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Prince of Darkness, 1987


A: I actually really liked this movie. It’s ’80s horror camp to the best degree. It features stupid characters, shitty effects, and a lot of things happening really fast and/or without reason.

A bunch of science grad students (literally a bunch of them, I couldn’t even keep track) go to an abandoned church to inspect this weird goo and figure out what it is. Turns out it’s the devil that possesses people and turns them into zombies as it tries to get out and take over the world.

For grad students, everyone seems really stupid - I guess that’s why they’re grad students HAR HAR HAR! But seriously. The priest who calls for this experiment is absolutely bonkers. It’s weird to me that any science person would believe the psychotic ramblings of an old man. Maybe the students because they’re young, but the professor leading the experiment is super gung-ho right away.

For over half the film nobody suspects anything anyway. I think at least 4 people go missing before the thought that it’s somehow connected to the goo or the church crosses anyone’s mind. This girl even has a bruise with a cross on it that slowly gets worse and everyone is all very “whatever” about it. And then her skin starts to fall off so it shows how much they know.

On the other hand, this is why the movie is so fun. Almost everything that happens is a “WUT” moment because it happens so fast. Like how one of the main male students takes the sexy redhead girl student on a date and at at the very start of it, she goes on about how she’s afraid of getting hurt…and in the very next scene they’re in bed together. WUT?

I don’t want to describe anything else because 1) I can’t even remember the plot that well, and 2) I really want you to be surprised by all the “WUT” moments. Watching it reminded me of all those random crappy horror paperbacks that I used to read over an afternoon in the summer. Terribly written and totally cheesy, but memorable for all the cheep thrills you got while reading it.

S: I usually like shit like this, so I feel bad writing this - but I didn’t like this one. It sounds like something I’d be in to, right? I mean, grad students, religion and possession? GOO?! I was really psyched to watch it and then just felt incredibly “meh” about it by the end.

Yes, it has that excellent 80s feel to it. Yes, it has a lot of “WUT” going on. I even liked how the females were possessed first, I loved the thread of, “Where’s Susan?” “Who?” “Radiologist? Glasses?”. And can we talk about racial diversity? Christ, they had every angle covered! I liked all of that.

I just did not care at all for the rest of it, basically. The plot made zero sense to me. The grad students all looked 35+, I had no feels about the relationship aspect so I didn’t care when the girl unnecessarily died, which reminds me that a girl unnecessarily died. There was a lot of waiting for things to happen followed by a huge amount of time with nothing happening. I felt like a lot of the film was just us watching their meandering trial and error attempts to understand and escape. Locked in a room? Jump out a window! Wait, there are possessed hobos down there. Jump back in the window! Now we’re back where we started and nothing has happened AT ALL.

The only real perk about this whole thing was the very cool, very nasty make up at the end. I could deal with it for awhile, and then it actually began to make me feel ill. Sometimes all you need a bit of peeling skin and some blood, guys.

It’s not that I hated the movie, and if you watch it, I won’t judge you - but there are so many more options for great 80s horror movies that I don’t think this one is worth the time.

1.5 Alice Cooper hobo zombies out of 5

Lords of Salem, 2013


A: This movie is what happens when a bunch of women get on the same cycle. It’s a perfect example of “bitches be cray”.

Rob Zombie and I have a long-standing, one-sided feud. It all started when I had to watch House of 1000 Corpses. My friends chose it. I would never have picked a movie that bad. It was so bad. So terribly awful. Garbage on screen, really. The worst movie I have seen in my entire life. It astounded me that he was given more money to make THREE MORE shitty films.

I know I’m being overly sarcastic, so let me get serious for a moment: I love horror and will pretty much give anything a chance (except anything with sharks in it because they scare me), but I hate movies where everything is gross and gory for the purpose of just being gross and gory. Don’t waste my time. Anybody can make a gross film. But can anyone make a gross and good film? NO.

