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Added by xxxTheRipperxxx on 10 Jun 2019 04:15
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TDcore's Horror Jounral 2019: June

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People who added this item 208 Average listal rating (140 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
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I've been excited for this film ever since it was announced. Jordan Peele took the horror scene by storm with the brilliant "Get Out", and ever since I've thought he had the potential to be a leading voice in modern horror. And most seem to have responded well to this, his second film. But I feel that it's underwhelming compared to his previous film, and otherwise. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad effort. It's daring, different and has a definite surreal quality to it. It's a very different animal than Peele's debut, and much more demanding of it's audience. And though the film toys with some interesting mythology, and turns the concept of the doppleganger on it's head, at times it just feels like a run of the mill home invasion thriller with some surreal moments thrown in.

What's also missing is the social and political themes that "Get Out" mused. Some say that they are present, in the form of an exploration of discrimination, but the themes, if they are there, aren't nearly as potent or apparent as in "Get Out". And for me, the final twist did nothing but punch the entire film full of giant plotholes, which I'm still trying to wrap my head around. I also didn't find the film to be that scary, rather just strange. Still, acting is good all around, with Nupita Nyong'o giving an absolute powerhouse of a performance that will no doubt, catapult her into much deserved fame. And Peele's direction, while not as steady handed as in "Get Out", is still solid. The film just feels like a slightly confused, overly indulgent, unrefined mess to me. Peele's non-conformity is more than welcome, but next time, he needs to refine his vision. I'd consider this to be something of a sophomore slump, but maybe that's just me. I'm sure that Peele has plenty more films up his sleeve, that will tickle my fancy. This wasn't one of them.
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 0
This is perhaps, the lowest budget film that Stuart Gordon has ever produced. Yet, even with minimal funds, Gordon fashions a solid film out of what would have been pure exploitation in lesser hands. This is still a very gory, disturbing film, with bountiful blood and nudity to spare, but it seldom feels like schlock. Instead being anchored by thoughtful writing, that focuses more on well-defined characters, and fantastic acting. Jeffrey Combs gives what may be his best performance here, embodying a man who lives with unspeakable guilt, and Barabara Crampton counters his perfectly, as the wife who must live with the wreckage of his bad decisions. Their relationship gives the film it's backbone, and keeps it from simply being a run of the mill horror film. Cinematography is not pretty, but Gordon's direction is as solid as ever, and the namesake creature is a nasty piece of work. It's not a perfect film, or anything mind-blowing. But it's solid, well sustained entertainment, with some dramatic flair, and further proof that Gordon is a master.
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This is an obscure little film, which is most notable for being one of the first appearances of Jennifer Jason Leigh, whom has always been a solid, unconventional actress. And this film almost turns out to be something of a hidden gem, save for some short-sighted social ideas, that seem downright ignorant today. It's a thoroughly well-made picture, with seamless direction and gorgeous cinematography. The sets are full of vibrant colors, richly dark shadows and moody lighting. This all creates a disorienting, dream-like atmosphere. And the film's scares come more from phycological terror, and disturbing imagery, than jumps and gore. It's a film that takes itself seriously, and becomes all the more disturbing for it.

