Tag Archives: horror

Supernatural Sunday: The Uninvited

MV5BNWI2ZjljOTItZmEwNi00NjRjLWJhMWItYTkyOTNlMmI5OWFkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUxODE0MDY@._V1_Often seen as a precursor to the modern horror/slasher film, Psycho is one of Hitchcock’s most known films among modern audiences. Shot in black and white after Hitchcock already used color and technicolor in previous films, Hitchcock made a deliberate choice that added to the atmosphere of the film. Most famous for the character of Norman Bates and the infamous shower scene, Psycho is has laid the ground work for many writers and directors in the suspense and horror genre.

After stealing money from her bosses client, Secretary Marion Craine runs off with the money. After ditching her old car in favor of her new one, Marion stops at The Bates Motel during a stormy night. This would be her biggest mistake. After her disappearance, Marion’s sister searches for her with the help of her sisters lover Sam Loomis and Private Detective Milton Arbogast.

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Using a television crew and a small budget, Psycho was a big departure from his previous film North by Northwest. Hitchcock’s willingness to take risks and try new and exciting things aided him in a long and successful career that spanned six decades. Beginning in the his career in Britain during the silent film era, Hitchcock made five silent films. In the thirties he would make one musical and one of his best and better know British films The Man Who Knew Too Much. After his move to the US, Hitchcock found greater success with his films like Rebecca, his first film in America and Shadow of a Doubt in Film Noir style. The Fifties would become his peak years with films like Rear Window and Vertigo that are often cited as his best films. His first film in the sixties was Psycho and you can tell that Hitchcock can’t do the same thing over and over. His peak years that came in the decade prior all had a different flair and that would be the same for his films in the sixties.

Receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, box office sales changed things for Psycho and it has grown into a classic film often scene as a top movie for Hitchcock. Adapted from the novel of the same name, Hitchcock got as many copies as he could not to spoil the ending something impossible today.

 

 

Suspense Saturday: Psycho

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Screen shot of Janet Leigh in Psycho 

Often seen as a precursor to the modern horror/slasher film, Psycho is one of Hitchcock’s most known films among modern audiences. Shot in black and white after Hitchcock already used color and technicolor in previous films, Hitchcock made a deliberate choice that added to the atmosphere of the film. Most famous for the character of Norman Bates and the infamous shower scene, Psycho is has laid the ground work for many writers and directors in the suspense and horror genre.

After stealing money from her bosses client, Secretary Marion Craine runs off with the money. After ditching her old car in favor of her new one, Marion stops at The Bates Motel during a stormy night. This would be her biggest mistake. After her disappearance, Marion’s sister searches for her with the help of her sisters lover Sam Loomis and Private Detective Milton Arbogast.

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Promo shot from the set of Psycho 

Using a television crew and a small budget, Psycho was a big departure from his previous film North by Northwest. Hitchcock’s willingness to take risks and try new and exciting things aided him in a long and successful career that spanned six decades. Beginning in the his career in Britain during the silent film era, Hitchcock made five silent films. In the thirties he would make one musical and one of his best and better know British films The Man Who Knew Too Much. After his move to the US, Hitchcock found greater success with his films like Rebecca, his first film in America and Shadow of a Doubt in Film Noir style. The Fifties would become his peak years with films like Rear Window and Vertigo that are often cited as his best films. His first film in the sixties was Psycho and you can tell that Hitchcock can’t do the same thing over and over. His peak years that came in the decade prior all had a different flair and that would be the same for his films in the sixties.

Receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, box office sales changed things for Psycho and it has grown into a classic film often scene as a top movie for Hitchcock. Adapted from the novel of the same name, Hitchcock got as many copies as he could not to spoil the ending something impossible today.

 

 

Netflix Pick of the Week: Scream

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Released in 1996

Since I’ve been on a Wes Craven kick I’ve decided to choose this nineties gem and Kevin Williamson written slasher starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and Drew Barrymore as my Netflix Pick of the Week. A standout picture that has now become cliche due to the saturated market of teen horror that has tried to imitate it, Scream is a great movie born out of a clever script.

