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Category Archives: Horror Movie Reviews

The Lords of Salem (2012)


The Lords of Salem Poster

The Lords of Salem (2012)

Given that this is a Rob Zombie movie, I sort of knew what I was getting myself into.  I like some of his music, but I like even less of his movies.  He has a tendency to be too extreme in his films and often in his music as well.  It’s almost as if he is trying too hard to prove to the world that he is demonic.  His movies are usually filled with obscene violence and or torture for no apparent reason at all.  He likes to be crazy because well, maybe he is crazy.  However, I did enjoy his remake of Halloween (2007).  My wife likes horror movies, so I thought I would give this one a shot.  From a film critic’s perspective, I’ll review almost anything.

The Lords of Salem Zombie Arms

The Lords of Salem is about Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a local radio DJ who receives a record in the mail that is labeled: “A gift from the Lords.”  The record is played on the air and the radio station calls the band The Lords of Salem because they are in Salem, Massachusetts.  The music triggers violent and evil flashbacks of witches trying to summon up the Devil in the town hundreds of years before.  It seems as if the Lords of Salem are back for revenge, or maybe Heidi is just going crazy.

The movie was written and directed by Rob Zombie and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace, and Maria Conchita Alonso.

The Lords of Salem Fire

The Lords of Salem was pretty much what I expected it to be.  It’s just another Rob Zombie movie where he tries way too hard to be vile and disgusting.  Once again, Rob Zombie has his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie star in the film.  She is in like all of his movies.

I gave this movie a chance, but I wanted to turn it off about halfway through.  There is a lot of grotesque nudity and mindless violence.  At times, the story is all over the place and it takes a while to get to the point.  Zombie pushes the envelope simply for the sake of trying to be evil, as if that is enough to be entertaining.

The movie is a slow, laughable, pointless waste of time and after a while feels like watching and hearing nails on a chalkboard.  It was stupid and way over the top to the point of boredom.  I kept asking myself, why am I watching this movie?  The only answer that I could come up with was to warn you about it.

The Lords of Salem Painted Zombie

I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.

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House on Haunted Hill (1959)


House on Haunted Hill Poster 2

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

To me, old black and white horror movies are much more entertaining than the majority of the horror movies that get made in this day and age.  What I like most about the classics is that they rely mostly on the story, how it is told, and where it is taking place in order to try to frighten the viewers.  Special effects hardly existed in the days of black and white movies, so filmmakers had to get their thrills with a chilling storyline instead of just blood and guts.  House on Haunted Hill is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

House on Haunted Hill Price Ohmart

The film is about an eccentric millionaire (Vincent Price) who invites 5 people to a spooky overnight party with him and his wife in a rented mansion that is rumored to be haunted.  He offers each person ten thousand dollars if they can live through the night in the locked house.

The movie was directed by William Castle and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig, Alan Marshal, Elisha Cook Jr., and Julie Mitchum.

House on Haunted Hill party

The film sets the mood nicely with a creepy character introduction and narration by Price as the guests are headed to the haunted party on the hill.

It is movies like this one that helped to start the horror movie genre.  This is one of the classics.  It is one of the originals.  How many hundreds of movies have been released in recent years that take place in a haunted house?  There are too many to count.  Movies like House on Haunted Hill helped to pave the way for what a haunted house movie should be.

The film is full of spooky music, mysterious characters, and wonderful dialogue. There are excellent shadow affects in the movie that you can only get in a black and white film.  There are slamming doors, falling chandeliers, and creaky floor boards.  There are horrifying visuals and people screaming.  The picture is painted so well for us that you can almost smell death in the air.  All of these little attributes contribute to making House on Haunted Hill a true horror classic.

House on Haunted Hill Caretakers

The entertainment is in the storytelling.  If you enjoy classic films and you like a good ghost story, then this is the movie for you.  For its time, it is a great movie.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

High Tension (2003)


High Tension Poster

High Tension (2003)

 

High Tension is a French foreign horror film.  The movie was made in 2003, but released in the US in 2005.  You can watch the film with subtitles or have the French dubbed over in English.  Some people don’t like watching movies with subtitles.  Others don’t like watching a movie that has been dubbed over in a different language because the lips don’t match up with the words.  I have never had a problem with either format, but sometimes it is good to know what you are getting yourself into before watching a movie like that.

