Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller)


It has been a while since I last saw a movie about witches, and The Love Witch is a very unique take on horror movies, sex, witches, feminism and women-men dynamics. In fact this movie deserves a second viewing and an essay on what it covers, yet until that happens this review will have to do. Samantha Robinson turns in a star making performance as Elaine, who in her search for love goes way too far.

Elaine uses sex magik in her endless attempts to find the perfect husband. She even states that she wants take from men, not the other way around. Yet she becomes smitten with a cop who embodies the opposite of herself. He is conservative and thinks of love as a weakness; she on the other hand is in touch with her feelings and seeks an equal partner. Her search for the perfect mate is unrealistic, however one can sympathize with this desire.

Particularly since Elaine is the kind of lonely soul that many people are in this life, myself included. Despite belonging to a community of witches she remains an outsider, having been a late comer to the group. She makes friends only to betray them in her search for love and desire. Elaine’s path is a lonely and sad one, destined to be haunted by a longing she cannot fulfill. Whether or not she finds what she is looking for, well you have to view the movie and find out.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Ranger (2018, Jennifer Wexler)


A blast of 100% punk fueled insanity, Jennifer Wexler’s The Ranger is what happens when a man takes his job way too seriously. In this case it is a park ranger who is derranged and obsessed with a girl from his past. Her friends and her are on the run from the law, going from one bad situation to an even worse one. The Ranger insists she is a wolf, yet she refuses to believe him.

I like the brutal kills, the radical soundtrack, and the creepy lead performance from Jeremy Holm, matched up against an equally great one from Chloe Levine. If you want a movie that mixes 80s punk with 80s slashers, then this is the film for you. Despite being low budget Wexler manages to create something unique and creepy. I also liked the wilderness setting, which only added to the film’s isolation driven atmosphere.

2017 Movie Viewing Log


Top 10 of the Year:

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1. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)
2. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)
3. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)
4. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)
5. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)
6. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)
7. Get Out (2017, Peele)
8. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)
9. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)
10. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)

Well it’s that time again.

January:

1. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Reichardt)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
2. The Gunman (2015, Morel)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
3. The Lobster (2015, Lanthimos)-92, Family Video
4. Hail, Caesar! (2016, Coen Brothers)-91, Family Video
5. Night Moves (2014, Reichardt)-88, Public Library
6. Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

Movie of the Month: Room (2015, Abrahamson)-95, Family Video

February:

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7. Dirty Grandpa (2016, Mazer)-78, Amazon Prime
8. Hell or High Water (2016, Mackenzie)-96, Family Video
9. Out of Sight (1998, Soderbergh)-90, Crackle
10. Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982, Reiner)-83, Family Video
11. Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010, Cosmatos)-81, Public Library
12. Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland)-95, Family Video
13. Justice League: War (2014, Oliva)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing
14. Girl Asleep (2015, Myers)-93. Netflix Instant Viewing
15. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013, Oliva)-81, Netflix Instant Viewing
16. Death Race 2050 (2017, Echternkamp)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
17. John Wick Chapter 2 (2017, Stahelski)-95, Theater Viewing
18. Manchester By The Sea [2016, Lonergan)-93, RedBox
19. Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox
20. The Crippled Avengers (1978, Chang)-77, Netflix Instant Viewing
21. Finding Dory (2016, Stanton)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
22. Gnomeo and Juliet (2011, Asbury)-60, DVD
23. Zach and Miri Make A Porno (2008, Smith)-87, Netflix Instant Viewing

Movie of the Month: Arrival (2016, Villeneuve)-97, RedBox

March:

24. Man of Steel (2013, Snyder)-90, Family Video
25. Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Snyder)-71, Family Video
26. Get Out (2017, Peele)-97, Theater Viewing
27. Superman: The Movie (1978, Donner)-91, Netflix Instant Viewing
28. Night Owls (2015, Hood)-86, Netflix Instant Viewing
29. Kung Fury (2015, Sandberg)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
30. The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
31. Logan (2017, Mangold)-94, Theater Viewing
32. Kong: Skull Island (2017, Vogt-Roberts)-90, Theater Viewing
33. Superman II (1980, Lester/Donner)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
34. Ms. 45 (1981, Ferrara)-93, YouTube
35. Superman III (1983, Lester)-34, Netflix Instant Viewing
36. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987, Furie)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
37. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Singer)-81, RedBox

