From A House on Willow Street (2016)

Score: 3/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR (R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, demon, zombie, monster, murderer, ghost

This movie is a mess. The idea isn’t too bad: the daughter of a wealthy man is taken hostage, but the kidnappers soon find out that their plans have changed when she turns out to be possessed by a demon. Somehow, this film is short yet feels long, and is overly complex, yet dull. There’s lots of gore, the makeup isn’t bad, and the characters all have a story. But ugh, it’s just all over the place and with the ridiculous CGI… over it. The acting was a little painful, but the movie starts off decent focussing on the kidnappers instead of the victim. There are a few scares that don’t make sense yet and although it’s fairly guessable, the movie feels like it’s going somewhere. As it continues towards the crash and burn that is the ending, watching it gets harder and harder to bear. The Indian priest’s character and lines were just awful and awfully acted. I found I cared less and less about everyone as the film went on and then those goddam spiky tongues. Unfortunately unforgettable. I’d say it’s a mix between Th13teen Ghosts and Don’t Breathe, but those are both good movies and this one is not.

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Top Ten Horror-Comedies

I may love French romance-comedies and horrors of all sorts, but horror-comedy is my true favorite genre. So as you can imagine, it was really hard to narrow it down to just ten fantastic films. I could have easily done twenty, but I like a challenge. This list is not of the movies I think deserve to be labelled as the best per se, but they are my personal choices based on preference. (Which is why you might see a lack of zombie movies on here. There are great movies out there, but I just want a very small teaspoon of zombie in my horror cereal.) Here are my favorite, funniest, fright-filled films accompanied by their snack pairings, because nothing goes better together than fear, laughter, and sugar.

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10. Dead Alive or Braindead (1992)

I don’t even know quite how to describe this movie, but there are definitely some very scarring scenes included in this memorable monstrocity. Zombies, rats, blood, gore, and disgusting monster babies… this is for sure one to watch on a first date.

Snacks: Well, to be honest, probably nothing, but chips sound like a safe option.

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9. Snarknado (2013)

Lame CGI, C-list actors, and a ridiculous plot- this one’s got it all! Several spin offs were created based on this films crazy, creature creation. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s action-packed and loads of fun to see these over-dramatic actors battle sharks whipping around in a tornado.

Snacks: if you don’t live in Iceland and can’t get fermented shark, try a shark or whale-shaped candy instead from your local 711.

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8. The Gingerdead Man (2005)

One of my favorite Christmas movies, if not just for the title of the original, and more importantly, the sequels (Passion of the Crust, Saturday Night Cleaver). Gary Busey is a serial-killer-turned-cookie who creepily, and kind of cutely, stalks the girl who sent him to the electric chair. It’s barely over an hour, so it’s not much to chew through.

Snacks: gingerbread men, obviously, and perhaps a holiday beverage of sorts

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7. Scary Movie (1996)

This is an iconic nineties movie that mocks a bunch of classic, popular horror movies. It spawned loads of other comedy copycat films that were all pretty bad cheese-fests, but a few have the potential to squeeze a laugh out of you. This film in particular pokes fun at Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch, The Exorcist, and a whole slew of others including unscary films as well. Holding it all together is a story about a teenager being stalked by a slasher-killer.

Snacks: I’d be funny and say mashed potatoes (from the scene in Scary Movie 2), but I’d also like to recommend a snack you’re actually going to eat, so how about Jiffy Pop and a batch of special brownies.

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6. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

This quirky, sarcastic, horror movie turned out to be a surprise hit. It’s the usual crew of young adults vacationing at a cabin in the woods. I’m not going to ruin anything, but if you know nothing about this film, I suggest you watch it continuing to know nothing about it beforehand. It’s imaginative and unexpected at every turn. The only downfall to the movie is the cheesy ending cushioned by an appearance by Sigourney Weaver.

Snacks: a good old-fashioned pizza with loads of various toppings

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5. Killer Klowns From Outer Space, 1988

Kooky karnivals klowns kausing kalamity. Characters straight off a poster and whimsical sci-fi make this lesser-known movie a kult klassic. It’s bad, but it’s also good. Nothing beats silly alien-clowns who cause havoc and terror with their popcorn guns and deadly cream pies.

Snacks: Kotton kandy and ice kream

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4. Dead Snow (Dod Sno), 2009

Another one I saw at film festival, and I’m ashamed to say that even though I OWN the second one, I still haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Here, nazi zombies (that are actually scary af) attack a group of young adults staying at a ski lodge. Dumb and extreme decisions are made, somehow resulting in laugh-out-loud hilarity. These zombies aren’t dummies that are falling apart, they’re determined, undead, soldiers on a mission. Yikes.

