Tag Archives: Independent Horror films

Clown-2016

Clown-2016

Director-Jon Watts

Starring-Laura Allen, Christian Distefano

Reviewed September 16, 2017

Grade: B-

As a fan of all things horror, and with a robust appreciation for the horror film genre, the inclusion of clowns in said genre films is always a stroke of genius, and the 2016 film aptly titled, Clown, establishes a creepy premise right off the bat. After seeing the film, it was not until a few days later that the story began to marinate more with me and I gained a bit more appreciation than I had once the film originally ended.

Clown reminds me quite a bit of the mid-2000’s Showtime horror anthology series, Masters of Horror, though, in fact, the film is a full running length of one hour and forty minutes. The film has a unique, creepy vibe that was also a highlight of the cherished series of yesteryear and this film oddly also plays out like a vignette.

The premise is laden in the creep factor as the action kicks off. When Kent McCoy, a likable young father, who works far too much maintaining his real estate business, is notified by his wife, Meg, that the clown they had hired to entertain at their son Jack’s birthday party, has canceled. Determined to save the day, Kent discovers a very old clown suit in the attic of one of his abandoned houses and dons the costume. The next day, Kent and Meg are startled when Kent is unable to remove the costume even when pliers, a hacksaw, and other horrid machinery is used on him.

The story then introduces a strange character named Herbert Karlsson, who informs Kent that the clown costume is not a costume at all, but rather the hair and skin of an ancient demon from Northern Europe. The demon needs to feast on and devour children in order to survive, Kent realizes, as he begins to become ravenous with hunger. Karlsson attempts to kill Kent, revealing that the only way to destroy the beast is via beheading.

The clever and compelling part of the story is the mixture of clowns and children in peril- a recipe for success in most horror films- and at the risk of being daring. The fact that Kent and Meg slowly begin the temptation to harm children is both shocking and effective. The McCoys are average, everyday folks, Meg even working as a nurse, so the likelihood of the pair harming kids on any other day is remote, but tested by a vicious demon and their own son Jack in peril makes Clown work well.

My favorite sequence of the film occurs during a birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese. While the kids play in a lavish and dark tunnel, the demon (Kent) is on the loose, causing havoc and eating two children. When Meg drives an unwitting young girl home, she is conflicted and tempted to offer the girl to the demon as a sacrifice in order to hopefully save Kent. The girls pleading is palpable.

The film is gruesome from a violence perspective and hesitates not in going where many horror films dare not to go- with the death and slaughter of young children. One kid in particular is basically shown disemboweled, granted the kid is written as a bully and therefore gets his comeuppance in grisly form. Sad is the death of a lonely trailer park type kid, only looking for just a friend in Kent- little does he know his short days are numbered.

As strong and measured as the story idea is, Clown does have some negatives. The film has an overall amateurish quality to it, and certainly not because it is an independent film. Rather, the style almost comes across as a student film project. Some of the acting is not great, specifically actress Laura Allen as Meg. In fact, the filmmakers might have been wiser to make this project more of an episodic venture instead of a full length release.

Clowns, kids, and demons make a fun combination for horror and the aptly named Clown is a solid B-movie effort in the glorious chambers of the cinematic horror genre. With a few tweaks and zip-ups, Clown might have been an even more memorable film. It will not go down in history as a masterpiece, but does have the necessary elements for a good watch.

Chained-2012

Chained-2012

Director-Jennifer Lynch

Starring-Vincent D’Onofrio

Reviewed March 24, 2017

Grade: B-

Chained is a 2012 independent horror film directed by Jennifer Lynch, who just happens to be the daughter of the brilliant film and television director, David Lynch, and his influence is readily felt throughout. The film is an exercise in cerebral, psychological horror, and is quite mesmerizing for most of the experience. The ending, however, is the pits, and takes away from the enjoyment of the rest of the film in its asinine, quickly wrapped-up, conclusion.

The film is set in an unknown area- all the audience really knows is a  decrepit, isolated, cabin in the middle of nowhere and that the shack exists in somewhat close proximity to a college town. Since the film is shot in Canada that is a good enough locale for me to accept. One day a seemingly happy husband drops off his wife and nine year old son at the movies, but implores them to take a taxi home as the bus is too dangerous. When they heed his advice, they are accosted by a deranged serial killer, Bob (D’Onofrio), who drives a cab and whisks them away to his remote home. After he kills the mother, he makes the son, whom he re-names Rabbit, his slave, reducing him to household chores and a somewhat accomplice to the subsequent victims he brings home. As the years pass and Bob continues to kill, he is determined to have, a now mature,  Rabbit follow in his footsteps.