Self aware and witty, this nineties slasher knew what it was doing. Scream is more than your typical horror film, while playing with some of the rules set in to motion before slasher scripts were a thing, Scream found its own way in to the heads of its audience. While there are certain things you may question (check out cinema sins Everything Wrong with Scream) the good far out ways the bad. An enjoyable movie that I return to at least once a year, Scream is a classic thanks to great direction by Craven and a fun script by Williamson.

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The cast of characters are far more complex than the characters of this films predecessors. Randy, played by Jamie Kennedy, is the know-it all film buff. He is the odd one out in a group of friends including final girl, Sidney Prescott, who is still reeling from mother’s murder one year prior to the events of the film. Her boyfriend Billy Loomis, with his perfect teen heartthrob hair, is the brooding type while his best friend Stu is the goofball. Tatum is the best friend and the perfect foil to her good girl friend, Sidney. Apart from the high school students is Dewey, a sheriff and brother to Tatum, and Gale Weathers, a reporter who believes Sidney was wrong about the man she accused of killing her mother. There is also a special appearance by Henry Wrinkler as the Principle and a cameo by Director Wes Craven who appears as a Janitor that looks suspiciously like Freddy Kruger.

The film is brutal but not gory. Funny and is dramatic without becoming overly cheesy. There are many ways this film could have gone wrong but while refusing to take itself seriously, Scream is able to standout in a difficult genre.

Checkout MTV’s Scream, on Netflix, A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare by Director Wes Craven are on Netflix and The Vampire Diaries and The Following created by Kevin Williams are also available on the streaming website.

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Netflix Pick of the Week: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

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New Nightmare released in 1994 

“Freddy, Freddy, Freddy.”

The longest film in the franchise and the only one to feature no opening credits, New Nightmare is the seventh film made featuring Freddy Kruger. Many aspects of the film play into the real life of its stars including Heather’s husband working in special effects and her having a stalker. This version of Freddy is Wes Craven’s original vision for the character and the story was originally pitched as the storyline for Dreamscape but was turned down by the studio. However, in 1994 this film was made and has become one of the better rated films of the franchise.

Freddy Kruger enters our reality when a demonic force uses him as its portal. Heather Lagenkamp returns as herself and a mother of one. After her husband’s death by Freddy’s claw while returning home things begin to go more than a little crazy for Heather. Robert Englund returns as himself and as the infamous Freddy Kruger. This time the entity he portrays is far darker than the Kruger we know from the original. There are also appearances by Wes Craven and Robert Shaye as well as stars of the original film, Jsu Garcia and John Saxon. Lin Shaye who made an appearance in the original Nightmare on Elm Street as a teacher appears in this film as a nurse.

My third favorite in the franchise after the original and Dreamscape, New Nightmare was the first film I saw with Freddy. I didn’t know it at the time or watch the entirety of the film but I do remember the first time I saw it vividly. It wasn’t until a few years later that I saw the original film and while I didn’t believe I was scared it affected me a lot more than I thought it did. New Nightmare was the second film in the franchise I saw and I fell in love with the concept and the returning characters. The story is interesting and while I prefer the original look of Freddy from the first film this look is a lot more demonic and plays into the reality of the storyline.

If you are a fan of horror and love Freddy Kruger this is a good film to settle in and watch on a Friday night. Don’t forget to grab the popcorn and shut off all the lights. Don’t forget whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Hush

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Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Written by: Mike Flanagan & Katie Siegel

Starring: Katie Siegel,  John Gallagher, Jr, Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan,  Emma Graves

Genre: Home Invasion, Thriller

Plot: A deaf writer lives a secluded life in the woods. She must fight for her life when a masked killer begins terrorizing her.

Review: 

A new entry into the home invasion thriller genre, Hush premiered at South By Southwest in March. Distributed by Netflix, Hush was released in April to rave reviews. Different than most films from the genre due to its heroins deafness, Hush gave us a great protagonist to root for. There is a total of five characters seen in the film, one on Skype and two others for a short period of time. The majority of the scenes feature the man and Maddie. Hush is easily one of the most minimalist films of all time. With roughly 15 minutes of dialogue there is 70 minutes that go without and it is a true testament to this films greatness that you are not really aware of that until the end.

