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Added by xxxTheRipperxxx on 4 Dec 2019 01:36
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TDcore's Horror Jounral 2019: December

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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.2
I decided to wrap up the first season of Hulu's "Into The Dark", a series of feature length films, each based around a specific holiday, being produced by Blumhouse, as I very much enjoyed this year's season. This, the second episode, is thought to be one of the best so far. And while I'd say it's far from bad, it's not very special either. It's certainly one of Patrick Lussier's better films, which isn't saying much about the man whose credits include "Dracula 2000" and "Drive Angry". This film is much more restrained than his usual popcorn fare, however, and offers some moments of sustained suspense. Sadly, it's easy to predict exactly where the film is going from the begining. And it doesn't throw in any twists or stylistic beats to make it any different than other thrillers with the same "domestic terror" premise. Dermot Mulroney gives an enjoyably hammy performance as the twisted father, and mostly he keeps the film watchable. It's a decent effort, but ends up feeling too routine.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.4
This is the Christmas episode, and easily one of the more surreal episodes. It's directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows), so a touch of weirdness is to be expected. But beyond it's colorful, bizare imagery this is a surprisingly predictable morality play. It's all too easy to pick up on the metaphors spread throughout, and easily see where the film will end. I'd say it's like a male version of "The Babadook", just without any even remotely frightening moments. There's nothing particularly disturbing about the film, despite it's intentions to get under the skin. Nyasha Hatendi is good in the lead role, and the film is pleasing to look at, but it offers no surprises or particularly memorable scenes. It's mostly a good asthetic wasted on a tired story.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
This is the New Year's episode, and the last of the "Into The Dark" episodes I needed to catch up on. It's directed by Sophia Takal, who will be directing the new remake of "Black Christmas". And this little film assured me that she's a capable director with a knack for dialouge and an old-school style. It centers around the "beauty guru" and "Instagram model" culture that is already so corrupt and cancerous, and plays as a dark satire on internet influencers, that sadly, probably isn't that far removed from reality. The script also toys with deeper notions, of just how far "wellness" culture and corporate lifestyles have infiltrated our lives. The cast is fantastic as well, with Suki Waterhouse and Carly Chaikin perfectly playing off one and other. It doesn't end up a particularly special film, but it's an effective meditation on some timely, important themes.
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People who added this item 271 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.7
At the time of it's release, this was the first feature length film that Joe Dante had directed in quite a few years. However, it's just further proof of the sad depths to which the greats have fallen. I wasn't at all impressed with Dante's last film, "Burying The Ex", but this one is even more mediocre affair. I'm beside myself attempting to explain how a once talented director can churn out products that feel like Lifetime movies years into their careers. The film's direction is incredibly pedestrian, cinematography looks like an I-Max special, and the plotting is some of the most blatantly unoriginal I have ever seen. One could argue that it would make for a great "kid's first horror film", but Dante himself has directed better films that serve said purpose in the past. And something this mundane can't hold a candle to the genius of "Gremlins". There's nothing the least bit frightening, or even momentarily thrilling about any of the toothless scares and dirt-cheap effects. And worst of all, the film does flirt with some fascinating, surprisingly mature domestic themes towards the end. But by then, it's all for naught. Most of the cast is merely decent, but leading man Chris Massoglia stands out in an exceptionally bad performance. He slurs his speech like a drunkard and can't seem to find the will in himself to care about much of anything. I don't know if I can blame him for struggling to find the energy to perform such tired material, however. This film bears no marks of the Joe Dante that fans once knew.