So I feel like I’ve really overcome an obstacle in my life by watching another Rob Zombie film. And while I think this movie is kind of shitty, it’s the best I’ve seen from him.

I love Satanic cult and witch movies because at heart, I find them fun. Does anyone take this shit seriously? Anyway, Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a rock station DJ who gets a weird record one day from “The Lords” and proceeds to go bat-shit insane. Turns out she’s the daughter of the devil and the old witches cult in Salem want her to give birth to a lobster that’s supposed to be the devil. I think? Something along those lines, I didn’t really understand what was going on.

There were some creepy moments and the apartment building they set-up for the film was really cool. This was a very restrained film for Zombie and I appreciate him trying out some Polanski-esque techniques. But there were more bad moments than good ones. Like all the witch ceremony scenes, but especially the one where the oldest hag spits on a baby because it’s not the devil. It’s almost funny because WHO DOES THAT? Ridiculous. Or the scene where Heidi sees a devil baby and it’s this weird blob thing and she dances with it’s tentacles. What was that about.

This part ruined the entire film for me though: Heidi mentions that the person who left her the record found out her real name and suggests that they must have dug around on the internet to find it. But then this author who wrote a book on witches tries to find out Heidi’s real name to figure out why she’s being so weird and he finds it on the radio station’s website in her bio. How can she be so surprised then? I don’t understand. How can someone be so sloppy with his own film and let that slip?

Sheri Moon is decent in this role, but despite a former crack addiction, there’s not much depth. Even though I hate her husband’s films, I’ve always thought she was cool. She has that hot-single-mom-in-the-70s look about her.

After thinking about The Lords of Salem, I think that Zombie tried to make a movie about the church’s vendetta against paganism and wicca, and their suppression of women (who were leaders in those religions as well). And that’s a really interesting topic. It’s just too bad that the delivery was so blazé. 

S: I don’t know how A wrote so much, because I have very little to say. I wish I could rewind time and go back to before I bothered watching this, which was also my first Rob Zombie movie, by the way. Like, was he even trying? I just can’t.

Witches aren’t really my jam, unless they’re Bette Midler, but I was interested in watching this because why not? Plus, everything I’ve ever heard about his movies has been contentious, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Nope. Not even worth it. I don’t even know what to say. The devil is a midget with tentacles and there’s a scene where Heidi just kind of wiggles them in a trance, and all I could think was “…wut?”. Is that supposed to scare me? Then she has a lobster baby and we all celebrate because the movie is over.

Just don’t bother. Your time would be better spent staring at a wall.

You’re Next, 2011


A: S and I are never on the same page when it comes to these movies because I really didn’t like this one.

I’m not surprised. I saw Adam Wingard’s previous film A Horrible Way to Die (2010) and TIFF and I fucking hated it. Like ranted about it for days after seeing it level hate. I can’t even write about it right now without thinking about how bad of an experience watching that film was.

My bf saw this one at TIFF a year or so later and went on about how it was good. I didn’t believe him. And then the trailer came out and I thought “Hmmm. That’s not too bad.” I despised A Horrible Way to Die because the female lead was so unbelievably useless. It turns out that a lot of other people felt that way and Wingard took it to heart and made sure his next film had a strong female lead. And you know, I can respect that. Props to WIngard. So, curiosity got the better of me and I actually paid money to see this in theatres.

The thing is, this could have been really good. But the writing is so shit. There’s only so much violence I can take before I start to get bored. It just gets repetitive and goes on and on and omfg just kill them all already, please.

You know what, making a female lead good with an axe doesn’t automatically make her interesting. That’s the only thing I know about her really - she’s a survivalist, she’s from Australia, and she’s an English major (because of course she fucking is, that’s all us bitches major in [extra side note: I’m an English major]). I don’t need an essay on every character in a film to get some insight into their personalities. But good writing finds a way to express that to an audience.

