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!
Despite being nearly two decades since I stopped collecting, my kids will tell you I’m a strong advocate for comic books. Back in the ‘80s I was all about the Marvel superheroes before they became the Box Office sensations they are today. I’d often read and re-read the adventures of The Amazing Spider-man, The Uncanny X-Men, The Mighty Avengers, and ROM the Spaceknight (if you aren’t familiar with him, you should check out one of my very first blogs HERE) to my younger brother, Keith. While comics are often dismissed as being childish, many folks don’t realize that most are written at college level. All through junior high & high school my reading skills were better than average and, dismissing the possibility that I’m some sort of a genius, I firmly believe this was due to my devotion to comics which encouraged me to read…a LOT!
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.
From skeletons to zombies, if there’s one thing we can take away from a visit to MASK-FEST it’s that death is anything but the end!
When I took a detour past Rockford, IL, little did I know that I’d find a hidden treasure! Located in Roscoe, IL is the Historic Auto Attractions. Here you have Presidents mingling with wild animals, movie memorabilia, and so much more!
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!
During the Halloween season, I’ve always been partial to the mom and pop costume shops. For one thing, I like to support the little guy but, for another, they also tend to carry less of the mass produced products bigger chains do. Unfortunately those stores are becoming a rarity thanks, in large part, to chains such as Spirit Halloween and Halloween Town.
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!
I have so many great memories in my life; many stemming from cheesy monster movies. As a kid I was glued to the television set every Saturday afternoon for the CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE and as an adult, I was glued to the television set every Saturday night for MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! It was such a disappointment when Comedy Central cancelled MST3K and the SyFy Channel picked it up. Like all good things, the SyFy Channel usually ruins it. Thankfully it wasn’t long before the guys who made a career out of riffing on movies, something many of us did anyway, went on to create CINEMA TITANIC, THE FILM CREW and RIFFTRAX, all variations of the original concept.
By now most of us have had a chance to see national commercial TV horror host, Svengoolie’s, new coffin which debuted last Saturday on MeTV. My kids and I actually turned it into an event as we prepared snacks and camped out in front of the television set…not unlike when I was a kid and my mother brought my brother and I our glasses for his “Son of” 3D airing of Revenge of the Creature. My fellow Goolies and I kept in touch via Facebook; enjoying a cyber huddle before (and after) the big moment arrived. Indeed, the show had barely begun before Social media became flooded with viewer feedback and public reaction to the new coffin created by Acme Design.
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.