October 29, 2014

Disappearing Netflix Movies!

As we all know, Netflix cycles through movies on a regular basis. It seems that the big dumps of titles happen at the beginning of each month. It sucks, but it is a fact of life. I am sure it is not something Netflix wants to do, but it is the nature of the game and the contracts that get signed. I would love if everything was available in one place, but the pool keeps getting subdivided and it is getting annoying. Well, that is a discussion for another time. Anyway, I thought I would highlight a few expiring titles that you may want to watch before they disappear. Yes, there are more than these, so check your queues for expiration dates!

October 28, 2014

Hudson Horror Show X is Coming!

If you know me, you know how much Hudson Horror Show means to me. It is not something I can easily explain, and also something that has grown over the course of the group's nine shows over the past five years. I think what really struck it home for me was how I felt when they almost folded following the loss of their venue. Fortunately, the venue was bought and an agreement was struck allowing them to continue playing host to the movie marathon. This led directly to the success of their return show this past August, and looks to continue with the impending success of HHX (their upcoming tenth show).

October 27, 2014

NEWS: Benedict Cumberbatch Cast as Dr. Strange!

So, the big news in the comic book world today was the casting of Dr. Strange. It is a character that has had much said about in recent months as it seems different stars were being considered daily. Among the names I recall reading about were Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, David Tennant, Keanu Reeves, and I believe I recall Tom Hardy at some point. Well, the decision has been made and it is Benedict Cumberbatch. You know what? I am all right with this choice. This news comes courtesy of Deadline.

October 26, 2014

Con Recap: Chiller Theatre Fall 2014

If it's Halloween, it must be Chiller. That's right, it is that time of year again, when I make my biannual migration to the Sheraton hotel in Parsippany, NJ. Now, the horror guest lineup was not as strong as it has been at past shows, but that doesn't change the fact that there were a lot of cool people I wanted to meet. So, a few friends and myself piled into a car made the relatively short drive to the hotel. We were all buzzing with excitement for what the day would bring. We knew we would be fighting crowds all day, but we were ready for that if it meant getting to meet some cool celebrities, and maybe make some new friends.

October 23, 2014

Movie Review: Trick or Treat (1986)

The horror genre probably has the most dedicated fanbase of any genre. Period. I really don't think you can argue that (maybe, but that's not the point). Even within the beloved genre, there are movies that should always be remembered, those that should be immediately forgotten, and those that are worth bringing up once in awhile. Yes, that pretty much covers anything, but when you are a big fan of a genre, it takes on a lot more meaning and I am pretty sure many of you had titles jump immediately to mind. One of those once in awhile movies is Trick or Treat, the 1986 heavy metal horror/comedy notable for appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne.

October 22, 2014

Movie Review: The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is one of those titles that just sticks in the brain, even if you know nothing else about the movie. That is pretty much my entrance into this relatively obscure film. It is a movie I had often heard mention of by those in the know, but it was never anything more than a passing reference. Of course, the title is probably at an all time high now, with the impending remake and the recent Blu-ray release (it's first since a VHS release back in the day). It is a movie that has a title that inspires dread and an iconic image of it's antagonist, a hulking man wearing a burlap sack for a mask.

October 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Terminator is a Horror Movie

With Halloween bearing down on us, I have been having some fun watching horror movies, many of which I had not seen before. While I enjoy horror at any time of the year, there is something about the chill in the air, the dying of the leaves, and Halloween that just amplify the effects. With that said, tonight's movie is a little off the beaten path. It is a movie that you do not normally see listed with horror films, but if you stop and think about it, there are a lot of similarities and you will how well it fits in. The movie is none other than The Terminator. I sense some of you are giving the screen your quizzical face. I get it.

October 19, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is an endlessly fascinating film that does something that many other big action type films forget to do, and that is be entertaining as well as intelligent. These things are not mutually exclusive. This is why we need to celebrate it when we find it. Snowpiercer is a big, explosive, crowd pleasing science fiction/action film, but it is also smart and has a lot to say. It is a movie that tries hard to not necessarily be believable, but simply be believed. That is all this movie needs to be. It is not a literally believable movie, but it is easy to be believed within its own creation. It is endlessly fascinating and allows for as much or as little to be read into it as you want.