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People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.4
This little oddity has become something of a cult classic. It's still a very unknown film, but it has it's dedicated audience. And for fans of 80's horror, such as myself, all indications would point towards this being a hidden gem. Sadly, this film is not worth the effort it takes to track down. Between shoddy effects, amateur direction and stunted acting, this one ends up a cheesy mess, and not in the enjoyable way. It tries much too hard to comment on mass media dependency, but never takes this premise anywhere, and mostly just ends up being a riff on "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers", except this time more along the lines of "Mind Snatchers", if you will. Thus it winds up wasting an interesting creature filled with untapped potential for gruesome body horror and social musings. I had really hoped this one would be awesome, but it just turned out dumb and sloppy. There are much better hidden gems out there, more worthy of the time it takes to find a copy of this dreck.
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People who added this item 229 Average listal rating (135 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
This is easily Bela Lugosi's second most iconic film, next to "Dracula". Here he plays an evil witch doctor who controls a horde of undead henchmen with his hypnotic stare. The film is actually quite atmospheric, and manages to build up a foreboding aura. There are some breathtakingly creepy shots of sillouhetted zombies dragging coffins up mountainsides, and Lugosi's performance is as masterful as any of his other turns. Through expression alone he can send chills down your spine. But the film can be clunky, and amateurish at times, with a rushed ending derailing what was a fairly barebones plot to begin with. Like many films of it's time, it unfortunately gets held back by it's constraints and short-sightedness. Still, for the mood and classic Lugosi, this is well worth the time of any classic horror fan. It just falls short of being the bona-fide classic it could've been.
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
Even for it's time period, this is an incredibly simple-minded horror film. It was one of the first to pair Lugosi and Karloff, and their performances are the only things that keep this cheesy debacle watchable. The plot is as threadbare as they come, and mostly concerns a Poe-obsessed doctor (Lugosi) who falls in love with a young woman whom he saves on the operating table. When her father refuses to allow the relationship, he invites her family and fiance to his mansion, so that he can torture them to death. That's really all there is to it, and it all unfolds in a very small amount of time, as this film is barely more than an hour long, on the nose. It doesn't help that once the action moves to the mansion, several more characters are introduced for no reason. Not even to serve as victims, they mostly function as obnoxious comedy relief. It's wonderful to watch Lugosi spit out diatribes on the pleasure of inflicting torture, and Karloff brings great humanity to his role. But their spirited performances are wasted upon an exceptionally empty-headed film that doesn't even allow itself the time to feel like anything more than a TV serial. It was considered shocking for it's time, but that only serves to show how far we've come, and how conservative 1930's society really was, as not even one person is so much as touched with the blade of a knife. Otherwise, this one is lacking all of the atmosphere and writing that keep some of it's contemporaries relevant.
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This is my second time giving this film a proper chance, as in my first viewing I failed to see what was so special about it. And even this time through, I don't see this as the cult classic that most seem to think of it as. Neil Marshall's second film, "The Descent" remains to be the only truly fantastic thing I think he's produced. This is an alright film, and plenty of good, undemanding fun, but that's all it amounts to. And my biggest gripe is still the sloppy, unrefined direction. "The Descent" featured Marshall's chaotic style as well, but I feel it's much more unrestrained in this film, resulting in the action scenes being difficult to even watch. The camera ducks, weaves and shakes about as if we're watching an installment of the "Bourne" franchise. Thus some utterly fantastic practical effects work is nearly wasted, as we scarcely manage to get a good glimpse of the werewolves. But the cast is great, with British standbys Sean Pertwee, Liam Cunningham and Kevin McKidd giving wonderful performances, and the banter of the soldier characters makes them genuinely loveable. There's plenty of gore as well, and the film turns out to be fine popcorn fun. But if less sloppy, I think it really could've been a classic. As it is, while enjoyable, I just can't love it the same way my fellow genre fanatics do.
