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.

Masters of Horror: The Black Cat

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: Stuart Gordon (Re-animator, From Beyond, Dolls)

Evil Category: an aggrevated, alcoholic author

Score: one out of five broken, black ink pens

You’d think this would be about a cat who witnesses something horrible, or a bunch of stories that merge together with the cat appearing in each one, or even just a killer-cat. But no, it’s about Edgar Allen Poe going insane and attacking a cat for little reason. He wants to write poe-try, and his wife is coughing up blood all over the place. The story isn’t too bad, but man, the acting is so painful. I’d be just as well off watching an episode of Days of our Lives. The constant coughing alone is enough to drive anyone to madness, but the cruelty to animals does not in the least get me routing for Poe. That bird clearly just had a smear of ketchup on it and the cat eyeball scene… Jesus. I skipped a lot of it, and I was glad it was finally done watching it in the end. I would have rather watched Secret Window.

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.

BROOD, THE

10. The Brood  (1979)

930975_orig930975_orig

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

 

 

terror-train

9. Terror Train (1980)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

8510477_f520

8. The Fly (1986)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

blackxmas12

7. Black Christmas (1974)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

 

 

deadringers_1988_davidcronenberg

6. Dead Ringers (1988)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

file_566144_antiviral-movie-review_05192012_171124

5. Antiviral (2012)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

cube2

4. Cube (1997)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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) 

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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

silenthill_film

1. Silent Hill (2006)

930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig930975_orig

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. 

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!

the-haunting-hour-s3-e2-t

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.

 

rlstn

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.

 

HauntingHourTheCast

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.

 

im-not-martin

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.

 

Detention

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.

 

Seance01

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.

 

My-Imaginary-Friend-1

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.

 

the-haunting-hour-s3-e18-t

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?

 

 

the-haunting-hour-s3-e14-t

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.

rl-stines-the-haunting-hour

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: The Damned Thing

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: Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist)

Evil Category: a big, oily, black blob

Score: two out of five dirty ceilings

The second Tobe Hooper entry is a decent episode until the final Robert Munsch inspired (not really) puddle monster appears. The evil thing seemed to have a lot more impact when you couldn’t see it. I’ll give you a hint at its badness- it’s CGI. Acting is decent, story is nothing thrilling, but it’s watchable. It’s about a tragedy that repeats itself years later. A family is ruined and now the unseen horror is back for the next generation. It causes terror and fear within the town, but we don’t get to see exactly what It is until the end. And the disappointment I felt was underwhelming, because I just didn’t care too much. I mean, that’s all I have to say, really. This movie is incredibly forgettable, in fact, I’m struggling to remember much of it right now.

 

photo: https://goddessofhellfire.files.wordpress.com

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: Family

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: John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Twilight Zone: The Movie)

Evil Category: skull-smitten psychopath

Score: two out of five bare-boned scrub-downs

This is rated as one of the highest in season 2, and I get why (I guess) but I still didn’t really like it. It’s about a man (yes, another episode about a middle-aged white guy) who has created his own disfunctional family. Unfortunately, they are just skin and bones! A couple moves into the neighbourhood in search of a new life after their daughter passes away, and they quickly make friends with their lonely neighbour. Not everything is as it seems, and there are some great twists in this episode, something I haven’t seen a lot of so far of in Masters of Horror which is surprising for a series. Although the ending is really refreshing, the whole episode really dragged for me in the middle. There was too much fluff where there could have been tension, and I don’t know why, but the lazy job of the skeleton’s wiring really bothered me. The acting is good, the idea is fine, blah blah blah, the surprise ending was too little too late. I am really hoping to see some shocking, scary stuff in the upcoming episodes, as this would have fit in better as an story for Desperate Housewives. (Okay, I’m being a bit harsh, but my bad episode tolerance is a little on the low side right now).

 

photo: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/

Masters of Horror: The V Word

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: Ernest R. Dickerson, TV Director (Tales From the Crypt, CSI, Criminal Minds)

Evil Category: throat-ripping manpires

Score: two out of five frantic force-feedings

This episode starts off fantastically- teen gamers  who are used to scares and violence in another world decide to test their fears in this one. They start off by maneuvering through a mortuary, where they discover and uncover various states of dead bodies. There’s actually a lot of of tension here, and it’s easy to picture yourself in the situation. Unfortunately, as soon as the vampire story seeps in, it’s all downhill from there. That hill is also very gradual, and it feels like you’re rolling down for days. The story moves along very fast but too much happens too quickly and the struggle to keep my attention weighed heavily on me as I forced myself to make it to the end. This episode holds no surprises, and although it’s gory, it’s also quite goofy. There almost needs to be a category called grown-up Goosebumps episodes, because this is exactly where this episode goes. I was really hoping the the ‘V’ stood for violence, because of the video-game obsessed kids, or I’d even take vagina, in the hopes of an episode resembling Teeth, but I had no such luck. Really disappointed with the one, mostly because it starts off so strongly, and then it just turns into a lame, wishy-washy vampire story with no real satisfaction or ending. If I were describing The V Word to a friend, it would sound like: “This happens, and then this happens, and then this other stuff happens, and then in the end people die I guess? I forget.”

 

photo: http://application.denofgeek.com/

Masters of Horror: Pro-Life

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: John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing)

Evil Category: Satan’s scaly brother versus the blind God-followers

Score: two out of five crabby babies

Carpenter’s second contribution is about a girl who is pregnant with a monster’s baby, and whose family is determined to stop her from aborting her demon spawn. Her father thinks he is doing “God’s work”. Although the episode has a little sci-fi and a few gun-shot deaths to qualify it, I’m beginning to think this series is called Masters of Horror because the directors have worked on horror films before, not because it should be classified as horror series. The idea of family vs ground demon vs girl was okay and there were a few fun and ridiculous events. It just lacked any tension or twists- only milky-acid splash surprises. I felt like no one was really trying their best to make this anything more than Desperate Housewives being taken over by The Wishmaster. I expected a pro-life themed entry to be more somber and emotionally demanding than this was, and even with the images of the child crustacean and the reptilian beast, it’s quite forgettable.

 

photo:  http://fanpop.com/

Masters of Horror: Chocolate

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: nothing at all

Score: one out of five psychic fucks

The main idea of this entry is fascinating. It’s very Being John Malkovichian, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. I also didn’t realize other people thought of things like this, but I sometimes totally pretend someone is inside me, seeing all the things I do. I find this connection rather fantastic. Unfortunately, the episode doesn’t have much to do with chocolate and it seemed very watered-down. Nothing really happens with the ending, and the only thing horrorlike is that two people get killed. Big whoop. There are so many interesting and scary things that could have been done to liven up the storyline, but the in-body experiences focused on sex and it seemed more like a dating drama instead of a horror episode. Even the scene where he’s orgasming- it looks like he’s having a freaking seizure, and instead of helping him, everyone just yells at him to stop. It’s really strange. This was like making a pb and j and then realizing your jam was actually ketchup. Unsuccessful. It’s even more sad that it is so, as Mick Garris is actually the creator of Masters of Horror.

PS- The main guy is the kid from E.T.

photo:  http://a2.tvspielfilm.de