Now Playing Tracks

Prince of Darkness, 1987

Thoughts?

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

Thoughts?

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.

Ginger Snaps, 2000

Thoughts?

A: The only thing I remembered about this movie was the trailer that I saw when it was released when I was in grade eight. It seemed so very scandalous and I think I pictured it being a lot racier than it actually is. In my mind, this was pretty much a sex movie.

Turns out, it’s really tame.  I’m not really into werewolf movies because they’re generally all the same. The wolf is a representation of suppressed aggression and sexuality, blah, blah, blah. I get it. I just don’t like it. Seems obvious.

So Ginger and her weird younger sister are like, really weird and take pictures of themselves dead in various ways. It’s actually pretty gruesome and made me uncomfortable, but I bet I would have thought it was “so deep” as a teenager.

Also, Ginger and her sister are weird because they’re 16 and haven’t gotten their periods. Seriously, that’s a plot point.

Anyway, one night, Ginger wants to go torment a Mean Girl at school and instead gets bitten by a werewolf and gets her period on the same night. I WONDER WHAT THAT MEANS.

So she starts acting slutty, having sex with all the boys, and becoming meaner. Her younger sister (I legitimately don’t remember her name) and her boyfriend (who is a Canadian actor I remember having a crush on when I was 12) try to find ways to slow down her transformation.

I know I’m being very whatever with this movie, but I actually liked it. It was a lot of fun in the way that watching 90s movies is fun.

But I have some issues. I’m going to be really feminist here - it’s starting to kind of annoy me that women are constantly being portrayed as monsters when they get their periods in film. The Exorcist is another example. Guys really don’t have any idea what’s going on. Yes, it’s about a girl becoming a woman, but that woman is always scary and man-hating and slutty. It’s not that I think that the topic of periods shouldn’t be touched because when you think about it, it’s a strange but amazing body function, and is also perfect for horror and really works with werewolf mythology. I guess I just wish there would be a more female perspective on something that only women go through.

S: We talked a lot during this movie, so there are solid chunks of it that are a bit vague to me now, but I know I generally like it. I used to watch this on TV every Halloween, so I thought we should bring it back for Spooky October. I’ve been pestering A to watch it with me since we started this, but I never made it a priority. I thought it was because we had so much other stuff to watch that this wasn’t my first pick, but now that I’ve seen it again, I realize it’s because this movie is just alright.

I’m not really one to really think about meanings and metaphors, so the whole coming-of-age and period thing didn’t really resonate with me. I mean, I get it, it just didn’t add anything. From my perspective, Ginger gets slightly mauled, starts transforming, bangs some kid who looks like he’s 12, and then straight up murders people and starts looking gross. Like, at one point, she semi-successfully seduces the drug dealer who’s trying to help her sister, but I don’t understand how she was even semi-successful when she was deformed and rocking 6 nipples by that point.

So, you know, there’s that. Overall, it’s entertaining and gruesome and there are some scary moments, but it’s still doesn’t really transcend just being an alright movie. Maybe it’s just a werewolf movie thing. Interestingly enough, this one doesn’t rely on any old fallacies like full moons or junk. She just legit transforms in to a wolf and some how the weird high school boys think it’s sexy. But! Props to the makeup artists involved, it was kind of a cool aspect.

Have you ever been to a Halloween party and there’s a movie playing in the background on mute to add to the ambiance? This should be that movie.