High Tension vacation

The movie is about two college girls, Marie (Cecile De France) and Alexa (Maiwenn), who vacation to Alexa’s family’s house in the country, way out in the middle of nowhere.  The girls planned on getting a lot of studying done in the quiet remote home.  What they didn’t plan on was getting a strange visitor in the middle of the night who turned out to be a murdering psychopath.

The film was directed by Alexandre Aja, and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun, Andrei Finti, Oana Pellea, and Gabriel Spahiu.

The first time that I watched this movie was in 2005.  It was around the time that the movie Saw (2004) was popular.  Horror movies had begun to master bloody brutality.  Blood and guts seemed as real as they had ever been on screen and horror movies were celebrating this fact.  High Tension joined the party of gruesome graphic violence.

High Tension Gas Station

It’s hard to enjoy a movie of this kind.  However, the shock value throughout the film is highly prevalent.  It’s disgusting and disturbing.  It’s vile, but full of horror.  The unspeakable acts of violence depicted in High Tension are grotesque, but the filmmaking is superb.

The soundtrack in the movie is spine-chilling and it only serves to magnify just how obscenely intense the film actually is.  High Tension is the perfect title, because that is exactly what the movie is full of.  The film may simply be a slasher strictly for the shock value, but it is one that will keep you on edge waiting for what will happen next.  It’s like a horrific car wreck that is hard not to stare at.  You don’t want to see it, but you cannot look away.  The grisly images become a stain that you can’t seem to scrub from your mind.

The film is a bloodbath.  It’s one of the bloodiest, most vicious movies that I have ever seen.  If you couldn’t handle watching Saw, then High Tension is probably too much for you.

High Tension Cecile De France

I don’t usually like this type of movie, and it is not one that I could watch often, but for its genre, the filmmakers did an excellent job.  I know good filmmaking when I see it, and I’m not going to fault the film because of its genre.  High Tension is the ultimate slasher with a twist.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Curse of Chucky (2013)


Curse of Chucky Poster

Curse of Chucky (2013)

Dolls can be creepy.  Let’s face it; creepy dolls are one of the most common elements of horror movies.  I could probably name at least 20 horror movies off the top of my head that had a scary doll in it.  Child’s Play (1988) took this concept with its demonic redheaded killer doll and ran with it.  It worked so well that the film spawned 5 sequels.

I have never been a big fan of the Chucky movies.  The first film was okay, but the ones that followed were all pretty redundant.  I will admit that the Chucky character himself, is pretty sinister.

Curse of Chucky Chucky

Curse of Chucky is the 6th film in the series.  The movie is about a wheelchair bound girl named Nica (Fiona Dourif) who lives alone with her mother (Chantel Quesnelle) in a large old house.  Nica’s mother dies shortly after receiving a strange and unexpected package.  In the package is a doll named Chucky.  When the rest of Nica’s family comes to visit, Chucky introduces himself to the family.

The film was written and directed by Don Mancini and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Brad Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, A Martinez, Maitland McConnell, and Jennifer Tilly.

Curse of Chucky Chucky and Girl

Deranged, psychotic serial killer doll Chucky, strikes again in another cheesy, lousy murdering escapade.  The movie is so bad that it is laughable.

I couldn’t figure out what was worse, the low-grade dreadful acting, or the poorly written dialogue and crummy storyline.

This slasher film was formulaic, predictable, convenient, tacky, and overall pretty stupid.

I gave the movie a chance because the original was alright.  I should have left well enough alone.

Don’t waste your time or money on this awful sequel.

I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  RUN!

The Call (2013)


The Call (2013)

The Call (2013)

Before watching this film, I had assumed that it was rated PG-13.  After watching the movie, I’m a little surprised that it was actually rated R.  If it had been tweaked ever so slightly, I think that it probably could have gotten the PG-13 rating.  I’m a little surprised that they would not have wanted to attract more of the teenage audience to this movie.  It seems like so many other films these days go for that lighter rating to try to get the teeny boppers into the seats.  Quite honestly, after learning of the rating right before the movie started, it actually made me raise my expectations of the quality of the film because of the genre.

