Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Legion-The Exorcist III Director’s Cut (1990, William Peter Blatty)


Years later on Shudder I watched the regular cut of The Exorcist III after having seeing the Director’s Cut thanks to my local public library. I prefer the DC although the theatrical cut is also fine, even though I feel that Legion is far more scarier and has a more effective and creepier ending. Both center on evil refusing to die, the past coming back to haunt people, and of course that epic nightmare fuel jump scare scene involving someone wielding a large pair of sheers. George C. Scott anchors this film as a policeman searching for answers that lead him back to a dead serial killer known as The Gemini Killer.

The opening for Legion is different and features an odd, wind filled sequence in a church that inspires dread. Legion is about how evil never really dies and how the devil has endless ways of maintaining evil , only in this case it is through a long dead killer showing back up again. Brad Dourif has always been good at playing evil and crazy people, yet I think he is at his most terrifying here as Gemini, the instrument of the film’s awful events. I can’t think of a movie that’s made me wary of garden sheers than this one, or at least one that’s been made recently. Ed Flanders and Scott Wilson also do a great job as part of the supporting cast as well. Wilson and Flanders both were also in the equally great The Ninth Configuration, which Blatty also directed.

Although this isn’t as good as The Exorcist, The Exorcist III is a worthy sequel and is one of the best horror films of the 1990s. It has also held up pretty well, particularly in it’s discussions of faith, belief, and fighting against the forces of darkness. The battle is a dirty daily job, but according to Scott’s policeman someone has to do it on a daily basis and the war never ends.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Curse of Chucky (2013, Don Mancini)


This movie kind of sucked. It’s a low budget mess that focuses more on hilarious kills than storyline or good acting. It’s shot in a manner that suggests the filmmakers could not afford a decent cinematographer. Curse of Chucky has its moments yet it pales in comparison to the original classic. I’ve only viewed the first one and parts of two and three. What I’ve seen so far is much better than this latest entry in a long running horror franchise. 

Poor Nica is wheelchair bound and trapped in a house with Chucky, who mysterious shows up at her home and starts killing people again. The film has some moments yet overall I was left disappointed, even though I liked the ending and I thought the movie ties in well with the original series. I’ve seen worse films than this one, and it’s availability on Netflix is why I watched it in the first place. 

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Critteriffic


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Sure this was supposed to be part of my viewing from last year. Doesn’t matter because I do what I want anyways. Critters 3 and 4 came as a double bill part of a four pack that I found at my local library. Neither are particularly good, yet I actually dug one a little bit. I like to finish franchises anyways, for better or for worse. The series isn’t Oscar worthy but it is fun to watch. For some reason the 80s and 90s had a lot of franchise horror, although that seemed to be the norm for Hollywood, period.

Critters 3 is not a good movie. It’s easy the worst of the series and is mostly notable for featuring a young Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the main roles. As the son of a douche bag who wants to drive off his tenants so he can build a shopping mall or something. After having the Critters take over a farmhouse and a small town an apartment building is a huge step down. Imagine if this had been a big budget film where the Crites invade a whole city. Too bad that never happened.

Still this film does have its moments and the cast isn’t bad for a poor showing. They make this crappy movie watchable and I did like some of the kills. Also for some reason (SPOILER) The film ends on a cliffhanger. I like that Terrence Mann and Don Keth Opper appear in all of the series. That’s welcomed consistency.

Now oddly enough Critters 4 was a step up and works okay as an ending to the series. Well at least it was supposed to be, since nothing ever seems to end in Hollywood. Opper and Mann return along with new additions Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett as members of a crew that finds Charlie in space. I overlooked the obvious Alien/Aliens ripoff moments and sat back and enjoyed the fact that for the first time ever the Crites were actually in space. And that this movie has a few surprises, including one I did not see coming.

Even though like the rest of the series the low budget feel is quite apparent, I still enjoyed the fourth movie. The first two entries in the series are the best, however I still recommend even seeing the last two, just to see how things shake out. Also I am a fan of even bad sci-fi, especially since we don’t get too much of the actual stuff these days. Comic book movies don’t count.

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Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Child’s Play (1988, Holland)


While I still have yet to view the rest of the series I doubt any of the entries measure up to the original Child’s Play, directed by famous horror filmmaker Tom Holland. Despite the ridiculous nature of the film’s premise Holland never lets the material get out of hand or stop being really creepy. Everyone knows who Chucky is by now so the surprise of him being the killer is long gone, however this film was well directed and executed to the point where that didn’t matter. I’m reminded of Friday the 13th (1980) where in the modern era you know who the killer is and yet the film is suspenseful enough that having prior knowledge is mostly irrelevant to the film’s success. Also Brad Dourif brings Chucky to villainous life in a manner that only a good actor can do-after all, playing a doll is tough work. The film also benefits from the Chicago setting, which is utilized properly and adds to the film’s eerie atmosphere.

Plus this film has a great cast: Chris Sarandon in a rare good guy role, Catherine Hicks as Andy’s troubled mom, and of course Dourif plus Alex Vincent, who is one of those child actors that isn’t annoying in a horror movie. Even though killer doll movies aren’t the most scariest in the world, Child’s Play manages to be a really spooky and entertaining horror film with a chilling finale. I look forward to viewing the rest of the series even if my expectations will be lower-I have heard that the second one is rather underrated. The 80s has some really quality horror films and I think that Child’s Play is certainly one of those, even if it falls short of being a truly great horror film.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Graveyard Shift (1990, Ralph S. Singleton)


Based on the short story of the same title from the Stephen King classic anthology Night Shift,4 this 1990 film is a decent adaptation. It fleshes out the short and builds up the anticipation of finding out what horrors are lurking down below in the basement dungeon of the old mill. That mill is the lifeblood of a small rural town and it is on danger of being shutdown. Warwick, the asshole in charge will do whatever it takes to keep the mill running. Even if he has to sacrifice people to do it.

A drifter named John comes into town desperate for work. Getting hired at the mill he ends up becoming ensnared in what is happening at the mill, pitting himself unintentionally against his new boss. However he has an ally in a coworker, Jane, who is the only friend he’s got in a town where most of the people don’t like him. But hey at least people are easier to deal with than the rat infestation that has overtaken the mill. Much easier.

Brad Dourif is great in his unfortunately limited role as The Exterminator and this film does create a fairly solid atmosphere. I liked Dourif’s really eerie monologue about why he hates rats and Warwick is a really sinister villain. The creature effects are good for an early 1990s movie and I was entertained even if this film isn’t all that scary. I wouldn’t mind a remake of this movie, although bad CGI would probably be involved and too many awful horror remakes exist already. Sometimes its best to be satisfied with what you already have.

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