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 2018 Presents: The Deadly Spawn (1983, Douglas McKeown)


There is low budget, and then there is low low budget. The second film I viewed on Halloween, The Deadly Spawn, was made on the super cheap, yet it is one of those dumb fun cult movies that people talk about having seen back when it came out. I found my copy on DVD at Half-Price Books, so I didn’t pay too much. The film has flimsy characters, not much of a plot and clearly was not very well shot, yet I liked it in a trashy sort of way.

Also I enjoyed the title alien, which spends most of the movie hiding in a basement and devouring anyone unlucky enough to come down there. The kills are quite gruesome, the ending made me grin and The Deadly Spawn has a third act that works as an intense violent bottle episode. This is one of those movies that you have to watch to believe, with your brain turned off and beer on hand. Ah, the 1980s.

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