Sunday, 26 May 2013

5 Eye Popping 3D Horror Movies

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

I remember falling in love with 3D when I was a kid,  My dad took me to see Jaws 3D and it was a terrifying experience for me.  The image floating arm of the skeleton coming at me from the bottom of the ocean stuck with me for a long time and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  Unfortunately, the return of 3D didn't last very long in the 80's and since I was so young then and living in northern Ontario, I didn't get to have the same experience again for a very long time.
  It's funny to think that horror films would be on the cutting edge on technology during the 1950's with all the B-movies that were being pumped out at the time but "House of Wax" with Vincent Price was the first colour 3D film available and it was also the first to have stereophonic sound.  All the studios were trying to do it back then, from low budget films like Robot Monster to the cinematic thrillers from even the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.  Everybody at that time wanted there films popping out at people.  Unfortunately, like the hula hoop, this craze only lasted a couple years and after 1954 only a handful of titles were produced.
  Until the 80's when there seemed to be a resurgence in the film industry after a western, "Coming at Ya" seemed to spark new interest.  Full Moon's head honcho, Charles Band released, "Parasite" and a year later "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Sin" and other horror franchises, like Jaws and Amityville came shortly after.  Although, it seemed to last longer than before, audiences again grew tired of the 3D schtick.
  However, it didn't completely disappear with IMAX and a few theme parks producing 3D films and shorts throughout the 90's.  It wasn't until 2003, when 3D burst back on the scene but this time for not just horror and sci-fi flicks.  James Cameron used the technique for his underwater documentary, "Ghosts of the Abyss", and Robert Rodriguez used it for his Spy Kids franchise and his Advenutres of Sharkboy and Lava Girl film aiming at a younger generation of film goers.  After that, 3D seemed to finally gone mainstream and the studios realized that there was a market, especially in animated features and action films for this technology.  Today, most blockbuster films have an 3D option at the theatre which allows the audience to choose whether they want to access the 3D world or enjoy the film in 2D.

Here are 5 Eye Popping 3D Horror Movies:

5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D -  It's 1973 and after a quick montage of the original film with Sally escaping a spinning Leatherface, the one police officer in Newt, Texas comes to arrest the Sawyer family.  However, the locals led by Burt Hartman are tired of this kind of shit and take over the investigation.  The angry mob ends up setting fire to the Sawyer house and killing everybody inside except for a baby girl or so they think.  The baby girl is kidnapped by a member of the angry mob and taken to be raised away for the Sawyer family and Newt, Texas.
  40 years later, the baby, Heather, has grown up to be in her twenties and works has a butcher at the local grocery store.  She also likes to bring home bones and make pictures with them, I guess everyone needs a hobby.  Just before her and her friends leave for a vacation, she gets a mysterious letter that her real grandmother has passed away.  When she confronts her parents and she is told that she is adopted, so she runs away vowing never to speak with them again.  Her and her friends head out for there party vacation but plan to stop in Newt, Texas to collect the inheritance Heather has been left.  On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker and now it's more the merrier.
  When they arrive at the address, they are met at the gate by the Sawyer family lawyer, Farnsworth and Heather is told that she now owns a mansion and everything in it.  He tells her specifically to READ the paper work because it is very important and he tells her to call him if she needs any help.  Heather and her friends are totally stoked!  They go check out the house and can't believe Heather's luck.  Ignoring Farnsworth, specific instructions to read the letter,  Heather and the gang decide to go into town to get some supplies but the hitchhiker says he'll just hang around the new house and wait for them to get back.
  While the gang is in town, the hitchhiker decides to rob is brand new best friends. Surprise! Unfortunately, he finds one thing he wasn't expecting behind a heavily locked door, It's Leatherface! And the hithiker is hacked to pieces.  Now that Leatherface is free will Heather be able to share the house with him and become the ultimate odd couple or has Heather luck finally run out?
  I liked the beginning with the original footage montage and then it really went downhill from there.  This film is such a mess that I don't actually know where to begin and this film makes the remakes of Friday the 13 and Nightmare on Elm Street look good.  There were 6 people credited to writing this nonsense and apparently none of then could do math because there are 40 years between 2013 and 1973, not 20 something.  **BIGSPOILER** And what bugs me the most is that they try to turn Leatherface into the good guy?  What the fuck?  I like Leatherface because he's evil!  He cuts people up, makes furniture out of them and eats them.  That's fucking evil, leave it at that.  In the TCM world, you can have other bad characters, with selfish motives and awful actions but Leatherface should always be the evilest mother fucker in the room.**BIGSPOILER**  I wanted to punch the TV hearing ridiculous lines, like "Do your thing cuz!" Really?  I could go on and on, but I wasted enough space on this film.  I wish they would leave the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise alone for a while or at least hire someone who understand the idea and write the decent script.  Someone should take a chainsaw to this film.

4. Parasite (1982) - It is the future! It's 1992 and it looks like some atomic shit has gone down because the towns are barren and people are using silver for currency instead of cash.  Dr. Paul Dean wakes up in his car after dreaming that he created an evil parasite and the government put that parasite into his stomach.  Unfortunately, his dream is real and he's got an evil parasite in his stomach that is itching to get out.  On his travels, he helps a girl in distress in a slow motion fight to the death, only to find out the girl just likes it rough and runs off with her boyfriend.  Dean keeps on moving and gets a room at a local boarding house to work on his experiments to remove this parasite.
  Unbeknownst to Dean or maybe knownst, he is being chased down by a Merchant, an evil government/corporate flunky to retrieve the parasites from Dean and will stop at nothing to get them back.  Yes, parasites because Dean has an extra parasite with him to test shit on to cure himself.  While he's at the local waterhole, a gang of hipster atomic douchebags try and rob him and one of them opens the cannister and is attacked by the parasite.  They beat up Dean, he would have probably won if the fight was in slow motion, but luckily local lemon grower, Patricia Welles saves him and bandages him up and makes him... well.  Now Paul Dean has to grow some sausages to get back his other parasite and stop the evil merchant from destroying more of the world!
  If you have seen any Full Moon films, then you'll know what to expect.  Charles Band does an alright job with his first of many low budget apocalyptic thrillers.  There are some interesting 3D pop outs but nothing to really write home about.  The special effects are okay and the parasite doesn't really get as much screen time as it should.  This is Demi Moore's second headlining role in a "Major" motion picture and you can tell.  There isn't too much going on for about half the movie but it does pick up near the end.  Again, if you like Full Moon productions than you'd probably enjoy this, if not it may not be your cup of tea.

