Sunday, 28 July 2013

5 Islands of Terror

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

I think everybody wishes that they could be whisked away from their every day lives and were able to spend some time on a island far far away.  Well, these lucky souls got their wish, but it doesn't seem like they got what they bargained for.  Instead of relaxing times sipping tropical drinks on on glorious beaches that are made to order, they have been sent on perilous journeys filled with mad scientists, ghosts searching for revenge and mutant creatures that are looking to spill their blood!

Here are 5 Islands of Terror:

5. Uninhabited (2010) - A marine biologist, Beth and her boyfriend, Harry take a vacation on a deserted island.  While there, odd things start happening like, somebody hangs all of Beth panties on the bushes by there camp and they're video camera is being used to record them sleeping.  They search the island and discover a mysterious cabin with a grave marked Coral beside it, which they hadn't noticed before.  Inside the cabin they find a book, that tells them a terrible tale of a girl named Coral, who was poisoned by a fish and when she ask for help, she was raped my nine men.  The book also has some terrifying accounts from other people that have vacationed on the island, warning them to get off the island because the ghost of Coral is out for revenge on anybody who stays on the island.
  The couple tries to laugh it off but more strange things keep happening, like they are hearing voices in the woods and in the cabin and their SAT phone goes missing, which leaves them unable to contact any off the island.  Are this couple being pranked by hidden inhabitants on the island or is the ghost of Coral preparing to get her revenge on the couple for something that happened nearly 100 years ago. 
  This was an alright little ghost movie from Australia.  The pacing is a bit slow but there are some interesting, (maybe obvious) twists but I think it has some good moments at times.  This seems to be a smaller project by director Bill Bennett (Two If By Sea, The Nugget), with some newer talent taking the lead.  Henry James (?) and Geraldine Hakewell (Wasted on the Young, Ad Nauseam) are alright in this with the dialogue that they were given.  It may not perfect but they get the vibe of the situation across.   There isn't a lot of gore in this and the terror comes from the suspense element.  I found the ending to be a little confusing and it's not as satisfying as one would expect.  Still, I've seen worse ghost movies (looking at you Ghost Dad) and if you want to watch people who can afford to go to a gorgeous private island being tormented by the supernatural, then you may enjoy this.

4. The Shuttered Room (1967) - As a child, Susannah Whately was terrorized by nightmares of a dark figure attacking her while she slept at night.  Her parents sent her away to the city, on the advice of her Aunt Agatha, so she could grow up with better opportunities and avoid the Whately curse.  Many years later and after the passing of her parents from a freak lightening storm, she returns home with her, metropolitan husband, Mike to see if they can use the old homestead as a vacation house.  Unfortunately when the arrive, they're warned by the locals that there is a curse on the old Whately place and if the want to live the should go back from whence they came.  Also, Susannah's cousin, Ethan and his gang of middle aged hoodlums like the look of her and start putting some rapey plans together.  Will Susannah and Mike to be able to survive the ghost tales and make this there summer home or will they fall victim to the Whately curse like so many others?
  This was based on a short story by August Derleth and H.P. Lovecraft, so I was really looking forward to seeing this.  However, like most Lovecraft films, there are elements that are hard to transfer over to film or the studio didn't think would work in 1967.  So there as been some alterations.  Although the story starts off well, it begins drifts away from a supernatural element, once they Susannah and Mike arrive in the small town and  it seems to focuses more on, Susannah's cousin Ethan, played by Oliver Reed (Burnt Offerings, Condorman) and his gang of ruffians.  The gang reminds me of the bad guys in Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs", as they are always trying to separate the couple, so they can take advantage of (rape) Susannah.
  There is a creature/person/thing in the film but it's not like in the book.  There is some mild violence but the monster/person never seems as threatening as the gang.  The ending sort of works but it doesn't because nothing is really explained why.  Still, it's worth a reluctant watch but it's a shame that it's linked to Lovecraft's name to it because it sets up an expectation that is never met.