The Call Berry

The Call is a thriller about a 911 operator (Halle Berry) that makes a careless mistake while on an emergency phone call that causes the situation to end badly.  Consumed by guilt and anxiety, she struggles to hold it together in order to perform her job.  Time passes and one day the operator takes a call from a girl that has been kidnapped (Abigail Breslin).  Determined not to make the same mistake again, the operator does everything in her power to try to help the girl on the other end of the line.  She soon realizes that there is a link between the 2 emergency calls.

The film is directed by Brad Anderson and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, Michael Imperioli, Justina Machado, and Jose Zuniga.

The Call Breslin

I held off from seeing this movie in theatres because I wasn’t sure if it would be worth my time.  I can usually give or take Berry.  Breslin is a talented young actress, but the movie looked a little B-rated.  What sparked my interest however, was Anderson’s involvement.  He has shown us that he is capable of excellence with his film The Machinist (2004).  With that being said, even though The Call looked questionable, I knew that it would at least be well-made.

The film did not allow for much character development.  It was not the type of movie that required quality acting.  Anderson makes up for this with quality filmmaking.  The events that occur in the film were made intense enough to keep my attention throughout.  The soundtrack helps to make the movie seem more fast-paced than it really is.  Because the film is kept at a relatively fast pace for its entirety, it helps you to forgive and forget the aspects of the movie that are lacking.  Bravo to the director for knowing what was necessary to make this B-rated film watch-able.

The Call Breslin Trunk

The film is a little predictable, but it will still suck you in.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

Evil Dead (2013)


Evil Dead Poster

Evil Dead (2013)

I have not seen the original film that this movie is a remake of, The Evil Dead (1981).  I hardly knew anything about this movie before watching it, except that it was about dead people that come back to life and are evil; go figure right?

Evil Dead Girl Screaming

A young woman with a drug problem goes to a remote cabin in the woods.  Her brother and 3 of their friends join her to show support as she tries to quit her addiction.  Unknowingly the woods had recently become haunted by evil spirits.  They find a book in the cabin that causes each one of them to be possessed by demons.  Eventually they are all desperately fighting for their lives.

The movie is directed by Fede Alvarez, and the noteworthy cast includes Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, and Elizabeth Blackmore.

Evil Dead Cave

This film is the epitome of what it wrong with the horror movie genre today.  Instead of trying to be scary with a well thought out story and quality filmmaking and acting, this movie relies solely on blood and guts entirely for the shock value.

Evil Dead Blood Vomit

The story is ludicrous and hardly tries to make sense.  It seems like its only intention is to try to depict evil and death.  If that is in fact the only point of the film, then they were successful.  There is a lot of evil and there is a lot of death.  So much so, that it all becomes laughable and you just want the movie to end so that the suffering stops; the suffering of both the characters in the film and the viewers.

Evil Dead Crawling with knife

The acting was awful because it appears like they spent all of their money on the gory special effects and didn’t have any left over to pay for a decent cast.  The only thing that this movie has going for it is how disturbingly grotesque and realistic the special effects are.  However, the bloody special effects help this movie to be the true definition of a “slasher” film.

This horror movie does not scare, it tortures.  It will probably easily be the bloodiest movie of the year and maybe even so far this century.  If you enjoy gut-wrenching dismemberment and more liquids exiting the human body than it can actually hold, then this movie is for you.

Evil Dead Girl in Cellar

I rate this movie a 0 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run far away and hide.  Save your time, money, and dignity.

The Conjuring (2013)


The Conjuring Poster 2

The Conjuring (2013)

For those of you that you know me, you know that I am a horror movie skeptic.  I get fed up with the endless slasher films and b-rated crap out there, so I usually only watch a horror movie if I think that it has potential.  With that said, I showed up to watch The Conjuring on opening night in theatres.

