Inferno (1980)

Score: 5/10

Length: 207

Rating: R

Language: Italian, English

Categories: 80s, supernatural, witch, murderer, gore, haunted house

I haven’t been to Italy yet, but it must be really windy, because this movie’s wind game is STRONG. Seriously, I felt like gasping due to so much air. Lots of horrible screechy noises as per usual Dario, and some cruel cat abuse, with a side of a man getting eaten by rats.  My biggest issue with Dario films tends to be that the scenes are a little too far drawn out, and this one has multiple instances. The acting also isn’t great, but the film is artsy, and a good transition from Suspiria to Mother of Tears. I really liked the underwater scenes in the beginning of the film, they’re quite memorable. The house has the same wall colours and unsettling interior decor as Suspiria that I love.  And I mean, this is a gory movie about witches, so I can’t dislike it too much. It’s simply about a girl who finds a book about the mothers and believes her house is inhabited by a witch. The more you know, the more you die. These films seem to decay more with each addition, with Suspiria as the best and Mother of Tears the worst. This middle movie is definitely 50/50 on the good and the bad, but worth a watch, especially if you’re into Dario.

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Mother of Tears (2007)

Score: 4/10

Length: 102

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, supernatural, murderer

Let’s start off with some fun facts about this film:

  • It’s a Dario.
  • It stars his daughter, Asia.
  • The third of The Three Mothers trilogy, it focuses on Mater Lachrymarum.
  • Mater Lachrymarum is the witch of tears.
  • Mater Suspiriorum, the Mother of Sighs, appears in Suspiria and Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness is the witch in Inferno.

It’s about an evil witch who brings with her terror and violence when she is released by a student inspecting her urn. The acting is watchable I guess, but I really could have done without the sketch cartoons accompanying the story flashbacks. There is lots of gore and boobs, and mystery in the typical Dario-fashion. A mix of cheesy and decent effects, and the dream-demon scared the shit out of me, good lord. As per often there were definitely some unnecessary bits such as the screeching monkey and the metal rod up the vagina bit. And speaking of screeching, with all the hyena-laughing and obnoxious sound-effects, I wouldn’t recommend this for headaches. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, because all of Dario’s films seem to have these qualities, maybe with the exception of Suspiria, which is probably why it’s my favorite. The Mother of Tears is definitely not the best of the three, but I should probably watch Inferno again since I haven’t reviewed it yet. I know it’s not as bad as this one, though. Scenes such as the ghost mom wrestling the man on fire really don’t help. Who would have thought that things could easily be resolved by burning a shirt?

Suspiria Review 

Holidays (2016)

The little treat featuring each of the biggest holidays of the year is composed of eight stories from different directors. Definitely one of the better horror anthologies to date.

Valentine’s Day

Director: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes)

Score: four out of five Hershey’s kisses

A bullied outcast (not unlike in Carrie or The Craft) competes with the blonde popular girl for their swim teacher’s heart. Literally and figuratively. I tend to like a movie about obsessive love, and I really enjoyed this one. It’s memorable in a good way.

St. Patrick’s Day

Director: Gary Shore (Dracula Untold)

Score: three out of five snakeskin flasks

A woman who yearns for a child is put off when her new student begins doing strange things involving a snake. After waking in a parking lot, the teacher becomes pregnant with a reptilian creature. This episode is all well and good until it crashes and burns in a field where a silly CGI snake is celebrated by Danny Zuko’s animal-headed posse.

Easter*

Director: Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact)

Score: two and a half religious rodents out of five

A little girl who is uneasy about the Easter Bunny’s visit gets more than she fears when she stays awake and catches the character himself. The Easter Bunny is this creepy-as-fuck Jesus man-rabbit that’s all skin and no fluffy white fur. There’s not much to this one- she sees the creature and then is turned into a rabbit herself.

Mother’s Day

Director: Sarah Adina Smith (The Midnight Swim)

Score: three out of five bewitched baby bumps

A woman who cursed with a pregnancy every time she has sex goes to a fertility ritual gathering. She is drugged and kidnapped in the most romantic way, as she grows more and more pregnant with “the gateway”. This segment seems to focus on beauty over horror, and is in fact quite enchanting with all its natural female power. Sadly, the end really falls flat and is a huge disappointment in its unoriginality.