Oculus, 2013
Thoughts?
A: S and I watched Absentia at the end of the summer. I found out that Mike Flanagan’s next film was playing at TIFF, so we grabbed tickets. I was hesitant. The premise about a haunted mirror seemed alright, but I had my problems with Absentia, so Oculus could really go either way.
I loved loved LOVED this movie.
I really don’t want to give too much away, but basically this movie’s about an antique mirror that’s haunted and makes people kill themselves and/or their family. Kaylie drags her brother Tim (who spent the last few years in a mental asylum btw) with her to their old family house to try and destroy it and exonerate their deceased father. Kaylie wants to prove that he was possessed and would never have killed her mother otherwise. Obviously though, things start to go very wrong.
The film jumps in time from present day to the past to show Kaylie’s father’s (Rory Cochrane) descent into madness. The film picks up momentum right away and never stops. The line begins to blur between what’s real and what’s fantasy and as an audience member, even I started to wonder if any of it was real and maybe if it was all in Kaylie’s head.
I know I’m always harping on Traditional Ghost Stories, but Oculus is a perfect example. It’s a great script that deftly tightropes across the notion that yes, this mirror could be haunted…or it could be that Kaylie’s father went crazy and abused his family and this is Kaylie’s way of coping with it. WHAT IS REAL? IS IT ALL A LIE?
Mike Flanagan is one of my favourite current horror directors (the other being Ti West) and I’m really excited to see what he does next. The bigger budget really helped here. He created an awesome, genuinely frightening ghost story with an underlying current of familial abuse that grounds the story in reality enough for you to believe that maybe there IS a ghost bitch hiding in a mirror trying to kill people.
Check this out if you can, it’s well worth it.
S: I never participate in anything TIFF-related, unless I’m invited to a screening and I can’t think of an excuse to stay home. It’s just not really my scene, y’know?
A invited me to this, and I was pleasantly surprised by Absentia, so I said I’d attend despite not being able to find a damn thing online about this movie. When A said it was about a mirror, I was like “Uhhhh…alright”. Twenty minutes in to the movie, I think we both knew exactly how it was going to end. Normally that would ruin a movie for me - but not this time. By the time it ended the way I thought it would from the get-go, I could finally breathe normally.
It’s good. Real good. Surprisingly good. Present and past are intricately weaved into an intense story about a deteriorating family that’s sad and horrifying at the same time. The acting is very strong for the most part, with an amazing performance by the girl who plays young Kaylie. It’s a typical story-telling method that Flanagan managed to manipulate in a unique way. The way in which time and storylines blended together, there were moments as an audience member where I lost the thread and even though I knew how certain events would pan out, I would be caught up in hoping things would be different for the characters.
There were also some Absentia cameos, which I thought was cute.
I didn’t think it would bother me after it was over, but I definitely spent a few hours sleepless that night, just staring at the mirror in my room and praying nothing would happen. I won’t say this one is perfect - there are a few “Oh, COME ON” moments - but it was damn good and my favourite of everything we’ve reviewed this year.
I will also never be investing in an antique mirror, because I do not want to risk being haunted by a crazy mirror-eyed bitch with a thing for torture.
Zoom Info
Camera
Nikon D3
ISO
4000
Aperture
f/3.2
Exposure
1/80th
Focal Length
70mm

Oculus, 2013

Thoughts?

A: S and I watched Absentia at the end of the summer. I found out that Mike Flanagan’s next film was playing at TIFF, so we grabbed tickets. I was hesitant. The premise about a haunted mirror seemed alright, but I had my problems with Absentia, so Oculus could really go either way.

I loved loved LOVED this movie.

I really don’t want to give too much away, but basically this movie’s about an antique mirror that’s haunted and makes people kill themselves and/or their family. Kaylie drags her brother Tim (who spent the last few years in a mental asylum btw) with her to their old family house to try and destroy it and exonerate their deceased father. Kaylie wants to prove that he was possessed and would never have killed her mother otherwise. Obviously though, things start to go very wrong.

The film jumps in time from present day to the past to show Kaylie’s father’s (Rory Cochrane) descent into madness. The film picks up momentum right away and never stops. The line begins to blur between what’s real and what’s fantasy and as an audience member, even I started to wonder if any of it was real and maybe if it was all in Kaylie’s head.

I know I’m always harping on Traditional Ghost Stories, but Oculus is a perfect example. It’s a great script that deftly tightropes across the notion that yes, this mirror could be haunted…or it could be that Kaylie’s father went crazy and abused his family and this is Kaylie’s way of coping with it. WHAT IS REAL? IS IT ALL A LIE?

