The Daves would like to welcome Brandon Engel to our website with his wonderful entry on George Romero!
And even though it was shot in black and white and on a meager budget, Night knocked the socks off the viewing public. It received mixed reviews (with notable critics like Roger Ebert publicly expressing their distaste for the film, however effective it was) and it wound up essentially establishing the framework for the zombie film as we know it today. The film vividly depicted cannibalistic zombie feasts, and not only did Romero have the audacity to have his lead character played by a black actor (Duane Jones), but he also had the nerve to kill him off in the film’s screen. Not bad for a guy who launched his show-biz career on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
More often than not, movies that prominently feature gambling of any kind center on the drama associated with a particular game or locale. Just off the top of my head, I can rattle off Casino, The Gambler, and Rounders as notable examples—and fantastic films, by the way. But in the upcoming movie Poker Night, the card game is used quite differently. Not only that, but it’s at the center of what looks to be one hell of a creepy (albeit familiar) plot.
There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.
Movie Review: BENEATH Is Much Deeper Than Just A Monster Movie (And That Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing)
I have been reading about this film for some time now, both in Fangoria and HorrorHound magazines. For the most part the reviews have been favorable and I am always up for a new monster movie. This is not your typical monster on the loose film and to be honest, I wish it was. The movie I am talking about is BENEATH, directed by Larry Fessenden.
Horror aficionados will unanimously agree that the 1980’s were the Golden Age of slasher films. As I’ve discussed before in a retrospective on the original My Bloody Valentine (which you can relive HERE), the holidays were a particularly dangerous time for horny teenagers looking to celebrate these special dates in their own lascivious ways.
Movie review books. Those film guides that present to you an assortment of movies reviewed by a complete stranger. How do you know which ones to buy and which ones to avoid like the plague? This is really a tough question to answer, especially since we all have our own personal tastes (as do the authors of these books). It seems that a new guide comes out on an almost weekly basis and all have mixed reviews. So again, how do you know which ones to buy? I guess it really depends on what you are looking for. I am not a big fan of the movie guide that features every genre of movie. The reason for this is because, like I said earlier, everyone has their own personal taste and it may not agree with your own. Some people may love dramas but hate horror, so that will reflect in the book. So what do you do, give a book a negative review because the author’s opinion doesn’t match yours? I have actually seen this happen! The key to enjoying a movie guide is to keep an open mind and realize that we do all have our own personal tastes and just because the author may not like a movie you love, it does not make the book bad. When I buy a movie guide I am looking to see what that author liked or disliked about my favorite movies and if he dislikes something, I am very interested in why he dislikes it. Thankfully we are also seeing an increase in genre-specific movie guides, especially when it comes to horror and science fiction, two of my favorite movie types. This review is on one of these books, “The Fright File: 150 Films To See Before Halloween.”
We weren’t sure what to expect upon receiving a screener copy of the 2013 film, Chastity Bites, directed by John V. Knowles. Not only had we never heard of it (something of a phenomena considering how much time we spend perusing horror magazines & websites these cold, winter days) but we also knew that lower budget, Independent films are hit or miss. Soon we BOTH agreed that this one was a definite hit! Not only did this modern tale bring back nostalgic memories of ’80s teen flicks but managed to do so with genuine jumps and plenty of laughs!
If you’re a fan of movies, then you’ve probably perused a movie guide or two in search of inspiration. I’ve always been a fan of these books, especially if they revolve a specific film genre. This all started for me with John Stanley’s “Creature Feature Movie Guide” series and continues to this day. These guides aren’t perfect as they’re usually written by one person who has their own personal tastes. What this means is that the author may hate a movie you absolutely love and vice versa. Because they’re trying to cram so many movies into one guide, the films aren’t given as much of a personal touch with the reviews often ending up static. Not so with the subject of this review; a horror movie guide that takes things to a whole new level! I present to you., “HIDDEN HORROR: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks.”