3. Island of Lost Souls (1932) - Edward Parker is found floating a drift at sea and is rescued by a freighter headed to the Island of Dr. Moreau. Dun Dun Dunnnn.  While aboard, Parker sends a message to his fiancee on the mainland, letting her know that he survived his ship sinking and then inspects the strange collection of animals on board being shipped to the small island.  Another passenger on the ship, Montgomery explains that he is Moreau's assistant and they work on various scientific experiments on the remote island.  Moments later, the drunken captain of the freighter starts bullying Montgomery's unusual looking assistant M'ling and Parker steps in to stop the captain from abusing the odd looking man.  Parker ends up knocking the captain da fuck out and although it is much appreciated by Montgomery and M'ling, the captain holds this grudge and has his crew toss Parker overboard when another boat arrives to collect it's passengers for The Island of Doctor Moreau. Dun Dun Dunnn.
  Fortunately, Montgomery brings Parker on board and invites him to the island.  When they arrive Dr. Moreau is surprised to see a visitor and lets him know that he is more than welcome to spend the night and will have crew bring him to the nearest coast in the morning.  Over dinner, Moreau explains that his work on the island is almost complete and soon he will be able to unveil it to the world.  That night, Moreau introduces Parker to a very exotic woman, Lota and leaves them to get acquainted.  While talking they hear screams coming from down stairs, Lota explains that the screams are coming from the "House of Pain", so Parker goes to investigate and discovers a creature jumping around on the operating table of Dr. Moreau!  Parker grabs Lota and tries to escape but are caught by the island mutated inhabitants.  Will Parker ever escape the clutches of the mad doctor or will he become part of his hideous experiments?
  Classic horror movie from director, Erle C. Kenton (House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein) and the first of many adaptation of H.G Well's timeless novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Charles Laughton (The Old Dark House, The Paradine Case) is brilliant in his portrayal of Moreau.  Bela Lugosi (Glen or Glenda, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla) gets second billing as the Sayer of Law, even though he really isn't in the film as much as I would like.  The special effects in this are pretty decent considering it was made in 1932 and the visuals that Kenton filmed really pushed the boundaries for that time.  It was initially banned because of the vivisection scene and need to be edited to fit an X rating in 1958.  However in 2011, the moive was released complete again and only garnered a PG rating.  This is a great film and any lover of classic horror or old films will appreciate seeing this for the first time or seeing it again.

2. Zombi Holocaust (1980) - Gorgeous morgue assistant and part time anthropology researcher, Lori Ridge way has been discovering corpses that have been mutilated and with missing parts in her New York hospital morgue.  Not long after, the hospital staff discover that an attendant from the Moluccas islands has been stealing parts of these bodies for midnight snacks.  They try and catch him but he tosses himself out a 18 story window and dies.  However, before he dies, he whispers to Lori the name of an ancient island god, Kito and she notices a strange tattoo on his chest.
  For some sort of explanation of the recent events, Lori visits Dr. Peter Chandler, who in a small world coincidence, is already investigating a series of body mutilation and theft and invites her along on an expedition, with him, his assistant, George and his girlfriend, Susan to the Molucca's Islands in search for answers.  She agrees to go and soon they are in the Molucca's islands, on their way to visit renowned scientist and island expert, Dr. Obrero.  When they arrive, Dr. Obrero sets them up with a guide named Molotto and 3 porters for their expedition the next day.  Lori is tired and heads for bed.  She takes a quick shower and finds a mutilated head in her bed when she turns down the covers.  Dr. Obero warns the group that this will be a dangerous journey, but Peter and Lori are desperate to find this cannibal tribe on the island of Kito.
  On the way to the island the next day, their boat has engine issues and they stop at a closer island to make repairs.  Unfortunately, one of the porters wanders off in the jungle and is murdered.  When the team finds the body they see the sign of Kito on a tree.  Peter realizes they are on the island of Kito and asks Molotto why he was bringing them to another island?  Molotto tells Peter all the islands look the same and that he was confused.  With one dead porter, a guide that can't be trusted and an island of full of cannibals, will Lori and Peter every find the answers that they are looking for? Oh yeah, there are zombies too!
  This is a fun little jungle/cannibal/zombie horror movie.  Apparently, the script is a mixture of "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals" and Fulci's "Zombie" and it even has Ian McCulloch (It!, Contamination), who plays Peter Chandler and Dakar (Spirits of the Dead, Caribbean Papaya), who plays Molotto in similar roles as in Zombie.  It also borrows some footage from "Zombie", like the church burning and some land rover shots.  Although, the special effects team still did a fantastic job even though they must have had a smaller budget, because some of it may not look as realistic but the gore is still pretty killer.
  My only real issue with this movie is the lack of zombies, which is in the title, so you would think that would be the central focus.  For most of the film, they are just focused on the cannibal aspect and then a third of the way through they introduce the zombies.  They're not the Romero eat your flesh zombies either but more of the old school slave zombies and have a purpose to either capture or kill.  The make up work on the zombies is still good but again I think it could have been better.  Anyway, a great watch for any gore hound with a charming romp through a deadly island full cannibals and zombies.