A large chunk of Chained (and the film is aptly named because Bob commonly keeps Rabbit chained) takes place in Bob’s lonely home and Bob and Rabbit are all each other really have for support. Bob presumably earns a living by stealing the cash his victims carry. Many scenes of a bonding nature, albeit perverse, are featured as the two dole away the time between Bob’s kills, almost like a father and son. Jennifer Lynch wisely moves the film at a slow pace for appropriate build up.

Bob’s psychologically troubled childhood is told through flashbacks as he is victimized by his abusive father and forced to have sex with his own mother, who blames him rather than her husband. As a result, Bob hates women, and lures victim after victim into his cab and then slices and dices them back at his home. In a way, Bob is sympathetic, like a wounded bird, and whether he rapes the victims before killing them is unclear, as much happens off screen.

The cabin is purposely suffocating and when Bob teaches Rabbit intellectual facts and encourages him to read and study to become smart, it is a bonding experience. Slowly, Bob trusts Rabbit more and more. When Bob makes Rabbit pick out a young girl in a school yearbook to kill, the film kicks into high gear. Suddenly, it becomes vague whether Rabbit is loyal to Bob or still determined to escape. Will he help his intended victim instead of killing her?

David Lynch’s imprint is blatant in both the pacing of the film and more specifically in the low hum musical score, common in his own films. Daughter Jennifer clearly knows her father’s techniques as they continually come into play. A nice homage to Mulholland Dr. appears when a sweet older couple rides in the back of Bob’s cab, reminiscent of the older couple featured in Mulholland Dr. The gloomy ambiance is highly effective in Chained and the relationship between Bob and Rabbit, not sexual or overly violent, becomes actually rather sweet in some moments-almost like a typical father and son.

The rushed conclusion of the film is disastrous and Lynch’s attempt at a twist goes haywire in the “makes sense” department. After a compelling fight scene with Bob, Rabbit finally kills him, escapes his clutches, and returns to his fathers open arms (now newly re-married with another son) only to reveal to his father that he knows he orchestrated Rabbit and his mom’s abduction years ago and that Bob is really Rabbit’s uncle! To matters even more confusing, after a dramatic event, Rabbit is sent away yet again and returns to the cabin as his only safe place. This final act is a real dog, makes little sense, and is tough to digest.

I will give some liberties to 2012’s Chained since the director is spawned from the great David Lynch and the mood and several characteristics mirror his own work, but still with her own unique vision an obvious characteristic. Most of the film is a solid effort, but due to the ending of the film being such a let down, the body of work seems incomplete.

The Last Exorcism-2010

The Last Exorcism-2010

Director-Daniel Stamm

Starring-Ashley Bell, Patrick Fabian

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Reviewed January 24, 2011

Grade: B+

The Last Exorcism is a really enjoyable independent horror film. I found it unique and creative, and is shot documentary style, so there is a level of watching something new and different in the horror world, that I appreciated. Certainly the usage of either hand-held or documentary footage has been done before, this film feels fresh and not cliche driven. Horror master Eli Roth produced the film.

A doubtful preacher (Reverend Cotton Marcus) who lives in Louisiana, sets out to perform his final exorcism with a documentary crew in tow, only to find a girl who really is possessed by the devil. Cotton is assumed a con-artist, so we doubt he actually can help the girl, which is what makes the film so interesting and unpredictable. What will happen next? Could the girl or her family be frauds?

The film is really scary and contains dark, creepy, ambiance. It reminds me a bit of The Blair Witch Project with the shaky camera and dark, raw tones, and independent nature. Recommended for fans of horror.

Black Christmas-1974

Black Christmas-1974

Director-Bob Clark

Starring-Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder

Top 100 Films-#36     Top 20 Horror Films-#11

70057846

Reviewed December 29, 2015

Grade: A

Black Christmas is one of my favorite horror films of all time and, in my opinion, an under-appreciated classic.  Somehow it is just not the first, second, or third film mentioned when most discuss the influential horror films of years past. I make sure to watch it each holiday season. It largely influenced Halloween (another love of mine) from the killer point of view camera shots to the seasonal element. It is quite horrifying in several key scenes, in fact, and I am proud to list it as one of favorite films. Black Christmas is a must-see for fans of the horror genre.