Mike Flanagan is one of my favourite current horror directors (the other being Ti West) and I’m really excited to see what he does next. The bigger budget really helped here. He created an awesome, genuinely frightening ghost story with an underlying current of familial abuse that grounds the story in reality enough for you to believe that maybe there IS a ghost bitch hiding in a mirror trying to kill people.

Check this out if you can, it’s well worth it.

S: I never participate in anything TIFF-related, unless I’m invited to a screening and I can’t think of an excuse to stay home. It’s just not really my scene, y’know?

A invited me to this, and I was pleasantly surprised by Absentia, so I said I’d attend despite not being able to find a damn thing online about this movie. When A said it was about a mirror, I was like “Uhhhh…alright”. Twenty minutes in to the movie, I think we both knew exactly how it was going to end. Normally that would ruin a movie for me - but not this time. By the time it ended the way I thought it would from the get-go, I could finally breathe normally.

It’s good. Real good. Surprisingly good. Present and past are intricately weaved into an intense story about a deteriorating family that’s sad and horrifying at the same time. The acting is very strong for the most part, with an amazing performance by the girl who plays young Kaylie. It’s a typical story-telling method that Flanagan managed to manipulate in a unique way. The way in which time and storylines blended together, there were moments as an audience member where I lost the thread and even though I knew how certain events would pan out, I would be caught up in hoping things would be different for the characters.

There were also some Absentia cameos, which I thought was cute.

I didn’t think it would bother me after it was over, but I definitely spent a few hours sleepless that night, just staring at the mirror in my room and praying nothing would happen. I won’t say this one is perfect - there are a few “Oh, COME ON” moments - but it was damn good and my favourite of everything we’ve reviewed this year.

I will also never be investing in an antique mirror, because I do not want to risk being haunted by a crazy mirror-eyed bitch with a thing for torture.

Shock / Beyond the Door II, 1977

Thoughts?

A: S and I have a running joke that anything my boyfriend recommends we’re probably going to hate. For me, this started all the way back in the summer of 2011 when he told me I should see Inside (2007) because it was sooooo good. It was awful and I hated it. Maybe we’ll review it some day so you can truly understand how much I fucking hate it. But I digress.

This movie wasn’t so bad. It was kinda funny in a way that only old, low-budget Italian horror movies can be - the dialogue doesn’t quite match the actor’s mouths and there’s a bunch of random sexy stuff.

It’s like a cross between The Exorcist and The Shining. Only not as good. It doesn’t help that I’ve seen so many movies like this that I know she’s totally fucking bonkers and probably killed her dead husband who may or may not be possessing their weird child.

This movie is fun and has it’s moments and I feel like people should watch it to pay their respects. But at the same time, you’re not missing much if you don’t.

S: Meh. I’m discovering more and more that I dislike these kind of shoddy, low budget 70s movies. Were there parts that made me jump? Yeah, sure. I mean, there’s a weird kid who jumps out of places and leaves razorblades in between piano keys. That didn’t make this movie any better though, and I felt very disinterested through out. Except for the mom’s wardrobe - that was interesting and faaaaabulous. That’s about it for my thoughts though. Crazy bitch, creepy child, two dudes with porn staches. Done and done.

The Conjuring, 2013

NEW RELEASE ALERT!!

Thoughts?


A: Whether or not I like a horror movie really depends on one question: did it scare the shit out of me?  If the answer is yes, then YES I LOVE IT. The Conjuring was spooky enough for me to reconsider my atheism and think about wearing a cross again because this movie was that messed up. So guess how much I loved it?

Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) move their 5 daughters into a farm house that they bought at auction (of course) for a “fresh start”. Almost immediately after they move in, fucked up shit starts happening: creepy boarded up basements, doors opening and closing on their own, mysterious bruises, etc. When things reach a breaking point, they call on Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to get rid of the demons in their house. Pretty standard stuff.

Normally, I’d write off a haunted house film because they’re all so boring these days. But James Wan abides by the tried and true horror movie rule: the less you show the scarier it is. The actual ghost/demon/witch/whatever is barely shown. Most of the scares rely on doors swinging and floors creaking, but Wan holds off until the very last second before a crash so that your terror is at a fever pitch - and at the end of it all, you don’t even SEE anything!

