The Babadook

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Rating: ***** (five out of five)
Year: 2014

Plot: Somewhat appealing and somewhat off-putting widow can barely put up with her fatherless son. While the kid *can* be cute, he spends most of his adolescent days creating weapons of mass destruction to fight boogeymen. While it probably started off as cute-noying, after reading a surprisingly terrifying children’s book at bedtime, his out lashings become downright lethal. As disturbing vignettes in the book start to manifest themselves in real life, you must ask yourself: is this mother suffering the effects of prolonged sleep withdrawal and shitty-son-ishness, or is this shit really happening?

Review: The initial setup of the movie is very believable. The mother is so incredibly sympathetic. It is hard to imagine the burden of not only moving on after your husband’s death, but when you throw in the fact that you’re responsible for keeping his disturbed spawn alive… my gods the stress! The kid is actually pretty sympathetic as well… you can’t not be fucked up when your dad died the day you were born, can you? He understandably gets a lo-o-o-ot of slack for his behaviors, which keep on spiraling from weird to super-creepy, so the horror starts off at a very human level. When you throw in that demonically emotionally eviscerating reading of the book, shit is intensely dark and frightening.

As the scenes from the book start to take form and the child swims further into the deep end of insanity, my terror mounted exponentially. I’ve seen hundreds of horror movies. This was the first time in quite a while that I’ve felt genuinely scared. Once the demon begins to possess, the fear starts to subside (the known fear is always less scary than the unknown fear). That being said, the climax is still incredibly engaging. The ‘open-to-interpretation’ ending will be a great conversation starter for friends who’ve both seen the movie.

The horror genre (and especially this haunted house sub genre) is replete with repletion. Literally thousands of people have tried to tell some form of this story in some form, across the spectrum from the light parody to the truly depraved version. It’s all been done. And yet, somehow The Babadook found a way to retell this folktale in a way that is unique relatable, unpredictable, and genuinely spooky. This would be a great watch for horror dabblers, but a phenomenal watch for the connoisseurs.

Notable scene: When the pop-up book reappears and new pages have been penned, tell me you weren’t scared of what the next page would say!
Gore:            Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:     Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors
Munchy Suggestion: Pumpkin Spice Oreos (that’s a thing now. Privileged white girls rejoice!)
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.
admin on October 6th, 2015 | File Under 5 Stars, Demonic, Ghosts, Supernatural | No Comments -

Wait Until Dark

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Rating: ****.5 (4.5 out of five)
Year: 1967

Plot: Mission: stick a bunch of heroin in a doll in Canada and smuggle it into the states. Outcome: doll is given to stranger in airport, and when you get to the states you have difficulty retrieving it… and when I say difficulty I mean that you are murdered. Murderer’s new mission: try to finesse the blind girlfriend of the guy who has the doll into giving it to you willingly. Keep yourself untraceable by conning the Keystone Cops into doing some softshoe for you, and keeping the whole murder thing on the hush-hush. Murderer’s outcome: success on many fronts; marked lack of success on others.

Review: I’ve never been a fan of old movies. In fact, I’d never even seen a movie starring Katherine Hepburn, but the g/f wanted to alleviate such a deficiency by showing me this film. I now realize what all the hubbub’s about. There’s only about a teaspoon’s worth of blood. No aliens, no demonic children, and no naked, screaming sorority girls. And yet, somehow, the movie provides eminently compelling gripping suspense. Remember how much you loved old NES or Genesis video games? Have you ever noticed how the newer games, while 1000 times prettier, simply don’t have the same draw as the old ones you fell in love with? Well, one could argue that this phenomenon is due to the fact that the old stuff relied completely on substance. The same argument can be made here. There was no Weta Workshop back then, so the scares had to be genuine. They had to come from real characters and eerily plausible plot-lines. It is obvious that the writers have attended painstakingly to every detail. The plot and dialogue are masterfully crafted. While this movie might fall more into the suspense category than straight-up horror, it packs more creeps than a childless, solo, mustached man in a raincoat at a little league game.

Notable scene: When Hep describes “important things” to be “picking out a wallpaper or choosing a necktie”, you see just how successful the feminist movement has been over the last 40 years. Oh, and specifically, when the refrigerator door opens
Gore :            Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:     Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors
Munchy Suggestion: A box of chocolate flavored Oreos Your poo will be black as night.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.
31Nights on October 25th, 2008 | File Under 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Classic | No Comments -

Silent Hill

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Rating: ****.5 ( 4 and a half out of 5)
Year: 2006

Plot: A little girl’s somnambulistic adventures make mom (Radha Mitchell) fearful and frantic. She decides to take her daughter to the town she mentions while in her trances: Silent Hill. They do so against the advice of the locals, the commands of the police, and without the husband’s knowledge. Mom and daughter are separated upon arrival, and the rest of the movie is about her search to find her child. Is Rose (the mother) experiencing some sort of psychotic episode, or does the town of Silent Hill possess a demonic power to twists the nature of reality which it uses to force new-comers to hear it’s terrible tale? Here’s a hint, it’s the latter.