The setting (a cold and snowy Christmas) is perfect and the film is shot quite dark. There are Christmas lights and carolers for a great winter holiday effect. Most of the film takes place at night and the location is primarily inside a huge, rather creepy, sorority house. The ambiance is well thought out.

Several sorority girls, led by boozy Barb (Margot Kidder) and sweet-natured Jess (Olivia Hussey), prepare to depart for the holiday season by having a small farewell Christmas party. Recently, the girls have been harassed by a prank caller spouting nonsensical gibberish on a daily basis. As in true horror fashion, the girls are systematically offed one by one as events turn dire. Two sub-plots which ultimately merge with the central plot include Jess’s pregnancy by suspicious boyfriend Peter, and the search in the park for a missing young girl.

The best part of Black Christmas is that it is an honest, raw film, made on a small budget, that does not include gimmicks or contrivances. It has authenticity. A disturbing film for sure,  one victim being posed in a rocking chair continuously rocking back and forth next to the attic window, while said victim is bound in plastic wrap, holding a doll, mouth and eyes wide, is one of the most chilling in horror film history. The nuances of the killer also scare and the brilliance of this is that his motivations are mysterious and unclear (in large part the success of Michael Meyers as well). We never fully see the killer except his shape and eyes, and that is the brilliance of the film.

The one slight negative to the film is the decision to make the cops appear incompetent. The desk sergeant in particular is a complete dope- one wonders how he got his job- as a sexual joke by one of the girls goes over his head while the other detectives laugh like fools. Why is this necessary? I suppose for comic relief, but isn’t that the purpose of Mrs. Mac, the overweight, boozy sorority mother?  Her constant treasure hunt for hidden booze (the toilet, inside a book) are comical and fun. And her posing and posturing in front of the mirror (she is a very frumpy, average woman) are a delight and balance the heavy drama.

The conclusion of Black Christmas is vague and fantastic and works very well. Due, once again, to the police errors, the final victims fate is left unclear as we see her in a vulnerable state, unaware that the killer is looming nearby. We only hear a ringing phone and wonder what happens next.

My admiration for Black Christmas only grows upon each viewing as I am once again compelled, noticing more and more ingenious nuances to the film. Can’t wait until next Christmas to watch it again.

It Follows-2014

It Follows-2014

Director-David Robert Mitchell

Starring-Maika Monroe, Debbie Williams

It_Follows_(poster)

Reviewed December 23, 2015

Grade: A-

It Follows is a mysterious, very unique, dreamlike (or shall I say nightmarish!) independent horror film that is a pleasant throwback to old school horror films (my favorites!), with a supernatural twist thrown in. The film is directed very well by newcomer David Robert Mitchell containing wonderful cinematography, creative camera angles, etc. This film is not glossy and has a raw, almost videotaped feel, which I personally found quite wonderful. The film was shot entirely in and around Detroit giving it a cold, industrial look.

The film begins on a dramatic note leaving the viewer curious right off the bat. A young woman flees her suburban home and nervously stands on the street looking back at her house.  A neighbor asks if she needs help. She then returns to her house, collects her things and hurriedly drives to the beach. She suspects something or someone is watching her. She tearfully phones her father and tells him she loves him. The next scene appears to be the following morning and the woman is lying murdered on the beach in a grotesque position- her leg strangely bent. This is a fantastic way to begin the film.

From this point the premise is quickly revealed. The main character of the film is Jay, an attractive college-aged girl. She lives with her sister Kelly and are good friends with their next door neighbors Paul and Yara. An additional neighbor and classmate, Greg, also figures into the plot. Jay is on a date with Hugh and things are going well. They attend a classic film. They sneak into a deserted lot and have sex. Afterwards, Hugh chloroforms Jay and the weirdness begins. A strange woman appears and Hugh tells Jay that she must pass on a curse. Otherwise, an entity in the form of another person that nobody else can see but the victim will get Jay and she will be doomed.

I loved the throwback elements to 1970’s and 1980’s horror- in fact it is vague when the film is set- purposely so I imagine- as many of the cars are 1970’s and 1980’s models. Only one cell phone is used throughout the film, but mostly the time could be present or past. Even the houses appear dated.

Story-wise, It Follows is tough to figure out and open to a certain level of interpretation. Is the film anti-sex? Is the story a metaphor for sexually transmitted diseases? Clearly the victims become possessed by the entity after sex and then must pass it to another unwitting victim, sexually.