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This is an early film from Paul Bartel, who would go on to directly, mostly, offbeat comedies, his most infamous being "Eating Raoul". But this effort is easily categorizable as a horror film, with a distinctly black sense of humor. Like many low-budget exploitation films of the 70's, it's prominent aspect is centered around sexuality. In this case, sexual repression, with the cast mostly being comprised of characters who must stifle or hide their carnal desires in one way or another. The horror bits are mostly ineffective, save for a grimy atmosphere and a few disturbing scenes, there isn't much gore or nary a shred of tension. And the ending twist becomes somewhat problematic, what with it's social connotations. It's at least rather forward thinking in it's portrayal of sexual repression leading to mental health issues. Besides that, the cast is mostly decent. However, leading lady Ayn Ruymen is a rather horrible actress and completely butchers her role. Bartels' direction is surprisingly steady and somewhat artful as well. But it mostly uses it's LGBT characters as punchlines to a joke, or treats them as circus freaks to marvel over. And I cannot condone that. Moreover, the purpose of it's narrative is difficult to understand. In the end, this is far from an exploitation classic.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 4.6
The Nesting (1981)
This is a mostly forgotten ghost story, with it's only claim to fame being a small role by John Carradine. Otherwise, it becomes readily apparent why it has been left to fade into obscurity. The plot is a simple rehash of the usual haunting tropes, with films even in it's own release year that tell the same tale. And direction and cinematography are completely static, without a shred of style. Much of the film is rather ineptly directed, with the gorier scenes featuring some clunky makeup effects, and furniture being pulled around on thin wires. The acting is mostly unremarkable, save for a great performance by Robin Groves in the lead role. She really puts her all into her portrayal of an agoraphobic character, and displays talent wasted on this toothless film. Most of the horror bits are staged so haphazardly that they come off as unintentionally funny, and the writing is barebones as possible, with some downright laughable lines thrown in for good measure ("You're too damn crazy to be crazy!"). This uninspired, overlong clunker can't hold a candle to ghostly classics of the same decade, like "The Changeling" and "Ghost Story". You can leave it in the bottom of the thriftshop bin.
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People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 3.6
This is one of Charles Band's earliest films, long before he helmed Full Moon Features. Besides that, it's most notable for being the first feature film appearence of Demi Moore, whom is mostly embarrased by it nowadays. And for good reason, as this is easily one of Band's worst directorial efforts, which is saying quite a lot. The plot is mostly nonexistent, and details some sort of post-apocalyptic future which we never really get a handle on, besides some utterances of nuclear fallout. The entire film takes place in a dusty small town, that seems to only have a population of about 10 people, most of them played by downright horrible actors. Worst of all, is that the film was originally intended for 3D release, which amounts to nothing more than slow motion fistfights, with bodies flying at the camera and some shots of parasites springing towards the screen. Speaking of which, these are some of Stan Winston's worst effects, and it's nearly impossible to imagine from his work here, that he would become one of the greatest effects artists of all time. There's really nothing to enjoy about this one, and it also commits the cardinal sin of being boring. Even trash fans and Full Moon fanatics can skip out on this one safely.
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People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
This was one of the last Amicus Productions films to be released, and also one of their rarest. But, while an enjoyable omnibus, it's not quite up to par with some of their classics. As we all know, an anthology lives and dies based upon the quality of it's segments, and this one is quite hit or miss. There's 4 tales here, and the middle two are easily the best. They portray the usual cruel sense of irony that Amicus films do, and each have moments in which they are quite frightening. But the first and last segments are unoriginal, rather dull escapades, that, while pretty looking, don't offer the same twist endings or dark humor that most of these films do. In fact, in principle, they're both variations of the same story as well. The wraparound, featuring Peter Cushing as the shopkeeper of "Temptations Unlimited" is good as well, making one wish that the film had been evened out a little more. It could've been another great installment in Amicus's filmography. As it stands, it's like a sandwich with delicious filling, but dull, tasteless bread.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 5.6
No Telling (1991)
Thanks to a recent Blu-Ray release by IFC, this film is finally available to the general public. This is Larry Fessenden's feature debut, and it's surprisingly good. Fessenden's work is hit or miss nowadays, and he's mostly known as an indie producer under his "Glass Eye Pix" banner. But this film showed tremendous potential for a man that would become one of the most instrumental voices in independent filmmaking over the next few years. While it certainly functions as a horror film, it can feel a lot more like a drama. And it wears it's political statements on it's sleeve, taking a very bold, but not overbearing ecological stance. It's one that will be uncomfortable for enviromentalists and vegans to watch at times, but a film that carries their statements well in the end. The unknown actors are unexpectedly fantastic in their roles as well, and really help sell the drama and create relatable characters. And while the budget can hold the film back, it never becomes boring or amateurish. If you dig Fessenden's work or independent films in general, and you can track this one down without paying an insane amount for it, then it's worth a watch.