Once again John Landis has proven why he is the master of mixing horror with comedy. He did it first in 1981 with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and he was back at it eleven years later with INNOCENT BLOOD. Things that worked in his werewolf film…things like a recognizable cast, amazing effects, fun cameos and just the right mixture of horror and comedy…work just as well when he takes on vampires. Why he isn’t making more films I will never know.
I have always loved werewolf films, perhaps even more than vampire films. There is just something about a creature that completely transforms from human to beast and then tears its victims to pieces. The problem with werewolf films is that in my experience, they are either really good or they just suck. Here I present to you a variety of werewolf films to satisfy anyone’s shape-shifting needs.
To me there are two types of lycanthropic films; the werewolf and the wolf man. Werewolf films feature monsters that look nothing like their human counterparts whereas wolf men retain some of the characteristics of the human form and in most cases. still wear the clothes that were worn before the transformation. This blog is about werewolves.
Photo courtesy of Maze Studio
Flashback Weekend Continues. NOTE: This post written before the events of Friday September 20th, 2013…
Joined by my friends, Bill and Joan Yingst, we walked around the convention hall of Flashback Weekend commenting on the various dealers and their home-made horror products. In lieu of my recent (and numerous) summer convention visits, I thought I’d pretty much seen everything but Flashback did manage to surprise me none the less. Items such as customized Boba Fett/Evel Kinievel figures are things you definitely don’t see every day…but should at least once in your lifetime!
It has been mentioned many times on this site that John Carpenter’s THE FOG is a favorite movie of both Daves. Unfortunately, up until recently, good quality versions of this film have been non-existent. Even the blu-ray that was available as an import on Amazon for so long was just a blu-ray version of the MGM Special edition that came out many years ago (in other words, it was less than perfect). Once again Shout! Factory has gone to great lengths to provide us with a great release in its best form to date! These guys know what they are doing and know what the fans want!
When people list their top favorite horror films, they no doubt mention John Carpenter’s Halloween almost immediately. Sure, I like the movie and absolutely consider myself a fan, but let me commit Horror Heresy over here by saying it’s NOT my favorite Carpenter classic. In fact, I’d put it solidly in 3rd Place with THE THING and THE FOG sharing a healthy lead. As I’ve recently delved into my love of the science fiction masterpiece, THE THING, while covering THING-FEST in July (seen HERE), let’s discuss the often overlooked horror film, THE FOG…
With little recovery time after The Fright Night Film Fest it was time to embark on yet another convention…well, technically TWO of them! Flashback Weekend is an annual Chicago horror tradition and by happenstance, Wizard Con (a giant comic convention and yet another yearly feature), was taking place the same weekend and directly across the street. This hurled the town of Rosemont, Illinois into geek gridlock with poor Flashback in danger of getting swallowed up by its much larger neighbor,
Ironically, before this site started, Flashback Weekend was the only horror convention I’d ever go to and yet the only one I didn’t attend after the fact. I’m not sure why that is but I’m thinking the numerous July season of events I started covering rendered me both too tired and broke by the time this August one rolled around. In that regard, the circumstances this year were no different if not more so.
Shout! Factory has done it again with their latest blu-ray offering, the 1985 George Romero classic DAY OF THE DEAD. I have always been a fan of Romero’s Dead Trilogy, and to be honest, this is my favorite of the three and I was very excited to hear that it was finally getting its long-overdue blu-ray release. Of the three films this one, in my opinion, is the darkest and why it works so well.
Most of the film takes place underground in an abandoned missile silo where a group of military personnel and scientists have gathered together to try and figure out what is going on above. The characters are perfectly cast and this film is interesting to watch as the group breaks down and collapses; much like the world on the outside did. You really get a sense of how bad things are in this movie whereas, in the two previous films, there seems to be actual hope. This is evident right from the beginning when a visit is made to Florida in search of survivors. The streets are empty and it’s obvious it has been this way for quite some time. The only signs of life are animals such as alligators and tarantulas who have now moved into the once-populated areas.