I walked out wondering what the fucking point was and I’m still not really sure. I get that there’s movies that are just about killing and action and violence and ha-ha isn’t that fun. But the good ones have things like plot and well-rounded characters. Like Shaun of the Dead (2004).

Another thing that bothered me in this film is how the villains won’t shut the fuck up about their brilliant plan. They do this in A Horrible Way to Die, like some James Bond evil character. PLEASE EVERYONE STOP DOING THIS. If there’s a good motive, I don’t need 10 minutes of exposition about some plan to kill your entire family because they’re all assholes. Or something.

That’s the ending, by the way. The lead’s boyfriend and his younger brother set it all up. Boom. I figured it out 15 minutes in when they showed a family portrait and focused on the creepy brother. Because I’m just so like, smart.

S: I liked it! I knew what was going to happen, because it’s the same as everything that happens. Lonely, isolated mansion in the woods? Oh, haha, HOME INVASION. The first half is like The Strangers on steroids, I was sweaty-palming it the whole time. Also, I’m a sucker for any time there’s a badass heroine just wreaking total havoc and ruining murdering plans. Oh, let’s hide in the basement? How about no, because that’s a stupid fucking idea. Uh oh! The murderer is behind me! OK, I’ll just dive out this window as soon as I see him and then come back and kick some ass because IDGAF.

In terms of actual criticism, the plot needs a bit of work. Some stories were picked up and then dropped (see anything to do with the mother), and the predictability of it kind of hurt near the end (Ohhhhhhh this is all about money? But really? That’s…that’s it, guys?). Can I just not-so-secretly tell you I loved the cast though? Because I totally watched Sharni Vinson in Step Up 3D (shut up) and Nicholas Tucci looks like Skeet Skeet Skeet Ulrich.

I don’t know if I’d actively search for this to see it again, but I would tell other people to put it in their horror queues.

Black Christmas (1974)

Uh oh, looks like Spooky October missed most of October. Hey, what can we say? We were too ambitious and real life things got in the way. But we’ve got a few more spooky reviews for you to cap this year - here’s one from what was scheduled to be our Psycho Killa week.

A: This is one of the first horror movies I watched at my mother’s suggestion.  I was 12 or 13 at the time and I’m actually surprised that she allowed me to watch this movie because of all the filthy things that the caller says to the hot young girls on the phone.

I’ve always liked this movie.  It’s subtle, creepy, and an exercise in good horror movie writing.  It’s a slow and gradual burn.  The sorority girls are celebrating Christmas together before they all go home for the holidays.  During the party, they get a fucking weird phone call from a nut who says filthy things before saying that he wants to kill them.  They hang up, nervous, but still calm because hey, it’s just some weirdo making an obscene phone call somewhere else. Little do they know that the killer is already in the attic. Ahh!  He kills Clare who’s heading home for Christmas the next day without any of her housemates knowing.  When her Dad comes and she can’t be found, they start to get worried and go to the police regarding these fucked up phone calls they keep getting. Meanwhile Jess (Olivia Hussey who is beautiful and a great actress and I love her) finds out that her boyfriend knocked her up and she wants to get an abortion. But he’s a little unbalanced and this doesn’t really go over well.

I know it sounds complicated, but trust me it works. The subplots merge seamlessly and lead to the crazy conclusion.  It lets the scares build so that the audience can get to know the characters.  These girls aren’t faceless bimbos. For example, Margot Kidder plays a drunk bitch and she’s amazing.

I also love how this movie, filmed in 1974, presents abortion as a reasonable and rational decision. Jess says that she has her whole life ahead of her and she doesn’t want a baby right now.  When her boyfriend offers to marry her so she can still reach her goals, she declines because she doesn’t want to marry him.  You would NEVER see that in a movie today and it helps make Black Christmas more modern and realistic, despite the dated wardrobe and production design.

This is a great film and one that helped establish the slasher movie genre (it came out 4 years before Halloween).  It’s awesome to see women in a horror/slasher film as real people instead of sexualized victims.  This is definitely one of my favourite horror films and I highly recommend it.

