Night 10, La Maschera del Demonio aka Black Sunday (1960)

31 Nights of Horror, Night 10: La Maschera del Demonio aka Black Sunday (1960)

Three sentences review:

Italian horror master Mario Bava’s Black Sunday is rightfully considered the preeminent entry in Italian Gothic horror. In 17th century Russia, a princess is sentenced to a grisly death (that scene must have horrified 1960s audiences) by her own brother for being a witch; she vows revenge and comes back to life 200 years later (thanks to a few clumsy drops of blood, of course) to carry out her evil plan. Though the plot is thin, what makes this classic scary movie totally worth watching are Bava’s legendary black-and-white visuals, including an impressive “rising from the grave” scene, hollow corpse eyes, shadowy trees, crypts, and cemeteries, and stellar gore and make-up effects that render a dreadfully frightening atmosphere throughout the entire film.


Night 2, The Sacrament (2013)

31 Nights of Horror, Night 2: The Sacrament (2013)

Three sentence review:

Just three years ago, an upcoming horror movie with Eli Roth at top billing would be enough to pique my interest –  but then I discovered budding horror auteur Ti West. West’s The Sacrament follows a young crew of Vice Media employees who visit a colleague’s sister in the utopian, tropical commune of Eden Parish; and the film soon educates younger viewers on the origins of the idiom “drinking the Kool-Aid.”  The Sacrament contrasts West’s previous works in style and pacing, but excels in authenticity, superb acting (Swanberg, Seimetz, and Bowen FOREVAAAA), and that punch-in-the-gut malaise that only stems from knowing the horrific events depicted in the film actually happened.

Night 1: Stage Fright (2014)

31 Nights of Horror 2014, Night 1: Stage Fright (2014)

Three grammatically poor sentences review:

There’s a certain niche audience for a slasher flick that takes place at a musical theater camp and features corny original songs, hyperbolic acting (intentionally, otherwise ironic), a masked serial killer who screams death metal while stalking victims, and Meat Loaf… and that audience is ME. With a hackneyed plot, laugh-out-loud one liners, and just enough gore to gross out your guests, this is a perfect film to play in the background of your upcoming pumpkin carving party*. It’s not a remake of the 1987 Michael Soavi film, nor is it my favorite horror musical (that spot belongs to Repo! The Genetic Opera), but Stage Fright was definitely an entertaining, fun opener for the 2014 edition of 31 Nights of Horror.

The opener of Stage Fright already had me laughing.

Like a bat out of hell,


 *I am assuming your pumpkin carving party involves zero children