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)”

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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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A Note on the Passing of William Peter Blatty

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Every writer has an author who inspired them at a young age. For me, that person was William Peter Blatty. I’m not prolific by any means. I’ve written one book, have about a dozen manuscripts I started but never finished over the years, and a few more ideas I would like to see published at some point in my life before I kick the bucket. I always loved writing, but I never wanted to sit down and write a work of fiction until I read The Exorcist when I was 17 and a senior in high school.

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“Don’t Go in the House” is out on Blu-Ray

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As detailed earlier in the year, Don’t Go in the House is officially out on Blu-Ray via Scorpion Releasing. Things have been very cryptic lately with no news coming for months. Then Scorpion made a few posts on their Facebook page last week and voila, we have a release. Yesterday, December 5th is the official date. They are being kind enough to send me a free copy as well as one to keep on hand at the Strauss Mansion Museum, its filming location. We actually screened the film this past October and the event sold out. Like so sold out that we had people sitting on the floor and standing on the staircase in the foyer to catch a glimpse.

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Movie Review: “Chandler” (1971)

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It may be the most confusing movie ever made. By no means is that a good thing here. It skips right past intriguing and mystifying and right to, “What the hell is going on?” In a way, it reminded me of Scream and Scream Again; a movie where we think we know what’s happening in the beginning, and then as the scenes and endless subplots get introduced, we get lost and it all falls apart. Chandler has the look and feel of a good detective story. Starring one of my favorite character actors, the underrated Warren Oates, we are expecting a rough and tumble, edgy plot with a decent level of violence. It never comes.

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