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13 Days of Halloween now 31 Days of Halloween

So, I have way too many Horror flicks I’ve been meaning to see. Time to upgrade “13 Days of Halloween” to “31 Days of Halloween.” Let’s do this!

1. My Soul To Take

2. The Last Exorcism

3. The Cottage

4. The Return of the Vampire

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

6. The Fog

7. Mimic: The Director’s Cut

8. Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2

9. Dolls

10. Silver Bullet

11. The Hole

12. The Orphanage

13. The Evil Dead

14. The Changeling

15. Magic

16. The Magician

17. Cronos

18. Session 9

19. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3

20. The Revenge of Frankenstein

21. Stop Me Before I Kill!

22. The Tingler

23. Paranormal Activity 2

24. Scream 4

25. The Beyond

26. Red State

27. Nightmare City

28. 13 Ghosts (1960)

29. Homocidal

30. Never Take Candy From A Stranger

31. Trick ‘r Treat

 

13 Days of Halloween: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

13 Days of Halloween

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams and Jim Siedow

12 years after the genuinely terrifying original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, Tobe Hooper returns to direct the sequel with Dennis Hopper! Which means it’s awesome, right? Insane? SCARY?!

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 is insane all right, it’s just not a good movie. Nowhere near as great as the first. Hooper takes all genuine realism and grittiness the original had and replaces it with campy dialogue, over-the-top gore and a finale which is nothing but 30 minutes of screaming.

Also, Leatherface is reduced to a mindless blob of an idiot, who happens to murder every now and then. In the original, he’s truly scary. Here he’s just an oaf.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 sucks. Really bad. It’s not like Tobe Hooper’s ever been at the level of the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. He blew his load early and has been trying to build up his stamina ever since.

Plot ★☆☆☆☆ || Scares ★☆☆☆☆ || Entertainment ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating Overall Rating: ★½☆☆☆

 

13 Days of Halloween: The Return of the Vampire

13 Days of Halloween

The Return of the Vampire (1944)

Directed by: Lew Landers
Written by: Randall Faye
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort and Nina Foch

Bela Lugosi made a career out of playing some sort of “Dracula” like character.

Here, he plays a vampire who is killed during WWI. During a bombing raid by the Germans in WWII, his casket is opened and 2 cemetery caretakers remove the spike from the vampires corpse and bury him. Of course, this means the vampire comes back to life!

It’s fun watching these old horror films. While not as iconic as DRACULA, the joy of THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE is watching Lugosi strut his stuff. Also, in this film, the vampire is aided by a dopey werewolf. Good times.

Plot ★★★½☆ || Scares ☆☆☆☆☆ || Entertainment ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆


 

13 Days of Halloween: The Cottage

13 Days of Halloween

The Cottage (2008)

Written & Directed by: Paul Andrew Williams
Starring: Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison

Ah, the “Horror Comedy.”

Few have the chops to make these work. Unfortunately, THE COTTAGE is a mixed bag.

A kidnapping doesn’t go as planned and a killer maniac is on the loose! 2 brothers attempt to hold a gangster’s daughter for ransom, but their plan goes awry when they realize the woman they’ve kidnapped can take care of herself. To add more difficulty to the situation, they’ve held the kidnapping near an old cottage: the home of a crazed, murderous maniac!

Andy Serkis is pretty great here. Everyone else in this small cast is serviceable. This isn’t a movie with brains, but it more than makes up for it with humor and gore.

Plot ★★★☆☆ || Scares ★☆☆☆☆ || Entertainment ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

 

13 Days of Halloween: The Last Exorcism

13 Days of Halloween

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Directed by: Daniel Stamm
Written by: Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell and Iris Bahr

I was rooting for THE LAST EXORCISM. And up until the last 10 minutes it had me by the balls.

When a movie scares me I have to give it props. I’m a 33 year old de-sensitized movie geek. It takes a lot to freak me out. But 2 things scare me the most: Religion and Haunting/Possession Stories. With THE LAST EXORCISM we have both that are explored surprisingly well in this fake documentary format.

For the uninitiated, THE LAST EXORCISM follows Reverend/Exorcist Cotton Marcus. Burnt out and cynical of his profession as more stories of “Exorcisms Gone Wrong” resulting in death of the “possessed” are reported frequently. In an attempt to shed light on what an Exorcism actually is, Cotton hires a documentary crew to follow him and learn the tricks of the trade of Exorcism. Unfortunately he’s stumbled into a seemingly real life possession and his faith and resolve are challenged.

THE LAST EXORCISM hooked me in. I was engaged by Rev. Cotton’s antics and the willingness to show what the “job” of an actual Exorcist is. Once he meets Nell Sweetzer and the film starts ratcheting up the tension, I was right with it. Squirming at the right moments and genuinely afraid of what might happen next. Unfortunately, the film goes on 10 minutes too long. For over an hour, THE LAST EXORCISM seemed real. I bought into it. The last 10 minutes take all that set up realism and genuine tension and totally shit on it.