The Conjuring group

The film is supposedly based on a true story.  It follows Ed and Lorraine Warren who are known as demonologists, or paranormal investigators.  The couple is called upon for help from a family who are experiencing horrific unexplained events in their new house.  The movie tells the story of the case that turned out to be the most disturbing during their entire career as investigators.

The movie was directed by James Wan and the noteworthy cast includes Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, and John Brotherton.

The Conjuring Wilson hanging leg

The Conjuring was spooky.  The film does a wonderful job of gradually building the tension until the creepy climax of the story where horror is all over the screen.  You’ll be able to feel the tingling down your spine from the chilling images scattered throughout the movie.

I think that I expected the film to be scarier.  However, it did have a good amount of horror throughout.  It was very tastefully made.  It definitely didn’t feel like it tried too hard.  It turned out to be just the right amount of freaky.  Any more might have made it less believable.

The Conjuring Taylor King Bedroom

For a horror movie, the acting was pretty decent, especially from Farmiga and Taylor.  This was a major contributing factor to the quality of the film because more often than not, scary movies have poor actors.

The movie was slow at times, but that didn’t really take away from it.  It just took its’ time building the tension.

The Conjuring Farmiga music box

The special effects were spooktastic and very haunting.  It’s amazing what they can do these days.

Overall, if you are looking for a good creepshow, then look no further than The Conjuring.  It could quite possibly be the best horror movie of the year.

The Conjuring hallway hang

I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

6 Souls (2009)


6 Souls poster

6 Souls (2009)

When I first watched the preview for 6 Souls (2009), I wondered why the film had not been released yet in the U.S.  It was completed in 2009 and released in the UK in 2010.  Finally, 3 years later, as far as I know it went straight to DVD in the U.S.  I was curious as to why they would wait so long to release a movie that didn’t look half bad.  It looked creepy.  It got my attention.  I was intrigued.  Why was it withheld from release for so long?

My hypothesis at the time and I quote, “There has got to be something wrong with this movie otherwise you would think that it would have been released 3 years ago.”

6 Souls Psychiatrists and Patient

6 Souls is about a psychiatrist (Julianne Moore) who assists her father (Jeffrey DeMunn) who is also a psychiatrist, with one of his patients (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).  The patient has a sort of multiple personality disorder.  She figures out that each of this man’s personalities is a murder victim.  After further investigation, things get more complicated and more dangerous.

6 Souls Meyers Shadowy

The movie is written by Michael Cooney and directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein.

The rest of the notable cast includes Frances Conroy, Nathan Corddry, Brooklynn Proulx, and Brian Anthony Wilson.

Well my friends, I am here to tell you why the film was withheld from release for so long.  It was half bad.  And it was the second half to be exact.  The first half of the film was actually pretty decent.  I was hopeful that I might actually enjoy this horror movie because for me that is a very rare thing.  But alas, the story took a turn for the worse midway through and I was left suffering through the second half of the film.  I stuck with it though so that I could pass the word along.  6 Souls is not worth wasting your time watching.

6 Souls Meyers Moore

Julianne Moore played her character convincingly and helped make the first half of the film enjoyable.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers also was entertaining, at least for a little while.

6 Souls Meyers Neck

After the story fell apart and
went tumbling down, there was no amount of acting that could save it.  The movie achieved setting itself up to be eerie, but never quite made it there.

I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Run.

The Purge (2013)


The Purge Poster 2

The Purge (2013)

The main concept in The Purge is a controversial one.  The film takes place in the not too distant future where America has become a safer place to live because annually there is a 12 hour period of time where all forms of crime are legal.  During this 12 hour period of time, you can get away with murder and the police will not be there to stop you.  Hospitals also close down during this time.  This 12 hour period of time where crime is legal is called “The Purge” because it allows citizens to rid themselves of all of the hatred and pent-up anger that they hold inside all year long.  They purge themselves of all of the bad and all that they are left with is the good.

The Purge Couple

As I said, it is a very controversial concept but let me talk about the film first before I discuss my views on the topic.