S: I had heard a lot about this movie, so imagine my surprise when it turned out everything everyone had told me was about the remake and didn’t really have anything to do with the original. I liked this movie, it’s got an old school/first time slasher vibe, and it’s SO Toronto. Not the murder stuff, but pretty much everything else - I’m positive I’ve walked by most of the buildings they used numerous times.

  Aside from the old time kitsch factor (hullo, giant fur coat, I love you), there’s not much to tell you. It’s a straight up slasher flick with minimum rhyme or reason. The murderer prank calls a sorority house where he says some super filthy stuff (I was actually surprised), and then starts killing off house members. Olivia Hussey, who is fucking gorg, has an inkling it might be her crazy bananas boyfriend/baby daddy Peter. Well, I guess that’s the gist of it. It’s not confusing, it’s just not held together very well aside from “psycho in house”.

 That said, it’s fun. It’s about Christmas (not my favourite holiday) and people being Halloween (my favourite holiday) style murdered. There’s a creepy attic, a drunk house mother, an awkward dad, a laughing detective. Oh, and a terrifying eyeball in door crack scene that gave me a bit of pause. But the highlights for me were definitely the dirty, dirty phone calls, Olivia Hussey’s face and Margot Kidder being a drunk bitch.

The Crazies (2010)

Wait, what happened to October? Looks like we fell behind in reviewing - but not for lack of scary festivities. Here’s a review from what would have been our Monsters line up.

A: I love, love, love this movie.  It may or may not have something to do with the fact that I have a huge boner for Timothy Olyphant.  I’m not biased, I swear!

Anyway, I haven’t seen this movie since it was in theatres, so I talked it up big.  But as we were watching, S started pointing out all the plot holes and now I don’t know how to feel anymore. Very confusing.

Basically, everyone in the town starts to get infected with a mysterious virus that makes them kill people - everyone but the sexy sheriff and his wife.  So they try and figure out what the fuck is going on and what the government has to do with it while trying to get the fuck outta dodge.

It’s fast paced, and the make-up and gore are great and interesting.  The acting is better than most horror movies as well.  There’s nothing here that’s revolutionary and it doesn’t make much sense if you sit and think about it for very long, but it’s a lot of fun. And Timothy Olyphant plays a law man.  There ain’t nothing wrong here.

S: This is an okay movie. It’s kind of straddling the fence between really good and I-have-too-many-questions. It’s very fast paced, it’s fun in a frightening way because you will definitely jump a few times, and it has a great cast (aka Timothy Olyphant, who cares about the rest).

It’s gorey and graphic but not in a disgusting way - some cringe worthy scenes include when the second fella in town “snaps” and goes after his wife and son (as seen in the trailer) and when the sheriff and their ragtag crew make it back to their farmhouse to be attacked by some angry infected neighbours - oh, and there are many more, trust me.

I guess my confusion stemmed from the fact that it seemed as though literally everyone was infected - and those that weren’t infected didn’t really do much, aside from the sheriff - and the nature of the virus. I get that people went nuts and murdered e’ryone, but some of the victims were very bizarre and zombie-like, while others spoke and hunted together, and others seemed to have some kind of method to their madness. It was a little bit too inconsistent for me to fully comprehend the virus, and how it was spreading and affecting the town.

Also, for anyone who has seen the movie - when the sheriff goes in to the morgue and finds the priest, who is somehow still alive, and is then attacked by the mortician - does he save the priest after the encounter, or just leave the guy there to die since he’s had a rough go any way?

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Ghost Week at Spooky October, so we’re reviewing the third installment of the Paranormal Activity series - AKA the film that made us realize this could have been a part of Witch Week.

A: The third film in the Paranormal Activity series is a prequel to a prequel.  I know, right? If you don’t already like the series (I really, really do), the fact that this movie goes back to when the girls were kids seems annoying. But I swear, it actually kind of works. Sort of. 

