Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Jennifer’s Body (2009, Karyn Kusama)


“Hell is a teenage girl.”

Jennifer’s Body was another horror movie I viewed on Halloween night in 2017, and was also obtained at Best Buy. The Blu-ray copy I got is still in my possession and it had one of those specialty covers they threw on top to get someone like me to buy it. I’m a sucker for blind buys even if they end up disappointing me, and Karyn Kusama’s film is notably polarizing so of course I had to watch it and see for myself what the buzz was all about. I’m not sure it’s the masterpiece some proclaim it and I don’t think it sucks like many do. In fact I just really liked the movie, and I will probably revisit my copy at some point down the road just to refresh my memory about certain aspects. I’ve softened my stance on second viewings over the years and I find a lot of times they give me another perspective and let me know what I missed the first time. Oh and this movie’s script is both a blessing and a curse, with dialogue that made me laugh, cringe, and shake my head at times.

Say what you will about Megan Fox back then or now, she completely owns this movie. Amanda Seyfried is fantastic too and the pair of them have what could be described as a friendship that turns into bleak obsession and insanity later on. Funny enough Johnny Simmons has the normally written for a woman thankless role as the boyfriend, which is one of this movie’s strengths: it likes to turn some horror and dramatic clichés and flip them around. Despite some dodgy 2000s CGI the kill scenes are pretty freaky and the finale is pretty intense. I’m not a big fan of the movie’s opening narrative bit though just because it seems a little too banal and expected, things that a lot of the movie are not.

If you want to view Adam Brody and a bunch of rockers singing 867-5309 / Jenny before they mercilessly slaughter someone, this is your movie (and that scene is bleakly comedic in all the right and wrong ways). Kusama could have probably gone even farther in tackling the sexes, classism and a number of other issues that were perhaps a bit too much for a largely surface movie such as this one. Yet I really enjoyed Jennifer’s Body, and most of the movie will stick with me for a while. I’m actually glad this never got a sequel even though the end credits eagerly pushed for one.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Return of the Living Dead (1985, Dan O’Bannon)


In 2017 Best Buy still had a decently sized movie section that has since been gutted since everyone streams movies and physical media has taken considerable hits. I went there to find something for Halloween since I knew I didn’t have to work the day after and I would be able to stay up late viewing horror movies after work. They had a cool looking copy of Return of the Living Dead, which I hadn’t seen in years at the time and was due for a rewatch. I still own my copy and I love that movie because it is a punk zombie horror comedy that has plenty of bite and even some scary moments. I’m not sure if it is a great movie, however I’ve known plenty who could argue that it is and even convince myself. Return of the Living Dead is one of those films that could only have been conceived of and made in the 1980s-yes I’m going to be that guy-primarily since a lot of the styles and trends the movie features are very much out of date and now laughably retro. Also punk has been co-opted by Hot Topic and has unfortunately gone mainstream. Too bad.

One thing I enjoy about Dan O’Bannon’s cult classic is that the movie has some great comedy moments and also some really surprisingly creepy moments as well. Plus the flick works as an agreed to by O’Bannon and George A. Romero unofficial sequel to Night of the Living Dead (1968) where in this universe that movie actually really happened and the government covered it up. I also dig how the movie shows actual dates onscreen, acting as an unofficial covering of what happens one July 4th (yey holiday movie horror!) weekend. Freddy and Frank are two bumbling medical supply warehouse employees who accidentally unleash a zombie plague upon their home city of Louisville, making their city famous for more than just basketball. A group of young punks, friends of Freddy, end up breaking into a cemetery in what turns out to be the worst mistake of their young lives.

The cast for this film is excellent: I mean you have James Karen and Clu Gulager as the major heavyweight veterans, with Thom Mathews and Linnea Quigley headlining the younger cast. Quigley ends up stealing the movie with a freaky performance both as a living person and as the undead! I still chuckle at the “Send more cops” line, and admire this movie for having brain eating zombies, fast moving zombies, and trap setting zombies. Although technically the cult flick Nightmare City had zombies that moved quickly and were capable of using objects as weapons before Return of the Living Dead, and I’m sure it helped inspire O’Bannon’s film as well.