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John Hough is one of the most underrated directors in horror history, having helmed films such as "The Legend Of Hell House", "American Gothic" and even family favorites such as "Journey To Witch Mountain". He's a talented director with a knack for embuing his films with a thick, creepy atmosphere. This is easily his most obscure effort, and while worth a watch, I'd say it's one of his weaker films overall. His trademark style and mood are still there, and the film builds up a decent head of steam, managing to make it's small town setting feel consistently tense and dangerous. The film mostly deals with a series of rape/murders, and without being overtly exploitative, the attack scenes are incredibly intense and disturbing. The cast is decent enough as well, and things move along nicely until closer to the end. Once it becomes time for the narrative to begin making sense of itself, things turn into the usual cliched supernatural shenanigans, with some cheesy business about "witches" being thrown in. And the film rushes into an adrupt twist ending that is never worked up or elaborated on. It's an effective enough effort, and far from a bad film. It has it's share of creeps and a few memorable scenes, but it's nothing more than a serviceable, if slightly perdictable horror flick.
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.6
Mirror Mirror (1990)
This one has managed to gather a decent cult following over the years, as a fun, if somewhat mindless horror flick. But it's so deeply unoriginal that I have a hard time giving it the points it deserves. It's a decent enough film, with solid direction, some effective moments and a good cast. But the similarties to "Carrie" are so incredibly strong that it borders on outright laziness. If one simply replaced telekinetic powers with a demonically posessed mirror that grants wishes, this would be "Carrie" on every other story beat. Even down to the popular girl who befriends the outcast, and the detached mother (though she's not nearly as insane as Piper Laurie). One of the characters even makes a joke about the comparison between the two films at one point. But there's some decent gore, and the cast is good across the board. Rainbow Harvest (there's a name for you) makes for a likeable leading lady, and the rest of the kids are believeable in their roles. Karen Black and Yvonne De Carlo even show up to round out the cast. It's decent if you're in an undemanding mood, but I can't see anything here special enough to have warranted a cult following.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 5
This is one of those illusive rarities that I'd known of for some time, but never knew if I'd manage to get my hands on. Many I time I had salivated over the trailer, which detailed Lovecraftian symbolism, practical effects work and psychological horror aspects; all of this enough to make this horror hound howl with delight. But I can sadly say that the actual product is much different than appearences would have one believe. Halfway through the film, once everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown into the mix and stirred, it becomes obvious that the film is never going to rise above it's "dream within a dream" concept, and becomes incredibly perdictable. Thus, the filmmakers never have to attempt to form an actual plot, or create real scares, as just throwing everything at the wall works in this case. Except the film isn't even fun, instead taking itself far too seriously, leaving the viewer to take the rickity roller-coaster ride to the ending, that we knew all too well, was coming. There's no element of surprise here. And while the effects work is decent, and the cast fine, it becomes apparent why this one was left to drown in obscurity. What a shame.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 4.8
Skinner (1993)
Here's an obscure film that's more worthy of your time. It's not quite a gem, but it's just distinctive enough that it stands as something that any horror fan shouldn't pass up should they come across it. It's a required taste, and something like a cross between serial killer biopic films like "Maniac" and "Don't Go In The House", mixed with absurdist, very dark humor. I can safely say that I haven't seen another film quite like it. It can move back and forth between morbid comedy and lingering dread with the snap of a finger, and features some truly nightmarish imagery that assures it is not for the squeamish crowd. Ted Raimi is fantastic as the titular maniac, making his character endlessly entertaining to watch, even when he's doing something so ghastly that we want to turn away. And Traci Lords is equally as good in a femme fatale role that gives the film an interesting twist. But it all builds towards a finale that feels as though it should be an explosive burst of gore and insanity, that ends on more of a hiccup, and hurts the rather somber tone that the rest of the film had up to that point. It's certainly worth watching for those who appreciate bizarre horror, but it has one of the most disappointing endings in memory.
