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)”
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.
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)”
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)”
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!
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.
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.
Meteor is one of those films that you can say was a victim of bad timing. The disaster genre of which this is a part was dead for years. On the flip-side, the special effects required for such a movie to be convincing and terrifying had not yet been developed for productions operating on a smaller scale budget. So, it relied on a star-studded cast to attempt to be successful, and failed miserably. Critics panned it, audiences hated it, and the film slipped into oblivion. American International Pictures went bankrupt shortly after. However, after watching it the other day, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. No, not in one of those so-bad-it’s-good kind of ways, but genuinely, sincerely liking it. Normally, a movie with a name and story like this would fall victim to my comical wrath. Not the case here. Instead, I find myself arguing why this is a good movie.
This might be the coziest horror movie you will ever see. The House That Dripped Blood takes place in the English countryside, in a beautiful cottage. It is an anthology film, with four different stories presented. Each have two things in common: the house in question and the untimely and bizarre fates of the person who purchased it. Though the title is literally dripping with images of gore and all sorts of violence, there is remarkably little blood on screen, if any. What we have here is an exercise in film marketing. Director John Duffell was even opposed to the title because it does not reflect the actual product. The film relies on terrific acting and a good story rather than gore to entertain. In fact, the film was originally passed with a grade acceptable for all audiences. The studio requested an X rating to give it a more violent allure. It is a similar situation to the film I previously reviewed: Horror Hotel (1960).
They did the best they could with what they had. Like many people, I had been waiting many years to see William Peter Blatty’s vision of Legion put to film. We knew that if the footage was ever found, it would be of a lower quality because it had been sitting in storage over the years. We also knew the ending would be a subtle one, the antithesis to the special effects bonanza the studio made him tack on in what became The Exorcist III. Yet if you read the forums, you will see people are complaining about those two things. To me, judging and reviewing Legion is actually a bit of a tricky task. The question that comes into the equation is do we judge it in comparison to The Exorcist III or as a standalone film that still seems incomplete because of the way that extra footage was handled? The latter gives those disappointed a chance to still wonder about “what might have been” and the former can claim the studio was right in demanding changes.