Like I already said, this movie focuses on their girls when they were kids and tries to explain the mythology behind the series (i.e. why the hell they’re haunted by a demon in the first place). It seems like Katie and her mother Julie have the same “type” - Julie’s boyfriend Dennis is a wedding videographer and decides to start filming their lives ever waking minute because weird things start happening when Kristy’s invisible friend Toby comes around.

Same shit, different era - banging noises, sleepwalking, invisible shapes doing creepy things.  This movie actually has some of the scariest sequences in the series.  One involving something dressed up as a ghost in a sheet sneaking up on a babysitter while her back is turned.  The other involves a not-so-innocent game of Bloody Mary in the girls’ bathroom. (Side note: did anyone ever play that game?  I was always too much of a chicken shit.)

The only issue I have with this movie is that it makes even less fucking sense than Paranormal Activity 2. Remember the whole backstory of Katie’s house burning down in the first movie? Doesn’t happen. Also Julie and Dennis get murdered at the end and the girls were raised by their grandmother (who never appears in either of the other movies). Those are big fucking points to skip and a little too jarring to add so late in the game. Are we really supposed to believe that neither of the sisters can remember shit this important?  Sure, you can argue that they’re under some witch’s spell and don’t remember anything, but that’s a bit of a stretch.  I’m willing to accept a demon haunting a family in a horror movie, but once you introduce memory-erasing spells to explain huge errors in continuity, that’s when I call shenanigans.

But whatevs.  I’m totally going to see Paranormal Activity 4 when it comes out this weekend.  Holla! 

S: This was my favourite of the Paranormal Activity series by far. It had a lot of new scare tactics, and I was definitely terrified. I’ve said it before and I will say it again - children make me a bit uncomfortable, so when kids are interacting with unseen forces, I am liable to freak the fuck out. I tried to play it cool, but I was terrified - my favourite scares include when there is a child-sized ghost figure standing behind the babysitter, and then WHOOSH there ain’t no child in that sheet. WHO WAS IT? There’s also a particularly spooky kitchen scene, but the best/worst part was when friend Randy decides to play Bloody Mary in the bathroom with Katie, and they get sufficiently terrified (as did I, Randy. As did I.) After this movie I was kind of like, I get it now. I get the hype.

Here’s what I don’t get. I loved this movie - but as a stand alone feature. As a part of the series it actually left me with more questions about the lives of Katie and Kristi and their non-friendly demon than it helped to answer. What did the grandmother obtain by her participation? What kind of demon was/is it? Was Katie actually possessed as a child? How did either of the kids grow up to be normal people? Where was the burning house part? Is the grandma still alive? When did Toby (the demon) stop being Kristi’s “friend” and start being an enemy? (I know some enmity was shown in this, but it wasn’t enough to convince me) I have a lot more to ask, but there weren’t any answers. It went from a loosely explained haunting experience as expressed in 1 & 2, and this plot failed to tie together anything for me.

ALSO if you read any blurbs about the movie it says that Kristi and Katie befriend the invisible entity, but I think that’s a complete lie. I pretty much thought Katie got the raw end of the deal and had the shit beat outta her the entire movie. Or maybe I am sensitive towards chubby, bossy, older kids because I totally am one. Either way, not nice.

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

It’s Ghost Week at Spooky October, and why not continue the Paranormal Activity trend with the prequel?

A: Like I said before, I lurve these movies.  I saw Paranormal Activity 2 when it was released at a midnight screening.  And of course it scared me.

There’s not a lot of information given in the first movie, so the screenwriters for the sequel had a lot of room to take the story anywhere they wanted. In this case, the sequel was actually a prequel; the events take place before the events of the first movie.