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Despite not being an Amicus film, this 1974 horror anthology feels like it could be one. Mind you, it's a very poor imitation, but the similarities are there. It's directed by Freddie Francis, a Hammer regular, and stars several British actors who appear in one or more the Amicus omnibuses. But all of those films' atmosphere and charm are lost on this woefully dull endeavor. The four individual stories range from mediocre to downright silly, with not one of them standing out enough for me to recommend it. And the wrap around is a nonsensical slog that wastes the talents of Donald Pleasence and Jack Hawkins. The film is ably directed, and the cast is decent, but they're working with nothing but a hack script here. It's not the worst thing I've seen, by far. But as far as horror anthologies go, this is one of the weakest efforts on the record.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.5
This film starts out with a fairly cliched setup. But as contrary plot points keep being added up, it becomes clear that it's going to be fairly hard to predict where things are going. And it does a damn good job of concealing it's twists, despite my hope that the big reveal would be something far more weird or original. The good cast and decently moody direction keep things moving for the film's first half, even long after we've stopped trying to piece things together for ourselves and just settled in for the ride. But the second half throws the narrative on it's head, introducing an original, if somewhat obtuse twist. It quickly becomes clear, however, that the film is only interested in keeping you guessing. Twist is layered upon twist, until the whole thing threatens to break under the weight of it's absurdity. Even then, it manages to be strange not in concept, but logic. It's a manipulative film, that besides pretenses, doesn't have much going on under the hood. But it's effective enough while it's running, and ably directed.
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This is one of the few one-off films from Amicus Productions. None of these films have sustained as large a following as their omnibuses, but this turned out to be a perfectly fine little horror film, capable of standing to to toe with the dreck that Hammer was putting out in the 70's. It's not a fantastic film, but it's surprisingly dark and edgy for it's time. There aren't too many films about demonic rape, and the film doesn't shy away from it's distressing subject matter. The gorgeous Stephanie Beacham makes for a sympathetic leading lady, and a variety of British greats like Peter Cushing and Guy Rolfe show up in the supporting cast. The film manages to sustain a thick mood of dread, and the flashback scene in particular is hauntingly disturbing. As far as gothic horror goes, this one is worth seeking out, if not all together original.
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This is a rare artifact indeed; a slasher from the early 1990's, right around the time the sub-genre was thought to be dead. And though it shares much in common structurally with slashers of the 80's, it's a fairly weak production. The script is flimsy as hell, full to the brim with continuity errors and logical issues. One could make the argument that the timeline jumps around so much because the killer is supernatural, but this is just lazy writing. The backstory for our black-eyed antagonist is also incredibly obscure, and makes no sense whatsoever. Therefore, he never really gets to take shape as a villain, which is a downright shame, as he's pretty creepy looking. The cast is also a weak point, with most of the actors giving amateurish performances. Direction is decent, despite some sloppy editing, but the film is far too convoluted and clunky to be a hidden gem.
