Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ju-On: The Grudge (2002, Takashi Shimizu)


What we learn in the really good, almost great Japanese horror movie Ju-On is that the legacy of violence never ends. It just leads to more violence. Unlike the other J-Horror films that offer a possible solution to what is happening, Ju-On does not have that level of optimism or hope. Nope, the cycle just keeps on going, which is depressing yet more realistic. Man is a violent creature, and his actions lead to tragedy and horror on multiple scales. In this case, it results in a cursed house.

This is bad news for the family that has moved in there, the police investigating, and others who are friends or relations. I found this movie to be frightening and very realistic in terms of quietly showing it’s many horrors. Particularly during a scene where a TV set is one of the most dangerous things in a small room occupied by one person. Oh and creepy kids show up again because well, they are creepy and effective.

I don’t like comparing this one to Ring, as the two films are quiet different and I actually found Ju-On to be more scary. There is an excellent hallway scene that is beyond terrifying, and I love how this movie ends. I will say that Ring flows better narrative wise, yet the two are both satisfying and must sees for any horror movie. Besides I think Pulse (Kairo) is better than either one, anyways.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Village of the Damned (1960, Wolf Rilla)


One thing I enjoy about British horror and sci-fi is how fact of the matter everything is. Oh sure the village is experiencing a weird event where everyone falls asleep, resulting in bizarre pregnancies? Okay we’ll figure it out after tea and crumpets. George Sanders plays the unflappable professor who is faced with the harsh reality that his young son might be an alien; that’s a crushing blow for any parent, but damnit he’s British so he thinks the world of his kid anyways. These children are super creepy-in fact some of them give Damien from The Omen a run for his money. If you anger any of them, the entire collective group will use their super mind powers to kill you in an inventive and horrible way that would make a slasher film screenwriter smile. I loved how smartly made this movie was, how it slowly builds up the creepy atmosphere, and its interesting that this came from MGM and not Hammer Studios, as feels more like a Hammer film instead.

The death scenes are few but they quite stand out: one man is forced to kill himself with his other gun. Another has his own torch turned against him for leading an angry mob against the children. Sanders’ professor and the military are forced to decide what they must do, and this leads to an action that is equally tragic and haunting. Village of the Damned is a 60s classic, showcasing the best of horror and sci-fi, molding together the two genres and giving rise to a near great film. I would like to view both the sequel, Children of the Damned, and the remake, but I doubt either one is as well crafted or as engaging as the original.

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