Sadly, things take a turn towards the end, which leaves us with a conventional thriller twist, although it's not the worst twist the film could've taken. But perhaps, most damning, is the film's demonization of the LGBT and BDSM communities. Perhaps, as with so many films of it's day, it wasn't really an intentional or political angle, but it serves to paint gay men as sexual deviants, and BDSM as something that "mentally unstable" people take part in. One could view it as a film in which the bad guys just happen to be gay BDSM fetishists, but it still seems ignorant, especially some of the dialogue. Strangely enough, the film is thoroughly modern concerning rape and women's rights. Still, even with these slightly backwards social notions holding it back, this is an effective, beautifully directed little creeper, that will manage to get under your skin. If you dig psychological horror, you should find plenty to like about this one.
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People who added this item 110 Average listal rating (57 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 0
Here we have a bona-fide hidden gem, and a curiously underrated film. It has nearly everything one could want from a good old fashioned ghost story (hence the name), and even a few things you wouldn't expect. Despite being so unknown, it's not a low budget film at all, and features a cast of fantastic, well known actors. A foursome of old-Hollywood stars make up the principle cast of old men who share a terrible secret. And Alice Krige, in one of her first roles, stuns with a combination of pure allure, uninhibited sexuality and cold menace. The film is also beautifully directed, with rich cinematography and a magnificent score, and a strong atmosphere to back it up. Perhaps some of the best moments come in the form of the flashback scenes, which richly detail the history of the film's characters, and set up a fairly fleshed-out story for the film's meat to hang on. The acting in these moments in fantastic, and the unexpected emotional weight they lend, adds gravitas to the film's more horrifying moments. It's not perfect, can be rather cliché, and winds up being another tale of vengeance from the grave, as we've seen before. But when pulled off so seamlessly, lovingly and artfully, even the most well known campfire tale can be a chilling "ghost story". If you love supernatural horror, you owe it to yourself to seek this one out.
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People who added this item 183 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
Considered a classic horror story, but often forgotten amongst tales such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Jekyll & Hyde, is The Picture Of Dorian Gray. It has had it's share of film adaptations, but none of them have managed to garner much praise, this one perhaps, being the most well regarded of the bunch. And while it's a decent effort for it's time, it's still incapable of bringing this story to life in any meaningful way. Very much a product of it's time, the film skimps over the more controversial aspects of it's plot. Dorian Gray is supposed to be some hideous, evil cad, yet for all we can tell, the worst he's ever done is sleep with someone else's wife, or pay for the company of a harlot. No doubt, he does far worse things, but hardly ever on screen. It all serves to take much of the punch out of the film, and just leave one wondering exactly what Gray did for his portrait to look so demonic. Acting keeps the film afloat, through an overstuffed runtime, with the entire cast giving wonderful performances. The film also suffers from an over usage of narration, with an announcer telling us what the characters feel, more often than the characters themselves portray. It's sad that this is the best adaptation of such a classic tale of terror. But if you love Oscar Wilde's novel, this is most likely, the only adaptation worth seeking out.
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People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (77 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.1
Here we have one of the great cult classics of the 80's slasher boom. But for those prepared to be met with a predictable experience, think again. This film is quite different than any other slasher of it's time period, as it takes elements of it's contemporaries and mixes them with giallo elements as well. What results, is an ambitious, confusing, not entirely successful twist on the American slasher film. It's a decently directed effort, with a few scenes of well sustained suspense, and some ghoulishly creative kills. It also doesn't skimp on the red stuff. But the film falls apart when it comes to plot and character. Most of the characters are indistinguishable from one and other, despite the cast being decent. And the plot unfolds through a series of never-ending twists and red herrings, and ends in a hurried unloading of exposition at the very end, that leaves plenty of plot holes gaping. It's not a horrible viewing experience, and it's worth seeing for slasher fiends, but it's not among the best of it's kind, and quite an unruly mess.
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People who added this item 72 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.8
Hell Night (1981)
Here is yet another 80's slasher cult classic, with a subtle twist. Instead of dealing with masked, gloved serial killers here, we are instead dealing with deformed men stalking about a gigantic mansion in which four college pledges must spend the night. It's still not the most original plot, by any means, but it serves to make this feel just different enough from it's contemporaries. Sadly, I can't say it's a classic of the sub-genre, thanks to a downright glacial pace. We're left watching uncannily lengthy scenes of characters stalking noises in the dark for much of the film. And there's not much tension in these scenes, as the same thing occurs nearly every time. Still, there's some suspenseful chase scenes and moments of sustained terror. Linda Blair is the only real drawing card the film had back in the day, and while not a fantastic actress, she's a charming one, who knows how to scream. The other actors in the small cast are all uncannily decent as well, and the characters are likeable, which helps heighten the tension. It's not perfect, but it's worth a look for slasher fans.
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People who added this item 110 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.2
Tormented (2009)
Bullying is a horrific thing, and many horror films have attempted to speak on the issue, or portray it before. This little slasher artifact is a British stab at tackling the theme. Equal parts a gory slasher, a social critique and Skins-style soap opera, but not entirely successful in it's goal. The film has a number of things going for it, including a fine cast of youngsters that give decent performances, some gory kill scenes and believable dialogue. But between juggling it's more serious themes, and it's tongue in cheek slasher elements, the film becomes tacky, tasteless and quite exploitive. It muses on a very touchy subject, but it's treatment of said subject is almost as immature as the antics of the film's bullies. It shouldn't be "fun" watching a film like this, and if it is meant to be, the social elements should be dialed down. Both are prevalent, and at different times, in your face while watching this effort. In the end, it becomes a mess of a film, with a heart buried deep beneath buckets of gore.
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 4.4 IMDB Rating 5.2
Bloodwork (2012)
This was a pleasant surprise. Here I was expecting a cheap B-movie, and was greeted with a genuinely disturbing mixture of science fiction and psychological horror, that has more going on under the hood than it first may seem. The concept of a paid drug trial gone horribly wrong is one that is ripe with horrific potential, and also rather fresh. This was the first to really explore the theme, with several others in the following years. But there's a reason this is the most well-known out of the small batch. It's not perfectly directed, but pulled off with just enough finesse, a decent cast, and plenty of scenes that will get under the skin of those with an aversion to needles and creepy crawlers. The psychological themes that the film toys with are also astonishingly unnerving, and it ends up becoming an utterly effective little nightmare. At times, it reminded me of David Cronenberg's "Shivers", without the slimy slug creatures. To those who enjoy such films, this is sure to be a treat, and one with an uncomfortable scene for everyone.
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People who added this item 629 Average listal rating (356 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
This is one of the most controversial horror films of all time, though no one would guess it today. But upon it's release in the UK, it was banned, censored, cut, destroyed in reviews by the moral majority and it's director, Michael Powell, was subjected to public ridicule unheard of at the time, and eventually blacklisted from Hollywood. It was years on, before this film would even receive a proper release, of any kind. One might think this means that this is a film filled with abundant gore and debauchery, but this couldn't be less true. The reason, it would seem, that Peeping Tom was so controversial upon it's release, is that it asks the viewer to empathize with it's madman. It shows us his crimes, but also his regret, his sadness, his own suffering, and his desire to be happy. This is nothing groundbreaking by today's standards, but it was scandalous back in the day, when minds were evidently much more closed.