3. Amityville 3-D (1983) - After debunking a pair of elderly con artists in the Amityville house for his tabloid rag, Revealed; John Baxter decides that he should buy the house.  This is a big surprise for his photographer, Melanie; who doesn't know why he'd want to live in that creepy old house after all the grizzly murders that took place but it seems to be an even bigger surprise to John's wife, Nancy, who he has recently divorced maybe he hadn't told her yet.  Move on lady!
  Anyway, when John finally moves in, he finds his real estate agent dead upstairs but things like that apparently happen all the time in John's world, so John doesn't worry to much about it.  He tries to convince his daughter, Susan to move in with him or at least pick a room.  Which she does and all is good on the home front but in the work world, Melanie still has a bad feeling about this house.  One evening waiting for John to return home from work to work more on a story, she is attacked by the house!  John finally arrives home from work, after being held hostage by a crazy elevator, to find Melanie completely shaken and she runs out of the house, swearing never to return!  Will John ever realize that the house contains an evil spirit or will he have to prove once and for all that there is no such things as ghosts?
  This is an okay film that has some moments, like there is a good car fire scene and the ending is interesting.  That's if you like car fire scenes. What made me laugh is that Lori Loughlin (Rad, Full House), who plays the daughter, Susan has the same hairstyle now as she did back then.  Also, Meg Ryan (Joe Versus the Volcano, You Got Mail) plays second banana to Loughlin has her best friend and I think this may be the most convincing role Ryan has ever played.  This was the only 3D picture that Orion made and the effects were pretty simple.  The film starts turning into Poltergeist about three quarters of the way into it which isn't that surprising seeing how successful that film was.  There isn't a lot of blood shed and the story drags a bit.  Not the best Amityville but still fun on a rainy afternoon.

2. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) - After surviving the attack by Paul and Ginny, Jason Voorhees decides it's time to move on and leaves camp Crystal Lake.  However, he needs some new duds and steals some clothes from a wash line and murders the people in their home.  He then moves on to Higgins Haven for a fresh start and some new teens.  Go where the action is. 
  Lucky for him, a group of friends are heading up to Higgins Haven right now.  There is a couple of hippies, Chili and Chuck, a goofy dude, Shelly and his very unimpressed first date,Vera, a young couple, Andy and Debbie and then Chris, who has come up to sort things out with herself and her older boyfriend, Rick.  They arrive at the cabin and are excited about checking everything out.  Unfortunately, a body turns up right away and it's Shelly!  Everyone freaks out but it turns out he's only joking and then everybody hates him.  You suck Shelly!  Debbie decides to go to the store and when the car is leaving it turns out Vera is going instead and Shelly tags along.  At the store, they run into a viscous 80's motorcycle gang, well not gang but trio of ruffians.  The ruffians give Shelly and Vera a hard time but they make it out of the store.  Sadly, while they're backing out, Shelly runs over their bikes.  The leader of the trio, Ali confronts them and smashes the car up but Shelly has been pushed to far and tries to run over Ali!  He and Vera escape unharmed and championed for his brave need.
  Everybody is impressed with Shelly's heroics except for Rick because it was his car that got smashed.  The day is almost over so they all decide to split up and do they're own thing .  Rick and Chris leave the grounds to go camping and the rest of the gang hang out.  However, Ali and his friends have come for revenge and decide to burn down these suckas barn.  After siphoning gas out of the gangs van, they head over to the barn to burn it down. However, Jason is living in the barn and he ain't taking that shit.  Soooooo, they get strategically murdered and Ali gets the beat down of his life.
  Eventually, night comes and people start going missing and during Chris's camping trip with Rick, she explains that she was attack by a horribly deformed man, so she thought she would come back and come to terms with it.  Anyhoo, will this group of friends make it through the night or will Jason slap chop these bitches into oblivian?
  Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Warlock, House) returned to direct the third installment of the Friday the 13th series.  This again was to be the last film, fortunately it did well enough to garner another sequel.  During a lighting check, 3D Effects supervisor, Martin Jay Sadoff threw a Detroit Red Wings goalie mask on Richard Brooker (Dragonslayer)(RIP) and Miner loved it, creating the iconic look for Jason throughout the rest of the franchise.  The 3D aspect of the film is enjoyable, they used the Arrivision, which is a "Over & Under" camera that was the same thing they used in Jaws 3D.   This sequel has some great scenes and a decent body count.  Fun film and one of my favourites in the series. 