Wan’s talent has really improved. Like S, I was so not into Insidious (read our scathing review here), but everything I disliked about that movie has been corrected. The Conjuring is a beautiful movie and he gets respect from me for making a horror movie so nice to look at. It’s set in the 70s, so the colours are a little faded and tinged with yellows, oranges, and browns that give it that vintage feel. The camera swoops around the house as the Perrons move in and then peaks around corners as they realize something else is living with them. As beautiful as the film is, it’s also spooky as fuck. I’ve watched a few possession movies and none of them really compare to The Exorcist (because obviously). But The Conjuring has an exorcism scene so scary that the audience fell absolutely silent. It’s horrific. Not to give you high expectations or anything.

Ultimately though, the film wouldn’t work so well if lesser actors had been cast and the characters hadn’t been so well drawn.  In these kind of movies, the characters tend to be shallow and their reactions are so over the top that it’s hard to buy into them. But the Perrons are a totally average, loving family and portrayed so naturally that it’s really hard not to feel for them. Seriously ghosts, get the fuck out of here and give them a break. Wilson is very good as Ed and his performance is subtle, considering that he’s a guy who speaks seriously about hauntings at universities.  He and Farmiga have great chemistry and bounce nicely off of each other.

Obviously though, V.Farm is the stand-out. Dressed (probably purposely) is blue and cool tones, she’s a calming, serene, almost heavenly presence. But she’s also the HBIC* and doesn’t take any shit. There’s a part in the movie when Lorraine is all by herself in the creepy basement and she can hear ghosts being all creepy in the shadows, so she takes out a mirror and LOOKS INTO IT SO SHE CAN SEE THEM BETTER. Okay, really? Mad props. Because I could barely make it through the movie without covering my eyes. During parts that didn’t show any ghosts on screen.

This is the most I’ve ever written about a horror movie and it’s the least funny I’ve ever been, but I have to sell this movie because it’s my most favourite horror movie in years. You probably have, but if you haven’t, go see it. There can be art in horror, and a well-told ghost story is always one of the finest forms of storytelling, IMHO. No, I’m not even being humble because I’m right. Go see this movie. It’ll scare your pants off.

* Head Bitch in Charge

S: I disliked Insidious, so I was worried that The Conjuring would go the same way for me, but even before I saw it I just wanted to like it. I love the cast, I loved the whole vibe of the movie. Hell, even the type they used had me invested in loving this.

I think there are moments that are a fine line between love/hate for me, mostly a few unnecessary “Boo”, “AHH!” scares, but I still kind of “get” them and why they are there. For the most part, I noticed drastic improvements with the pacing and the deliberate humor, so I’ve ultimately decided to give this movie a thumbs up.

I did not like the conclusion, but I won’t talk about it because I actually don’t have any suggestions for a better direction - I just know I felt dissatisfied. There’s also what I thought was an unnecessary side story about a possessed doll, but maybe I’m just biased because I’ve never gotten the “scary doll” shtick. Everything else? GOOD TIMES.

I will mention, Joey King is a rockstar and should probably get an Oscar nod* for her role in this. Just sayin’. At one point, she wakes up in the night because the asshole demon/ghost keeps grabbing her ankles, and she sees something standing behind her bedroom door. She wakes up her sister, who can’t see who or what it is. Christine (King) is absolutely petrified, as her sister Nancy explores the dark room. Is there anything there? Not that the audience can see. Is it terrifying? JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, HELL TO THE YES. Honest truth, I was so so scared that they’d make me see what Christine was seeing, that my legs went numb in the theatre and I almost choked on my own fear.

So, props to you, kid. Props. To. You.

*Full disclosure: I have no idea how the Oscars work

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012)

IT’S NOT OCTOBER YET, but we totally went and saw a scary movie.

A: The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is a Canadian horror film that recently had a very limited release at Cineplex Yonge and Dundas in Toronto. It’s written and directed by one of the publishers of Rue Morgue. I was pretty excited for this film. Canadian production starring Vanessa Redgrave (mad respect), seemed to be getting really good reviews, creepy story about cults and ghosts - LOVIN’ IT. But ultimately, it winds up being a whole lotta meh with shades of boring.