And this is the film's greatest strength. The performance of Carl Boehm as the film's antagonist is a masterful one, in which the full range of emotions is present. And the rest of the cast is also fantastic. It's also a beautifully photographed, and handsomely directed film, with bright colors and rich shadows. Like many films of it's time, it is dated upon modern viewing, but it is no doubt, a fine and influential film. It also holds some deeper thematic value, in it's deconstruction of inherent voyeurism in filmmaking, and our obsession with violence and death as a culture.
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People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
This one popped up on Netflix relatively unannounced and has been creating quite a stir. At times, I feel it's more of a science fiction thriller, but it has enough moments of isolated horror, and in context the film is overall, horrifying when all is considered. Taking equal pieces from films such as "Ex Machina" and "The Terminator", and then injecting them with thriller conventions and a hint of philosophical, political subtext, the film isn't exactly original, but feels fresh enough in the way that it subverts what is expected of the genre.

Of particular interest are the effects used to bring the film's robot star to life. An equal mixture of stunning practical effects, and CGI, and the vocal talents of Rose Byrne, who through voice alone, imbues the hunk of metal with resonant humanity, and frightening maternal instincts.

The rest of the cast is good as well, with young Clara Rugaard looking to make a name for herself, and Hilary Swank being as dependable as ever. The film toys with theories on the inherent horrors of motherhood, parental instinct and even the ways in which well intentioned measures against fascism, can lead to a kind of fascism all their own. None of the things it says are particularly well elaborated, or original, however, and one can't help but make a mental checklist of all the other sci-fi films that have already tread this water. Still, there's great performances, superb effects, well sustained tension and some frightening moments of paranoia. It's a decent, worthy little effort, if not entirely successful.
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Here we have the "The Room" of horror films. A film, made with all the intentions of being a serious piece of horror fiction, but so laughably insane, and utterly illogical, that it is almost impossible to imagine anyone involved not being in on the joke. What makes this even more baffling, is the fact that this film is directed and written by none other than Tobe Hooper. The man who once gave us immortal classics such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Poltergeist". His career is known to have plummeted in it's later years, to depths unseen by modern horror directors, but this stands out as his worst film, by far. Apparently based off a Stephen King story, it's unclear who thought a feature length film about a demonically possessed laundry folding machine would be a good idea. The results are exactly what you'd expect, except somehow, even more insane than you'd think.

