Horrorfest 2020 Presents: American Gothic (1988, John Hough)


American Gothic is a dumb, brutal, nasty movie that has a bunch of characters who exist to die horribly. Rod Steiger and Yvonne De Carlo did this movie for the money, and Michael J. Pollard is in this too because why not? Might as well have a trio of distinguished actors stuck in what was mostly likely a low budget production. However, the last act is more interesting than the entire rest of the movie, and Steiger does give a good performance.

Sarah Torgov was a solid final girl, too, and she manages to turn the tables on her captors. I didn’t hate this movie, however it is not a particularly good slasher film. American Gothic is mostly an ok film at best, and I think that seems to be true for way too many movies in general. I sure watch a lot of forgettable movies every year.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Ready Or Not (2019, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett)


Perhaps the 2019 horror satire thriller Ready Or Not is too clever for it’s own good. Maybe the snappy jokes and the brutal kills overshadow the fact that the movie doesn’t quite flesh out it’s main premise enough. Perhaps Ready Or Not would have benefitted from a longer run time. Yet the entire movie is so much fun, and has a nice creepy aspect that underlines the proceedings. Also Samara Weaving headlines a fantastic cast that also includes Andie McDowell and Adam Brody. I ended up liking this movie a lot even if certain parts fail.

Oh and the commentary on the rich is only too relevant today considering how they run the country. Oh it’s not just the first family, as the funny Why Your Team Sucks articles keep informing me. No it is also billionaires owning football teams, the super rich funding right wing causes to avoid taxes while the climate burns. Ready Or Not at least dives into that aspect to a certain extent, particularly since Grace, the main character, is not rich.

Also the film reminds me of how those in charge benefit from servants all too willing to aid them. The butler in particular is all too willing to hunt down Grace, and another member of the staff even yells out her location. Never trust someone willing to give you up so they can keep cleaning the floors and serving tea. Without revealing more I think Ready or Not was very realiable and a good eerie horror flick.

Happy Friday The 13th (Spo Spo Spoilers)


Great day. I consider it a holiday over fake ones such as Flag Day and Columbus Day. Anyways I realized that some of the Friday The 13th series entries could have been better. Or improved upon. Let’s start with Part III. Tons of spoilers btw so don’t read if you haven’t watched them all. Also the first film and Part II are fine as is, and I don’t really care about the remake. FVJ sort of counts but doesn’t and is awesome regardless.

Ah Part III. When the series really felt very 80s and had awful 3D. I got a headache from those cheap glasses that came with my copy. Oh and this should have been the film where Jason kills the Final Girl, named Chris. Calling her a Final Girl is an insult to the other, better Final Girls. There actually was an ending where Jason kills her so I’m not the only one who thinks this. However there are other aspects I would change.

Getting rid of the biker gang for one. They were terrible characters and could be written out. The opening had Jason killing people who lived near the lake. What if he had kept on doing that for a while before entering Camp Crystal Lake again? Regardless the film didn’t need extra random people to be victims. The main group had more than enough potential victims.

I would have loved it if Jason, unmasked after getting hit by the ax, chases down scared Chris and snaps her neck. The police, who arrived upon the scene, shoot him three times. End of film. Imagine if The Final Chapter could have opened with the same scene, only Jason is still alive so they take him to a hospital all chained up. Naturally he escapes and kills everyone there. Maybe that would have been too violent to pass MPAA censorship muster.

The Final Chapter is fine the way it is for the most part. Yet while I like and enjoy A New Beginning, having Roy be the murderer never made a lot of sense. No but having Tommy Jarvis be the new Jason would have been amazing. Even if that’s not the route that the film’s creators were willing to go down at the very least they could have gone with another mental patient. Anything but having such a crazy plot. Still they were able to keep the gore intact in this film. Not like….

…The New Blood. I wouldn’t change a thing about Jason Lives although Zombie Jason is a tad outrageous heh. Part Seven was butchered by the MPAA and thus us fans were denied what could have been an epic display of violence. If only the infamous sleeping bag kill could have properly happened. Also I wanted more Tina vs Jason. For a movie that featured a telekinotic teenager there wasn’t enough cool mind moving scenes. Otherwise I’m fine with this film since its the last time Jason was at Camp Crystal Lake.