1. Who Can Kill a Child? (aka Island of the Damned) (1976) - Tom and his pregnant wife, Evelyn take a vacation to visit a Spanish island, Almanzora that Tom loved when he was 12.  When the couple arrives, Tom is put off by a rude child who won't tell him what kind of bait he's using to fish with, but that's okay because he's on vacation and he needs to chill out.  They wander into the town and it looks deserted.  They find the local pub/restaurant and all they find inside is a find burnt chicken on the spit.  Tom asks Evelyn to stay there while he looks for something a store, so he can bring them back something to eat.  Tom leaves and while Evelyn is waiting a young girl comes in and seems distracted by Evelyn's pregnant belly.  Meanwhile Tom has found an empty convenience store and picks up lunch for the two of them.
  When he gets back, the girl is gone and they eat a quick lunch, then go looking for the hotel.  They find a hotel but no one is there either.  They leave to search for people and see an old man walking down the street but before they can ask him any questions another young girl comes out of nowhere and beats the old man to death.  Horrified, Tom chases the girl away and carries the old man's carcass to a barn.  After he closes the barn door, Tom can hear giggling and peaks through the door to see what is happening.  He sees the children have strung up the old man like a pinata and are trying to open him up with a stick. 
  Tom realizes that they're not safe on the island and races back to save Evelyn, so they can get off the island.  However it's too late, the children are looking for fresh blood and are in hunt mode.  Can Tom and Evelyn escape these sadistic children or are they doomed to feel the same fate as every adult on that island.
This movie was pretty creepy and came out just a year before Stephen's King's short story "Children of the Corn", which is very similar.  The pacing is slow but the film is never dull, director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador does a great job controlling the tension in the film.  Lewis Fiander (Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, Not Now Comrade) and Prunella Ransome (Man In the Wilderness, Seagull Island) are exceptional has the couple, trying to escape these small terrors and trying to discover what has turned these children against the adults, it couldn't have been Bieber.  There are some good bloody scenes and terrifying twists that make this an enjoyable film that should be watched without the kids in the room or house if you want to be really safe.

So, when thinking about booking a cruise to an island far away or there is a deal on a remote island somewhere on the seven seas, remember these films because your little plot of paradise may be a nightmare waiting to happen.

Monday, 15 July 2013

5 Vacation Horror Movies!

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

Everybody has terrible vacation stories.  The hotel lost their room, they had to wait in line for hours to go on rides at famous mouse amusement park or they got a flat tire on the way to where they were going.  All terrible mishaps but not so bad in comparison to these stories of stalking, satanic cult chasing and organ stealing.

Here's 5 Vacation Horror Movies!

5. The Mutilator (aka Fall Break) (1985)  - Young Ed Jr. is getting ready for his dad's birthday and is gonna surprise him by cleaning his guns.  He sits down in the den and starts polishin' the old rifle when it accidentally goes off and kills his mother with a load of... buckshot.  His father gets home to discover that his wife is dead and his son is the one who killed her.  Haaappy Birthday?
  Ten years later, Ed is in college and he and his friends are on Fall Break(?) but have nothing to do.  Ed gets a call at the local pub from his dad, asking him to come up to the beach house for the weekend to shut everything down.  Ed tells him, "No way, do it yourself!" and heads back to his table.  His friends ask him about it and he tells them that his relationship has been really strained with his dad, since he accidentally murdered his mom.  He tells them that his dad wanted him to go up to the beach house and close it down for the winter.  The gang thinks this is a great vacation getaway idea and they convince Ed to call his dad and tell him that he's changed his mind.
  The gang pack up their shit and head down to the cabin.  When they arrive, the beach house looks as though it was burgled, but Ed assures them that it was just his dad and his drinking buddies tying one on.  They clean up and right away the group starts pairing off for sexy time.  Unfortunately, the gang doesn't know that their is a madman in the garage waiting to cut them up into little pieces.  Can this group of students survive the weekend at the beach house or are they doomed to end Fall Break as bloody mess?
  I have mixed feelings on this film because although it has some of the worst acting I've ever seen and one of the most irritating characters imaginable, this film does have some surprisingly good gory scenes.  Also there is one of the cheesiest songs about Fall break that is played during the opening credits that will astound anyone who enjoys music.  The story is pretty braindead but I've seen worse with better actors.  It's a good movie if you're having a few beers with you friends at your father's beach house.