Characters spout crazed dialogue, performances are beyond hammy and the plot is barely held together, and in the midst of collapsing on it's own pointlessness at at all times. There is a decent cast, featuring Ted Levine, playing the world's angriest detective, who frequently spouts the line, "Miserable piece of dog fuck!", and Robert Englund himself, in an incredibly bad performance as a crutch-walking, metal-legged old man whose every sentence features at least six expletives. None of the cast give decent turns, despite some of them being great actors otherwise, and the supporting cast is full of duds. But the film remains an enjoyable watch, if only to laugh and cringe at the spectacle, and wonder just what kind of narcotics the entire crew was on. There are no redeeming qualities. Just unfettered incompetence and weirdness. A must watch, for any horror fan that appreciates "so bad, they're good" films.
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People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6
Much maligned upon it's release, as a "silly" thriller/horror hybrid, this little film has been enjoying a small but steadily growing cult reputation over the years. And for good reason. It may simply feel like a typical heist thriller, with a poisonous snake thrown in, but it's damned effective. Well directed, by Piers Haggard, whom took over after none other than Tobe Hooper dropped directorial duties halfway through shooting, there's no swift change in directorial stylings. It's a smoothly directed, leanly suspenseful film. The cast is exceptional, with Klaus Kinski playing a thief who teeters on the fine line between violent insanity and quiet intelligence for the film's duration, with the ever reliable Oliver Reed playing opposite him. And Sterling Hayden turns in a heroic, loveable performance as a grandfather with knowledge of wild snakes, who's just trying to protect his fragile grandson. The snake itself is a live Black Mamba, and the scenes in which it attacks are handled deftly, never coming across as forced or cheesy, and consistently nail biting. The tension is slowly, cleverly ratcheted up throughout, until the film explodes in a frenzied, edge of your seat ending. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a classically directed, wonderfully acted, thriller with bite.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (69 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6
The 1989 "Pet Sematary" is one of my favorite horror films of all time, and one of the scariest films ever made, in my humble opinion. Ever since it was announced that a remake was being produced, I was incredibly skeptical. But several points, including the directing skills of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, whom gave us the cult classic "Starry Eyes" in 2014, a more than decent cast and the overall quality of recent remakes and reboots, had me hoping that this could be a nice riff on one of King's best stories. Instead, we are met with exactly what I feared.

Every qualm that horror fans have about modern remakes is exemplified by this film. And while it's not the worst horror remake of all time, by any stretch, it is an absolute slap in the face to fans of the 1989 film and King himself. Some of the more well regarded remakes as of late, and those that have always been more warmly received, are ones that find new directions to take their source material in. But films like this are comfortable re-hashing the events of a well directed film, without any of the spark that made them special. For most of it's runtime, this film completely apes the original, even down to individual lines of dialogue. The first half of the film is a boring slog, as we sit through colorless, emotionless re-hashings of the first. The actors all seem to be on auto pilot, with wonderful performers such as Jason Clarke (who has been slumming in crumby horror films a lot lately) and John Lithgow, being absolutely wasted.

And when the film does deviate, it's only in the slightest ways. One of the people who comes back is role-reversed, the gore is more plentiful, the film is more mean-spirited. But gone is the heartbreaking emotional undercurrent of the original, the thoughtful musings on the way we deal with death, the rich cinematography and creepy score. Replaced with nothing but the creaking, groaning gears of the Hollywood money machine. It was difficult, as a great fan of the first film, and King's novel, to even sit through this dreck. I did it, so you don't have to. You're very welcome. Now heed the warning, "Sometimes, dead is better."
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People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.7
This has to be some of the most straight-faced, seriously acted, absolute hokum that I have ever seen. Based on the supposedly "real life" experiences of popular horror novelist Whitley Strieber, and his claims of being abducted by alien beings while on vacation. The Strieber story strains credibility to begin with, and is not even a respected case among extraterrestrial researchers. It's apt enough that Strieber already had made a living for himself as a horror author, and during a period of writer's block, suddenly emerges with a story of alien abduction that he claimed was true.

Strieber himself, penned the screenplay for this film, and even he isn't happy with it, claiming that Christopher Walken plays him completely wrong. Walken's performance is the only thing that keeps the film from becoming unwatchable. The film becomes an overlong joke, the moment the alien visitors are shown on screen. The effects are utterly tacky, horribly fake and simply laughable to behold. The "greys" look as if they are made of paper mache, and the "blue doctors" look like repurposed props from "Phantasm". They're not scary either. They dance, they wiggle, they make kissy-faces, and also anally probe Walken, who seems rather unbothered by all of this. He says "I'll kill you. How dare you?" with no conviction whatsoever. His performance is apt for the most part, with certain scenes obviously being directed in a strange manner. And after being kidnapped, raped and mentally abused by these creatures, in the end, we are treated to a montage of lovely music, and told that the aliens raped Strieber so he would have something interesting to write about, and to save his marriage.

This is the work of either a mentally disturbed man, who paved the way for David Icke, and the new-age conspiracy theories of today, or a brilliant conman. Either way, it's an insufferable, incompetent, downright surreal (in a shlocky way) piece of junk.
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