Posts Tagged ‘Supernatural’

The-Windmill-Massacre

Directed By: Nick Jongerius

Starring: Charlotte Beaumont, Noah Taylor, Patrick Baladi, Ben batt, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida, Bart Clever, Adam Thomas Wright, Kenan Raven

Synopsis: A bus load of tourists run afoul of a vengeful spirit in the Dutch countryside.

Thoughts:

Sometimes, it’s best to stumble upon a movie without hearing about it and without the hype that is often associated with it. While scrolling through Netflix, The Windmill caught my eye. I must admit, I’ve always been a huge slasher fan, so right after seeing the killer, and just as importantly, the first kill in The Windmill, I was all in.

I thought the storyline was unique, but at the same time, played off the familiar tropes of a slasher. The guilty must die, whether they are smoking weed, having premarital sex, or in the case of The Windmill, are running from past transgressions. There is plenty of foreshadowing to the premise, although the bulk of the character development is fleshing this out.

Now, I thought The Miller looked great, although they did manage to keep him in the shadows quite a bit. He looked like a cross between Cropsey and Victor Crowley and wielded a massive scythe and chains that reminded me of Ghost Rider.

The real star here was the FX. The kills were all creative and the pacing was enough to keep me interested in the movie. I was also impressed with the cinematography, especially when The Miller was brought into the scene.

I’d recommend The Windmill to slasher fans. I wouldn’t call it a hidden gem, but it was a pleasant surprise in the often terrible landscape of movies found on Netflix.

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evilspeak

 

Directed By: Eric Weston

Starring: Clint Howard, RG Armstrong, Joseph Cortese, Claude Earl Jones, Richard Moll, Haywood Nelson, Don Stark, Charles Tyner

Synopsis: Stanley Coopersmith is often the target of bullies at a military school until he finds an ancient book giving his the ability to exact his revenge.

Thoughts:

Does it ever pay to pick on the outcast in class? You would think we had learned our lesson from Carrie, which has many parallels to Evilspeak. Instead of being psychic, Stanley happens upon a book detailing the powers of a Black Mass.

The movie starts with a flashback to medieval times, where we see Richard Moll as Father Estaban, the leader of a Satanic Church. As I started looking at Moll’s filmography, there are a surprising number of horror and cult titles that he’s been a part of, many of which have had releases lately. Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, The Dungeonmaster and Night Train to Terror, along with House, could make for a pretty kick ass Moll Marathon!

As we flip to the present, we find Clint Howard, who is also no stranger to the horror genre, as Stanley Coopersmith, the orphaned student that seemingly everyone picks on, including the faculty. Evilspeak takes some time getting to the action, but the final scene is pretty insane, with Howard flying around a church (on obvious wires) swinging a monstrous sword decimating his enemies.

Evilspeak isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s not a bad watch. Interestingly enough, Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, is a huge fan of the film. I thought that it took some time to get going, but the finale was worth it.

How Nasty Is It? Evilspeak is included in the infamous Video Recordings Act of 1984, making it a Video Nasty. There’s a good bit of gore in the finale, but it’s not realistic at all. There is also a shower scene, where a secretary meets her demise at the hands (hooves?) of demonic boars. In my opinion, the reason this ended up as a Video Nasty was because of the Satanic themes. Compared to many of the other titles on the list, this is very tame.

krampus

Directed By: Michael Dougherty

Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Emjay Anthony, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Stefania LaVie Owen,

Synopsis: A family’s Holiday gathering is spoiled by the arrival of Krampus, a spirit that comes during Christmas to punish the wicked.

Thoughts: The legend of Krampus, which comes from German folklore has become quite a popular subject the last couple of years. He’s appeared in a few films and can be found throughout popular culture. From what I’ve seen, this is one of the better movies to depict Krampus, and it also happens to be the long awaited follow up of Michael Dougherty, who brought is 2007’s classic Trick ‘r Treat.

The story here is straight forward, a family gets together to celebrate, but tensions are high, causing everyone to fight and therefore make the whole affair miserable. Max, one of the children, rips up his letter to Santa and throws it out the window, which summons Krampus.