4. Turistas (aka Paradise Lost) (2006) - Straight laced uptight Alex, his free spirit sister, Bea and her hot friend, Amy are in Brazil on vacation.  They are on a bus heading to their resort, when the bus topples over.  Luckily everyone gets out of the bus safely before it falls down a cliff.  While waiting for the next bus, Alex and Bea make a number of new friends and find out that there is a bar on the beach just down the road.  They head down to bar with their new chums and discover a beautiful beach, with a fully stocked bar and gorgeous senoritas.  The gang decides that they'll catch the bus tomorrow and party tonight.  However, the bartender calls her shady boss to let them know that she has a gang of gringos at her bar.  Her boss tells her to keep them there and puts together a team to collect his new victims.  At the beach, the gang drinks the night away and end up passing out there.
  The next morning, the group wakes up and discovers that they've been robbed of their money, passports and bags.  Realizing that they must have been drugged, the gang wanders back to bus stop but they are told that it doesn't come back for days.  They walk to a nearby village and find a motorcycle that belonged to one of their new friends from last night, who has gone missing mysteriously.  When inquiring a local villager about it, Alex sees a kid wearing his hat and the group chases the kid to find out where he got it from.  One of their new British pals hocks a rock at the kid to slow him down but ends up hitting him on the head and knocking the kid out.  The villagers are angry but luckily another new friend from last night, Kiko is from this village and he rescues them by rushing them away from the angry mob.  Kiko convinces them that they should come with him to his uncle's house and they can get a lift back to a larger town.  Little does the gang know, that Kiko works for the same evil person as the bartender and he's leading them to a trap.
  On the way to Kiko's "Uncle's" they stop for a swim and after hanging out with these Gringos and showing them his secret cave, Kiko realizes that he likes them and he doesn't want them to die.  He tells them that the should go back to the angry village and he can get them a ride but the gang would rather just get to the "Uncle" house.  Then, Kiko hurts himself diving before telling the group the truth and they carry him the rest of the way to his "Uncle's" house.  What kind of horrors await these travelers and will they be able to escape or will they be begging for mercy in the wrong language?
  Probably the best movie with Josh Duhamel that I've seen.  This was okay, it took a long time to get to the reason why they were being brought to the Uncle's cabin in the first place.  There were a couple of gory scenes but the horror section of the film seems to be rushed.  Director John Stockwell (Blue Crush, Into the Blue) sure has a boner for under water shots, which kind of bores and confuses you to tears at the end.  It wasn't all bad but the end didn't really make sense and if these people were visiting my country and acting like that, I may have wanted them dead as well.  Good thing to watch before you visit an exotic lo cal, so you know how to not act like a douchebag.

3. Funny Games (1997) -Anna, Georg and their son, Georg, Jr are driving their boat up to their summer home and playing the classical music guessing game on the way.  They stop to say hello to their neighbour, Fred and ask him to come help them but the boat in the water.  Fred says sure and will come over in a little bit to help.  Anna and Georg notice that there are two young men with him that they have never seen before but they think they must be related some how.  Anyway, Georg and his family head to their summer home and unpack their belongs.  Fred comes over with one of the young men and introduces him just as Peter.  While they are putting the boat into the water, the other young man, Paul goes to the house and asks to borrow some eggs for Fred's wife.  Anna gives him the eggs but he drops them and asks if he can have more eggs.  Annoyed, Anna gives him 4 more eggs and sends him on his way.
  Unfortunately, she hears the dog barking and moments later she hears a knock on the door.  It's Paul again but this time Peter is with him.  Paul claims that the dog knocked the eggs out of his hands and he would like more.  Anna is fed up and asks them to leave but they won't.  Georg comes in and asks them strongly to leave but the refuse, politely.  Peter makes an offhand comment and Georg slaps him for his rudeness.  Peter retaliates with a hitting Georg with a golf club and crippling him.  Anna and Georg realize that they are not friendly young men and that they are in a lot of trouble.  Will Peter and Paul play there game with Georg's family and leave or will Anna & George losing everything, including their lives, in the end?
  Director Michael Haneke (Amour, Funny Games U.S) puts together an interesting thriller that leaves an incredible pit in your stomach.  He also allows his lead villain to break down that fourth wall and interact with the audience.  It's very bizarre and entertaining at the same time.  Most of the violence ends up happening off screen, which is different especially when most films nowadays want to show you everything.  The actors are very good and I prefer this one to the remake, I think it's more fluid and realistic. I think this a great film and although, it's more of a thriller than a horror film it's creepy enough to be on any awful vacation lists.   