This film focuses on Katie’s younger sister, Kristy, who has just had a baby.  Shortly after Hunter’s birth, weird things start happening around the house.  It’s the same shit: shadows on the walls, things moving on their own, footsteps in the middle of the night, etc., etc. Kristy’s step-daughter figures out that they’re being haunted by a demon that Kristy’s great-grandmother may or may not have made a deal with for power in exchange for the first born male in their family (that would be Hunter). So they send the demon over to Katie and thus begins the series.

It makes sense and then it doesn’t make sense. Based on the first movie, we all know that they’re haunted by a demon.  Sure, Katie’s distant relative MIGHT have made a deal with it for money and power in exchange for a son (why a demon would exchange power for a baby, I’ll never know), but it kind of negates all the exorcism stuff the first movie tried to set-up. Remember how another girl was haunted by the same demon and then died from the exorcism? That shit doesn’t make sense if the same demon has haunted one family for generations.

So there may be plot holes if you really think about it, but the scares are good and aren’t as repetitive as they seem. Like this once scene where all the cupboards in the kitchen slam open in the middle of the afternoon. It’s scary as fuck because we all know that demons get busy AFTER MIDNIGHT.

S: Again, this October is my first real exposure to the Paranormal Activity series, so this was all fresh and new for me. Except that Paranormal Activity 2 wasn’t. A lot of the old demon tricks are recycled for this film - doors opening slowly, sleep standing/walking, possession, body throwing and the good ol’ fly out the room move - which makes sense, but also became a bit dull after some time. I also wasn’t entirely convinced by the cast for this one - unlike Katie and Micah in Paranormal Activity who had me having heart palpitations. I found the father figure to be a bit wooden, and Kristi is portrayed by Donna from SOA, so the “real life” facade was lost for me within the first minute or two.

However - that said - I actually liked how this film worked in to the plot of the original, by kind of encircling the story to elaborate on the presence of the demon. There was still a lot of character stupidity - like when they realize that the demon is after baby Hunter because he is the first male born to that side of the family, so they try to pass off the curse on to Katie (enter the original film). How is that helping anything? Didn’t we just realize that it wants the male baby and not the older female? But hey - I guess I wouldn’t be making smart decisions if I was in their position (yes I would be) so I can’t judge (yes I can and do). What I’m trying to say is…without this particular ending, we wouldn’t have been able to make Paranormal Activity 4.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Ghost Week at Spooky October! Bring on the sisters.

A: I’ve wanted to watch this movie for a few years now, but there was no way I was going to watch it alone so thank god that I convinced S to watch it with me.  

I have to say that Asian ghost films are the scariest of all ghost films.  In a lot of American films, the ghosts come out all covered in blood and are disgusting, which is scary for about five seconds until it becomes funny.  In A Tale of Two Sisters, the ghosts slink onto the screen.  You’re not even sure that something is there, until you see a white hand and then the full ghost appears in front of you.  Sometimes there’s a glimpse out of the corner of your eye or it’s there for a second and then it’s gone.  So spooky!

I will say though, that the ending is hella confusing.  I’m still not 100% sure who’s dead and who’s not and that takes the edge off a bit.  It’s hard to be scared when you’re confused. For me anyway.

Still, I slept with the light on the night I watched this because I’m a loser I was still scared.

S: I was terrified to watch this movie before I even knew what it was all about - I knew it involved ghosts and children. NO THANKS. I don’t really like kids on good days, let alone in horror films.

I ended up not being terrified, but I will say I was at least mildly disturbed. It’s definitely twisted, but some of the horror was lost on me because I was confused at times (whatever - it is hard to read subtitles when hiding behind hands in case of a scary ghost). It’s actually not entirely ghost-ly either - there are only a few scenes with incidents, and the rest of the movie is spent building suspense or developing the plot. If you’re looking for something to watch that isn’t just continuous horror in your face, I’d say check this one out - UNLESS you prefer linear movies, in which case, you’re boring.

I will weigh in with this though: I am SO SICK of ghosts that crawl, even if they only do it for a short amount of time. I don’t like it at all.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

It’s Ghost Week at Spooky October, so we took a look at an old school flick about…ghosts.