Father’s Day*

Director: Anthony Scott Burns

Score: four out of five deep daddy directions

Another woman (yup, the leads are all females so far) receives a mysterious package with a tape player inside. The recording is of her father who asks her to come find him. It’s very simple and vague, and relies heavily on the acting and your imagination. The story reminds me a little of Stranger Things, and I’d love to see how this short would do as a full-length film.

Halloween

Director: Kevin Smith (Tusk, the worst horror movie I’ve seen since Human Centipede)

Score: one out of five cringe-worthy car batteries

A douche who runs a scuzzy webcam business gets what’s coming to him when his cam girls rebel and use the power of three to cause some… er… discomfort. I’m all for a revenge story, but I’m not too into torture porn, and I really could have done without this episode ruining my favorite holiday.

Christmas

Director: Scott Stewart (Dark Skies)

Score: two out of five presented realities

Seth Green is out of luck when he is too late to get a last-minute Christmas present until he has the opportunity to steal the game from a man- or save his life. It sounds exciting, but all the episode is only comprised of a few virtual reality revelations and then it’s over.

New Year’s Eve

Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate)

Score: two and a half axe-girlfriends out of five

A tired single girl goes on a date with a yellow-toothed psycho, but he’s in for the quite the first date. I empathize, because I’d really like to do the same thing to some of the guys I’ve dated. Not a lot happens, and this episode seems like the shortest one, but it’s still mildly entertaining. Really great to watch before bed, because it makes you want to jump up and brush your teeth.

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Friend Request (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 92

Rating: NR

Language: English

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

Well friends, I haven’t reviewed anything in weeks, and here I go picking a lacklustre movie. This came out after Unfriended, and sounded just as bad, to be honest. But really, it’s a decent story idea, unfortunately sprinkled with Facebook bullcrap that is totally unnecessary. It’s about an outcast girl who ‘friends’ a mildly popular, mildly pretty, girl-next-door type. The loner is a greasy-haired, awkward, gothy-looking girl who, in no time at all, gets obsessive, and then angry when her BFF needs go unfulfilled. The Beast wants to make Beauty lonely like she is, so she kills off her friends and posts videos of them dying from Beauty’s Facebook account. Then it turns into a whole witchy-demon-mirror worship situation with lots of artistic fantasy elements which I quite enjoyed. This movie was never destined for greatness, but the problem is that they used social media to add some spice instead of… anything else. The effects are really 50/50 as some are actually well done, but there are lots of scenes that look like they were thrown in last minute to get an audience jump-scare, and I think we’re all over that by now. The videos and photos could have easily been linked to a website or blog instead of Facebook. Of course, they never call it Facebook, everything is just slightly altered, but it’s obviously Facebook. The acting from most of the characters is decent, are there are some really fun tension scenes. I found this film a little more watchable than Unfriended, but there is too much unnecessary nonsense going on for me to recommend this as anything other than a flick to watch when you’ve seen everything else. Just be advised, you will definitely have moments where you want to yell “JUST TURN OFF THE COMPUTER”, because obviously, no one ever does.

Film Face Off: The Conjuring 1 vs 2

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The Original, 2013

Score: 9/10

Length: 112

Rating: R

Frightful Feature: witches, ghosts, and dark spaces

The first Conjuring is FUCKING SCARY. Both in the theatre and at home. I will say the theatre experience was made more intense by the person behind me yelling “HOLY SHIT!” and “OH MY GOD!” at every scary part. But ridiculous person behind me or not, this film has intense tension and jumps. There is just so much build up and a really nice flow that doesn’t quite let you move anywhere except further to the edge of your seat. There are a lot of scares featuring the unknown, and incredible acting really solidifies these scenes. The film is smart and isn’t scattered or over-stuffed. The director, James Wan, directed the first Saw movie and will also direct The Conjuring 2, thankfully. This guy seems to know what he’s doing. Anyway, it’s about a famous duo- the Warrens (you might have heard of them)- who are paranormal investigators, working on a particularly nasty case. An evil entity along with a witch and a few ghosts have attached themselves to a family and don’t want to let go. We get to see glimpses of Annabelle, the witch herself, and the ghosts. Every character is created with craft, leaving some things to the imagination, and other parts well-imagined, boasting realistic makeup and effects which is a HUGE breath of fresh air. In my opinion, this is one of the scariest films of all time, and that’s saying a lot for someone who doesn’t find ghosts to be typically scary. Awesome acting, effective effects; loved everything about this movie except that I would have liked to see a little bit more of a cliffhanger at the end. Highly rated, highly recommended. No bullshit, and I appreciate it. These true stories, I tell yah.