Leon Leigh (Aaron Poole) goes to his mother’s house after she dies to deal with the estate or something. The house filled with religious relics, medieval art, and busted antiques – creepy.  Leon stays the night, half-heartedly going through stuff and slowly getting spooked. He’s either being haunted by his mother, an angel statue, a monster thing, or the angel cult his mother was part of really wants him to be their new member and they are really fucking pushy about it.

It’s an interesting albeit overused concept, but the script has sad and sympathetic undertones that make it more elegant than a general ghost movie.  It’s the closest filmic representation of a gothic ghost story that I’ve ever seen. The script is very good. Rodrigo Gudiño is fairly talented and there are decent scares and some really nice framing and shots.  The house they found to shoot in is incredible and automatically gives the film its atmosphere.

But the things is, it gets a little annoying to be teased for an hour and a half with jump scares that don’t really amount to anything.  That’s a good technique for building suspense, but when used the whole time it makes the film booooooring – show me! Conversely though, there’s too much CGI used for the monster thing; it was better when we didn’t see it.  I’m contradictory, I know.

Also, the film is tricky - it doesn’t actually star Vanessa Redgrave, she just provides voiceover work.

Anyway, the film wouldn’t even be that bad and I might have been more inclined to like it if it hadn’t been for the god-awful question and answer session that I experienced after the screening. First of all, the producer seemed to think it was his time to shine and took over, fielding questions and answering almost all of them while trying to make jokes about the production and inserting himself into a lot of it. It was bizarre. Meanwhile, the lead actor was mostly silent and the director didn’t really say anything. And when describing his idea for the film, the director said it was written while he was working on something bigger but Telefilm Canada asked him to.

Ok. But could you at least act like you’re interested?  Could you be a little enthusiastic about your work? Could you say something fucking interesting about it instead of just standing around? No? Fair enough. Maybe you’re just not into it. Perhaps you’re shy. And who am I to judge, I haven’t made a film.  But I watched this film.  And I’m giving it a big ol’ MEH.

S: I had never heard of this flick before, but going to limited events makes me feel like a baller, so I was down as soon as I got the invite. Plus, apparently Clive Barker liked it, and I like him, so same same.

 The movie itself is just okay. Leon goes home after his mama dies, she was uber religious so her house is creepy (read: fantastic), and then there’s some weird stuff with a wild animal/possibly a cult. He stays longer than I would have, as tends to happen in horror movies. I learned that I am a huge wimp when it comes to statues with human eyes. I almost noped on out of the theatre during a dream sequence. I thought the score was well done, as it kept me tense, and I quite liked the lead, which was surprising as I was sure I wouldn’t.

 What stopped this movie from actually being good was the totally not-terrifying CGI creature. As soon as you get up close and personal with this creepy monster, you’re like “Oh, it’s just the Grinch, never mind”. The story was also a little lackluster, just a bunch of elements thrown together that could have been something really interesting, but never fully played out. Prime example - apparently Leon was an antiques collector of sorts? I didn’t catch that at all in the film. I spent 90% of the movie thinking he was a random found items artist, and 10% thinking he was just a crazy hobo. If you’re going to add in some cool, fun fact like that, let’s dwell on it for a bit and maybe talk about why it is even remotely relevant.

 What pushed the film in to being totally terrible for me was the awful Q&A session following. I don’t do well with Q&A’s in general, because I hate people and their stupid questions, but I have managed to sit through and be surprised by a few. This was not one of them. It was painful. A already outlined the issues with the panel, but let me add:

Do not ask an actor if they felt as scared acting in the film as you felt watching the film. The answer is going to be NO, because they are an actor and they are acting. And if for some reason the answer is YES, it is still not a good question, because people like me in the audience will hate on you and blog about it.

Should you see this? Meh. Maybe. If you can find it somewhere and you’re bored. Just don’t make it the headliner of your evening.

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.

We make Tumblr themes