It really amazes me these days how certain movies are able to be made and get distributed even though they’re horrible and yet certain films, that are really good and original, can’t get a distribution deal to save its life! This was the case with Trick r Treat from 2007, a phenomenal Halloween-themed movie that took a good two years to see the light of day. It happened again just recently with the film The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond; a movie made in 2009 that just got released this month…four years later!
I have a confession to make – I didn’t see the original Insidious in theaters when it came out. It was only when Terror Dave Fuentes asked me to review Insidious 2 that I rented it via Red Box. I watched it just two days before seeing Insidious 2 so it was very fresh in my memory – and I’m glad that it was!
To quote Terror Dave Fuentes as we were watching, this movie “started out with a bang”. It opens on a couple having sex in a home isolated in a remote forest location. When the girl goes to get a drink in the kitchen we have our first ominous moment – the motion sensitive light comes on in the backyard. As in most horror movies (really, movies in general), there are no curtains on any window in the house, so we have a clear view of the outside. The camera pans over and we get our first glimpse of the iconic image of the movie – an anonymous murderer in a cute animal mask. Moments later, her lover enters the room and sees the movie title written in her blood on the window – “You’re Next”. Tiger Mask gets him as well.
I woke up early on Saturday and walked around Louisville snapping some pictures. The sky was overcast and I’d hoped to escape the zoo of Fright Night/Fandomfest in favor or an official one. While having breakfast at the local Panera Bread, I asked a guy sitting nearby if he knew what the weather forecast was for the day. I explained that I wanted to go to the Louisville Zoo and was hoping things would clear up. “Why would you want to do that???” he asked, as if I’d told him my plans were to dive into the Ohio River. “The Fandomfest is right down the street!”
After spending most of our first night at the Fright Night/Fandomfest standing in lines we decided it was time to make our pilgrimage back to the main hotel and check out the dealer rooms they had there. There were two main areas for vendors; the Kentucky Convention Center where the big celebrities and photo ops were (which featured more comic book related items) and the hotel which centered more on horror.
Friday night at Days of the Dead didn’t have quite the after party Russ and I hoped for. That wasn’t shocking since Saturdays tend to be when convention festivities kick off and it certainly wasn’t everyone else’s fault that we were only staying over on Friday. After we ate dinner the convention rooms closed but Days offered activities in the hotel lounge which included a monster burlesque show.
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, Elizabeth Ocon!
If a spirit asked you to give it permission to inhabit a creepy old doll of yours, would you say yes?
If you heard furiously loud pounding on your front door in the middle of the night after getting rid of that creepy old possessed doll, would you get up and open the door without checking the peephole?
The new James Wan film The Conjuring doesn’t waste any time getting to the scary stuff. The opening shot of a doll’s eye leads us into the history of a haunted doll called Annabelle that will appear to great effect later in the film. It also introduces the secondary main characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). This isn’t your typical haunted house story; it focuses on the investigators as well as the victims of the haunting.
Like most conventions, the 2013 Indianapolis Days of the Dead was spread across several large rooms at the hotel. Russ and I left the beautiful Jordan Ladd (a meeting covered in my last chapter) and embarked on what was to be the first of many walk throughs (which is why you’ll see us wearing different clothes in this post) of the dealer’s room. There were actually two main rooms designated for dealers, with some located out in the adjoining hallways. Although there were other guests we planned on meeting, they were located in one of these areas as opposed to the one exclusive to celebs
The inimitable “Russ Wrangler” arrived at my place around 1pm; all smiles and full of energy. Clad in sunglasses and sandals, he looked more prepared for a day at the beach as opposed to a horror convention but clearly the overall message was “vacation” and a welcomed one at that. We loaded my things and immediately embarked for Indianapolis with no lulls in conversation, making the drive go by much quicker.
This was my third Days of the Dead in Indianapolis (fourth overall) and Russ’ second. I remember attending the very first one while being impressed with how fan-friendly it was; something I’d hoped hadn’t changed. It seems like fan conventions of any kind start off slow and friendly and, should they find success, later become out-of-control Goliath’s with the fans getting lost somewhere in the mix.