1. House of Wax (1953) - Henry Jarrod is an incredible wax sculptor, unfortunately his museum isn't pulling in enough people because he doesn't want to create sensational exhibits  His partner Matthew Burke thinks it's time to shut it down and put his money towards a more profitable business, like shower rods.  Jarrod tells him that another investor, Mr. Wallace is coming to see him that night and will most likely buy Burke out.  When Mr. Wallace arrives Burke scurries up into an upstairs office and Jarrod shows Mr. Wallace, his beautiful creations.  Mr. Wallace is impressed but he cannot make any deals until he comes back in 3 months.  Jarrod is excited and sees Mr. Wallace out.  However, Burke doesn't like the idea of waiting 3 months and starts fighting with Jarrod.  Burke sets Jarrod's wax sculptures on fire and burns the museum down with Jarrod in it.
  Sometime later, Burke is at a cafe with his girlfriend, Cathy and he tells her that he's finally received the 25 thousand dollars from the insurance company for the fire.  Cathy convinces him that they should go to Niagara Falls for a vacation and get married.  Burke heads back to the office to collect the rest of his money from his safe and he is attacked by a man with horrible burns on his hands and face.  The assailant quickly wraps a rope around Burke's neck and hangs him in the elevator shaft.
  Easy come, easy go for Cathy because she's got a date the next night and her friend and neighbour, Sue Allen helps her get ready.  Later that night, Sue goes up to see how Cathy's date was and finds her dead in bed! You know what I mean, deceased!  The murderer, a horribly burned man then chases Sue Allen through the streets to her boyfriend's house.  She explains to Scott, her boyfriend what happened and they call the police.  The police investigate and a few days later, both Burke's and Cathy's bodies go missing from the morgue.  The police as usual are baffled.
  Co-incidentally,  Henry Jarrod resurfaces and has a meeting with Mr. Wallace's to ask for help in rebuilding his wax museum.  Mr. Wallace asks how he could create such glorious sculptures with his mangled hands and Jarrod explains that even though his hands are burned, he has taught his assistants how to create his works of art.  They open the museum but this time, Jarrod focuses on the horrors of life instead of the beauty and even has real life crimes section including Burke's hanging.  When Scott and Sue come to the museum, Sue can't believe how much the Joan of Arc statue looks like Cathy. It's unreal!  Has Jarrod gone to far in creating life like images out of wax or has his mad genius only just begun? And who could the hideously burned man killing people be? Hmmm?
  Vincent Price is pure genius in this role and I really love this film.  This, of course, being the first colour 3D film with Sterophonic sound, so it was really the leader in what the industry would be bringing.  It's funny to see the Yo Yo man doing tricks and thinking that this is cutting edge, but it was back then.  Also, what's great about this film is the story.  Price's character is a gentle man with an eye for beauty but after the fire he seems to have left the beauty behind and has gone mad for the horrors of the world.  There isn't any blood shed to be seen but there are some tasteful moments of suspense and terror that are just as enjoyable.  A classic film that is a must see for any horror aficionado.

So, now that 3D is situated in people's homes and an option for most films, what's next for cinema technology?  Is holographic technology on it's way, I've read that they already brought back a deceased rap artist at Coachella using it.  Will we be ducking Jason's holographic machete, dodging imaginary bullets in our living room or have ghostly figures haunting our own homes in the next few years?  Who's to say but I know that horror films will probably do it first.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Step Right Up for 5 Carnival Horror Films

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

The carnival/midway has always had a dark and magical allure to me.  I remember going during the day as a child and feeling the thrill of the rides and excitement of the games.  And as I got older, I would stay later in the evening and would see another side of the carnival, that had it's own kind of excitement.  There was an element of danger to the late night carnival, that is hard to describe but it had it's own motley cast of characters and it's own kind of strange excitement.  Like drunk people being bought off with huge teddy bears to stop them from arguing with the barkers because they felt like they'd been cheated, or stepping into rides with fresh vomit on the side of the stairs, letting you know that this ride isn't for the weak of heart or stomach, or some shady dealings that happen behind the tents that you can almost hear between sounds of the almost never ending calliope.  These moments were just as fascinating to me and brought just as many thrills as any ride on the Gravitron or the Zipper.  

So Step Right Up for 5 Carnival Horror Films

5. Night Tide (1961) - During on an onshore leave from the Marines, Johnny Drake visits a seaside carnival.  He ends up in Jazz club and while he's bopping, he notices a pretty girl sitting alone.  He heads over and asks to join her but only a few minutes after sitting with her; a strange woman approaches and speaks to the girl in a foreign language, then leaves.  This freaks the girl out and she leaves the club and so, Johnny follows her.  While he walks(stalks) the girl home, Johnny finds out her name is Mora and she works in the carnival as a Mermaid with her friend/foster father, Captain Murdoch.  When they get to her apartment, Mora dodges Johnny's many attempts to invite himself up to her apartment and finally gives in with a kiss good night.
  The next day, Johnny shows up at Mora's apartment which happens to be above a Merry Go Round and before he goes up to see Mora, Johnny talks to the owner of the merry go round and his daughter, who really, really, really likes coffee.  He learns that Mora's last two boyfriend's were murdered and even though they just met are concerned for Johnny.  He blows them off and heads up to see Mora and when he arrives she offers him breakfast on the balcony.  Over breakfast, he learns that Mora really likes the sea and everything in the sea and thinks that she may actually be a mermaid or at least a descendent of a sirens from Greek mythology.  This would be a red flag but Johnny ignores it, until he talks to Captain Murdoch later that day and he explains to why he thinks she's a mermaid too.  Is Johnny so lonely that he will risk his life to date someone who thinks she's a mermaid? Oh the Terror!
  This is weird thriller that kind of drags after a bit.  I liked the premise of the story but I wish it was executed it better.  Dennis Hopper (Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet) is okay and he just drifts along the film not really doing anything.  There isn't any blood shed or terrifying and it takes a long for things to happen.  The ending has a interesting twist but is still confusing at the same time but who knows if you'll make it that far.  If you can, maybe throw this one back in the sea.