2. Race With The Devil (1975) - Roger Marsh and his buddy, Frank Stewart buy an RV and take their wives, Alice and Kelly on a vacation.  They hit the offroad trail and set up camp deep in the desert.  Roger and Frank grab their dirt bikes and race around and the wives get drunk and talk about wife things.  Everyone is having a great time until Roger and Frank witness a girl being murdered during a Satanic ritual. I hate when that happens!  As they rush back to their RV, the satanist start chasing them and try to stop them from escaping.  Luckily, Roger shakes them off and the satanists only break the rear window of the RV.
  They report it to the police and the local sheriff and his deputy drive over to where the incident took place.  Unfortunately, all the satanic debris as been cleared out and the only thing left is a puddle of blood, which the sheriff says could be from an animal.  Unsatisfied with their finding, Roger and friends decide to get to Amarillo to speak with the authorities there.  Before the go to Amarillo though, they need to stop at the RV park for a dip in the pool and bite to eat.  Those satanists can wait.
  At the RV park, they make some new friends and go for supper but when they return, their dog is dead and they are attacked once again by Satanists!  They rush off to Amarillo to get help!  Not knowing who to trust and with the Devil's minions on their heels, can they make to Amarillo before they become the next sacrifices for this community of evil?
  This is more of any action/horror and a good chance for Peter Fonda (Easy Rider, Ghost Rider) to zip around on a dirt bike.  It does have some pretty intense moments, especially when the satanists are performing their ritual and during the big chase scene near the end.  Rumour has it, that director Jack Starrett (Slaughter, Cleopatra Jones) hired real satanists for the picture, which could be true, cuz the people cast as the townfolk give off a pretty creepy vibe.  Fonda is great and so is Loretta Swift, who plays his friend's wife, Kelly.  There is also a great scene with snakes as well that might give you a new fear of them or at least a great prank idea for Halloween.  There isn't a lot of gore but there is a pretty decent body count and a very strong ending.  Fun film that reeks of 70's cheese and road trip terror!   

1. Tourist Trap (1979) - Eileen and Woody get a flat on their jeep in the desert.  Woody grabs the flat tire and heads down the road to find a gas station.  He eventually finds one but it seems deserted.  He goes inside and he can hear voices in the back, so he goes to investigate.  When he goes into the room where the sounds are coming from, the door slams shut and locks, then he is attacked by puppets, mannequins and varies debris. He is eventually killed with a metal pipe.
  While Woody is gone, the rest of their friends, Becky, Jerry and Molly pick up Eileen on the side of the road because they are all vacationing together(?).  So, Eileen jumps into Jerry's jeep and they go to find Woody.  Unfortunately, their jeep dies in front of the Slausen's Museum of Useless Shit.  Jerry stays with the jeep to see if he can fix it, while the girls go wandering in the woods.  To the surprise of the girls, they discover a gorgeous oasis and decide to go skinny dipping.  Once the girls are in the water frolicking, old man Slausen comes over to have a gander.  He tells the ladies that he used to charge people to swim in that water until the new highway took away all his business and that they should watch out for the snakes that come out a swim in there sometimes.  The girls freak and get out of water and tell Mr. Slausen about the issue with the jeep.  He invites them all to wait at his museum while him and Jerry work on the jeep.  They except and head over.
  Mr. Slausen's museum is full of knick knacks, oddities and animatronic mannequins, like Jesse James,  a bank robber and Slausen's dead wife.  That's not weird at all.  Slausen tells them that his brother made all these and he moved out to work in California or something.  Eileen wants to use the phone but unfortunately the one in the museum doesn't work.  Eileen notices a farm house behind the museum and asks if there is a phone in the house.  Slausen warns them not to leave the museum because of... wolves and leaves with Jerry to fix the jeep.  After some talk of how weird Slausen is, Eileen decides to risk the wolves and head down to the house.  The other girls don't want to go so Eileen goes down by herself to the dark foreboding farmhouse.  When she doesn't come back after a while Becky and Molly decide to go look for Eileen and head down to the house.  When they go into the house, they find Eileen but she's now a mannequin!  And then they are attacked by a masked killer!  Can they ever escape this museum of horrors or are they destined to become part of Slausen's tourist trap?
  There is something about this film that makes it really really creepy.  This is a Charles Band production and it's directed by David Schmoeller (Puppet Master, Crawlspace), so I expected a lot of weird puppet horror but the FX team really hits a home run with this one. The killer's mask is one of the creepiest I've ever seen and the mannequins just give me the shivers. The movie isn't perfect, there are some serious plot holes and confusing moments, like introducing a new character in the third act for no reason or why isn't the killer using his psychic powers all the time? Buuuuut they can be looked over because it's pretty campy and it's what you would expect from a Full Moon picture.  Great cast, Chuck Conners (Summer Camp Nightmare, Soylent Green) is terrific and cheesy as Mr. Slausen and Tanya Roberts (BeastMaster, A View to a Kill) is hot, I mean.., really good in this as well as one of Eileen's friends.  There isn't a ton of gore but there are some terrifying moments here.  Great film to watch to keep you away from roadside attractions.