Review: Probably the best movie to come from a video game. The set design, color schemes, monster effects, pacing, sound design, and religious overtones combine for a permeating sense of creepy apprehension. The movie itself develops in much the same way that a video game would, with tasks that enable the pursuit of more advanced goals, the progressive release of background exposition, and even a cut sequence towards the end that feels very much like an end-of-the-game reward video. The movie makes use of a clever mechanism that allows the town to transition every 15 minutes or so between a simply creepy, off-putting ghost town and an out-and-out hell dimension. The protagonist’s journeys into the depths of that hell build to a panting crescendo that release the viewer at just the right moment. This is a movie I watch year after year.

Notable scene: Have you ever seen a man who wears a giant, metal, pyramidical helmet rip the skin from a human being as if it were a Little Debbie snack wrapper? Pretty wicked.
Gore :         Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:   Screams
Campiness: Donald Pleasances
Creepiness: Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: Leftover cheeseburger patty and tofu scramble from The Grit in Athens, GA.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 13th, 2008 | File Under 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Biblical, Creature | 1 Comment -

Poltergeist

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Rating: ****.5 ( 4 and a half out of 5)
Year: 1982

Plot: Daddy is a premiere real estate salesmen for Cuesta Verde development; so good, in fact, that he and his family get to live in one of the units. Problem is, when the community was built, the devs didn’t think it necessary to respect the dead people in the cemetery by not building houses on top of them. The ghoulies are pissed, and are salivating at the opportunity to take out their hostilities on the home’s current residents.

Review: Do you remember the good ol’ days when mom and dad smoked pot before going to bed, t.v. stations played the national anthem at the end of the day’s broadcast, and Stephen Speilburg had skill and integrity? Seems like a long time ago. Speilburg and director Tobe Hooper manage to take this 15 cent plot line and turn it into one of the most dynamic, intriguing, and terrifying horror flicks of all time. The completeness of the family’s backstory and the genuine nature of their interactions bring you in close to the action, giving you reason to care whether or not they are pulled into a hell dimension. With ahead-of-its-time special effects and a really creepy ghost hunter, you’ll find yourself holding your breath time and again. Craig T. Nelson also brings some acting chops that he must have left on the set before going on to star in “Coach”.

Notable scene: For those who haven’t seen it before, you’ll finally understand the oft-parodied lines, “They’re heeeeeere” and “This house is clear”.
Gore         : Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
Scariness:   Screams
Campiness: Donald Pleasances
Creepiness: Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: Mellow Mushroom pizza with pesto base, extra cheese, bacon and pepperoni on top.
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 8th, 2008 | File Under 4 Stars, 5 Stars, Classic, Demonic, Possession, Supernatural | No Comments -

Black Sheep

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Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)
Year: 2007

Review: Any film that insinuates a sexual relationship between a megalomaniac and an uber-sheep has to be good. And it’s likely to make you laugh… for one reason or another. Black sheep is one of the recent flock of horror movies for horror fans. Although it can be supercilious at times, director Jonathon King sells the goofy moments by going all out on plot and gore and effects. Full motion genetic monstrosities, a bitable penis, and an homage to the transformation scene from American Werewolf in Paris are all pulled off hitchlessly by WETA workshops (the same people who worked on Lord of the Rings and Revenge of the Sith). The pastoral New Zealand landscapes put a tried and true genre piece in a beautiful and new environment. And while the idea of granting innocuous creatures with the lust and capacity for brutal evil is not new, the finesse and skill with which it is executed is. I doubt I’ll watch another movie this good this year.

Notable scene: In a dress shirt, without pants, and smoking a cigarette, the evil brother laments, “You wouldn’t understand,” Then a sheep wonders through the frame. ‘nuf said.
Gore:          Buckets
Sex/Nudity: Nipples
(But probably not the kind you want to see.)
Scariness:    Screams
Campiness:  Donald Pleasances
Creepiness:  Cellar Doors


Munchy Suggestion: 1 Box Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Bites
For More: Information than you require about the flick, look here: Wiki or here: IMDB.


31Nights on October 4th, 2008 | File Under 5 Stars, Comedic, Creature, GoreGalore | 2 Comments -