Some people loved the ending. Most people, I’m told, hated it. To it’s credit I haven’t stopped thinking about it. However, I’m not sure that’s a compliment.

THE LAST EXORCISM is worth a watch. Strong acting, genuine scares through the middle of the film and the bat-shit ending add up to a pretty enjoyable flick. It’s a frustrating one though. I feel like this could have been this generations “THE EXORCIST” but all the power of the film is deflated by it’s wacky ending.

Plot ★★★½☆ || Scares ★★★☆☆ || Entertainment ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

13 Days of Halloween: My Soul To Take

13 Days of Halloween

My Soul To Take (2010)

Written & Directed by Wes Craven
Starring: A bunch of douchebags

I tried to find a quick summary of the plot of Wes Cravens “return to horror” MY SOUL TO TAKE. I couldn’t find any that made sense. Let me try.

A man with multi-personality disorder goes on a killing spree, ending his reign of death with the murder of his pregnant wife. That night he is captured but not for long as he escapes, never to be seen from again. 16 years later, his son (who miraculously was born even though his mother died) and the other 6 kids born that same night must fight for their lives as the killer returns for more.

Does that sum it up? There’s also something about voodoo and condors and native americans woven through the plot also. Fact it, it really makes no sense. After a decent opening, the movie collapses under the weight of it’s nonsensical plot. We follow the main character (named Bug…not really explained) and the other 6 born on the same day. There is no character development, only broad strokes. We have The Jock, The Shy Guy, The Rebel, The Religious Girl, The Blind Guy…ect as they meet their maker one by one by the hands of a mysterious killer.

MY SOUL TO TAKE is paint-by-numbers teen slasher material. From a first time director, maybe we’d cut him a bit more slack. I mean, it’s decently acted, shot and scored. But, it’s poorly paced and most of all poorly written. By Wes Craven!! A director considered Top Tier. Then again, you all forget Wes Craven gave us SHOCKER and SCREAM 4. He also penned PULSE.  In fact, I think Craven is more responsible for shit than gold.

At any rate, MY SOUL TO TAKE is just bad. Not fun bad. Not bat-shit crazy bad. Just bad. You feel sorry for Craven here. In fact, I’d be surprised if this isn’t the end of studio’s using his name to sell movies. Wes Craven is not the “Horror Master” any more after this embarrassment .

Plot ★★☆☆☆ || Scares ☆☆☆☆☆ || Entertainment ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating Overall Rating: ★½☆☆☆

 

13 Days of Halloween 2011

It’s that time of year again! October! An excuse to watch mass amounts of Horror flicks.

Last year I attempted 31 days of Halloween. My schedule made that extremely hard, and as a parent it’s hard to sneak horror flicks around the kids. So this year I decided 13 scheduled horror flicks is more reasonable. Of course, I’ll probably end up watching more, but I’m committing to watch these flicks this year.

This years pick is a mixed bag of flicks I’ve been meaning to see. Some I know will be good, and some I  know may be terrible. I also intentionally left off anything with vampires. I’m a bit burnt out. Here’s the list:

1. My Soul To Take

I know this one will be bad. Yes, I bought it for $4 (ironically like a hipster). A large amount of alcohol may be consumed while watching this and I’m sure laughs will be had. If anything this will be a good example of how good directors can be responsible for pure crap.

2. The Last Exorcism

Never saw this last year, heard mixed things. Might as well watch it to weigh in my thoughts.

3. The Cottage

This was recommended to me last year and stars Andy Sirkes. I’m interested.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Dennis Hopper?! I’ve never seen this, figured I’d give it a shot.

5. The Fog

One of my favorite John Carpenter flick. Haven’t seen this in about 8 years. Looking forward to the revisit.

6. The Beyond

I’m a fan of the Lucio Fulci flicks I’ve seen and am looking forward to finally watching this. Started watching it over a year ago and never finished. Time to cross this off the list.

7. Nightmare City

One of the original “running zombie” flicks. Looking forward to this one.

8. Dolls

As a kid, this movie scared the shit out of me. Doubt it will now, but it’s due a re-visit.

9. Silver Bullet

Gary Busey Vs. Werewolf!

10. The Hole

Joe Dante’s return to horror and a film that hasn’t been released in the US yet. Been wanting to see this for 2 years and thanks to a region A Hong Kong import I can!

11. The Orphanage

I remember this being extremely creepy when I saw it a couple years ago. First time watching in HD. Looking forward to watching this again.

12. The Evil Dead

What October is complete without Ash Vs. Demons?

13. Trick ‘r Treat

My yearly Halloween tradition. I’ll be watching this Halloween night at some point. Such a great movie!