I noticed some similarities to John Carpenter films- specifically the classic Halloween. Jay sits in a classroom (ironically in the back row next to the window ala Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween) and looks out to see a strange old woman slowly lumbering towards her, eyes fixed on Jay.  Later, the three principal girls casually walk around the neighborhood engaging in small talk similar to the characters of Laurie, Lynda, and Annie in Halloween.

The ending- a scene in the indoor community swimming pool where the kids try to catch the spirit is a bit hokey and unresolved. However, I did enjoy the final scene- a peaceful one  in which I was unsure if the entity has been destroyed or remained. A sequel perhaps?

I give It Follows major props for its styling, creativity, while all the while giving classic horror fans a good old fashioned treat without much CGI necessary.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night-2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night-2014

Director-Ana Lily Amirpour

Starring-Sheila Vand

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Reviewed August 24, 2015

Grade: A-

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a highly creative, unique, independent horror film from 2014. One of the many reasons I am a fan of independent cinema is to discover and promote little seen gems. The dialogue is in Farsi (Iranian) and the cinematography is in black and white, which in itself is very unique in modern film. I notice similarities between this film and Let the Right One In (both the English and the Swedish versions) in the frigid mood and love story enveloped within. This film is the debut of director Ana Lily Amirpour and what a marvel she could become. Despite obvious influences by other films and directors, A Girl Walks Home At Night has a brilliant freshness to it and seems completely original and unpredictable to watch.

The title of the film accurately depicts the main story. A teenage girl (Sheila Vand) walks around the desolate, dark streets of a city aptly named Bad City in the Iranian underworld. The film is actually shot in southern California and looks like it could double for Detroit. The girl, who has no name, has strange encounters with a myriad of peculiar individuals, including what appears to be a transgender prostitute, a vicious drug dealer, a nice yet mysterious young man named Arash, Arash’s father, who is hooked on drugs, a mysterious cat. She then embarks on a tender flirtation with Arash. The overall plot, which I found secondary to the look of the film, centers around The Girl’s encounters with these individuals as well as their encounters and relationships with each other. The Girl is a lonely vampire and feels isolated from society, but it is unclear what she is looking for- she is both destructive and sweet depending on the circumstance. She takes her aggression out on the bad.

The most striking and impressive aspect of the film is its dark moody atmosphere. Brooding and cold looking, the city reeks of death and loneliness. The Girl speaks very little so that her expressions are what the viewer will notice. Her eyes delve into her soul. She is the most interesting of the characters, but the others, specifically Arash and the transgender prostitute have potential and we are curious to explore more about them. Arash and his father have more depth than any of the supporting characters- Arash painfully lets his drug riddled father stay with him and attempts to assist him with his issues. One assumes that since the father’s wife (Arash’s mother) has died suddenly, he has taken a downward spiral, but this is only suggested to the audience. We do know for sure where she is- in one scene we see the father angrily look at a photo of a middle-aged woman and is destroyed by her absence. He believes that the woman has taken on the body of the mysterious cat. Arash caring for his father is a fascinating role reversal. Wouldn’t we expect the young man to have the drug problem and the father the care-giver? This is interesting in itself.

The aforementioned influences are plentiful, but most notable from a director standpoint is David Lynch. The black and white filming along with the viewer’s point of view in one scene involving a car driving down a dark highway resembles the Lynch film Lost Highway. The moody background music and the slow but methodical pacing also gives A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night a Lynch feel. One curious element of the film is The Girl’s interest in 1980′ pop music- her bedroom wall riddled with Madonna and similar pop stars from the 1980’s posters. The Girl even admits to listening to a sappy Lionel Richie tune. It is unknown if it even could BE the 1980’s as time seems unimportant. The film strangely combines edgy, alternative film-making with commercial pop references. I half expected The Girl to break into a rendition of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. My thought is that perhaps Amir’s intention is to portray the Girl’s desire to fit into a mainstream society knowing that a vampire never can. This theory is proven when The Girl is melancholy when Arash buys her a hamburger, knowing she cannot enjoy it as he does.

Creative, a dreary atmosphere, and intelligently thought out, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a strange, murky experience in film experimentation. Amirpour is a fresh, new director worth watching for in the years to come.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-1974

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-1974

Director-Tobe Hooper

Starring-Marilyn Burns

Top 100 Films-#35 

Top 20 Horror Films-#10

Top 10 Disturbing Films-#5                                                          

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Reviewed December 31, 2014

Grade: A

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the grittiest, raw, frightening horror films that I have ever seen and still holds up incredibly well in present times. Containing a documentary-like look it is incredibly scary in its grainy, visual, real-life feel. It is not psychological horror- it is in your face, brutal horror. The perception of an incredibly hot, sticky, backwoods Texas summer is incredibly well done and only adds to the terror.