Snacks: hot chocolate

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3. What We Do in the Shadows, 2014

Probably one of my favorite movies of the decade- it was genuinely funny and creative, and unfortunately, that was pretty shocking to me. I wouldn’t think I’d be attracted to a film that can be described as a documentary about vampires living in New Zealand. But the characters are lovable and hilarious, the story could carry on for decades without letting go of your interest, and there is just nothing to hate about this heart warming, blood-sucking, horror-themed comedy.

Snack: fries (“chips”) or spaghetti (“worms”)

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2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975

An iconic cult film that I’m saddened is not on Broadway yet. A couple arrives to a castle where a transvestite and his alien assistants create a man, host a party, kill a biker, and sing a lot of sexy songs. It’s a musical that’s fun for everyone fun. There’s nothing better than a movie theatre or bar event where everyone dresses up and throws half of their props in the air. Look forward to a purse full of uncooked rice.

Snack: hot dogs (frankenfurters) and Hot Lips candies

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1. Troll 2, 1990 (alongside Best Worst Movie)

I saw Best Worst Movie at a film festival and then fell in love with the ridiculousness that is Troll 2 shortly afterwards. It has absolutely nothing to do with Troll 1 and the trolls are called Goblins… the words troll isn’t heard once. The town is named Nilbog, which is Goblin spelled backwards, and the goblins turn people into plant goop because they’re vegetarians. In a land where popcorn fills sexy trailers and hospitality is literally pissed on, anything can happen in this mean, green, horror-comedy machine.

Snack: corn on the cob, popcorn, green jello, green cupcakes, milk, anything vegetarian

 

Title image from House IV, another fantastic horror comedy.

Here Alone (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 98

Rating: NR (18A-R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, zombie, woods, murderer

This survivalist film isn’t heavy on the horror. It’s a slow, building storytale of hard decisions and remorse. A woman’s backstory is weaved in through her current actions which are mostly about pouring piss and animal dumps on herself and eating maggots. It’s not all bad though- a teenage girl and her mother’s boyfriend stumble across the loner’s campsite, and thet share meals and hide from the rain together in the car. A lot of predictable events happen, but the last bit takes a spin into unchartered territory and I didn’t mind the ending. The characters could be more likeable, even though the entire film has you involved with their lives, close up. In actuality, this is a zombie movie, but there aren’t many appearances of the undead, and it really just feels like a horror version of Last Man on Earth. (Which isn’t exactly a bad thing.)

 

ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 85

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, anthology, murderer, alien, monster, zombie, devil, vampire,  horror comedy, holiday, gore porn

Another film of shorts! This one, brought to you by the letter ‘M’. Because I guess they had a lot of ‘M’ entries. I love anthologies because there is always something for everyone but I really could have done without the scratchy title music. For this review, I’ve decided to give each segment a grade and just a quickie synopsis of a few words.

Magnetic Tape – Silly, gory, nerd fun. (B)

Maieusiophobia – Terrifying waxmation birth. (A)

Mailbox – Skippable vampire trick-or-treat. (C)

Make Believe – Mediocre murder and kid fairies. (c)

Malnutrition – A well-done zombie segment. (A)

Manure – A memorable, May-like poop monster. (A)

Marauder – A hipstertastic black and white tricycle race. (B)

Mariachi – Murders in a death metal music video. (C)

Marriage – A creative and captivating therapy session with a surprise ending. (A)

Martyr – A cult ritual that I could have sacrificed. (C)

Matador – A sick and twisted gorefest of intensity. (A)

Meat – A dark meatmation segment that is unique and thought-provoking. (A)

Mermaid – A stupid mermaid meal. (C)

Merry Christmas – Krampus feels bad for himself with a prisoner who has a face for acting. (C)

Mess – Oh God, why. You deserve to know now that ‘the mess’ is water poop coming from a belly button. (C for can’t. I can’t.)

