Night 15, Halloweentown

31 Nights of Horror, Night 15: Halloweentown

Three very long and winded sentence review:

Ah, the good ol’ years between 1998 and 2002 were positively majestic for the Disney Channel original movie business, with Disney just absolutely crushing it with treasured cinematic classics like Brink, Cadet Kelly, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Johnny Tsunami, Alley Cats Strike, Emmy Award winning The Color of Friendship, and tonight’s feature, Halloweentown (I know you are total fangirling right now!) Halloweentown stars the FABULOUS Academy Award winner Debbie Reynolds (The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Carrie Fisher’s mom, your fantasy grandmother) as Aggie Cromwell, Judith Hoag (April from TMNT) as Gwen Cromwell Piper and Kimberly J. Brown (Bringing Down the House, a couple episodes of Two of a Kind) as Marnie Piper – three generations of Cromwell women who are – GASP – witches and find themselves battling to save Halloweentown from the evil Mayor Kalabar – MWAHAHAH!  The cutesy characters in the quaint little village of Halloweentown, the horrible acting, predictable story, great costumes, and festive sets really make Halloweentown a fun, family watch (AND I LOVE IT SO BACK OFF) – this one is definitely pumpkin carving party approved. 

IT'S DELIGHTFUL!!!!!!!
IT’S DELIGHTFUL!!!!!!!

Halloween is COOL,

Katie

Night 14: The Purge

31 Nights of Horror, Night 14: The Purge

Three sentence review:

I went to Redbox after work to see if I could rent The Purge for $1.20 because I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that great, but it wasn’t available via Redbox yet so I drove home and ordered it from on-demand (can Blockbuster make a comeback, please?)  Well, I wish I would’ve waited until it was available for only $1.20 because The Purge is a victim of having a fantastic concept (future America has a booming economy and 1% unemployment because the government allows murder to be legal for one night per year, aka”the purge”) but lackluster writing (kind of like this blog) and almost-but-not-quite-there performances.  I’m a big fan of Ethan Hawke and the home invasion sub-genre, but this one left me saying “meh”.

Blessed be the new Founding Fathers, let us purge,

Katie

Night 13: Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere

31 Nights of Horror, Night 13: The Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident”

Three sentence review:

Take a cue from Britney Spears and “go call the Guvanah” because the Walking Dead is back, y’all! The once dreary prison is now a bonafide farm/school/apparent brothel cause everyone in the whole damn place is shackin’ up together and there are a whole lot of new characters to get to know.  Judging from the end of this episode, I’m guessing there’s a swine flu storm a-comin’ except this swine flu turns you into a zombie  – totally jazzed for this season!

Please watch the “Walking Dead Bad Lip Reading” if you haven’t done that yet.

Please, just don’t tell your father,

Katie

Night 11, The Devil’s Rejects

31 Nights of Horror, Night 11: The Devil’s Rejects

Three grammatically incorrect sentences review:

There’s so much I love about Rob Zombie’s best movie to-date, The Devil’s Rejects, and I proudly consider myself a dedicated member of its cult following.   Sid Haig reprises his role as Captain Spaulding;  a psychotic, vulgar clown and patriarch of the Firefly family, and the movie focuses on the Firefly’s cat-and-mouse game with the ruthless local police department (meanwhile they run amok in a murderous rampage).  The Devil’s Rejects is equal parts grindhouse, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Manson family – nonsensical violence mixed with campy humor and lots of gore – and I’ll always wonder how Rob Zombie ended up marrying someone as pretty as Sherri Moon Zombie.

The awesome Bill Moseley as Otis, a merciless member of the Firefly family.
Ben & Jerry’s. Please. Release. This.

Chinese, Japanese, Dirty knees, Look at these,

Katie

Night 10, American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 1, Bitchcraft

31 Nights of Horror, Night 10: American Horror Story Coven, Episode 1, Bitchcraft

Three sentence review:

I love that American Horror Story is an anthology television series and was excited to close the door on AHS: Asylum and start fresh with a brand new story in AHS: Coven – especially since Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett joined the already stellar cast (also, witches are totally in right now – zombies, whaaaa?)  The first episode, the aptly named “Bitchcraft,” felt refreshingly stylish and modern (a stark contrast from the dark and antiquated feel of the first two seasons) and I nearly passed out from excitement watching Kathy Bates play the insanely evil Madame Delphine LaLaurie – murderous socialite from 19th century New Orleans .   The young witches, Zoe, Madison, Queenie, and Nan played respectively by Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sibide, and Jamie Brewer are fun to watch (Zoe’s “power” made me slightly uncomfortable) and I’m ridiculously excited to see how New Orlean’s Voodoo history ties in – this season seems to have big potential!

Don’t mess with the Supreme witch.