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The Second Helping, 2016

Score: 7.5/10

Length: 134

Rating: R

Frightful Feature: ghosts and demons

Okay guys, I don’t generally like things, but here’s two in a row that are keepers. I can only find a few flaws, but luckily, there’s not too much bullshit going on. Tension, comic relief, uniquely attractive actors (Patrick Wilson- gorgeous even with those sideburns, Vera Farmiga-stunning; glowing), and a HORRIFIC NUN DEMON. Usually demony, Catholic stuff doesn’t scare me much (although I love it), but this menacing sister-dude leaves a lasting impression without being overly dramatic, making him more realistic. So here go the issues. The Warren’s daughter-why? And in both movies-but barely and for no real reason I can muster. Maybe she’s going to be the subject of the third movie (maybe, hopefully). And the crooked man. Nope. Unnecessary and cartoonlike; it didn’t feel like the character belonged in this film. I was cool with the grandpa and the nun. Don’t need to get all Insidious on me and throw in fifteen random villains that don’t below together. What does belong is the magical blend that Wan seems to create with his mystical horror wand. I care just enough about the characters to be bothered if they die, and the music is good- it gets me in all the right moods. No bad CGI, no over-the-top acting, not even too long. There are so many things that are hitting the mark in this film. Looking forward to Lights Out.

Willing to bet we’ll see at least one more flick in the franchise.

 

The Witch (2016)

Score: 6/10*

Length: 92

Rating: R (but the ticket booth said 14A)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, spoilers, witch, woods, religious, murderer, psychological, devil, based on true events

This review is going to be filled with spoilers in a plea that someone who understands this movie might explain things to me. Or maybe there are no answers, I’m just trying to make this into a good movie because I wanted it so badly to be good. So as you know, it’s about a family in the forest who begins to suffer evils and are driven mad, ultimately forcing them to play the blame game. All because of a witch. It is tense. It does build well. The acting is memorable and impactful. It’s creepy, it’s uncomfortable, it’s beautiful, and you won’t forget its unique story based on “true” events. But either I’m missing something, or there’s a ton of plot holes that make no sense. Here we go with my list:

  • Why were the twins in this movie? They do nothing, and where do they go in the end?
  • Was the girl a witch all along, or is she just excited about chilling with all these floating naked ladies?
  • Why is the rabbit representative of the witch, and why is nothing done with this presumption?
  • Why did the witch use the baby, but return a child after cursing him to die?
  • What was the point of the goat being a demon or whatever? Why did it only turn into a man for a few seconds? Why did the twins talk to him before anyone else?
  • Is there only one witch the entire time? Why are there several suddenly in the forest?
  • Why is the title spelled with two V’s?

Phew, okay, I think I’m done. I also respected that the language was true-to-time, but I had to concentrate on understanding what they’re saying half the time. I barely understand Coronation Street and my blood is partly British. As I think back, there were so many things to like about this movie. But the ending just seemed ridiculous, and I left feeling like I ordered a poutine and they forgot the gravy.

*The friend I saw this with gave it a 6.5/10.

 

photo credit: http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com

Tale of Tales (2015)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 125

Rating: Unrated

Language: English

Categories: recent, murderer, monster, almost horror, witch

Tale of Tales, originally known as Il Racconto dei Racconti holds three different stories all driven by love and obsession. It pains me to give it such a low rating, for although it is beautiful- stunning even- the characters are unlikable and the movie moves slowly forcing me to cringe both at the awkward fairy tales as well as the dullness of the film. All three stories are just so strange, it’s a shame such costumes and scenery were wasted in this dark, dreamy, disappointment.

