lurks in the pool.

Told by: Stig

Scariest part: Every time the smell comes and the monster follows.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoi3GuxiA7A

Honorable Mention: The Tale of Vampire Town (S6E8)

This episode about a goth teen visiting a town filled with blood-suckers boasts (most likely) the worst special effects in history. The last two seasons of the show featuring a new cast aren’t as loveable as seasons 1-5, but there are a few entertaining episodes without cheesy CGI in the lot. This episode is not one of them.

See the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyGo1VhSjdE

photo credits:

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