Naturally everyone wants Jason Takes Manhattan to be remade. Can you imagine Jason killing people in Yankee stadium? Or tearing through Times Square instead of simply waking by it once? Someone needs to make this happen. I want Jason to battle people on The Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Alas all us fans got was Jason Hangs Out In Manhattan For Five Minutes after a booze cruise. Boooo. This is where low budget filmmaking leaves you a little stranded.

Btw Jason X was so awful I pretend it never happened. Such a bad joke. Yet Jason Goes To Hell could have been salvaged. Keep the family storyline, dump the body swaping, have Duke and the FBI after Jason and still see him go to Hell at the end. I would have laughed had the woman at the beginning been killed right away by Jason instead of leading him into the trap. You would think Jason would be a little more clever. Also I liked the sleezy reporter in this film too, as that angle revealed that in fact Jason’s murders had actually received publicity finally.

I have ideas for two Jason films. One that I’ve had for years, the other I cooked up three years ago and which would be controversial in some ways. I’ll never tell though because I’m sure someone else already thought them up or someone might steal them. Happy Friday The 13th folks.

Be Careful of Who You Invite Into Your Home


That single opening shot before the film’s title card is mysterious: a man runs along a dusty road. There are no clues about where the man is running to or what he is running from. The viewer is left wondering what is going on, and the mystery of the person who says he is named David lies at the heart of Adam Wingard’s cult film masterwork The Guest. I loved that establishing shot of the Peterson family residence because the pumpkin headed scarecrow echoes the freaky opening credits for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and thus hints at what occurs later on in the film.

Throughout most of this movie is a harrowing intense feeling of doom. David gives off a charming likeable feel and yet he clearly masks something nasty beneath his icy smile and the forced chuckles. It’s creepy how a stranger like David can insert himself into a normal family and yet by acting as a demonic guardian he earns their trust. It’s fitting that Anna, the daughter, sees though David’s projection of himself as this nice guy willing to help out the family of his dead comrade in arms. Unfortunately for her this urge to ask questions results in a literally explosive final act that is equal parts thrilling and creepy.

This film has shades of classics such as Halloween and The Terminator, existing as a horror action thriller hybrid. It’s soundtrack is also 80s heavy and very cool, underlying the proceedings in full synthesizer glory. Dan Stevens is impressive as David, and I love how the film is kind of “Unstoppable Badass Sits Down to Dinner.” Also I figured out that Wingard offers even more of a twist on the slasher film genre here than he even did with You’re Next, another great film he’s made. Particularly with the eerie and tension filled high school sequence, a classic staple of slasher films.

Oh and the ending made me smile. A lot. Yes The Guest is rather simplistic pilot wise however I don’t care. Maika Monroe had a strong presence as Anna and at times was channeling Amber Heard, which is a good thing. The action sequences are all crisp and badass, and David always feels intense and relentless. When he finally drops his mask its a great shock and a reminder that in this world maybe its smarter to distrust people you don’t know.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Terror Train (1980, Roger Spottiswoode)


Made at the height of the slasher film craze Terror Train is an effective and semi creepy killer thriller. It features many of the genre’s famous cliches, and yet the setting is unique. While there have been mystery films with killings taking place on trains most slasher films are set in the woods or in deserted locations. The murderer may or may not be someone from a group of friend’s past as they gruesomely kill their victims.

Jamie Lee Curtis choose to make another horror film despite the risk of being type cast as a scream queen. She is the sympathetic final girl forced to deal with a terrible situation. Unfortunately for everyone the train is in the middle of nowhere, putting the slasher theme of people isolated and trapped in a lonely place with no way to get help. This only ups the tension further.

With some brutal kills and an entertaining finale Terror Train is one of the best of the 80s slasher films. From my experience a lot of the quality slasher films over the decades have been stand alone, films without sequels. I was amused that Ben Johnson starred in this movie after making so many westerns. That was a nice touch.

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