Movie Review: Who Can Kill a Child?

So, this past weekend some friends put on a horror marathon at a local drive-in, digital projections of some classic and not so classic horror films. It was an eclectic mix of titles, with only one likely known by mainstream audiences (that being Prom Night), filled with movies I had never sen before, for better or worse. One of those movies, while far from being the most outlandish, had an interesting effect on my mind. As it ended, I walked over to my promoter friends and said “What the F--- did you just make me watch?” I was serious too, the movie was really rather demented and effective. It is the sort of movie you may wonder what sparked the idea (or the novel, in this case).

October 18, 2014

Movie Review: Death Smiles on a Murderer

In my research into cult, exploitation, and horror films of the past (well, not so much on purpose, but all that I happen to come across), I have found a few prolific directors whose work is a distinct learned taste. They are not directors you are going to love right away, but if you give them time you will find something to really grab onto. Good examples of this sort of director are Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, and the director of the movie in question here, Joe D'Amato. These guys all made a lot of movies, some are good, and some are really, really bad. The movie that stands accused is Death Smiles on a Murderer. Rather evocative title isn't it?

Movie Review: The Psychic (1977)

Over the few years I have been getting into the deeper cuts of horror, Lucio Fulci has stepped up and fast become one of my favorite directors. With that said, I have not seen nearly enough of his films and that is something that really needs to be rectified. The good thing is that this Halloween season has been kind to me and I have been able to scratch a couple more titles of the list. One of the newly seen is the lackluster, but not terrible, Aenigma. The other is the movie at hand, The Psychic, also known as Sette note in nero. I saw it projected at a drive in (DVD, sadly not 35mm, but was still fun) and really enjoyed it.

October 16, 2014

Movie Review: Eaten Alive! (1980)

In recent years there are few areas of film that I have fallen for more than Italian horror. There is just so much to love, they are the movies that keep on giving. Now, my knowledge of them is not always the best, but it is growing all the time. What is fun is watching a movie you think you had seen, only to realize you haven't. The movie in question is Eaten Alive! and is not to be confused with Tobe Hooper's movie of the same name, sans exclamation point. This one, from Umberto Lenzi, has more man eating cannibals and less man eating alligator. Still, I would have sworn I had seen it before, but I think I just saw other movies that were related to it.

October 15, 2014

Movie Review: Mansion of the Doomed

Just like the other day I had a movie that was on and off my radar a few times over a number of years finally get watched, I now have another previously mentioned movie that had until now escaped my eyes. The movie is called Mansion of the Doomed, and unlike Intruder, I expect even fewer people to know what this movie is. The DVD of it was given to me a year or two ago, but never got watched, now I see it up on Full Moon Streaming, and what do I do? I stream it, despite having the DVD not five feet from where I sit. Now, it is not a great movie, but it is one certainly better than I was expecting.

October 14, 2014

Movie Review: Intruder (1989)

Every movie fans has lists of movies. There are lists for movies they love, movies the hate, movies they love but don't want anyone else to know about, favorite horror movies, favorite comedies, you name it, they have (or can have at a moments notice) a list for it. The most basic of these lists are the movies they have seen and the movies they haven't seen. The movies on the not seen list can be there for any number of reasons and likely run the gamut from all-time classics to obscurities you heard mention of in some long forgotten conversation, some are just titles you see on a shelf and just shove to the side. Intruder is one of those shoved to the side movies. It has also now migrated to the movies I've seen list.

October 12, 2014

Movie Review: Candyman

In my estimation, he does not get the same respect that other horror killers do. He may not have the notoriety of a Freddy, or a Jason, or a Michael, or a Pinhead, but he should not be forgotten or underestimated. He should stand as an iconic killer of the 1990's, not to be overshadowed by the likes of Ghostface. Seriously, if you match them up, the all too human Ghostface would be gutted from groin to gullet. Of course, I am talking about none other than Candyman, the movie and character that would put Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen on the map. It is a movie that mesmerizes, haunts and terrifies. It holds up to this day and should not be forgotten.