Don’t make me drop a house on you,

Katie

Night 9, The Conjuring

31 Nights of Horror, Night 9: The Conjuring (releasing on blu-ray October 22!)

Three sentence review:

Supernatural horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and I’d argue that James Wan’s The Conjuring is the best addition to this category in the last two decades – I mean, it’s Rated R just for scares alone (no gore, just lots of suspense and tension!) Ed and Lorraine Warren, real life paranormal experts previously best known for investigating the Amityville Horror House, finally have their incredible life stories put into the spotlight by the supremely talented Vera Farmigia and surprising horror regular, Patrick Wilson.  Supporting actors Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston are excellent as the Perron’s, a husband and wife who move their entire family into a farmhouse with a gruesome past, and the movie clearly (and successfully) draws influence from retro horror gold like Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, and the Exorcist.

The real Annabelle doll was a Raggedy Ann doll. Please check out the Warren’s museum page for the true story, it’s awesome.

 

Clap, clap,

Katie

Night 7, V/H/S 2

31 Nights of Horror, Night 7: V/H/S 2 (Originally titled S-VHS)

WARNING: This film is for seasoned horror fans and I do not recommend casually watching this or popping it in for your Halloween pumpkin carving party.

Three (run-on) sentence review:

Just when I thought mainstream horror couldn’t get any more disturbing, more innovative, or shocking; that films like “The Conjuring” and “Cabin in the Woods” were the answer to modern horror’s lack of fresh, scary material, and just when I thought I had seen it all and could never ever possibly feel genuinely scared again, I watch V/H/S 2 and its four short films: Clinical Trials, A Ride in the Park, Safe Haven, and Slumber Party Alien Abduction.   V/H/S 2 completely blows the first installment (which I reviewed last year and consider my favorite watch of 2012) out of the water and manages to pack four completely new and frightening short films into the same anthology/wrap-around narrative format we saw in the first V/H/S.   The overarching story of the movie is about two investigators searching for a missing college student who stumble upon his weird collection of VHS tapes – the found-footage/POV camera style of all of the shorts are unnerving,  and while all of the four installments are incredibly solid and frightening, “Safe Haven”, the third and best phase of V/H/S 2, left my jaw nearly dragging on the floor and I’m finding it hard to shake off some of the visuals and adrenaline rush it produced even an hour after the credits rolled.

My reaction during "Safe Haven". Totally not a re-enactment, I swear...
My reaction during “Safe Haven”. Totally not a re-enactment, I swear…
A super fun still from “Safe Haven” – Arguably the best modern short horror film to date. Safe Haven is part 3 of V/H/S 2 and is about an Indonesian film crew trying to uncover the secrets of a cult.

“Clinical Trials” is about a man who agrees to test out a bionic eye with ghostly side effects.
If you walk into a room in an abandoned house and a bunch of old tube style TVs are playing static, get the hell out.

Just press play,

Katie

Night 6, Ils (Them)

31 Nights of Horror, Night 6: Ils (Them)

Three sentence review:

Ils, a French title also known as “Them”,  is the European inspiration behind the 2008 American horror movie,  The Strangers.  The films’ premises are nearly exact – an attractive couple find themselves terrorized by anonymous intruders in their secluded home during the wee hours of the night – but I much prefer Ils reliance on suspense, darkness, and sound over The Strangers’ “come and go” villains who depend on cheap scares and often seem to be professional disappearing acts.   At just 77 minutes, the film wastes no time with unnecessary back stories or plot building, but excels in delivering a tense “life or death” experience with solid opening and ending scenes. 

There’s never any cell service in horror.

I just want to play,

Katie

Night 5, Last House on the Left (1970s Version)

31 Nights of Horror, Night 5: The Last House on the Left (1972)

Three sentence review:

Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left is one of those rare movies where the remake is worth watching (Craven did his own remake, so that helps) but I really recommend checking out the older version first.  A pair of friends, Mari and Phyllis, try to score some pot when they meet up with a crew of rapists, child molesters, sadists, and serial killers and are consequently tortured; but their family takes revenge into their own hands. The primary difference between the original and remake is that the 70s version of Krug, Sadie, Weasel and Junior are so much more deranged and terrifying than the 2009 remake, but the reboot has better (but not by much) revenge scenes – both are disturbing.

Sadie is exhausted.

It’s only a movie,

Katie

Night 4, Night of the Demons (1988)

31 Nights of Horror, Night 4:  Night of the Demons (1988).

(please forgive the sparse post, I’m currently in Columbia, SC and typing on my phone!)

Three sentence review: I always love re-watching this one…If you’ve never seen Night of the Demons and you love campy, 80s slasher flicks involving a group of high schoolers, this one is for you!  There’s an amazing token prankster named Stooge, lots of obligatory nudity (and a weird scene involving lipstick that’s not very Molly Ringwald), and some BADASS creature make-up effects that far surpasses the 2009 remake (skip that one).  As many 80s horror jaunts go, a group of friends are invited to a Halloween party at a house that just so happens to be infested with demonic spirits – it definitely covers all of the horror movie rules and parameters listed in “Scream” – and I definitely recommend this one if you can find it.

Like I said, amazing makeup.

I’ll be right back,

Katie