Messiah – A woman is captured by masked forest-people. (A)

Mind Meld – A clever, gory experiment. (A)

Miracle – Well, it’s about box… it was too short and quick for me to comprehend anything else. (B)

Mobile – A man gets torture text instructions with a twist. (A)

Mom – A light zombie-kid romance. (B)

Moonstruck – An unexpected paper cartoon about romance, betrayal, revenge, and death. (A)

Mormon Missionaries – An encounter with two missionaries takes a turn for the worst. And then it gets worse. (A)

Mother – A giant CGI spider. (C)

Muff – A hilarious hotel sex encounter goes fatally wrong. (B)

Munging – Gross and awful topic, but the corpse’s make-up was great. (B)

Mutant – Eager losers shoot at flying mutants that break out of people’s faces. It was good until the the first bat was revealed, and then it got really bad. (C)

 

The Convent (2000)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 79

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, demon, murderer, zombie, almost horror, horror-comedy, gore

A goth gal turned preppy along with her goth friend and idiot jock friends explore an abandoned church where a woman seeking revenge killed a bunch of nuns and a priest. Nods to Demons and Evil Dead. Demon nuns with glowing face cracks, gnarly pointed teeth, and black eye rings. They look fantastic, though the  scary simplicity of the nun from The Conjuring 2 nudges out these gals for first place. I delighted in the over-used scream sound clips, the gay devil-worshipper, and Coolio’s appearance as a gangsta cop. On the other hand, I really could have done without the bad Run Lola Run music. It’s funny, but it was probably funnier before some of the more awesome horror-comedies of our time were released. The fire effects especially made me chuckle, and I think the light hearted mish-mash of films somehow tied everything together. I wouldn’t have changed many things about this film, but it could have been funnier and gorier with stranger characters and mood-controlling music.

Cooties (2014)

Score: 5/10

Length: 88

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, horror-comedy, murderer, zombie, gore porn

Warning- this movie starts off with a bunch of gross chicken scenes, so if your chicken burger and chocolate milkshake are on the way, you might want to skip this movie tonight. The chicken, which is served at the school cafeteria, is what starts the whole thing. Cooties, that is! Elijah Wood stars in this comedy-horror which reminds me of an episode of Community. Your typical zombie flick with a lot of blood, gore, and chasing and running. This film is offbeat in the way that Shaun of the Dead is, but it visits an idea that I don’t think I’ve seen before. That, of course, is cooties, the make-believe disease children tend to say opposite sex has. Or something . But this time it’s real, and it has created an army of kid-zombies. It’s a funny movie and the characters are very likable (as opposed to the ones in the book Elijah Wood’s character is writing) but I got a little bored of things as it went on. The story starts off pretty fast and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but there is too much running around for me. I’m not sure that it’s just this movie though, I’d probably say this about most zombie movies. There is a lot to appreciate about this film and it’s quirky and smart, just as you’d want it to be, but there are better zombie genre films out there. (I’d assume most others, especially lovers of the genre would rate it higher.)

 

photo credit: https://i.ytimg.com

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/

Christmas Collection: A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 99

Rating: Unrated (but I’d guess 18A)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, holiday, murderer, forest

My last holiday-themed movie of the year is another Krampus edition, but this Canadian film is comprised of four different stories, interlaced at the end. It very much feels like a Christmas version of Trick R’ Treat. The film begins with William Shatner, a lonely radio host, playing songs in the studio. The main story is about a group of teenagers investigating old crimes at a school. There are some terrific jump-scares, but it’s very teentastic (not in a fun way like Scream Queens) and the ending is just plain bad. The story about the changeling I liked best- it seemed very real, and was only ruined by the costumey look of the monster up-close. It’s about a family who loses their son in the woods and takes home the wrong version of him instead. The last two stories bring Krampus and scruffy Santa together, but are by far, the worst entries. Santa kills all of his elves-turned zombies, and the spirit of Krampus attacks a family. This wasn’t all that different a theme from that of the movie, Krampus also released this year. Although Krampus‘ version of the Christmas devil is more mystical and, I felt the snowy white monster looked more like what I would have hoped. Except maybe it was a little cheesy, and he didn’t even have claws. No one’s perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist ending where the stories were intertwined- I wasn’t looking to guess it, and the idea made sense.

 

photo credit: http://hellhorror.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.

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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

 

Masters of Horror: Haeckel’s Tale

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 McNaugton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Wild Things)

Evil Category: sexy resurrections (or should I say reserections… )

Score: four out of five pusing baby zombies

The story is pretty ridiculous (especially the end twists), but I actually totally liked it. I can’t say I’ve seen a good horror with this many twists… especially a zombie one. In this episode, a man seeks out a necromancer to bring his late wife back from the dead, and receives a strange zombie tale instead. For awhile I forgot it was a horror, so the scene with the dead hanging person caught me off-guard. I was thinking the grey goop might be bird poop and when I saw what it was coming from it scared the crap out of me. (I also may have been concentrating on my pistachio ice cream.) The woman having sex got old pretty fast, but it was hilarious that she kept doing it as people got shot and killed around her. And just when you didn’t think they could show any more of this woman’s boobs… they show some more boobs.

photo: http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/