The Purge Family

The film is about a family doing there best to stay safe at home during “The Purge.”   The father (Ethan Hawke) is a top-of-the-line security system salesman who has ensured that his house is as safe as it can be.  In a world where crime is legal for half of a day every year, you better have a good security system to protect yourself and your loved ones.  An unfortunate turn of events finds the family with a man in their home who is being sought after by a violent group of people who intend on murdering him.  The family is given the choice to give up the wanted man or become the new targets of the group.

p15.JPG

The Purge is written and directed by James DeMonaco.

The rest of the notable cast includes Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Rhys Wakefield, Edwin Hodge, Tony Oller, Arija Bareikis, and Chris Mulkey.

The world that is created in The Purge would be a frighteningly dreadful one to live in.  We already know that basically anything insane can happen in our world, but at least we have law enforcement and hospitals to help us when it does.  If you take those services away, then you take away order and are only left with chaos.  The film successfully depicts chaos in America.

The movie is vicious.  The intensity of the film will keep your heart racing throughout as you try to anticipate what will happen next.

The Purge Hawke Door

I felt that the entire cast did an excellent job with their parts of the film, but the standout performances were those of Ethan Hawke and Rhys Wakefield.

Hawke’s role was a great follow-up to Sinister (2012).  If you enjoyed Sinister, then you will most likely enjoy The Purge.

The Purge Wakefield

This is the first movie that I have seen Wakefield in, and I have to say, he did an outstanding job being creepy.  His character was tailor made for him.

Once you get past the holes in the main concept of the film, the movie is overall a very solid thriller/horror.  I say that there are holes because it is hard for me to believe that America would ever allow its citizens to live in chaos and anarchy.  Once you allow chaos, how do you bring back order?  I don’t think it is as simple as putting a timetable on chaos and expecting people to actually follow it.

The Purge Group

If there actually was “The Purge”, I think that all it would do is allow evil people to kill or commit crime and get away with it.  How would that be good for anybody?  I don’t believe that the crime rate would go down either.  I think that there would probably be a lot of crimes and murder strictly out of retaliation for what happened during “The Purge”.  It would almost be like encouraging people to do bad things.  America would not be a better place to live in.

Those are just some of my thoughts on the topic.  I’m sure that you have your own idea of what would be wrong with the idea of “The Purge” and I would be curious to hear what you have to say about it.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Sinister (2012)


sinister poster

Sinister (2012)

Sinister is a very dark film.  It is unique because the tension in the movie never really dissipates.  Most horror movies have an attention grabber in the beginning, and then they have a few scenes that lighten the mood throughout the film.  Sinister takes a firm grip on your mind and then twists.  At best lightening the mood in the movie is slightly loosening the grasp that it holds on you.

Ethan Hawke plays a true crime author who moves his family to a property where an unspeakable murder has taken place.  His goal is to write a book about what happened and hopefully find evidence in order to solve the crime in the process.

sinister hawke investigate

The film has all of the necessary elements that a great scary movie possesses.  It has a solid main character portrayed by a very capable actor.  There are disturbing images, and spine chilling spookiness.  A number of surprises are thrown into the mix to keep you on the edge of your seat and sometimes catapult you somewhat above that edge.  The villain is totally wicked, and the movie will stay with you long after it actually ends.

sinister hawke close up

Sinister is Ethan Hawke’s best movie since Lord of War (2005).

James Ransone, Fred Dalton Thompson, and Vincent D’Onofrio all have very minor supporting roles.  Ethan Hawke does a tremendous job of carrying the majority of the film on his shoulders.

One thing that I did notice is that the film was a bit scarier on the big screen and obviously that will probably always be the case.  When I watched it at home, it was not as horrifying as I remembered.  I did not jump as much during the jumpy scenes.  This was not because I knew that they were coming, I just think that it was because the film was tailor-made for a larger screen.  If you are going to watch it, then watch it on the biggest screen in your house, preferably at night and with the lights off to get the full effect.

sinister flash light

Sinister means suggesting or threatening evil.  The title fits the film like a glove.  Although the movie was very well-made, it was hard to like it more than I did because of the subject matter.  It is the best scary movie that I have seen in a long time.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you liked Sinister (2012), then you will probably like The Purge (2013).