Despite not finding this movie very scary I still love it anyways, and I’m holding on to my Blu-ray copy as long as it still works. Return of the Living Dead is one of those movies that every horror fan should see, and despite being dated 1980s wise a lot of the material holds up incredibly well. Besides who doesn’t wanna party? IT’S PARTY TIME!

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Happy Birthday To Me (1981, J. Lee Thompson)


One thing I have learned from 1980s slashers is that the goofy ones are often the most fun. Happy Birthday To Me is kind of ridiculous, has plenty of reliable kills, and it nails the ending. Sure the acting is cheesy and I don’t know if parts of the movie made sense, but that is all part of the charm of such a movie. I didn’t view this on Halloween night because it would inform my brain or make for a life changing viewing. I watched it to unwind from a long day at work, crack a beer and settle in for half way decent entertainment.

Sadly the copy I found at Half Price Books did not contain any bonus features. I would have loved to see behind the scenes footage and even watch director’s commentary. Oh well. I still recommend this movie, although I have seen better on Halloween and this was a last minute viewing and purchase. I might plan better for 2020.

Slash This! (I Got Nothing)


Favorite Slasher Movies Cause Why Not

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American Psycho (2000)
Scream (1996)
My Bloody Valentine (1980)
Halloween (1978)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Deep Red (1975)
Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2005)
Terror Train (1980)

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Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)
Return To Horror High (1987)
The Burning (1981)
Popcorn (1991)
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Torso (1973)

Horror Movie Bucket List


Yeah sure I should have an actual life one, but that’s boring. Horror movies are more fun.

1. Seen all three big slasher film franchises (Halloween, ANOES, F13th) on the big screen at least once-done!

2. Viewed a horror movie at a midnight show-done for ANOES remake

3. Watched a horror movie in a theater alone-It Follows (2015)

4. Gone to see a classic being re-released on the big screen-Halloween (1978), seen in 2014 or 2015.

5. Own more than 10 horror movies-Way past that haha.

I’ll think of more later…

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Holidays (2016, Kevin Smith, Gary Shore, Matt Johnson, Scott Stewart, Nicholas, McCarthy, Dennis Widmyer, Kevin Kolsch, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns)


From past experience I have enjoyed anthologies. Holidays is another fine modern entry into that sub genre of horror filmmaking, and this one has a batch of talented folks creating short films that range from excellent to slightly disappointing. Usually that’s how anthologies go, anyways. This one isn’t among the best ever but it’s still pretty good, maybe even almost great in some regards.

The first two segments are among the best in the film, which centers around, well, holidays. Valentine’s Day is equal parts Carrie inspired and dark comedy mixed with shocking bleak moments and a hilariously awesome ending. St. Patrick’s Day, which follows, is at first eerie and features a sinister ginger girl. Yet in this oddly wonderful segment, things are not what they seem.

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The next two are less great yet stil work to certain degrees. Easter is creepy and makes you think twice about the Easter Bunny in a horrifying way. Mother’s Day is too much of a rip off of Rosemary’s Baby, yet I did like the payoff. However despite an ending that leaves one with more questions than answers the eerie and sinister Father’s Day is a nice unnerving recovery.

Despite being made by Kevin Smith his segment Halloween is a bit too crude and unsatisfying to be good. I liked some of the humor but I prefer his feature length film style, as he doesn’t seem to work well in short form. The film finishes strong with Christmas, which is a bleak comedic take on the holiday and stars Seth Green as a man who finds out what they mean by “Christmas is hell.” The last segment, New Year’s Eve is twisted beyond measure. I love it.

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The film has an entirely feminist driven perspective that I found unique considering the horror genre is usually described as being aimed towards males. Ashley Greene is the other main star in this film, as most of the cast is relatively unknown to me. I would love to see more films like this that have a twist on famous days or certain aspects of American and world culture.

