Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Son of Dracula” (1943)

This was the third installment in the Dracula franchise. Unlike the second, Dracula’s Daughter, there is not much striving to be unique. The bloodthirsty count had already been killed off, and done in such a way that he could not return. That was the admirable decision I blogged about in the last review. However, the filmmakers realized they needed to bring him back. So what do they do? Come up with a Son of Dracula, played here by Lon Chaney Jr. The result is a similar story to the original, only it is set in the bayous of the deep south as the count attempts to control a woman he falls in love with.

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Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Be Afraid” (2017)

Everything about this movie from the title to the opening scene spelled out disaster. Well, in the way that a low-budget, straight-to-Netflix horror movie could. The thesaurus for classier negative descriptors was ready. I was contemplating the opening paragraph ripping I would bestow on this. But lo and behold, Be Afraid did not suck. Not a masterpiece by any means, but interesting and creepy enough to not only hold my attention, but draw me in. Continue reading “Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Be Afraid” (2017)”

Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Dracula’s Daughter” (1936)

There are some interesting choices present at the beginning of Dracula’s Daughter, which is the direct sequel to the classic Dracula. It picks up right where the previous film left off—literally within minutes. Count Dracula has just been killed by Van Helsing. The body is still warm. The police arrive to find the body of Dracula, and of course, not believing in vampires, arrest Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan reprising his role) for murder. With the body at the morgue after the stake was driven through his heart, Dracula’s daughter (Gloria Holden) shows up wanting to see the body. She uses her captivating powers to get past the guard and steal her father’s body. But once she has it, does she try to resurrect him? Nope. In fact, she does the exact opposite.

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Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” (1971)

I’ll make this short: read my review of The Awakening. It’s pretty much the same movie, since they were both based on Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker. For the lazy, here’s the gist: an archaeologist (Andrew Keir) discovers a famous mummy, only the body never deteriorated. It is in perfect condition, kept in a state of “suspended animation”. His wife gave birth to his daughter (Valerie Leon) at the exact moment the tomb was opened (this is not depicted, unlike the other movie) and died in the process. The daughter grows up to look exactly like the mummy. The spirit of the mummy then takes possession of her, causing a series of murders, leading to an eventual attempt at a full resurrection of her body. It’s really not any more complicated than that. Continue reading “Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb” (1971)”

Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Rattlers” (1976)

Surprising: this movie aired on Turner Classic Movies. Not surprising: the time slot was 3:45 a.m. I think you can guess how enthralled I was by a movie named Rattlers. This was one of many “nature’s revenge” horror movies from the 1970’s. It is as obscure as they come, and there are absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Yet I found myself not hating this movie. The acting couldn’t have been worse if they held the scripts in their hands on-camera and read the lines without any inflection. The special effects were mediocre. The ending was abrupt and lackluster. So why did I get a kick out of this one? Continue reading “Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Rattlers” (1976)”

Halloween 2K17: A Review of “The Awakening” (1980)

Despite being almost unknown and nearly insignificant on the horror film circuit, The Awakening boasts a couple of famous firsts: it was the first (and only) horror movie for screen legend Charlton Heston, and also the first “mummy movie” actually filmed in Egypt (and with assistance from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, no less). The location and sets practically overshadow Heston as the star of this film, but unfortunately, neither could deliver the production from mediocrity. Oh, what promise it showed early on before falling apart scene by scene!

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Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Demonic” (2015)

Despite being deep in the heart of Louisiana, not one person in the cast sports even the slightest hint of a southern accent. No better way to start off this review than with such an observation. I’m surprised James Wan attached his name to this project. While only a producer, one would think that the mind behind the terrifying Conjuring series would have ensured that a movie entitled Demonic would have been a bit more gripping. To cut to the chase, what we have is one in a long line of “ghost hunter” movies: Team finds a haunted house where a murder happened. Team enters house. Things goes wrong. Team members die one by one. It’s the same, tired theme we see rehashed over and over again in the horror genre. If there is one more used than this, it would be demons, and this film manages to use them both in one shot.

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Halloween 2K17: Horror Movie Screenings at the Strauss Mansion Museum

Is there a better place to watch a horror movie than a haunted Victorian mansion? We found out the answer to that last year when we, the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, hosted three film screenings during the month of October. This year, we are doing three more—two of the same, and a new one fitting for the date we are showing it on.

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One Million Visitors

It was this now-seven-year-old blog’s greatest achievement, and I missed it! Some time in June (which was a crazy, hectic month for various reasons you’ve read about), Reel to Real passed 1,000,000 visitors. I remember in the spring realizing it was coming up, but forgot all about it. Since I started my food blog last fall, I have not been as active here. But this place is not forgotten. I check the stats daily, and am always surprised to see some posts skyrocket on reads for no apparent reason. Since it’s October, the Halloween 2K17 posts will soon be coming fast and furiously. and I am happy to report that my Paranormal File articles are still doing quite a number.

Halloween 2K17: Buy a Haunted Doll, Help Hurricane Irma Relief

Okay, so let’s kick off Halloween 2K17 by dipping our hands into the bizarre: a “haunted doll” is for sale on one of Facebook’s many online yard sales. This one is located in Central New Jersey. I must admit, this is definitely a first. Both as a frequent browser in the group and eight years as a paranormal investigator, I’ve never seen such an item for sale in this manner. The seller is asking $500 for a creepy looking doll which just happens to give off high EMF levels.  Continue reading “Halloween 2K17: Buy a Haunted Doll, Help Hurricane Irma Relief”