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This is considered a classic among 70's "TV" horror. It's regarded as pure nightmare fuel, so my expectations were rather lofty. Sadly, I'm left wondering how anyone that didn't see this film as a small child could think it to be so effective. It's an incredibly short, incredibly skimpy film, with the barest of a plot holding it up. The effects are quite good, and the so-called "Radish Heads" are the best reason to even watch the film. Their whispering and dead eyes are fairly haunting. The cast is decent as well, and direction is typical for a 70's TV picture. But towards the end the characters proceed to make some incredibly stupid choices, and we're left with an anti-climatic ending that leaves a sour taste and a completely unfinished story. For such a short film with such a flimsy plot, I almost felt as though I'd been watching the work print for something bigger. Besides the effects, this is a bunk average effort.
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People who added this item 205 Average listal rating (127 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7
Here's a bona-fide cult classic. A tale of a detective and an extraterrestrial FBI agent hunting down a body-snatching alien causing havoc in the big city. The concept is played off with style and charm, and the film strikes a perfect balance between mindless fun and sincerity. Thanks in no small part to the buddy cop chemistry of Michael Nouri and Kyle MacLachlan. MacLachlan in particular, uses the surreal qualities of his personality to his advantage, as the friendly alien cop. And the several character actors who portray the various bodies that the antagonist hops through are equally as good. The film is peppered with moments of effective action, comedy and horror, all backed up by a rock-solid script. It's not the most original film in the world, but it's tons of fun, and manages to build a fascinating universe and characters that I wouldn't have minded seeing more of. This one deserves to be up there with the crème of the sci-fi/horror crop.
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 5.1
Some say that this incredibly rare little gem was the inspiration for "Event Horizon", and I can certainly see where the comparison comes from. Both are sci-fi/horror flicks about space crews who come across an abandoned ship, that carries a demonic force within it. This one focuses much more on the biblical aspect than "Event Horizon" does, and it throws in some details involving the Bermuda Triangle, as well as the titular "dark side of the moon". And it actually works quite well. The film's greatest strength lies in a strong atmosphere. It has a thick mood of dread and impending doom, and will leave viewers more afraid of what's around the next corner, rather than hitting us over the head with rampant effects. The film does have it's moments of gore, but it mostly focuses on a slow burn. The cast is decent as well. I feel that more could've been done with the concept, but what we're left with is an undeniably effective little chiller. If you love sci-fi/horror, then you need to track down a copy of this one.
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People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 5.2
Ghostkeeper (1981)
Here's another hard to find oddity. This one centers around the concept of the "Wendigo", a legend I don't think nearly enough horror films attempt to explore. Sadly, it's a pretty wretched affair, but what's worse is that it showed serious potential early on. The film starts out with moody shots of barren winter mountains, accompanied by a deliciously creepy score. And once our small cast becomes stranded at the lodge, Georgie Collins steals the screen as the titular "ghostkeeper". She's an expressive actress, who brings great subltey and creepiness to the role. Unfortunately, besides the leading lady, the main cast is comprised of some of the most unlikeable characters I've ever seen. And the script proceeds to fall apart once the action begins, with characters exhibiting truly bizare behavior that is never accounted for. At times, it borders on Tommy Wiseau levels of ineptitude. And the plot ends up going absolutely nowhere, with an ending that refuses to make one lick of sense. The film maintains it's chilly amtosphere throughout, but that alone is not capable of saving this clunker.
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This is a British film, centered around a wilderness retreat for juvenile delinquents that goes horribly wrong. Juvies don't get enough media attention anywhere in the world, so I'm always appreciative of a film that highlights the abuses and the broken system that deals with troubled youth. But this is an incredibly difficult film to enjoy, for that very reason. We have a cast mostly comprised of self-centered, psychopathic, thoroughly detestable little twats to follow through the entire film. And the resolution doesn't really tie up any of the film's moral quanderies, leaving a bit of a sour taste. But the picture itself is well directed, at times deliriously violent and gory. The cast is mostly good, even if we can't wait to see their characters die quickly enough. And even Sean Pertwee shows up in a supporting role. You might enjoy it if you can stomach it, and you're looking for a bleak, brutal horror film. But you may want to take a nice shower afterward.