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 2014 Presents: Body Bags (1993, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Larry Sulkis)


Lately I’ve been viewing more anthologies and enjoying them, particularly horror film ones, simply because the horror genre is often at its best in the short form. Edgar Allen Poe certainly thought so and he gave us some of the best short horror fiction. Stephen King’s Night Shift and other anthologies he’s written over the years have been mined for full length horror films based off of his creepy, much shorter tales. Body Bags is such an anthology, however it was originally meant to be a TV series on Showtime-unfortunately for us all, that never happened and all we are left with is this film, which has a typical wrap around plot and of course three ghoulish tales of murder and mayhem. Overall this is a pretty good, enjoyable feature, and considering that it involved John Carpenter (also playing the sinister narrator) and Tobe Hooper, two horror movie legends, its a shame that we only have the three stories and the one film from the project.

Emerging from hiding in a morgue, the weird looking corner stops and notices us, the viewer. He then proceeds to find body bags, obviously, and uses them to spin tales. The first such one is called “The Gas Station,” and it is the best one of the bunch. Directed by John Carpenter as is the second tale, this one centers on poor Anne (Alex Datcher), a college student who takes a job at a gas station on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere. With a killer on the loose, no less, which makes her the typical final girl/not particularly bright heroine found in so many horror movies. What really makes this tale eerie and suspenseful is the killer, who I will not reveal here because it is a delightful twist, one that turns this story into an urban legend of sorts. You have Robert Carradine being his usual cheerful self, Wes Craven acting all odd and frumpy, and Sam Raimi in a cameo that is well, rather shocking. Also Carpenter cannot resist throwing in a reference to his 1978 classic Halloween. See if you can find the reference.

Next up is the also Carpenter directed “Hair,” which I found to be the weakest of the bunch although still decent/solid overall. This one has the best cast, with Stacy Keach as a vain man desperate to grow hair so that he can please his long suffering girlfriend, played by Sheena Easton. David Warner and Deborah Harry show up as people who offer to help, and of course they are not who they seem. The twist ending is actually rather frightening, and as a man going bald I have to wonder if maybe losing my hair instead of becoming a slave to something alive is perhaps the wiser choice. Although I’m not sure how this one fits into what the Corner says before the story…

Finally you have “Eye,” which is a frightening and tragic episode, directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Mark Hamill as a baseball player who descends into madness after receiving an eye transplant. Although some objected to this episode’s religious overtones, I rather enjoyed “Eye,” finding it to be both rather freaky and also sad, especially with how it ends. Besides one can argue that the episode was not condemning religion, although I cannot go into this further without spoiling the conclusion. Oh and look for great cameos from famous icons John Agar and Roger Corman, who play the doctors that operate on Hamill. I guess I should have recognized Twiggy as Hamill’s poor wife, too, and for some reason I didn’t.

As for the wrap around story, I am amused by how it concludes, and what it really entails. Particularly since it stars Tom Arnold and Tobe Hooper and has a really good singular joke. Body Bags may or may not have resulted in a decent TV show, but perhaps it works best as a singular anthology film. Many thanks goes to my local public library and Scream Factory for the DVD release I was able to get my hands on.

Favorite Horror Movies


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  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A. Romero)
  2. Gremlins (1984, Joe Dante)
  3. Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
  4. Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
  5. Night of the Creeps (1986, Fred Dekker)
  6. The Last Man On Earth (1964, Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow)
  7. The Horror Express (1973, Eugenio Martin)
  8. Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
  9. Carnival of Souls (1960, Herk Harvey)
  10. Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
  11. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987, Sam Rami)
  12. Scream (1996, Wes Craven)
  13. Tremors (1990, Ron Underwood)
  14. Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon)
  15. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984, Joseph Zito)
  16. Horror of Dracula (1958, Terence Fisher)
  17. Sleepy Hollow (1999, Tim Burton)
  18. Trick ‘r’ Treat (2008, Michael  Dougherty)
  19. The Frighteners (1996, Peter Jackson)
  20. Arachnophobia (1990, Frank Marshall)

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