So, when you're on your next vacation and something goes wrong, like getting sick on the first day of your staycation or it rains for most of the days while your there, remember at least there isn't a gang of psychic mannequins trying to kill you and that should make you feel a little better.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Horror Heads out to the Woods! 5 Films about Fearful Forests

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

Grab your tents, backpacks and don't forget a good knife because you're gonna need it.  Here are some wild forest films that may change your mind about facing the elements this or any other summer.  The woods can be scary and these movies have more nuts in them than in a squirrel's house, so before you start packing up and planning that vacation, better check out these titles.

Here are 5 Films about Fearful Forests

5. The Forest (1982) - Steve and Charlie are going crazy in the city, so Charlie suggests what seems like a brokeback mountain getaway for them, so they can complain about their wives. Steve loves the idea, so over dinner they tell they're wives that they're going camping on the next weekend.  The wives, Sharon and Teddi are furious and tell them that they're gonna go camping too.  That'll show them!  The wives tell them them that they're just as tough and macho as they are and will go this camping this weekend.  However, the next morning the wives come to their senses and realize that they can't go camping alone and ask the men to leave an hour after them. Girl Power!
  So an hour later, Steve and Charlie leave but have car trouble and have a 4 hour pit stop.  The girls get to the forest and find out hiking is a lot tougher than it looks.  They get half way there and give up and decide to wait for the men.  The men finally arrive but have to hurry because nightfall is coming and they don't want to get lost in the woods. Night arrives and the ladies are relaxing by huge campfire, when all of a sudden two ghost children warn them that their father is coming to kill them and to run away.  Confused, Sharon and Teddi blame the booze but a few moments later a maniac attacks their campsite and kills Teddi!  Sharon escapes and hides in the woods, hoping that the men will arrive and save her.  Will the guys ever find Sharon and survive this camping nightmare or will they become another victim to this madman cannibal?
  This movie was all over the place and I loved it!  It starts as a slasher film and turns into a ghost story, then back to a slaher/cannibal film.  It's pretty crazy and when it changes it's focus, you'll be scratching your head and laughing at the same time.  Director Don Jones (The Love Butcher, Schoolgirls in Chains) tries to jam so many elements into this that it just turns into a mess.  My favourite part is the back story of the cannibal father, who caught his wife cheating with a repairman.  The repairman doesn't leave but goes back to fixing the fridge and is attacked, really slowly by the father.  There is three confrontation between the two and each get sillier with more ridiculous weaponry that they're using.  The script is so bad and the acting is worse, I think these people must have been friends of the director with time on their hands because I think dinner theatre would have passed on these people.  There isn't a whole lot of gore but our killer does get stabby which is entertaining enough.  The music for this is hilarious.  It's hard explain but the music used in the film is so heavy handed I'm sure blind people are like, I get it fuck, these characters are in danger.  Also, there are songs about what's going on at that specific moments, which kind of made me laugh.  If you like MST horror flicks, then you'll dig this cuz it'll make you laugh all the way to the outhouse.    

4. The Woods (2006) - It's 1965 and Heather Fasulo is being sent to Falburn Academy, an all girls boarding school, after she set fire to the forest in her home town. whoops.  Her parents, Joe and Alice believe this school will give her the strong moral upbringing that they have been lacking to provide her.  They are met by the Dean of the school, Ms Traverse and told that she will only be accepted to the school after she completes a written assessment because of her father's bad financial conditions.  She passes the test, deemed gifted and her parents head home, leaving her at the school in the middle of the woods.  That she could probably light on fire, maybe.
  Being new and a redhead, she becomes a target for the school bully, Samantha.  However, Heather doesn't put up with shit and fights back, which creates a bond with another outcast, Marcy.  Her and Marcy become besties and everything is good.  Then, one evening while the girls are getting ready for bed, Heather asks about the empty bed at the end.  The other girls tell her that it belonged to a girl named, Ann who tried to commit suicide and is at a mental institution recovering.  The girls then tell her about the sordid history of the school and how three evil sisters, 100 years ago came to the school and got everyone to follow them into the woods.  When all the girls returned from the woods, they killed the headmistress and their have been strange occurrences ever since.
  That night Heather has a terrible nightmare about Ann and sees her being murdered.  Also, when ever Heather is near the woods outside the school, she thinks that the someone is whispering to her and she thinks she sees ghosts running through the woods.  Ms. Traverse dismisses her claims but when some other students go missing she knows something is afoot.  Can Heather stop the haunted woods from stealing all her new best friends or is she going crazy and really hates fucking trees?
  This movie was alright.  I think I was expecting more because I liked the other work that director Lucky McKee (The Woman, May) has put out and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Intruder) is playing the dad.  My issue is that I found it a bit confusing, is it the witches controlling the forest or was it the forest controlling the witches, I don't know, it just didn't jive with me.  However, I thought Agnes Buckner (Venom, Murder By Numbers) was great as Heather and I love Patricia Clarkson (The Dead Pool, The Green Mile) in anything with "The" in the title, she is a phenomenal actress.  There are a few mildly gory scenes in this, that could get your blood pumping but it's more of a supernatural thiller/mystery film.  Enjoyable but this wouldn't be the first tree I hit.   