A group of five teenagers travel to the vast fields of Texas- aka- the middle of nowhere, presumably on a road trip. On their drive they pick up a strange hitchhiker who ends up stabbing one of the teens and cutting his own arm. Spooked by this odd occurrence, they stop for gas and directions, but veer off course and accidentally wind up at a slaughterhouse owned by cannibals. The group of teens is led by Sally Hardesty, played by Marilyn Burns.

As the teens are chopped off in grotesque fashion, similar to a slew of similar fashioned, but less interesting horror films to follow, Sally winds up the lone survivor of the group. Burns plays the first “final girl”, a title made famous in horror films as the last female remaining alive- it was almost always a female- to take on the maniacal killer.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre features one of the horror genre’s best villains- Leatherface. The viewer knows little about him as he does not speak- is he mentally disabled? Is he an intelligent man? He is disguised behind a mask made of strewn together human skin and wields a scary chain saw. We know nothing about him- only that he loves to kill. The ambiguity is immeasurable.

Besides the way that the film is shot, another shocking element is the reality of the story. Could this really happen to the viewer? The answer is yes of course it could. How many times have we been driving and gotten lost in surroundings unfamiliar to us? There are no supernatural beings or CGI effects in this film- only a group of youngsters crossing paths with maniacs and this could happen in real-life. This realization adds to the fright.

The famous- or infamous- dinner scene is revolutionary in disgust and distaste. The family attempts to serve Sally as dessert to the elderly patriarch and as he begins to suck blood from Sally’s finger, it will force the squeamish to turn away.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a short film, running at only 84 minutes, but the breathtaking finale- Sally running through the endless woods followed by Leatherface, seems interminable. Will he catch her? How can she possibly escape?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is dirty, ugly, and intense. It is no-holds barred brutality. It is one of the best horror films ever made.

Contracted-2013

Contracted-2013

Director-Eric England

Starring-Najarra Townsend

70296585

Reviewed October 12, 2014

Grade: B-

It seems that many reviewers of Contracted are looking for a deeper meaning to the film or debating whether a particular scene was a rape or a consensual sexual act- I looked for neither and just took the 2013 independent horror film at face value. I do not view the film as particularly worth over-analyzing or delving too much beneath the surface.

The plot is rather basic- Samantha is a young woman on the outs with her girlfriend Nikki. She goes to a party where her friend Alice gets her drunk and Samantha winds up talking to a handsome stranger named BJ. Samantha agrees to have sex with him in his car, but at one point begs him to stop. It is unclear what transpires at this point. The next morning Samantha wakes up feeling strange- she assumes she is simply hung-over, but gradually her hair, teeth, and fingernails begin to fall out and her eyes are hideously bloodshot. Her symptoms slowly worsen as she transforms into a strange monster. In the mix are supporting characters, Riley, who is in love with Samantha despite the fact that she is a lesbian and clearly rebuffs all of his advances, and Samantha’s Mom, who is convinced that Samantha is using drugs again (which she is).

I did not find the film to be a metaphor for punishing women or lesbians for a one-night stand- I viewed it as a fun, Saturday late-night, horror flick. If I were to dissect the film in a critical way, the premise is rather absurd- a young woman turning into a zombie/monster after having sexual relations with a stranger? Silly, but I am not expecting highbrow art from this type of film. The acting- especially of the actress portraying Samantha is below average at best- horrid at worst. The three central female characters (Samantha, Nikki, and Alice) are presumably all lesbians or bi-sexual and, especially, Nikki, is irritated when a man dares to hit on her, as if they should magically already know she is a lesbian. In fact, the character of Nikki is very unlikeable- she seldom returns Samantha’s phone calls and continually pushes her away. I did not buy any of the three as lesbians- not to be stereotypical, but they each had extremely fem, and feminine only, qualities. The way Samantha’s mother kept insisting that Samantha was on drugs became irritating by the fifth time she brought it up. Why did Riley pursue Samantha ad-nauseam when he was aware that she was a lesbian? What is BJ’s motivation for presumably giving Samantha a drug? She was already drunk enough to have sex with him- why did he want to turn her into a monster? This plot point is unclear.

The film is not character driven, is strictly plot driven, and like most horror films, meant to be that way. The finale of the film is actually quite satisfying as Samantha’s fate, along with her mother’s, is left up in the air. The same cannot be said for Nikki or Alice as both receive their just desserts. Contracted is not a masterpiece, but is a fun little horror film to be enjoyed- just don’t ask too many questions.