October 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Judge

The trailer for The Judge made it look like an interesting look into the relationship of an estranged father and son, a dissection of what makes them tick, what drove them apart, and ultimately what will bring them back together. Well, that might be a little bit more ambitious than what we actually get, but it sounds good, right? Frankly, this movie left me tired and uninspired when it comes to actually writing about. Besides having a solid cast, there is not a lot going in this movies favor. It is over-dramatic, sentimental, and hardly entertaining. The end result of this movie feels like an experiment showing Robert Downey, Jr. playing it straight outside of his Iron and Sherlock performances of late.

Movie Review: Dracula Untold should have been left that way.

Dracula Untold is a story that would have been best left untold. While, I think there are some good ideas to be found in here, there is a lot not to like. The entire project feels lackluster at best and it never really picks up energy. I kept watching, waiting, hoping, for something to flip the switch and really take off and give me something really good, but it never happened. I guess at some point I actually did have some hopes somewhere along the line. I shouldn't have. There was a time when vampires were monsters, when they were scary, when you would be terrified to know there was a vampire around. There is a bit too much romanticizing of the vampire going on these days.

Movie Review: Cannibals

Italian filmmakers in the 1970s and 1980s would see something becoming popular in another country and then attempt to replicate it by jumping on the bandwagon and then making some absolutely insane movie that is somewhat but not really related and make it quite entertaining. Think about what Fulci did with Zombie (or rather, Zombi 2). It seems that at this time there were other countries looking to get in on the fun as well. The Italians hit it big with cannibal movies like Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and Last Cannibal World that others wanted in on the fun. Enter French producers who enlisted Jess Franco to make his mark on the flesh eaters. The result was the lackluster Cannibals.

October 9, 2014

Movie Review: Yakuza Weapon

It has been awhile since I watched one, but over the years, I have come to really enjoy Japanese splatter films. You know, moves like Machine Girl, Frankenstein Girl vs. Vampire Girl, Helldriver, all sorts of stuff like that. As it turns out, I had a related title about to expire in my Netflix queue. I know this is October and I should be watching horror movies, but this feels close enough, like the relationship between cult horror and exploitation. The movie in question is Yakuza Weapon, a wildly over the top science fiction (well, maybe not) and action, blended with the crime film. It stars Tak Sakaguchi of Versus fame (there is another movie you should check out).

October 8, 2014

Movie Review: Phantoms (1998)

After watching the latest film from David Fincher, the fantastic Gone Girl, I decided to step into Ben Affleck's past and revisit one of his horror entries. That movie is none other than Phantoms, a favorite whipping boy of the horror elite. At this stage of the game, it has largely been forgotten, or, at most, relegated to the infamous bit in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, when the duo meet Ben Affleck (playing himself) and saying "You the bomb in Phantoms, yo!". To be honest, I was really rather curious to see if it remained as terrible as I remembered it, or if time had been kind enough to let it be revealed as something more, something worthy of our time rather than a perpetual Affleck career speed bump.

October 7, 2014

Movie Review: Tenebrae

Much like Fulci, Dario Argento is another director who I really admire and enjoy his films, but have seen precious few of them. It is not something I am proud of, but at some point I need to step up my horror game and start scratching titles off the old list of shame (kind of like what I did with Aenigma the other day). While I still need to see Profondo Rosso and Inferno, not to mention Four Flies on Grey Velvet, I did get to scratch off one of Argento's bigger titles. That movie would be none other than Tenebrae (or Tenebre, seems to be some dissent on the spelling), known in cut form as Unsane. I have to say, not bad at all.

October 5, 2014

Movie Review: Night of the Seagulls

There was a time when I would look at Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead movies and just crack a joke, be bored, or both and then move on to something else. Fortunately, I have grown and matured since then. I am not saying they are great films or that everyone should like them, but they do have something to offer the horror fan. Granted, the third entry, The Ghost Galleon, is pretty bad, save for an excellent ending, and they generally do not make much sense (then there is the Planet of the Apes cut of the original, don't ask). With that said, I kind of dug Night of the Seagulls, the final Blind Dead flick.