The first fable is about an infertile queen who calls upon a man of magic to guide her to the birth of her child. Her husband dies trying to kill a dragon and the queen takes the dragon’s heart home to eat as instructed by the sorcerer. She gives birth to an albino son, but so does the virgin who boiled the heart. The queen is jealous of the son’s bond (they look exactly the same) and she tries to kill the other child. This is the best one of the three simply because it stars Selma Hayek and it feels the least uncomfortable to watch.

A horny king falls in love with a maiden’s voice, but unfortunately, she hides with her sister in a house and refuses to let him see her. Most likely because they are both wrinkly and ancient. One of the sisters tricks the king, sleeps with him, and then gets kicked out of the castle. Then, a witch in the forest makes her young and she reunites with the king, soon becoming queen. The other sister find out and wants to be part of her sister’s royal life and everything gets even more awkward from there.

The third story is about yet another king who becomes obsessed with a flea and nurturing it over his own daughter. The flea grows into giant fleshy bug and then dies. The king has its skin stretched out and mounted, and then he challenges the men of the village to guess the animal it came from. An ugly ogre guesses correctly and the king follows through with his reward- the princess. The ogre takes the princess into the mountains where she cries all the time and tries to escape.

The tales aren’t connected by anything but royalty, and there isn’t really much of an ending. To be honest, I remember the ending of the last story, but not the other two. The best way to describe this movie is to think of a beautiful cake that is dry and bland on the inside.

 

photo credit: www.comingsoon.net

Masters of Horror: The Fair Haired Child

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: William Malone (House on Haunted Hill, Feardotcom)

Evil Category: witches, warlocks, the undead, and monster-alien-babies

Score: two out of five bad swimmers

The last episode of the first season is a strange one. Nineties teen romance with a little Are You Afraid of the Dark wrapped up in a Eurythmics music video. A husband and wife who have lost their son sacrifice twelve children to a weird, branchy, bald monster in order to have their family back together. This hollow-eyed alien thing with the mark of the Devil on its forehead is unique and not CGi’ed to death. It moves in a film-cut choppy kind-of way, and its a little scary, but the glowing holes in its face take away some of the fright. There’s a twist at the end but it isn’t very believable and although the characters are likable, they aren’t impactful and you’re just watching to see what happens, really. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen the mother before, she plays Lolly in Orange is the New Black, but she’s the only recognizable actor out of the four main characters in this episode. This is another one of those films where two movies that don’t fit together are made into one and it’s hard to really love an episode like this.

 

photo: http://fanpop.com/

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.

Anya-Taylor-Joy-in-The-Witch

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

 

christmas-horror-story

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

 

the_final_girls_still

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

 

HiveFeat

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

 

circle-the-machine-setting

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

 

Maya-Pakistani-Horror-Movie-Official-Theatrical-Trailer-2015

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

 

Black Sunday (1960)

Score: 6/10

Length: 87

Language: English-dubbed, Italian

Categories: 60s, black and white, supernatural, murderer, devil, zombie, haunted house

Other Titles: La Maschera del Demonio, The Mask of Satan

A black and white, only slightly slow, shadowy stunner set in an old stone castle, which seems both elegant and ominous. After an uncovered tomb is found and opened, a witch wearing the mask of Satan is released. The witch and her three-musketeers-esque servant try to take over the body of the witch’s twin descendant, but are stopped by a bunch of boring white dudes and the Holy Cross, of course. Not too much to do with Satan or even witches, really, which is unfortunate. It’s a simple idea that works, but it’s just that- simple. It’s not even set on a Sunday. It’s also riddled with lots of fake (facial) hair, fainting, horrible skin rash breakouts, awkward grunting and moaning, and most of all, unnecessary explaining. The actress playing both the witch and the princess, Barbara Steele, is gorgeous except when her witch-form skin breaks out into a bunch of crater-like pimples. The movie also features a lot of unmemorable strong-chinned men. There was a great amount of effort put into the texture of the film to make up for the lack of colour, and overall, it was really an exquisite feature.

photo credit: www.timeoutdubai.com