There is a lot to like about Krampus. The cast is well above average with Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner being the most well-known actors involved. The FX are also great, with Krampus and his army of nasty creatures being well thought out and pretty damn creepy. Even with that, there is something… lacking with Krampus. Maybe it is because Trick ‘r Treat is so damn perfect, I was expecting the same here. I’ve watched it twice now, and found it enjoyable, but just not blown away. That being said, I believe time will be kind to Krampus, and I can see it becoming a Christmas horror classic, even if it isn’t as good as Trick ‘r Treat. The story and quality of the movie overall are more than enough to carry it. I’m glad to have it in my collection, and will certainly be watching it again next December.

silent-night-deadly-night-5-the-toy-maker

Directed By: Martin Kitrosser

Starring: William Thorne, Jane Higginson, Van Quattro, Tracy Fraim, Mickey Rooney, Brian Bremmer, Neith Hunter, Clint Howard

Synopsis: Deadly toys lead to a nefarious toymaker and his bizarre son, but not everything is as it seems.

Thoughts: The final installment of the original franchise is, without a doubt, the most bizarre entry. While the first there were slasher films, and the second dealt with the occult, The Toy Maker starts with someone delivering killer toys. It’s not very clear why the toys are being delivered at first, but the story starts to unwind as the movie progresses.

The most interesting casting choice is that of Mickey Rooney as a toy shop owner. Rooney famously campaigned against the first movie. I guess that a paycheck outweighed his morals when it came to The Toy Maker. The rest of the cast is pretty much what you’d expect, but Brian Bremmer turns in a rather bizarre performance as Pino, the son of Rooney’s character Joe Petto.

The Toy Maker is worth checking out just for the bizarre twists in the movie. The ending is pretty unique, and definitely not something you see coming. Sadly, there isn’t a quality release of The Toy Maker (just like part 4), but you can find the triple feature on DVD pretty cheap.

silent-night-deadly-night-4

Directed By: Brian Yuzna

Starring: Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Tommy Hinkley, Reggie Bannister, Allyce Beasley, Maud Adams, Hugh Fink, Ricard Gladstein, Geln Chin

Synopsis: An investigation into a woman’s death leads a reporter to uncover a coven of witches.

Thoughts: The fourth installment of Silent Night, Deadly Night foregoes the killer Santa brothers from the first three movies and takes a completely different turn towards the supernatural. In my opinion, this was a good move. There wasn’t a lot more to do with Billy and Ricky’s story (although the earlier movies get a cameo of sorts as it is playing on a background TV in one scene). What did surprise me is that this has very little to do with Christmas. The ritual that is set to take place in the climax takes place on Christmas Eve, so there is some connection, but not nearly as overt as the first three movies.

The cast is led by Neith Hunter, who plays Kim, the aspiring reporter looking to uncover the bizarre circumstances of a woman’s death. For someone without a lot of experience, I thought she did a good job. The coven that she encounters is also very good, and made me wonder how much of an influence that this movie had on Rob Zombie for Lords of Salem. There are a lot of parallels between the two movies. There are also a couple of very familiar faces to horror fans here as well, with Clint Howard playing a significant role as Ricky (nod to preceding entries), the servant to the coven. Kim’s boss, the editor at the newspaper is played by Reggie Bannister, of Phantasm fame.

The familiar names don’t stop there, as Initiation was directed by Brian Yuzna, who brought us gems like Society and Bride or Re-Animator. He also wrote this, and it shows. Yuzna has always had a penchant for pretty gory scenes, and there are a few of those in Initiation. Yuzna relied on Screaming Mad George for the FX here, which proved to be another great decision.

Oddly enough, I found this to be one of the better entries in the series, which is not something I was expecting. I believe that is partly due to the deviation from the slasher formula, which really wasn’t done particularly well in the previous entries anyway.