4. Carnival of Souls (1962) - Mary and her girl friends are challenged to a car race by some guys and her friend who's driving accepts the challenge!  They race through the one horse town, through the bush and when they come to the narrow bridge, Mary and her friends careen off the side of the bridge and crash into the water.  The police and the whole town come to save them but it doesn't look like there are any survivors and just when they were going to give up and leave the car and girls in the river, who pulls herself out of the water, Mary!
  Totally freaked out about the crash, Mary gets an organ gig at a church in another town.  On her way to her new town, she passes by an abandoned pavilion and begins seeing images of a creepy man.  She move into her new place and starts her new job, but the creepy man from the pavilion keeps stalking her in her dreams and in real life!  Can Mary escape this creepy man, so she can play her organ in piece?
  I appreciate this for what director Herc Harvey did as an independent filmmaker but I'm not that crazy about the film.  I do like the ending, I think that was pretty cool but it just took so long to get there that it was painful.  Most of the time, nothing is happening and most of the film have nothing to do with a carnival.  Maybe I don't get it and I need to read more about it to really enjoy this but as a film fan I shouldn't have to research it first to enjoy it.  Again, I can appreciate it what Mr. Harvey has done but this just isn't for me. 

3. Carnival of Blood (1970) -A couple at the carnival are arguing and playing the wildly popular Balloon Pop game.  They guy running it gets fed up with them fighting and gives them a bear and sends them off to the spook house ride.  When they come out the other side, the woman has been decapitated!  Luckily, newly appointed D.A assistant, Dan is on the case and drags his fiancee, Laura to the carnival to investigate, even though she is tries desperately tries to explain to Dan that she's scared of being murdered and it's actually the police's job to investigate the crime and his job to prosecute.
  Anyhoo, they head down to the carnival and who's working the insanely popular Balloon Pop game but their friend and neighbour Dan, the creepy middle aged bachelor who lives upstairs and enjoys collecting Teddy bears which he places all over his apartment, and his friend Gimpy, a deformed man with a terrible skin condition, that likes to shout at customers for no reason except that he's angry.  Dan asks some useless questions and then continues his hunt for the killer.  Later another that night another couple is arguing at the incredible Balloon Pop game and shooed away with a free bear.  She also turns up murdered, this time stabbed under the dock.  Unfortunately, she is discovered by Laura and tells Dan that she's going home.  Will Dan be able to find the killer and stop the gruesome murders at the carnival or will he lose everything trying?
  Although at times confusing, this was an okay watch.  Director Leonard Kirtman (Curse of the Headless Horseman, Young Nurses in Love) seemed confused at times on what kind of film he was making.  It starts as a low budget horror and then there are some soft core porn elements that get snuck in, so I'm not surprised that shortly after a few attempts at horror, he followed his passion with pornography. Hoo Ray!  Anyway, the acting is pretty bad but I was surprised to see Burt Young (Rocky, Back to School) make this film debut as Gimpy, but I can see how this led to many creepy best friend roles for him in his career.  I was pleasantly surprised at how violent the murders in this film were and even though there wasn't a budget from what I could tell, the special effects team did a nice job.  People are pulling out intestines everywhere and my new favourite weapon, a rock, got some excellent screen time.  Good old rock.  This isn't a fantastic film by any stretch of the imagination but it's a fun little time waster if you have the patience.  

2. The Funhouse (1981) - After her brother, Joey scares her in the shower, Amy is all ready for her hot date with local gas attendant, Buzz.  Her parents ask her not to go to the carnival because they heard that two girls went missing in the last town the carnival was at and Amy tells her dad that they are going to a movie, so not to worry.  Suddenly, they hear the honking of a horn, so I guess Buzz is here for the his date and Amy skips off to her Prince Charming.
  Amy asks Buzz if the can go to the movies instead but Buzz is adamant that they go to the carnival and reminds her that he still has to pick up her friends.  Great first date.  Buzz picks up Richie and Liz, they get high and head to the carnival.
  At the carnival, Buzz and Richie think it would be cool to stay the night in the Funhouse and convince the girls to stay with them.  So during the last ride of the Funhouse, the four of them sneak of the ride and into the shadows to hide while everything gets closed up.  The park closes down and it's time to make out. Bon chica won won
  During their make out session, the gang can hear voices from below them and peaking through the cracks in the floorboards, they can see a masked carny trying to buy sex from the old fortune teller woman.   Eventually, they come to a price and the masked carny starts getting his groove on but while she's giving him a tug, he pops and she washes her hands because she is done.  The masked carny is furious and attacks the fortune teller for not having sex with him!  He ends up choking her to death with his two hairy palms.
  Now, Amy and the gang are scared and want to go home but for some reason don't know how to leave.  They hear another voice and peak down again to see that one of the carnival barker is giving the carny shit for killing the fortune teller.  Unfortunately, Richie's light falls out of his pocket and down into the room.  The barker sees the lighter and asks the gang to come downstairs.  What is Amy and her friends going to do?  Can they escape the Funhouse or are they doomed to carny torture?
  I'm wasn't that crazy about this film and I was hoping after seeing again, I'd come out with liking it more. Unfortunately, I still feel that it's a little too long and the storyline is a little sketchy.  It takes so long to get to the action, that when it finally arrives it seems rushed and slapped together.  Also, there seems to be a whole subplot on the brother that really goes nowhere and it's frustrating because so much time has been spent with that character, that could have been used in for the main plot.  However, there is a shining star in this whole film, which is the work done by Rick Baker and his team special effect people.  The monster is creepy and it looks like a grown up "It's Alive" creature and there are some good death scenes that are worth catching.  This isn't Tobe Hooper's (Poltergeist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) best work but still it has it's moments and it's worth taking a look.  

1. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) - Young Will Halloway and his chum, Jim Nightshade are excited to see the carnival that is coming and race off into the night when they hear the train pulling in during the night.  When they get to the grounds, they are surprised to see the carnival tents are already up even though they arrived just moments ago.  They sneak into and look around some of the tents but are eventually frightened home by a tent full of spiders.
  The next day, they go to the carnival and notice some peculiar things, like their rigid school teacher seems dazed after a walk through the mirror maze, the cigar store owner disappears after winning a thousand dollars and while peeping into dancing girls show, they see the barber is being undressed magically by ladies.  Umm eww.  The strangest thing they discover is the merry go around that can make you young again if it's spun backwards.   They see it when they sneak in back into the carnival when it's closed again that night.  However, Mr. Dark, the proprietor of  the carnival catches them and tries to buy their silence off with tickets but the boys run away and become the enemy of the evil Mr. Dark.  Now that Will and Jim are on Mr. dark's shit list, they go for help from the only person who hasn't been taken in by the carnival, Will's old man, Mr. Halloway.  Can he help the boys stop Mr. Dark from stealing everyone's soul or are they destined to be carried off to the next town forever?
  Loosely based on a Ray Bradbury novel, this film freaked me out when I was a kid and just like Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), it has left many creepy memories with me.  Jonathan Pryce plays Mr. Dark in such an excellent way, that you'd believe he's the devil himself.  Jason Robards also does an great job as Will's father, the older man with a bad heart but with the guile and wit that only he can help destroy the evil carnival.  Although, some don't consider this a horror, it does have some intriguing elements of the occult.  It has witches, magic and deals with people selling their souls for what they believe is what they love the most.  This is in no way a blood bath and the body count is pretty low but for a chilling tale about carnivals, it's the best one I've seen all week.

The magic of the carnival hasn't left me completely, I still like going on rides and I'll play the odd game, but it doesn't seem to have the same allure.  Most of the time, my biggest fear isn't the ride but wondering if the ride will stay together.  I'm sure it will, but I always hold on a little tighter now.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

5 More Horror Movie Moms

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

Mom's can be terrific but sometimes they can be really scary!  Especially when they're trying to protect or defend their children.  We've all heard the tale of the women who lifted a car to save her baby, we'll the movies that I found, the mom's here would not only move the car but kill the driver inside as well.  These twisted moms might take it a step to far to keep their children safe whether they like it or not.

Here are 5 More Mom Horror Movies

5. Mommy (1995) - Mrs. Sterling has to go to her daughter Jessica Ann's school to talk to a teacher about Jessica Ann not winning the "Outstanding Student Award".  Even though Jessica Ann doesn't care about winning the award and is happy that the other child has won; Mrs. Sterling wants to convince the teacher to give the award to Jessica instead.  Mrs. Sterling asks Jessica to wait outside in the playground and then goes to visit the teacher.  The teacher is on a ladder hanging decorations when Mrs. Sterling walks in and starts complaining about Jessica Ann losing the award to some Mexican boy.  After hearing Mrs. Sterling complaints, the teacher tells her that the decision has been made and there isn't anything Mrs. Sterling can do about it. So, Mrs. Sterling pushes the teacher off the ladder and then breaks the teacher's neck.  Mrs. Sterling reports to the principal that she found the teacher dead when she got there and they all wait for the police.
  After they get home from talking with the police, Mrs. Sterling's sister, Beth and Mrs. Sterling's boyfriend, Mark welcome them home.  Jessica Ann thinks about how she misses her step-father and her dad because they're both dead and starts thinking maybe their deaths weren't accidents.  Over the next couple days, the police will not let on the murder investigation and the janitor tells Jessica that she is going to the police to rat out her mother.  Bad idea.  Jessica tells her mother and shortly after the janitor has an "accident".  Jessica now realizes that her mom is a killer but how can she convince her mom to stop killing people, especially the ones she loves?
  This movie just dragged on and on for me.  I really liked the premise of the child from the movie "The Bad Seed" is all grown up and having Patty McCormack reviving her character but with such a weak script, it was painful to watch.  The pacing was terrible and there were far too many emotional chats with people.  There aren't too many deaths and the ones that are here are nothing to write home about.  For such a low budget film, I was surprised at how dry the film was and the humour seemed to be sucked right out of the film.  Dull, dull film and I heard the sequel to this was worse.  For some reason, Blogger can't find this trailer, so here is a link to it.

4. Mom (1991) - Emily Dwyer is a kind old lady who lives alone and has a room to rent.  It just so happens that a blind angry vagrant named Nestor is looking for a room, so it's a perfect match!  On the first night, Emily makes a nice meal for them but Nestor tells her that he would rather eat out, but like most old ladies, Emily won't take no for an answer.  Unfortunately, Nestor is a werewolf and he attacks Emily for being pushy.  No means no, grandma!  After a few days, Emily's son, Clay gets worried about not hearing from his mom and goes to check up on her with his pregnant girlfriend, Alice.  When they get to the door, nobody answers the knock, so Clay uses his key and Nestor stops him there and asks what is he doing?  They introduce themselves and Nestor explains that Emily hasn't been feeling well lately.  Clay runs upstairs to check on his mom and he finds her in the bedroom... resting.  She apologizes for making Clay worry and she tells him how Nestor has been taking good care of her.  Clay goes downstairs, apologizes to Nestor for being an ass and then he and Alice see themselves out.
  The next night on his way home from work, Clay decides to swing by his moms place to see how she's feeling.  As he's arriving, he sees Nestor and his mom going for a drive.  He follows them downtown and watches them talking to homeless people. They take one of them for a meal and after supper, they bring the homeless person into an alley.  Clay gets out of his car and follows them, only to see his mom killing and eating the homeless person!  WTF?!  How can he stop his mom and Nestor from eating people?
  This was better than I thought it was going to be.  It's kind of quirky and fun but again it's a little longer than it should be and can drag a bit.  Jeanne Bates (Eraserhead, Mullholland Drive) is excellent as the mom and it's pretty funny to see this nice old lady attack people and eat them.  Also, Brion James (Blade Runner, The Fifth Element) is pretty great as the misunderstood werewolf.  Even though he seems to target and mutilate only pregnant women, he has a heart of gold. I think that's kind of funny.  The issue I have with the film is that it doesn't know what kind of monster it's dealing with because Nestor is a Werewolf but after he bites Emily, she's sometimes a werewolf and sometimes a ghoul.  It's weird and confusing but adds to the B-Movie laughter.   Anywhoooo, it's a fun little time waster and if you see it, you'll be pleasantly surprised.  No trailer, here's a clip.