Movie Review: Gone Girl

Wow. What else can I say? David Fincher is a masterful director. Sure, his movies may not all be perfect, but the guy is an amazing talent and nowhere is it on display better than in Gone Girl. With this movie the audience is played like a harp from hell. I had no idea just how far this movie would go. Simply put, the trailers do not even hint at what goes on in this movie. What they do is give a great set up and an interesting hook. Hell, while that hook may have been interesting, I was still unconvinced this would be good, or be able to justify its lengthy run time. Belive me, it did justify it.

Con Review: FANtom Fest 2014

Every day it seems like there is another convention being announced. If you wanted to, you could probably go to a different convention very weekend of the year. Believe me, if I could do that, I would, no doubt about it. There is something about going to a convention and letting the outside world slip away while you meet celebrities. It gets even better when you realize that the Celebrity guests are people and fans too, it lets you relax and have some great conversations. The show in question now is FANtom Fest, a first time event held in Scranton, PA.

October 3, 2014

Movie Review: Paganini Horror

When it comes to trashy Italian horror, there are a number of names you can look up and find plenty to be entertained by. One of those names happens to be Luigi Cozzi, often credited as Lewis Coates. He may not have been quite as prolific as some, and his name does not come up as often as, say, Lenzi, Bava, Fulci, or even Mattei, but he is not to be overlooked. I would highly recommend Starcrash and Contamination, these are fantastic and goofy flicks, and do not forget his pair of Hercules movies with Lou Ferrigno. The movie at hand is the final fictional feature he helmed, Paganini Horror. It is a lesser film to be sure, but still one to be savored.

Movie Review: Annabelle

Last year James Wan brought us The Conjuring, a fantastic old school ghost story that did not tell of anything new, but it was executed fantastically. There is something about the way that he is able to execute the familiar that is amazing. It is not easy to pull of legitimately good mainstream horror, but he does it. The runaway success of the film pretty much assured we would get more from that universe. After all, it was based on the experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and they have stories to tell. One of those tales was teased in The Conjuring, the creepy doll named Annabelle is back in a movie of the same name.

October 2, 2014

Movie Review: Aenigma

Despite only seeing a handful of his films, Lucio Fulci has climbed his way up my favorite directors list. Still, I have always heard that his movies tailed off in the latter years prior to his untimely death, but had not had the pleasure of seeing any of them. Well, there is Cat in the Brain, which I really kind of like. Here I am with one made a couple of years prior to Cat, a little flick known as Aenigma. It is one of the lesser known titles and with good reason. Should you not see this one, you are not missing all that much as it is really not that good of a movie.

October 1, 2014

Movie Review: Black Sunday (1960)

As I have said before, and will likely repeat for a long time, I was very late getting into the deep end of the horror genre. Even having dived in head first, there is a lot of ground to cover and I am not likely to ever fully catch up to where I should be had I gotten in at a more logical age. With that said, one of the directors with whom I have had very little experience is Mario Bava. It is a name I here time and again when it comes to quality horror fare with an eye for the artistic. I figured I should probably watch some of his films. To that end, I have dove in and watched Black Sunday, also known as Mask of the Devil.

Movie Review: The Equalizer (2014)

I have vague memories of The Equalizer television show, but I was more of a Knight Rider and The A-Team kind of guy, besides, I think I keep mixing it up with Spenser for Hire. I guess it really doesn't matter, at some point they will all be adapted to movies with current movie trends (I guess Spenser might be next?). Anyway, the movie take on the 1980's series has arrived with Denzel Washington stepping into the Edward Woodward role. It took theaters by storm in its opening weekend and seems to have been rather well received. Well, now having seen it myself, I enjoyed it but it is far from great. The Equalizer is entertainingly forgettable.

Movie Review: The Boxtrolls

I have to admit, when I went in to see The Boxtrolls, I had no idea what I was in for. Despite the fact that I was really looking forward to it, I had no idea what it was about. Still, Laika, the production company behind the film, has been on quite the roll. They have two features prior to this and they have both been fantastic (those being Coraline and ParaNorman), so with that track record it is kind of like an early Pixar release. Between the gorgeous stop motion animation and their ability to tell tales that appeal to all ages while not pandering to their target audience, there was every reason to believe this would be a success.