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.2
Villains (2019)
We've seen a glut of these "role reversed" home-invasion films by now. The trend started way back in the 90's with "The People Under The Stairs" and gained real traction with "Don't Breathe" in 2016. Stories of likeable, anti-hero criminals who break into someone else's home, only to find the homeowners to be the true pyschopaths, have become commonplace. And the trope is nearly worn down to it's last leg. This little film doesn't exactly bring anything innovative to the table, but thanks to a fantastic cast and witty writing, it becomes a very watchable example of this sub-genre.

As said, most praise must go to the cast, who elevate the humdrum plot by giving wonderful performances. Bill Skarsgard and Maika Monroe have absolutely perfect chemistry and make an adorable, believeable couple. Their comedic timing is great as well, and their interactions are often genuinely funny. Meanwhile Jeffrey Donovan gives a powerful turn as the man of the house, shifting from comically overblown machismo, to appropriately intense menace. Kyra Sedgewick is much the same as his wife. A prim, proper little woman, always on the verge of a psychotic episode. The script provides plenty of involving dialouge and comedy between the characters, and that's what keeps the film going. Because outside of these aspects, it's a completely perdictable affair. It has it's moments of suspense, but never becomes frightening, intense, gory or quite bizare enough. This is one horror film which rests entirely on it's script and actors, and it's a worthy watch for that reason alone, if you like horror comedies. It could've been really special, though.
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This sequel to cult classic "Re-Animator" simply cannot compare to the original. Not even with producer/director Brian Yuzna, a longtime collaborator of Stuart Gordon, behind the camera. The continuation of the plot doesn't really make much sense at all, throwing all emotional logic out the window, as West and Kane continue to work together on a whim, without much tension between them for all of the damage West caused in the first film. The rest of the film almost seems like a rehash of the first, with the difference being that our mad scientists are now attempting to create life instead of simply restore it. Jeffrey Combs keeps things moving, with his performance as Herbert West being as intense and unhinged as expected. The effects work is also a joy to behold, especially towards the end when things really kick into overdrive. But the film just exists. It seems to have no rhyme or reason to it, and brings nothing new to the table. It can be enjoyable as a popcorn flick, but only on the most rudimentary level. A shame, because there were a number of much more fascinating directions this franchise could've taken. Instead, Yuzna and company opted to play it relatively safe, by only upping the body count.
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This is one of the most maligned of the "Friday" franchise, and for very good reason. It's barely a film, let alone a successful installment in this series. The concept of Jason wreaking havoc in NYC is ripe with potential, but the film is happy to spend over half of it's runtime on a boat full of uninteresting teenagers that's headed to the city. The characters are plentiful, but all of them poorly drawn and even the kills are toothless and boring. There's nothing happening during this chunk of the film to keep even the most undemanding Friday fan awake. Then, once things hit the streets of Manhattan, things only become more disappointing. Barely 30 minutes is all of the time that's left in the film, and most of it is spent in back alleys and sewers, completely butchering the potential to show Jason rampaging in iconic New York locations. Even Kane Hodder as Jason can't save this one, and it really doesn't have a single aspect working in it's favor.
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Out of all the "final installments" that tried to wrap up iconic horror franchises around the late 80's/early 90's, this one is easily the worst of the batch. And that's saying something when competing with films like "Freddy's Dead" and "The Curse Of Michael Myers". Each of these films also attempted to explain the origin of their iconic villains' seeming immortality as well, which always resulted in nothing more than extremely silly supernatural shenanigans. Jason's makes the least sense, somehow. He can only be killed by a blood relative, possessing a magical dagger (this is never explained), and he is possessed by a demonic worm that jumps from body to body (also never explained). Hell, the film even throws in the Necronomicon towards the end (looking exactly as it did in the "Evil Dead" films), and a kooky bounty hunter that somehow knows all of Jason's secrets. None of this comes together, or makes the slightest bit of sense, which really makes one wonder how the script made it off the ground in the first place. And seeing as Jason's spirit(?) spends the entire film hopping from body to body, we don't even see him except for the beginning and the very end of the picture. The rest is nonsensical dreck, splotched with atrociously forced humor and pedestrian direction.