A: Again, this is another film that I’d never even heard of before it was suggested to us as a good ghost film to review for Spooky October.  So glad I watched it because I really love this movie.

Mary gets in a car accident with her friends in the opening scenes of the film and somehow manages to be the only survivor.  Soon afterwards, she decides to move to another town to be an organist in a church (random, I know). While there, she starts to see a bunch of creepy ghouls and is drawn to an abandoned carnival.  Oh, and she lives in a boarding house with another guy who keeps trying to weasel his way into her room and calls her a prude (basically, she lives with a potential rapist).

We watched the Criterion edition (so fancy) and the picture was sharp and the sound quality was decent.  For an old-timey movie, the make-up and special effects hold up fairly well.  The ghouls are scary and there a lot of sly moments with The Man (aka the Leader if the Ghouls) showing up in mirrors and windows when you least expect it.

It’s a great, creepy movie that’s highly sophisticated, considering the year it was made. I definitely recommend this film if you’re a fan of David Lynch, Night of the Living Dead, and psychological horror films - Carnival of Souls is the springboard for all of them.  It’s the only film by Herk Harvey, which is too bad because this film is such a strong debut and clearly influenced some great/revolutionary directors.

Don’t watch this movie if you’re not a fan of films pre-1980 - this film is old as balls.

S: I don’t have too much to say. It’s obviously an old movie, and the story was a bit predictable. It was a bit hard to relate to the characters because it’s from a different time - I don’t know any organists myself, and the ol’ timey chaps made me a bit uncomfortable at times (was there such a thing as coming on too strong then? Or was she just supposed to be flattered by her weird, alcoholic, peeping tom housemate?). That being said, this is one of the few times that I am not going to give a speech about the movie failing to stand the test of time.

The “ghosts” or “souls” or whatever they are in this movie are just people with shabby makeup, and they do weird things and show up in inconvenient places. So what if it’s old and predictable - it still managed to spook me at least a little bit.

Poltergeist (1982)

Ghost Week at Spooky October, and we had to include this movie. In the clip, a ghost researcher hanging around the haunted house is Poltergeist-ed to the extreme and somewhat inexplicably tears off his face. So. Awesome.

A: I loved this movie when I was a kid.  It was also one of the very first horror movies I watched - memories! 

The movie isn’t very terrifying because it’s a movie that Spielberg probably directed for kids. It feel like a horror version of E.T. involving ghosts, but there are some definite spooky moments.  There’s some shit involving a clown doll and a guy hallucinating ripping his face off.

There’s no real pacing aside from surprise!-we-have-ghosts to the-ghosts-stole-my-daughter in about five minutes. But it’s fun and retro and there are some sly jokes for us grown-up - like the parents smoking pot in their bedroom while their kids shit themselves over a scary thunderstorm.  Just watch it for the nostalgia.

PS: Insidious totally ripped this movie off, except it sucked at it.

S: Poltergeist rates super excellent in my book of horror movies because it is, aside from exceedingly 80s, a brilliant example of “Well, that escalated quickly” horror. First the ghostly being(s) arrive via TV, and then they pull a few ol’ pranks in the kitchen which go from pulling out the chairs from the table to, seconds later, stacking them quite intricately. Then, after a day of simply causing items in the kitchen to slide around, the poltergeists abduct the son through his bedroom window via giant tree hands, and the daughter is sucked in to the closet and disappears in to an afterlife type place. Wait what? I thought we were stacking kitchen chairs!

There aren’t any terrifying moments in this flick, partially because the effects don’t carry well over the years, but A and I still managed to jump once or twice, so I will tip my hat to that. Also, I feel as though we have to pay this movie homage because it is one that will never be re-created (IMO) properly - as in, it will lose a lot of what makes it a great movie in the process of becoming updated (ahem, shitty Insidious).

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