Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

Score: 6/10

Length: 91

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, gore

Although the cover looks like something I’d walk past in the video store every weekend, Incident in a Ghost Land is directed by Pascal Laugier, the man who brought us Martyrs, so there’s a definite reason why this is on my “likely decent, recent films” list. Funny enough, the film also stirred up some drama when one of the lead actors sued over an incident where she was directed to pound so hard on a glass window that it shattered, leaving her with glass shards in her face and ultimately, scars.

Don’t give up on this movie! I’ll admit, the first half is boring. I mean, I was barely keeping an eyelid open when suddenly, what felt like year later, the movie picked up and got all Texas Chainsaw Massacre-y. This film is really two parts. The part before the twist and the part after the twist. And I’ll be nice- I won’t throw any spoilers.

Our story involves a mother and her daughters who move into an old, creepy house full of antiques and unsettling collectables. They quickly discover others in the house, and have to fight for their lives against the insane killers. Some odd years later, one of the sisters is a successful horror writer, and the other has gone mad, struggling to live any sort of normal life, locking herself in the basement. Our twist is soon revealed, along with the hopeless horrors of reality.

It’s a psychological story about sisters that will leave you scarred. The best part is the ending, which is as optimistic or (more likely) as bleak as you need it to be.

 

For more about the lawsuit: https://www.joblo.com/horror-movies/news/actress-suffered-a-disfiguring-injury-filming-pascal-laugier-s-ghostland-249

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Terrifier (2016)

Score: The Movie 4.5/10
The Clown 10/10

Length: 82

Rating: NR (But DEFINITELY R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, supernatural, murderer, gore porn

Besides the infamous shocking scene, this movie isn’t much more than gore, and I don’t think it’s supposed to be. It’s simply about a creepy clown that slaughters and kills in creative ways. A few friends with cliche Halloween costumes make moronic decisions and die. The end! It’s all fairly shittacular except for the Art the clown who is a rare gem. Art made his first appearance in All Hallow’s Eve which was an anthology film, and quite different from this one. Terrifier is all about Art (played by David Howard Thornton), and it is a terrifying performance indeed. The clown’s mannerisms and his expressions (he doesn’t speak or make any sounds) are exquisite and expertly crafted. I cannot say enough about the clown as I absolutely love the character and how he was acted. The worst part of this film is probably all the idiotic decisions the characters make. They might as well just run towards the killer and call it a day. Sorry friends, but if you ask me to meet you in a creepy abandoned building in the middle of the night, it isn’t going to happen, no matter how badly I have to pee. Even though the characters are sleazy and disposable, the “saw scene” is still heinous and hard to stomach. If you’re looking for creative gore and clown creepiness it’s worth a watch, but don’t expect a smart or engaging plot.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Score: 4/10

Length: 97

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, supernatural, gore, slasher

I may have watched this on actual Friday the 13th, but the Freddy in me had me sleep on the review (heh). We start the film with Freddy flashbacks, and he explains that people have forgotten about him so he needs Jason to come back (from the dead) and help him kill. (Queue massive eye roll.) So Freddy returns as Jason’s mother to rise her son’s body from the grave. Some random girl with giant, exposed (for no reason) boobs is killed, and then the story begins.

You can tell it’s going to be bad right from the start because the script is so obviously horrible, but then its awfulness is secured by the presence of Kelly Rowland. There are lots of typical (but still fun) Freddy and Jason kills that take up most of the middle of the movie. By the time you get this far in a franchise, the decent thing to do is to include some wild originality and laughs. I mean, there’s definitely some bad CGI weirdness like a mossy worm with a hookah, but as you may be able to guess, it makes zero sense.

Freddy does fight Jason near the end, when he tries to go after the victims that Freddy wants. Yeah, it’s pretty stupid. Jason cuts off Freddy’s arms which he grows back. Lots of AAHHs and HAAHHs and other obnoxiously bad fighting grunts. Then, Jason is flung around by Freddy’s dream powers, but of course, doesn’t die. One fight is in Freddy’s world, the other is in Jason’s. And then there’s a final showdown, with the other characters trying to kill them both as well. I can’t say it’s not entertaining. It’s a great background movie for when you want to eat popcorn and talk, or make-out and not really pay attention.

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 85

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, slasher, woods, recommended, murderer

I didn’t notice that the title included “Prey at Night” which is obvious, meaningless, and just plain dumb. The director for this sequel is different, but he follows the original enough so that you can’t tell if you don’t focus on it. This one has a tense but loving family (though the mom and dad have a lot of similarities to the couple in the original) who stay at a trailer park and are stalked and killed off by the three masked strangers. Since there are more people to kill (an aunt and uncle, others in the campsite), there are fewer mind games and slow tension scenes which is the only thing making this film stand apart from the first. Strong acting from Bailee Madison who I’m excited to see evolve from the over-dramatic characters she played in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. A few scattered jump scares and mini-twists make this second-go entertaining, but it’s lacking the intense tension that makes the original a memorable favorite.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2016)

Score: 5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, girly, hotel

As obvious by the film’s poster, there are two stories here. One about two girls left behind during break at their boarding school, and the other about a young, escaped mental patient who is taken in by a man and his wife. There are hints throughout this movie that lead to the twist, and it’s a good one. However, there are too many problems in this film to make it work. *Spoiler section* The first issue I have is why they couldn’t make the girls look alike. They put zero effort into this besides the fact that they are both blonde. The girls look, dress, and act totally different from each other for no reason. Even if you are thinking of yourself as an alter ego, your hair might be different, your clothes might be what you’d ideally wear if you were more confident, sure, but I’d assume at least your face shape would be the same, no? The second biggest annoyance is that the “rescue dad” has no idea what the girl who killed his daughter looks like. I find that a tad hard to believe. And what’s with the beheading? There could have been a really easy reason given as to why beheading was the preferred kill method. I would have taken anything that fleshes out the story of the demon a little more. Because, let’s be real, no one really cares about the dark-haired girl that much, and considering she dies so quickly anyway, it would have made more sense to focus on the demon.

*Spoilers over* Besides these three things, the story was strong, the acting was solid, and there was lots of tension and atmosphere. It’s so disappointing that this could have easily been a great film, akin to The Witch.

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.)

 

Don’t Knock Twice (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, devil, witch, haunted house

Now this is a story all about how this witch got twist turned upside down. There is a witch demon, there’s blood, a slave lady, some sappy scenes, a lot of flickering lights, and an ending isn’t much of an ending. The storyline of the mother and her estranged daughter is solid and well-acted, but the early scares were unnecessary and clouded the film’s tension building. None of the actors are overly likable, so I think those spots could have been filled with more character insight. I loved the details in this like the BITCH DON’T KILL MY VIBE floral Forever 21 sweater and when Jess pulls off the baby’s clay face. I liked the music/ sound effects and the crime scene fairytale situation. But when people got sucked above and below and the Stranger Things world started happening, it felt like a pizza with way too many different toppings piled on. The ending consists of several loose strings and it falls apart quicker than you can say ‘hanging old lady demon boob’. If the saying goes ‘don’t knock it until you try it’, ‘well, I’ve tried it so I can definitely knock it’.

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.

 

 

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)