Movie of the Month: The Iron Giant (1999, Bird)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

April:

38. Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003, Dante)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
39. HairBrained (2013, Kent)-76, Netflix Instant Viewing
40. Joe Vs The Volcano (1990, Shanley)-88, Family Video
41. In Like Flint (1967, Douglas)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
42. Eyewitness (1981, Yates)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
43. Micheal Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special (2017, Aukeman)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
44. Reptilicus (1961, Pink)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
45. Free Fire (2016, Wheatley)-93, Theater
46. High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing
47. The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969, Franco)-7, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: High Rise (2016, Wheatley)-95, Netflix Instant Viewing

May:

48. Carnage Park (2015, Keating)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
49. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, Gunn)-93, Theater Viewing
50. Sausage Party (2016, Vernon and Tiernan)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
51. Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD
52. Eegah (1962, Hall Sr.)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
53. Alien: Covenant (2017, Scott)-93, Theater Viewing
54. Catalina Caper (1967, Sholem)-5, Netflix Instant Viewing
55. Future War (1997, Doublin)-10, Netflix Instant Viewing
56. Twice-Told Tales (1963, Salkow)-80, Comet TV

Movie of the Month: Donnie Darko Directors Cut (2001, Kelly)-97, DVD

June:

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57. Wonder Woman (2017, Jenkins)-91, Theater Viewing
58. It Comes At Night (2017, Shults)-92, Theater Viewing
59. Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964, Gentilomo)-35, Netflix Instant Viewing
60. Horrors of Spider Island (1960, Böttger)-6, Netflix Instant Viewing
61. I Accuse My Parents (1944, Newfield)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
62. Jack Frost (1964, Rou)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
63. Fist Fight (2017, Keen)-80, Family Video
64. Laserblast (1978, Rae)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
65. Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders (1996, Berton)-50, Netflix Instant Viewing
66. Los Nuevos extraterrestres (1983, Simón)-15, Netflix Instant Viewing
67. Spy (2015, Feig)-88, Family Video
68. Ant-Man (2015, Reed)-88, Family Video
69. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing
70. The Pocket Man (2016, Chubinidze)-92, Theater Viewing
71. Snack Attack (2012, Cadelago)-75, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Miyazaki)-95, Theater Viewing

July:

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72. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Webster)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
73. The Sidehackers (1969, Trikonis)-0, Netflix Instant Viewing
74. Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing
75. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Watts)-93, Theater Viewing
76. A Single Life (2014, Blaauw, Oprins, Roggeveen)-82, Theater Viewing
77. Game Over (2006, Pes)-85, Theater Viewing
78. Luminaris (2011, Zaramella)-91, Theater Viewing
79. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, Miyazaki)-91, Theater Viewing
80. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017, Besson)-55, Theater Viewing
81. Teenagers From Outer Space (1959, Graeff)-51, Netflix Instant Viewing
82. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj (2006, Nathan)-56, Charge TV

Movie of the Month:  Baby Driver (2017, Wright)-97, Theater Viewing

August:

83. Dunkirk (2017, Nolan)-93, Theater Viewing
84. Night Monster (1942, Beebe)-56, MeTV
85. Bite (2015, Archibald)-60, Public Library
86. The Black Torment (1964, Hartford-Davis)-81, Public Library
87. Blair Witch (2015, Wingard)-69, Public Library
88. Atomic Blonde (2017, Leitch)-88, Theater Viewing
89. Johnny Express (2014, Woo)-93, Theater Viewing
90. The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

Repeats Seen On The Big Screen: Temple of Doom (1984, Spielberg)-90 and The Last Crusade (1989, Spielberg)-95.