Unfortunately, the DVD release of this is of pretty poor quality. I’d love to see Scream pick up the series and give the original a Collector’s Edition, 2 & 3 a double feature and 4 & 5 a double feature. An Arrow box set would also be pretty sweet.

This was an interesting watch, and I do plan on revisiting it someday, probably as a double feature with Lords of Salem, just to see how similar the movies are (or if it is my shoddy memory).I think Initiation is worth checking out, but not necessarily as a Christmas horror movie.

blair-witch-2016-trailer-poster

Directed By: Adam Wingard 

Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry

Synopsis: James Donohue ventures into the woods to look for his sister, Heather, who was one of the three missing from the original Blair Witch Project.

Thoughts:

I experienced the first Blair Witch movie back in 1999 in the theatre. I went in knowing nothing, not even having seen a trailer for it. A friend called me and told me to go see it, but not to read anything about it beforehand. I found it to be one of the scariest experiences I had ever had in a theatre. The climax literally had me on the edge of my seat and I think I just about ripped the arm of the chair off.

Fast forward to Comic Con this year and I hear news of Adam Wingard’s (You’re Next) upcoming movie titled The Woods is actually titled Blair Witch! I’m a big fan of Wingard, so was eager to see his take on what I think is one of the best found footage movies out there. I elected to follow a similar route and not check out any trailers, read any articles and do my best to avoid discussions on social media about Blair Witch. I was successful (for the most part) having only seen a portion of the trailer (the tunnel scene). Going in, I didn’t know if it was a remake, sequel or just another chapter in the mythology.

It turns out that it is a direct sequel to the original, with James going into the woods to try and find Heather, his sister and lead in the original. He takes some friends with him, as well as some locals that know the mythology. Without going into details, the events are similar to the first movie, but amped up tenfold. I found this entry to be much scarier than the first. I’m sure some of that is due to an increased budget, allowing for some special effects and one particularly brutal onscreen death.

Another improvement is the cast and script. In rewatching the original, the initial scenes and build up are pretty boring. Blair Witch has a similar build up, but I found the characters much more interesting. There was some humor weaved into dialogue as well, and I thought that really worked, especially the interaction between Peter and Lane.

Once things start getting crazy in the woods, it’s nonstop. A major difference is that you actually see the Blair Witch. I’m not sure how I feel about her onscreen appearance. It was a bold move by Wingard and writer Simon Barett. I’m hoping that when it makes its home video release there are some special features around the design and look of the Blair Witch. I have my suspicions on influence for her design, but would like to hear from Wingard about it.

If you’re a fan of the original, I think this is a can’t miss movie. If you don’t like the original, or found footage movies in general, then don’t waste your time. Blair Witch doesn’t bring anything new to the subgenre, it’s just a well-made movie that builds on the original mythology.

Pyramid

Directed By: Gregory Levasseur

Starring: Ashley Hinsaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley, Christa-Marie Nicola, Amir K

Synopsis: Archeologists uncover a pyramid in Egypt and find that it is not empty.

Thoughts: Found footage has been overdone for quite a while now, but it really is a viable medium, especially when done right. The Pyramid uses a hybrid approach to found footage, using it at times as there is a videographer with the team, filming a documentary, but also pulling back quite often to tell the story. I found it to very effective, but it’s not for everyone. I have read of some people complaining about the format.

The cast is largely unknown, but there is one familiar faces, Denis O’Hare, who played Russell Edgington in True Blood and is also a regular contributor to American Horror Story. Here he plays one of the archeologists exploring the ruins. The cast performs well, but many of the characters don’t leave a lasting impact outside of the movie’s runtime.

The real star of The Pyramid is the setting and the creatures. I’ve always found the history and mythology of Egypt to be fascinating. Their customs and beliefs really fuel some great stories, and this is no exception. I won’t go into too much detail about what the team finds in the pyramid, but I thought it was pretty cool.

Overall, this is a good watch. I enjoyed it, but it probably won’t be something I revisit often. If you’ve got a distaste for any sort of first person camera work, you’ll likely want to avoid this one, but I thought it had a great mix.