3. The Mooring (2012) - A group of teenage girls who spend to much time on their cell phones and on their computers are sent by their parents to an outdoor retreat which cuts them off from technology.  The group leader, Nancy collects all the cell phones and explains that they will be learning how to fend for themselves in the wilderness and still have lots of fun.  The next day, the load up the boat and start their technology free adventure! Hooray!
  While on their trip down the river, far from civilization, each girl gets a chance to drive the boat and the others hang out, chat and just enjoy the outdoors.  Unfortunately, something happens to the boat motor and Nancy is called over to take a look.  There doesn't seem to be a huge issue but she'll take a look at it after they get to the island.  They arrive at the island and the girls set up camp.  Night is setting in, so they build a big campfire and Nancy proves she isn't all bad by allowing the girls to use a boombox that she brung, so they can dance around the fire like little heathens. The girls love it and are having a blast, until another boat pulls up into the area.  The group can hear a drunk man fighting with his lady friend in some seriously violent tones.  Nancy tells the girls they have a long day ahead of them, so they should get to bed.  On the way to bed, one of the girls gives their new neighbours some lip and the boat hits them with a spotlight and tells that girl to shut the fuck up.  Nancy apologizes for the girl and they head off to bed.
  The next morning, the group is having breakfast and the girl from the other boat comes to visit them, looking for coffee.  She looks old for her age with bruises and terrible teeth.  She apologizes for last night and disses their coffee, then leaves.  Whatever, Nancy tells the girls to pack up their tents and tells her assistant, Dawn what she wants her to get the girls to do that day because she wants to bring the boat in to get fixed.
  Nancy leaves and about a mile out the engine blows, leaving her stranded and frustrated on the water.  Luckily, she hears the sound of another boat coming towards her that might be able to help her.  Back at camp, the girls are tying knots, learning about rappelling cables and enjoying nature.  When they hear a announcement calling them to the lake.  They run down to the beach and see Nancy bound and gagged on the boat of the people from last night.  They boat couple push Nancy overboard and the guy pulls out a rifle and starts shooting at the girls.  The girls scatter and head into the woods to escape this madman.  With no supplies and no boat, can this group of city girls survive not only the woods but this psychopath and his skanky girlfriend or will they die alone with no one to text to.
  Starring and co-written by Hallie Todd (Lizzy McGuire, Murder, She Wrote), this movie really surprised me at how dark that it got.  Once the Nancy character is killed, then the gloves are off and you can really feel the tension and fear of the girls.  Thomas Wilson Brown (Knots Landing, Boy Meets World) is a terrifying looking killer, who is slow, meticulous and seems to have no compassion for any of these girls.  They're his sport and he knows how to hunt them.  The only issue is sometimes, he's not as relentless as he should be and there are a couple occasions when you wonder why he's stopping but it's only momentary.
  The girls in the film, there's like 10 of them, I feel are playing their characters authentically.  In most movies like this, there is always the hero with some smart ass remarks and a lot of bravado but not in this, they are terrified and don't want to take on this Brown's character, which is actually refreshing and make it more real.  There's nothing extremely gruesome about the kills.  No one gets hacked apart or prayed with bullets.  What makes it creepy is how methodical each kill is and how these innocent girls are are being killed for no reason.  For a first time director, Glen Withrow really got the tone and story right with this movie and I hope he continues to make more.  Good film to watch before you hit the woods with your daughter.