Movie of the Month: The Castle In The Sky (1986, Miyazaki)-100, Theater Viewing

September:

91. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002, Tezuka)-75, Comet TV
92. Deathstalker III: The Warriors from Hell (1988, Corona)-35, Comet TV
93. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing
94. Cave Dwellers (1984, D’Amato)-0, Comet TV
95. Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing
96. Afternoon Class (2015, Oh)-90, Theater Viewing
97. The Centrifuge Brain Project (2012, Nowak)-90, Theater Viewing
98. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Miyazaki)-92, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Wind River (2017, Sheridan)-98, Theater Viewing

October:

99. Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing
100. Bride of Frankenstein (1935, Whale)-95, Public Library
101. Crawlspace (1986, Schmoeller)-90, Public Library
102. A Cure for Wellness (2017, Verbinski)-65, Public Library
103. Urban Legend (1998, Blanks)-80, Crackle
104. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974, Gibson)-70, Tubi TV
105. The Manster (1959, Crane, Breakston)-45, Tubi TV
106. Final Destination 2 (2003, Ellis)-82, Public Library
107. 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957, Juran)-80, Public Library
108. Blood For Dracula (1974, Morrissey)-70, Public Library
109. Raw (2017, Ducournau)-92, Netflix Instant Viewing
110. Legion (The Exorcist III DC, 1990, Blatty)-94, Public Library
111. The Curse of the Cat People (1944, Wise, Fritsch)-71, Public Library
112. It (2017, Muschietti)-94, Theater Viewing
113. Pieces (1982, Simon)-77, TubiTV
114. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, Morrissey)-75, Public Library
115. Fright Night (2011, Gillespie)-84, Public Library
116. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, Sole)-82, TubiTV
117. Jennifer’s Body (2009, Kusama)-90, Blu Ray
118. Salem’s Lot (1979, Hooper)-90, Blu Ray

Movie of the Month: Mother! (2017, Aronofsky)-98, Theater Viewing

November:

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119. Cutthroat Island (1995, Harlin)-45, Charge TV
120. Crossfire Trail (2001, Wincer)-77, Get TV
121. Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing
122. Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Waititi)-91, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Delicatessen (1991, Jeunet, Caro)-100, Netflix Instant Viewing

December:

Image result for paprika (2006)

123. Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray
124. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017, Johnson)-94, Theater Viewing
125. Scary Movie (2000, Wayans)-83, Netflix Instant Viewing
126. Justice League (2017, Snyder)-82, Theater Viewing

Movie of the Month: Paprika (2006, Kon)-95, Public Library Blu Ray

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: The Invitation (2015, Karyn Kusama)


The Invitation and Starry Eyes are both slow burning horror dramas that despite their weaker elements are still solid and worth seeing. They both deal with how damaged people are easily manipulated into going along with concepts and ideas that are harmful to others and to themselves. Both have endings that are a big payoff, and both feature at least one character who realizes what is going on long before anyone else figures it out. I do wonder if maybe it’s California’s history with cults and violence that has resulted in so many horror films being set in that particular area. Noirs such as Chinatown also present the area’s dark side, usually hinting at evil lurking beneath.

Yet The Invitation reminds us also that evil is not so black and white, that is rests in the hearts and minds of people. They can be our friends, loved ones, relatives or people we are acquainted with. Will, the film’s haunted protagonist, understands that all too well in the end. He is cursed with figuring out the reason why his friends and him are at his ex wife’s house, a place that used to be his long ago in a different life. Too bad that he only figures it out later, and that of course the others present don’t believe him. One scene I liked was when Will is screaming in pain, only its internal. His suffering becomes tangible, present to the audience.

While this film takes too long to get going, when it finally does it has a presence that is very engaging. I often wonder if a terrible incident would be enough to push me into coming under the spell of a manipulative individual. Yet I realize that in one way or another it’s easy to be manipulated, to have the illusion of control. That’s a far more unnerving thought than any horror film.

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