Halloween-1978

Halloween-1978

Director-John Carpenter

Starring-Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence

Top 100 Films-#4     Top 20 Horror Films-#3

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Reviewed November 21, 2015

Grade: A

 Halloween is an iconic horror film from 1978 that set the tone for the barrage of slasher films to follow throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s.  Today, the film continues to hold up incredibly well and I am proud to list it as, not only one of my favorite horror films (in which I religiously watch every Halloween), but one of my favorite films of all time. The focus is on style and substance over gore (the film contains little) and the score is one of the scariest and most effective in cinema history.

The premise of the film is simple- a homicidal maniac is on the loose in a sleepy little town named Haddonfield, Illinois and is targeting three female babysitters one crisp Halloween night. The audience knows that the six-year old little boy dressed as a clown on a dark Halloween night years ago, and who butchered his older sister to death, is the now grown-up culprit. What we do not know, nor should we, is what his (Michael Meyers) motivation is.  This confusion only adds to the impact of the story. Subsequent remakes have added complexities to the character, needlessly so, but in the original, we see a seemingly happy child with stable parents and a good life.

Similar stories have been told over time in film history. But with Halloween, it is simply one of the greatest horror films ever made. As simple as the story is, it is the way the film is made that makes it a masterpiece. Everything about Halloween is mesmerizing- the lighting is perfect, the ambiance, the incredibly scary musical score brilliant, the battle between good and evil, the perfect feeling of a chilly Halloween night. Highly unusual for its time, the point of view of the killer and heavy breathing is prevalent throughout the film, which will startle and scare the viewer. The opening shot is through the eyes of a masked six year old kid wearing a clown mask. The unique technical aspects go on and on.

Director John Carpenter had a vision for this film and thankfully no studio influence ruined it since it was an independent film on a shoestring budget. The Hitchcock influences are evident in the character names- Sam Loomis. Many scenes involve someone watching the action or peeking around a corner, through a window, which makes the viewer anxious and nervous. Set in small-town USA, a frightening element of the film is that it could happen anywhere and the location is ingenious. There is very little blood, let alone gore, in Halloween- it is needless. It is the creepiness that makes the film brilliant.

The three teenagers are perfectly cast- Jamie Lee Curtis is the serious bookworm, P.J. Soles and Nancy Keyes are the flirtatious bad girls, but the chemistry between them is great and the audience buys them as best friends. The jump-out- of- your seat moments are incredibly well-timed and it is one of the few genuinely scary films.

Forget solely the horror genre- Halloween is one of the greatest films ever made.

Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat-2002

Blood Feat 2: All U Can Eat-2002

Director-H.G. Lewis

Starring-J.P. Delahoussaye, Christy Brown

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Reviewed June 24, 2014

Grade: B

Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat is a sequel to the original Blood Feast from over 30 years ago. It is not necessary to see the original before seeing this film (I hadn’t). The original killer’s grandson is the gruesome caterer/maniac in this installment.

Director H.G. Lewis heavily influenced John Waters, who has a fantastic cameo as a perverted reverend. This movie is so over the top and campy it is certainly not to be taken at all seriously. The premise, if one can call it that, involves a lunatic caterer intent on using various female body parts to concoct a scrumptious meal to serve at a wedding. The film is more of a comedy than a horror film in the traditional sense. The victims are clearly bubble-heads, mispronouncing words and traipsing around in skimpy outfits (or less) for no reason. The mean spirited mother of the bride is a delight. Scenes of taste testing and the presentation of “lady fingers” are hilariously creative. Campy in every way and poorly acted, but good late night fun.

All Hallows’ Eve-2013

All Hallows’ Eve-2013

Director-Damien Leone

Starring-Katie Maguire

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Reviewed March 25, 2014

Grade: B+

All Hallows’ Eve is an above average, low budget, independent horror film from 2013 reminiscent of the wonderful Showtime series Masters of Horror. The film has a main story, then divided into 3 tales, and finally all meshing together, which was very effective. A babysitter and her 2 charges find an old VHS tape and, of course, watch it. Three short films are on the tape.

The antagonist of the films is a horrific supernatural clown that reminded me of Pennywise from “It”. The motivations of the clown are not explained, nor is that necessary. One of the three stories feels out of place, but the other 2 are excellent. Anyone looking for some late night fright would do well watching this creepy little film.