A smart use of the genre that often comes off as lack luster. Instead of saying, “been there, done that,” you will be pleasantly surprised. Maddie, the man character is a writer and being that I am also a writer I related to her. For all creatives out there you will find something in Maddie as well. The way she comes up with stories is mentioned early on and put into use later on in the film. Hush, made great use of foreshadowing. They gave us pieces of information that kept us informed without giving too much away. If you are looking for something new to watch, a new horror film to add to your favorites list or anxiously looking through your Netflix queue for something to watch why not check out Hush?

 

 

 

 

 

Netflix Pick of the Week: Zombeavers

Zombeavers 2015
Zombeavers 2015

Director: Jordan Rubin

Starring: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary and Peter Gliroy.

Looking for a laugh this weekend? Head on over to Netflix and watch Horror Comedy Zombeavers. If you are a fan of the comedy/horror genre you may find this little gem interesting. Obliviously a genre film, you have to like horror and comedy as a mix before you jump right in to the zombie beaver category of the zombie genre. Over the past ten years or so Zombie film and television has gone through quite a change. Now the genre is churning out more comedies then it is actual horror films. If you are a Zombie purist the 21st century depictions aren’t really your cup of tea and I am sure that a film depicting Zombeavers isn’t really something you were hoping for.

Though not the best horror/comedy I have scene it definitely did its thing. Never trying to be something that it’s not Zombeavers revels in its ridiculousness. If you enjoy a good horror/comedy with its own unique spin you might want to give Zombeavers a shot. Available on Netflix, grab yourself some snacks a drink, sit down, get comfortable and enjoy.

It Follows: Film Review

It Follows, retro 80's inspired poster.
It Follows, retro 80’s inspired poster.

What can be said about the break through horror film of the year that already hasn’t been said.It follows premiered on the film festival circuit before opening nation wide. What was supposed to only be a week spend in a few theaters turned into a wider release and a longer stay in theaters. I was intrigued from the moment I saw the first trailer. That does not happen often. Somewhere I saw the link to the movie and I watched it. I kept up with the news and suddenly a lot of hype surrounded this gem. A modern day supernatural horror film set in Detroit, Michigan. It Follows stars Maika Monroe as Jay a teenager that experiences a strange sexual encounter. A mysterious creature follows her where ever she goes and there is no escaping it. The only way to get rid of it, is to sleep with someone else. If they die, it will come back.

Maika Monroa in It Follows
Maika Monroa in It Follows

The main question surrounding the hit is, exactly what is it? Some have concluded that it is a thinly veiled metaphor for STD’s. A notion struck down from writer/director David Robert Mitchell. Mitchell has stated that the inspiration came from a recurring dream he had as a kid. David utilizes the mostly white suburban neighborhood and the abandoned areas of Detroit to his advantage. Everything matters in this world. Old cars and vintage TV’s last scene in our grandparents guest bedrooms exist in the world of It Follows. The first scene obviously set in a more upper class neighborhood and a little shell reader device are the only indications that this is a modern tale. What works is that we question where we are. We know that It Follows is set in the present time, but somehow the lack of modern technology seems believable.

It Follows Poster
It Follows Poster

Have you ever felt a mysterious feeling that you couldn’t quite shake? Did it exist after a dream or was connected to a mental illness? Whatever it was or is, you will connect to Jay. She is a beautiful girl next door channeling Catherine Deneuve and Simone Simon in Cat People. Monroe’s vulnerability proved her humanity without taking away what made her strong. Jay is already a girl struggling with the disillusionment of life. At 19 I know I was too. Surrounded by her friends and attending college while feeling at least a little bit alone. Jay is many of us. Wondering aimlessly through life hopping for answers. Maika has promise in her career and a career as a leading scream queen has presented itself.  Mitchell alluded to classic horror films with out ripping them off. A truly original work from a great mind. I am excited to own the film and see Mitchell return to horror in the future.