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People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (77 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
Out of all the sophomore efforts to come out this year, this one is easily my favorite. Which is strange, because while Jordan Peele's "Get Out" and Ari Aster's "Hereditary" are both masterpieces in my opinion, Robert Egger's "The Witch" is a slightly weaker film. I still very much enjoyed it, but there was just something missing. It had the atmosphere and intense acting, but it was missing the punch. It's imagery was effective, but none of the pictures it painted really stuck in my mind for days afterward, which is what I felt it was attempting to do, with it's slow pace and focus on visuals. Despite my disappointment with both "Us" and "Midsommar" this year (please don't crucify me), I held out some optimism for this one, even though Egger hadn't impressed me nearly as much as Aster or Peele. But this is one hell of a film, in quite a literal sense, and Egger's masterwork to put him up there with the best working in the genre.

Credit has to be given to Robert Pattison and Willem Dafoe, two fantastic actors who give, hands down, their most astonishing performances here. I can't put into words the dedication and energy that these two put in, and they truly deserve the highest form of acting award for what they accomplish here. They scream, shout and crawl through dirt, muck, blood and piss, in the most literal sense, completely baring themselves. It's often their performances that keep one glued to the screen and manage to unhinge us so deeply. But Egger's direction is also near flawless, as he paints the film with an atmosphere unlike any I have ever felt. A dark, brooding, depressing aurora that encompasses the viewer and leaves us feeling as trapped as the two men on the island. The film is also rife with nightmarish, Lovecraftian imagery.

I'd be lying if I said I was close to uncovering all of the secrets and interpretations here, but I feel comfortable saying that it's a very psychological experience, and one about isolation, loneliness and guilt. Guilt, first and foremost, and what it can do the mind. Loneliness and what it can drive us to become. I could probably write a couple essays on this film, but I'll wrap this review up by saying this. This truly is one of the most frightening films I have ever seen. Not in a "jumpy", reaction-based sort of way. More in the manner that it will crawl into your head, turn your thoughts upside down, unhinge you, emotionally and make you afraid of what you're about to see, rather than what you do see. This is my favorite horror film of 2019, hands down.
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This is often considered one of Hammer's last great films. And while certainly a much more enjoyable effort than some of their endeavors of the time, it's still a deeply flawed picture. Mostly because it's so patently silly. A tale of "satanic worship" ripped straight from the headlines of the "satanic panic" era, complete with colorfully robed rich folks, making sacrifices to the dark lord. However, the whole thing is presented with a completely straight face, and a somber, serious atmosphere. It does have it's moments of suspense, that surprisingly still hold up. But the effects and visuals are clunky and laughable now, and the ending devolves into supremely silly religious tripe. Still, the film is beautifully directed by Hammer veteran Terrence Fisher, and Christopher Lee gives one of his very best performances as a soldier of God, with extensive occult knowledge. It just becomes difficult to take seriously when things devolve to a room of grown adults practicing fictional "Christian mysticism" to combat equally fictional "black magic". It could've been fun if it didn't take itself as seriously as Citizen Kane. But it remains one of Hammer's more watchable occult efforts.
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Well, this ended up being a productive month as far as film-watching goes. Otherwise, not so much, as I was laid up in bed with a bad head cold for about 2 weeks. However, as said, this allowed me to binge on films I had sitting around to watch, and I ended up viewing the most in one month out of this year.

Best wishes to everyone for the New Year, and a merry belated Christmas. Thanks to everyone who keeps a tab on my lists and adds them to their own. The cinema community on Listal is the reason I continue to upload these journals, and ya'll have been with me for quite a few years now. Here's to a whole new decade of fright.

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