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 2K16: A Review of “The House That Dripped Blood” (1971)

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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).

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HALLOWEEN 2K16: A Review of “Legion” (1990) (“Exorcist III” Collector’s Edition)

The message before the start of the film explaining the process they undertook.
The message before the start of the film explaining the process they undertook.

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.

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HALLOWEEN 2K16: A Review of “Horror Hotel” (1960)

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It’s a shame that so many British horror movies had to be released with a different, catchier title here in the United States to make them more box office friendly. That was actually the norm. For some reason, The City of the Dead was too abstract, and so it became Horror Hotel for us folks here in the “colonies”. I don’t know, the name just cheapens it a little bit. Yes, there is a hotel (more like a small village inn) and there is plenty of horror, but aside from just being the place that hosts the victims, this movie has little to do with a hotel. Christopher Lee plays a college professor who teaches a course on witchcraft. One of his best students (Venetia Stevenson) is captivated by his classes and requests a suggestion for where she can continue her field work outside of class. He tells her to visit Whitewood, site of a witch hysteria in the 1600’s and the place he was born.

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HALLOWEEN 2K16: A Review of “The Madmen of Mandoras” (1963)

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This is a movie you would find in one of those cheap yet massive sets of public-domain horror movies. There is no other way to describe why such a movie would be released, and furthermore, why someone would actually want to purchase it. For $2.99 in the clearance bin, it came with 11 other schlock-fests under the moniker of “Gore House Greats”. These are movies that are supposed to be bad. The kind that are so bad they are enjoyable. The Madmen of Mandoras certainly fits the build. In short, it tells the story of a small tropical island where something evil is brewing. During Hitler’s last days in the bunker, his head was removed following his death and transported to Mandoras where they placed it in a glass jar and rigged it up to some high-tech machine to keep it alive. The Third Reich will not only continue, but thrive and take over the world.

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