3. Straight Jacket (1964) - Lucy Harbin returned early from a trip to find her husband in bed with another woman! Sooooo, she grabbed an axe and decapitated the both of them, not knowing that her young daughter, Carol was watching!
  20 years later, Carol has been living on a farm with Lucy's brother, Bill and his wife, Emily and has lived a pretty normal life.  She's a sculptress, has a rich boyfriend/secret fiancee, Michael and is excited that her crazy mom is coming home.  When Lucy arrives, she is nervous but after being welcomed back with loving arms by her family, she starts to settle in nicely.  Carol shows her around the farm and even takes her out shopping for a new dress and wig(?).  The next day, Carol introduces Lucy to her secret fiancee, Michael and there are some seriously awkward moments with Lucy hitting on Carol's boyfriend.  So, Carol cuts the visit short and they leave for the afternoon.  Just after the leave, Lucy's doctor from the sanitarium drops by on his way fishin' to see how she's doing.  Unfortunately, this sets Lucy off and the doctor tells Bill and Emily that he'll have to drive Lucy back to the sanitarium because she is still crazy, sorry.  Angry and afraid Lucy runs off into the farm.  While looking for Lucy, the doctor loses his head, literally because he is decapitated in the barn.  Has Lucy gone back to chopping off heads and if so, who's next?
  This was a pretty fun film.  Directed by William Castle (13 Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill) and starring Joan Crawford (Trog, Berserk), who in the later part of her career choose to do a lot of strange horror films.  No matter, she is still great in this film as a crazy woman trying to protect her daughter.  I was surprised at how violent this film is for the year it came out.  The special effects are not realistic but there are a number of decapitations that are pretty enjoyable to watch.  A young Lee Majors makes his first appearance on film in this but he's not in it very long and is uncredited.  All and all, if you like William Castle's work, you'll like this.  It has it's own charm and Joan Crawford with an axe is truly terrifying.

2. Mama (2013) - Years after his brother, Jeffery went crazy killing his ex wife, business partners and kidnapping his two daughters, Lucas has not given up the search to find them.  His cheques are starting to bounce but he has one last team of hunters looking and today is his lucky day.  These bumbling hunters end up catching a glimpse of Jeffery's abandoned car while taking a piss and follow a trail to an empty cottage sitting abreast to a beautiful lake.  They go inside and discover a mountain of cherry pits and two feral girls ready to attack them from the top of a moldy fridge.  So, they slowly back out of the house and call Lucas.
  Lucas and his musician girlfriend, Annabel go to the hospital and meet with Dr. Dreyfuss to talk about the girls, Victoria and Lilly.  After a very brief consultation, they let Lucas in to see the girls and he gives Victoria a pair of glasses that she desperately needs but survived without for 5 years.  Now that she can see, she thinks Lucas is her dad but he lets her know that he's her uncle but a bond has formed.  How touching.  Lucas and Annabel have to go to court to gain custody because the mean old Aunt doesn't think an out of work graphic artist and a musician in a small apartment downtown would be good place for these emotionally scarred girls to live right now. Bitch!  But Dr. Dreyfuss strikes a deal with them and if he can have access to the girls and study them, Lucas and Annabel can have a free house.  Deal!
  Annabel quits her band and they all move into the suburbs but once they're there, they notice that the girls are acting strange and are talking to someone or something at night.  Dr. Dreyfuss looks into this and it turns out that during the 5 years they lived alone in the woods, they came up with a "Fictional" character named Mama to look after them and Dr. Dreyfuss thinks Victoria may be pretending to be her.  However, after another session with Victoria, Dr. Dreyfuss looks into the story of Mama that Victoria told her and discovers that it could be real.  Back at the house though there's trouble!  Something or someone nearly cripples Lucas by tossing him down the stairs, so now Annabel must take care of these kids while Lucas is in a coma and she may have to fight a supernatural entity at the same time!
  I wasn't too crazy about this film.  I really like the idea but there are some issues with the story that didn't make sense and the second half of the film the director really should have gone with a less is more mentality.  I think the Mama character is good until you see her.  As a dark shadow, or a whisper in the room but when you see her, she becomes a generic monster faced creature that moves the same way monsters have to move since Ringu and it really loses it's bite factor.  Also, I noticed that even though it's night time, there is a lot of light coming from outside, which is confusing. I noticed the same thing in "Insidious" as well and it drove me nuts.  Like I said earlier, there are some creepy scenes but I feel the film loses its momentum near the middle and I really didn't like how they wrapped it up at the end.  Other people really seem to dig it, so give it a shot if you want but I just thought it could have been a lot better.