2. Madman (1982) - While sitting around a campfire, an eclectic group of young campers are subjected to the horrors of one of their counselors, T.P singing a tale of a maniac in the woods.  Unfortunately after the song and scaring the youngest camper, the head counselor, Max expands on T.P.'s song and tells them the tale of Madman Marz!  Marz was an angry farmer who liked to get drunk and get into fights at the local watering hole or at home with his wife and kids.  Then one night, he got fed up with his family and decapitated the lot of them.  This was the last straw for the town, so with pitchforks and rope in hand, the villagers grabbed old Marz and strung him up on the highest tree branch they could find.  Unfortunately, the next day when the townsfolk came to check on their favourite corpse, Marz was gone!  Max, then tells the kids that they must never speak his name too loudly because he will come and kill you!  So, a "young" campers, Richie starts calling out Marz and ever one as a laugh then heads back to the cabins.
  Only during the walk back, Richie wants to go and explore, so he wanders in the direction of the old Marz farmhouse.  Nobody notices that Richie is gone because it's the last night and the counselors have their own plans.  Max decides to go into town to have some drinks and play cards, T.P. and Betsy want to get it on and the other counselors are doing there own things.  However, Richie's call did not fall on deaf ears and Madman Marz has followed the group back to the camp.  He starts by carving up the camps cook and then searches the ground for other victims.  Can this group of plucky young campers survive this low budget nightmare or are they destined to be sliced, diced and splattered all over the woods?
  This was a lot of fun to watch.  The budget on this must have been pretty low but they did a nice job with the gore and the killing scenes.  The story is pretty basic but the dialogue isn't very good and neither is the acting.  The only standout character in this is Gaylen Ross (Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow), who plays Betsy and puts on the best performance that she can.  However, with all the flaws just adds to the cheese factor and makes it fun to watch.  The special effects team does a nice job on the gore and you may even catch yourself humming the theme song afterwords.  Great film to watch in a cabin after dark.

1. Just Before Dawn (1981) - Warren, his girlfriend Constance and their three friends, Jonathan, Megan and Daniel are going camping on the land that Warren just inherited.  Unfortunately, it is quite out of the way and even the Park Ranger, Rory Mclean tells them that it isn't safe and they should head back home.  Fuck you Rory Mclean, and under the assumption that he'll be harassing them all weekend, Jonathan gives the ranger the wrong site where they will be camping.  The group waves goodbye and continues their trek into the deep dark wilderness.
  While listening to some Blondie and rocking out in their RV, Warren almost hits a very scared and drunk hunter.  They get out of the RV to see if the man is alright and the hunter tells them that he is being chased by demons! He tells them that they must escape and get out of that area! He tells them that there are demons out there and that they'll all die! Okay drunky, they gang give him some food to sober up and for his long walk back to the ranger station, then continue on their way.  The hunter sees the thing that was chasing him, latch on to their RV as it drives away.  This makes him laugh because he is free and heads on down the road.
  The gang get as far into the forest as they can and park their van, set up camp, then they hike out to explore all that nature can offer.  While trekking not far from their camp, they hear a girl singing.  They follow the voice and find a hillbilly girl collecting water.  When they try to approach the girl she freaks out and runs away. Whatever, they have a terrific afternoon and start partying when the night comes.  Unfortunately, their boombox is the first victim of there camping trip and is blown away by a hillbilly with a shotgun.  The gang is confronted by a hillbilly family, including the girl who was singing earlier.  The hillbilly dad warns them to get out or the Demons will come get'em and the gang assures them that they will be leaving tomorrow.
  The day begins but fuck those hillbilly's and the group splits up to enjoy another day of nature.  Jonathan wanders off and finds the hillbilly singing girl and the follows her as she scampers through the woods.  Unfortunately, while crossing the rope bridge to demonstrate how safe it is to the girl, he is met with a masked man with a machete, who cuts the rope on the bridge and kills Jonathan.  As the day goes on, Warren and Constance notice their friends have disappear and when they go looking for them, they discover Jonathan's body!  Can they find they're other friends and escape the hillbillies from hell or are they trapped in a Redneck nightmare!
  I thought this was really great film.  The story is simple but that's what makes it good.  There are a few notable people in this like George Kennedy (Death Ship, Demonwarp) who plays the Ranger, Chris Lemon (Wishmaster, Thunder in Paradise 1, 2 and 3) who plays Jonathan and Gregg Henry (Slither, Super, The Killing) as Warren.  The film plods a bit but has a great atmosphere and real sense of danger in the scenes.  The only issue I have is you don't ever find out what happened to Megan because it cuts to black and you are left to assume the worst.  It would have been cool to tie that up maybe after the credits.  There are some good death scenes and the special effects team does a great job.  This is a must see before you pack your tents.

So be prepared and while you sit around the campfire hearing spooky tales of haunted woods and men with hooks for hands, remember that these legends have come from somewhere and you never know if the next story will be about you.