City of the Living Dead (1980)

5 Nov

Oh sure, he may look menacing now, but just wait til you see him in action.

City of the Living Dead” was an unplanned selection for 31 Nights of Horror. I had expected to get a new movie in the mail, but it didn’t arrive in a timely fashion, so I was left scrounging for something to take its place. Netflix recommended this one, which didn’t seem familiar based on its summary. By the time I realized what I was watching — and which famously gruesome death scene I was about to see — it was too late. Lucio Fulci had won again. Continue reading

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

31 Oct

You'll be surprised both by Michael Rooker's intense performance and his aw-shucks handsomeness.

A good supernatural horror movie can give me some shivers and shocks while I’m watching it, but it’s the monster-next-door that really unnerves me. Once a film ends, ghosts and ghouls don’t continue to creep me out, but serial killers aren’t as easy to laugh off. These people are out there, hopefully not as much as they seem to be in horror movies, but they do exist. Often, a horror film of the serial killer variety will give you some twinge of the supernatural, or veer into some comfortably unbelievable territory. Not “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” a movie that has lost none of its power to unnerve in the past 30 years. Continue reading

Girly (1970)

31 Oct

It's like "Mary Poppins" on meth, really.

Girly,” originally released with the overwrought title of “Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly,” tanked when it was first released. No surprise there. It’s a very British exercise in silliness and dark humor, and it’s difficult to categorize. It’s not a straight-out comedy, but it’s too light to be horror. There’s a heavy touch of satire, but a heaping helping of madness as well. Whatever it is, “Girly” does have a distinct sort of charm. Continue reading

The Hunger (1983)

30 Oct

Catherine Deneuve is far too cool for school.

On paper, “The Hunger” seems like a film that’s ripe for rediscovery. Billed as an erotic thriller and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, the idea that it’s also a vampire movie is quite intriguing. With sexy vamp tales being all the rage now, this combo seems like something that is in line with current tastes. I had hoped for the sort of smart, sophisticated horror that arises from the mixture of strong artistic vision and quality acting. Unfortunately, “The Hunger” is overly concerned with a lone aspect of its story, and the film suffers for that single-mindedness. Continue reading

Swamp Thing (1982)

29 Oct

Seriously. This monster suit looks like a grade-school art project.

I went into “Swamp Thing” with fairly high hopes. One of my favorite ’80s scream queens is the star, and it was one of horror guru Wes Craven’s first larger budget movies, so I expected a certain level of sophistication, even if it proved fairly tame in the scare department. Imagine my (disappointed) surprise when what I got was essentially a made-for-TV movie. Continue reading

Eraserhead (1976)

28 Oct

I was wholly unprepared for the sheer beauty of "Eraserhead." Even at its most horrific, it's jaw-dropping.

In which I attempt to describe my experience of seeing “Eraserhead” for the first time with the full knowledge that very few people will agree with my opinions and might, in fact, believe me crazy after seeing this film for themselves unless they have already seen it, in which case they will either understand what I mean or will definitely think I’m crazy. Continue reading

Night of the Demons (1988)

28 Oct

Don't watch this movie if you're squeamish about blood. Seriously.

Here’s the exact point when I knew I was going to have a great time watching the fondly remembered “Night of the Demons“:  The female lead, virginal good girl Judy, is on the phone with preppy Jay, who’s trying to convince her to attend a party at spooky Hull House. As he’s trying to talk her into it, he reaches for a box of Vanilla Wafers, and I was completely sold. Any horror movie this snarky is bound to be a fun ride. Continue reading

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

27 Oct

Rather than demanding an old priest and a young priest, Death Bed settles for a middle-aged priest.

In my research for movie reviews, I generally check out the cast and crew listings on IMDB to see if the names seem familiar. I try to keep track of the credits when I see them, but sometimes I forget, so bless the Internet. For “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats,” an unusually high amount of names appear in no other listings, but this is by far not the most shocking information on IMDB. No, the most shocking information is the fact that out of 10 stars, IMDB users have bestowed five upon this film, and that, my friends, is five stars too many. Continue reading

Don’t Look Now (1973)

26 Oct

This shot is the climax of the amazing opening sequence. It's beautifully filmed, extremely atmospheric and a masterpiece from an editing standpoint.

Don’t Look Now” may be the most adult horror film I’ve ever seen. By that, I don’t mean it’s a film full of nudity (although there is some) or cursing (what foul language there is is quite mild) or over-the-top violence. Rather, it’s a horror film that creates its scares through emotions uncommon to most young people — true grief, despair, the hope of an end to such emotions. It isn’t the most heart-pounding horror film I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly the most heart-breaking. Continue reading

The Signal (2007)

26 Oct

Is this the face of a vicious killer? If he wasn't gagged and duct-taped into a chair, I mean.

Another day, another twist on the “Rage Virus” theme which seems a popular choice for filmmakers who don’t want to go full zombie. In “The Signal,” three separate segments of the story are directed by three different directors and in three different styles. Things get a little messy. Continue reading