1. Mother's day (1980) - Three former college friends, Abbey, Jackie and Trina get together for their annual retreat.  This year the girls are getting out of the city and going camping.  Unfortunately, they've chosen a dangerous spot in the woods and are attacked by 2 hillbillies, Ike & Addley and stuffed into their own sleeping bags, then dragged back to their house.  Back at the house, they find the hillbillies mother pulling the strings and giving the order to her boys.  She is training the boys to be the best rapist/serial killers ever and now they have three new victims to practice with. I guess, you gotta have goals and prcatice makes perfect.  Can these city girls escape these backwoods hillbillies or are they destined to die in the beauty of nature?
  This was actually pretty good and I really enjoyed it.  It was written, directed and produced by Charlie Kaufman, bother of Lloyd Kaufman, head honcho of Troma and it not only was despised by Roger Ebert for it's violence, gore, rape and torture scenes but it also got banned from by the BBFC but wasn't considered a Video Nasty.  There isn't really anything groundbreaking, the acting isn't fantastic or the story doesn't make you want to be a better person but it's a got a a lot of violence and there is a funny twist at the end that will make you smile.  If you like Troma, this one's for you and if you don't then it's you're loss. 


After seeing these films, you realize that sure your mom can be pushy and bossy sometimes but she'll always be in your corner and at least she's not murdering people.  So send her some flowers, maybe some chocolates and give her a hug because I'm sure if you did want someone knocked off, she would loan you the shovels and have hot coffee for you after a cold night of digging a shallow grave. Thanks mom!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

5 Mexican Horror Movies

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

Mexico has been noted for many things over the years, amazing food, wonderful beaches and resorts and a vibrant history but very little is heard of their incredible cinema.  Unfortunately, with the exception of a few directors like Guillermo del Torro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and a handful of others, I haven't heard of that many Mexican films, especially horror films, outside of the insane B-movies that Gordon K. Murray brought back and the wrestling films with Santo, the Blue Demon.  So, I thought I'd start to explore Mexican Horror cinema and see what I could come up with. 

Here are 5 Mexican Horror Movies

5. El Baron del Terror (aka Brainiac) (1962) - It's 1661 and Baron Vitelius of Astara is on trial for a laundry list of offenses that the church will not stand for.  His only friend, Marcos Miranda tries to sway the inquisition, but their minds are made up already and want to burn the Baron.  Just as the inquisitors set the flame to the bound Baron, a comet passes by overhead and the Baron screams that he will return, like the comet in 300 years and kill the ancestors of all who have judged him.
  300 years later, Reinaldo Miranda and his lady, Vicky are off to the observatory to see Professor Milan about finding a star.  When they get there, Milan is looking for a comet that is suppose to pass over them again like it did 300 years ago.  Eventually, Vicky finds the comet on the telescope and Reinaldo sees something break loose from it and come crashing down to Earth.  He convinces Vicky to go with him and off they go searching for comet debris.  How fun!
  Unfortunately, the comet debris ends up being the Baron, who has returned to get his vengeance on the people who have judged him. However, 300 years on a comet makes a Demon/Sorcerer/Man peckish, so he changes into a weird demon with a long tongue form and starts sucking the brains out of a young policeman.  When he finishes, the Baron runs into Reinaldo and Vicky, then tells them he didn't see any debris over there and that they shouldn't go look, so Reinaldo and Vicky beleive him and go home.  The Baron spends no time waiting and invites all the ancestors to a party at his masion(?) and begins planning his revenge!  He starts with the ancestor of the head inquisitor and his daughter.  He eats their brains then sets them on fire. Payback's a bitch, yo, and then continues through his list of unsuspecting victims.  After a number of murders that obviously tie back to the Baron's party, the police are stumped and little does Reinaldo know is that Vicky may be next on his new friend's list.  Can anyone stop him?
  This movie is hilarious!  If you enjoy Mystery Science Theatre, Ed Wood films or absurd 50's films then you'll love this.  You have to hand it to producer and distributor, Gordon K. Murray because he found to real treasure trove of these films down in Mexico, like the Santa Claus film (1959) and the Aztec Mummy series.  The script is over written, especially in the first scene, the acting is terrible and the mask for the monster is so crazy!  I love it!  This movie is weird, fun and only clocks in over an hour, so it's definitely worth having a watch.

4. La Tía Alejandra (aka Aunt Alejandra) (1979) - After Rodolfo's grandmother dies, Aunt Alejandra comes to live with him and his family.  At first his wife, Lucia is very excited because Aunt Alejandra is wealthy and their bills are piling up but Rodolfo doesn't want anything to do with her money.  Two of the children, Andres and Marta are happy about Aunt Alejandra moving in but Malena, the oldest is suspicious and becomes more concerned when she walks in on Alejandra performing a some sort of black mass ritual.You really should knock first.
  Things start to go really bad, when Andres leaves a roller skate on the stairs and Aunt Alejandra trips on it and hurts her hip.  It's not to long after Andres dies from a similar incident, his neck breaks when he falls down the stairs on his skates.  With the family in grieving, Malena thinks she is the one that must stop the evil old woman, but how can she prove that her aunt is a witch and save her family?
  This was good but pretty straight forward.  Isabela Corona is fantastic Aunt Alejandra, she plays it to the tee.  She doesn't want to be a bother, wants to help financial and gets her feathers ruffled pretty quickly if she doesn't get what she wants.  There are so graphic scenes but really it just kind of plods along and nothing really gets settled until it's too late.  Not a great film but a better witch film than I've seen in a while. Also at one point puppets attack people, so it does get points for that.  Sorry, I can't find a trailer but the complete film isn't hard to find.

3. Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo (aka Even The Wind is Afraid) (1968) - Claudia has a terrible nightmare.  She dreams about hearing her name being called in the darkness and when she gets up to search out the voice, she finds a girl hung by her neck beside her bed.  Then she wakes up in her bed in the all girls school and starts screaming in terror.  The doctor finally calms her down and tells the Bernarda, the Principal that Claudia should stay in bed and rest for the day but the evil old bruja sends her to class within the hour.
  Claudia goes to class and with her gaggle of friends, when they come across a tower that is usually locked.  One of the girls convinces the rest that they should go inside and look around but when they do Claudia recognizes the inside of the tower from her dream!  She tells the girls that there is a door at the top of the stairs and it's painted red.  Her friends call bullshit on her and they all go up the never ending stairs to prove her wrong.  When the get to the top, the door is red but Principal Bernarda catches the girls in the abandonded tower.  Bernarda revokes their week vacation pass and forces them to do school work during the vacation time.
  Over vacation week, Claudia is still having nightmares and other girls think they may be seeing things in the dark as well.  Eventually, Lucia, the Vice Principal tells the girls that one of her favourite students hung herself in the tower.  Is Claudia and her friends seeing the ghost of this girl and what does it want from her?
  This was pretty good, reminded me a lot about giallo picture from Italy but without all the blood.  The story is good but I think it could be trimmed a little.  There is a lot of unnecessary scenes in the school about boyfriends and at times looks more like a teen soap, then a horror movie.  Not a lot violence and but there there are some creepy scenes for sure.  If you like your horrors with a little mystery than you may enjoy this one. 

2. Santa Sarge (1989) - Fenix is a feral young man who lives in a sanitarium.  Inside his padded cell, he has a fake tree to climb on and a basket to sleep in.  During an interview with the sanitarium doctors, Fenix flashes back to when he was a young boy and lived with the circus.  He remembers that his father was a drunk, womanizing, knife thrower and his mother, Concha is a religious zealot who's temple was going to be destroyed.  He remembers, her and her flock stood outside and blocked the bulldozers from crushing the building while waiting for a priest to come and give them a reprise.  But when the priest arrives, it's no church like he's ever seen and Fenix's mother is worshiping a saint that she created.  The saint is a girl who had both her arms cut off and was raped and now Fenix's mother believes that her blood fills the swimming pool in the temple.  The priest shakes his head and Fenix watches the bulldozer destroy his mother's temple, which almost her kill inside it.  Back at the circus, Fenix hangs out with his only friends, Alma, a girl his age but who is deaf and dumb and Aladin, a little person.  Alma's caregiver is the tattooed lady, who has peaked the interest in Fenix's father.  During a performance, Concha sees her husband and the tattooed lady sneak away out of the tent.  She stops her performance and storms off looking for vengeance and locks Fenix up in the trailer.  She finds them in the back being intimate and attacks them but the tattooed lady escapes with a few cuts and hits the road with Alma.  Thinking that her husband has been fixed, literally, Concha leaves but he attacks her and cuts her arms off before he stumbles out and dies in front of Fenix.
  We come out of the flashback, we're back at the sanitarium and it's movie night.  A doctor leaves a group of inmates, including Fenix into the capable hands of a movie usher and takes off for the evening with his mom or date.  Once the doctor has left, the usher decides to give the group of mental patiants cocaine and takes them to a prostitute for some fun.  Fenix falls behind and sees the tattooed lady, who is also a prostitute now and follows her back to her house.  Fenix wakes up the next morning and hears his mother calling him outside.  He climbs his tree and looks out the window to see his mother, armless and calling him over.  He opens the window and escapes with his mother.  Now that they're together, Concha uses Fenix's arms to bring back her career and to get deadly revenge on anyone who comes between her and her son.  Can anyone save Fenix before it's too late?
   This movie is so insane, visually breathtaking and has some many great twists, it's not funny.  Director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, Holy Mountain) puts together these incredible surreal, twisted stories and makes them hauntingly gorgeous with his cinematographer.  More structured and cohesive than El Topo, this complex story is brilliant in capturing madness and bringing it to the forefront of horror.  There are some very violent and interesting scenes in this that shouldn't be passed up.  This is a strange enjoyable film that should be savored and not rushed through, so take your time.

1. The Devil's Backbone - In 1939, during the final year of the Spanish Civil War, a young boy named Carlos is brought to an all boys home because unbeknownst to him, his father has died in the war.  He is left with Dr. Casares and Carmen, who take care of the children in the orphanage.  They also have a large amount of gold hidden in their safe to fund the Republican Loyalist's who are fighting Franco.  Unfortunately, former orphan and now groundskeeper, Jacinto has been trying to steal this gold for a long time.
  Anyway, Carlos makes some friends and some enemies too.  Apparently, the resident bully, Jaime doesn't like Carlos and will do anything to get him in trouble.  One evening, after being woken up from ghostly noises, Carlos witnesses a poltergeist that knocks over a few water jugs and leaves a wet footprint.  This wakes the other boys up and Jaime is angry about his water and dares Carlos to get more water.  Carlos says he'll only go if Jaime goes with him, so they both head out and creep across the grounds to the kitchen.  Once inside the kitchen, Carlos tries to get his water but the ghost messes with him again, creating a racket that brings Jacinto to come and investigate.  Luckily, Jacinto doesn't find him but the ghost spooks the shit out of Carlos and he high tails it.  Can Carlos find out the mystery of the ghost and help the ghost find peace, so it can move on?
  I think this is one of my favourite Del Torro pictures, I remember seeing it in the theatre and enjoying it as much back then as I did seeing it now.  They do a nice job with the special effects on the ghost and I like they keep him back throughout the story, until he comes out in full force.  The story is really good and has some nice coming of age stuff going on for the young characters.  It'sa great ghost tale that will definitely spook you.  

These films have a lot of similarities to the Italian styles of films.  There is a lot of mystery but there doesn't seem to be a lot of gore, with the exception of Santa Sangre.  However, these were only a few of the films that I looked into and this is only the first step into a long journey of horror from across the border.  Pass me a bloody mojito, I may be here for a while.