Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Wolfman (2010, Joe Johnston)


Even though the original classic is much better I found much to like and enjoy about the 2010 version of The Wolfman. This one naturally has more gore and violence, yet also has some unforeseen elements that come to a head later in the movie. The cast for this one is pretty good, maybe even great, and it’s too bad this movie didn’t perform well at the box office. It’s quite rare that we get a big budget horror movie, and perhaps this is why although more so it’s studios never wanting to invest more in horror movies.

Benicio del Toro plays Lawrence, an actor who has returned home to discover what happened to his brother. Anthony Hopkins plays his father, Emily Blunt the brother’s fiancée, and Hugo Weaving is the inspector sent to investigate what is happening in the nearby village. The werewolf scenes are pretty brutal and have some gruesome kill moments, with body parts flying around and grown men left helpless against a very hungry and hairy evil.

I’m not a huge fan of the final act even though I suppose it makes sense. The asylum scene is the movie’s highlight, as is a gypsy campground that is transformed into a slaughterhouse, all excellent work thanks to Dave Elsey and Rick Baker, who won an Oscar for their efforts. The Wolfman was a pretty solid remake, and it’s too bad we didn’t get more takes on the old Universal Studios movies that were more like this one. Perhaps it’s all for the best, and I would rather see directors come up with their own creations instead.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Invaders From Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper)


I think I’ve seen some of the original cult flick Invaders From Mars which came out in the 1950s. What I saw of that was good, yet dated. You can make the same argument about Hooper’s remake, still I rather liked this one well enough. The ending is gusty, the cast is good, there’s some awesome freaky moments and the movie is very 1980s. Which is fine as Hooper did some pretty good work during that decade and became further established in his own right.

However compared to other 1980s remakes this one isn’t as good as the other ones, although I definitely prefer it over Not Of This Earth, which was not a good movie. Louise Fletcher is wonderfully sinister in this movie, the parents are played by famous actors Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman, and Karen Black has a prominent hero role as the school nurse who believes the kid protagonist. Hunter Carson is quite good as young David, the hero, and James Karen plus Christopher Allport pop up as high ranking soldiers who come to David’s aid.

There are several pretty cool sequences too, particularly the one in the saucer alien lair yet also one involving a swirling sand vortex of doom. Stan Winston and John Dykstra do a fine job with the special effects, and even though the movie drags a bit in the middle the finale more than covers for the weaker aspects. I’ll have to view the original in it’s entirety to compare the two, however for now I’m very satisfied with the remake.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Fright Night (2011, Craig Gillespie)


Hear me out on this: I like the original Fright Night a lot. It is one of the quintessential horror movies of the 1980s, and a very wonderful original vampire movie. Despite this I still slightly, ever so slightly, prefer the remake. Usually folks are aghast when you tell them you think a remake is better than the original, even when there are a good number of remakes that are easily better and some are among the best movies ever made. I now know how a certain Mail Girl on a certain streaming site feels when she admits that she prefers the remake. The modern Fright Night though is just as creepy and eerie as the original, and I really dug some of the changes they made which thankfully resulted in a movie that isn’t just a paint by the numbers flick only with a modern finish.

The cast for this helps a lot, as the late Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, David Tennant and Imogen Poots form the main cast. It also helps that Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Dave Franco also show up, although Franco isn’t given a major part and Mintz-Plasse unfortunately disappears for a good chunk of the movie. Craig Gillespie decided to make Farrell more as a sleek monster vampire who charms every one else around Yelchin’s Charley while threatening the young man and giving him one warning before deciding to wreck his life. The fears of suburbia hiding awful things manifests itself again in the remake, and I really dig how this movie was shot in terms of color schemes and the feeling that night was always present or just around the corner.

Plus David Tennant is utterly hilarious in this movie as Peter Vincent, and he almost steals the movie right out from under Farrell. It helped to cast an excellent actress and horror veteran in Collette as Charley’s mom, and Poots is actually pretty good in the thankless supportive girlfriend role. Despite being really cheesy at times and lacking some of the elements that made the original so effective, this is a pretty good remake and definitely is one I would like to watch again. I also need to track down the 1980s sequel to the original and create my own marathon featuring all three movies.

Horrorfest 2020/Its Hammer Time Presents: Let Me In (2010, Matt Reeves)


Chloë Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee have pretty good chemistry together in Let Me In, Matt Reeves’ quasi remake of Let The Right One In. I prefer the original but the remake is a good film, and has its own unique moments even if at times it felt like a copy of the Swedish film that was made two years before. Sometimes imitation is the best kind of flattery.

I rather like how the film was shot, with Abby and Owen’s relationship being as tender and complicated as the one in the original film. I like good remakes, and this was certainly one of them, although I am not sure it needed to exist. Still Reeves definitely has talent and is a good director, and I want to check out some of his other films. Especially since I really enjoyed Cloverfield. Oddly enough I prefer the pool scene in this film to the one in the original, mostly for a particular shot of Owen that is very remarkable and memorable.

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