Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Curtains (1983, Richard Ciupka)


Despite some noticeable issues with its production, Curtains still has enough good moments to make it worth viewing. John Vernon is wonderfully sleazy while Samantha Eggar comes off as both obsessive and vengeful as the muse Vernon betrays. The women who gather at his mansion to obtain the role that Eggar feels was promised to her all fall under the threat of a creepy mask wearing killer. This film even throws in a memorable ice skating scene for good measure, a scene that is the film’s highlight.

Based on what I have seen, Canadian horror has some good slasher films, and despite its faults Curtains is decent enough to consider viewing. Also Lynne Griffin and Maury Chaykin make notable appearances. I guess anyone desperate enough to make it in Hollywood would literally kill for a major role. Show business is a tough one, indeed.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Starry Eyes (2014, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer)


After some thought, I realize something: if one digs further within themselves, a proper understanding of Sarah emerges. You feel her desperation and frustration, the willingness to do whatever it takes to become a star in Hollywood. Her friends don’t get this and they really don’t care, existing as parasites draining her life force. Masterfully played by Alex Essoe, suffering from a mental disorder and unsure of reality, Sarah is easy prey for the aptly named  Astraeus Pictures. This is not the first or last time someone has a dark commentary on Hollywood and stardom, yet despite Starry Eyes‘ flaws Essoe is captivating. Events unravel in disturbing fashion, and her roommate and friends only comprehend too late who they were dealing with. Oh and body horror comes into play because hey becoming a different person requires sacrifice, loss of innocence, and oh yeah some body parts.

Also the difference between hiding your dark side and embracing it becomes clear in brutal terms. This is a creepy movie, utilizing such classics as Rosemary’s Baby and All About Eve, resulting in a nightmarish film that I’m still pondering. I wonder if a second viewing wouldn’t make me appreciate this film more, or if I would notice more flaws. I do hope that Essoe gets more parts thanks to this movie, and that Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer have more to offer the horror genre. If Sarah could do it all over again would she make the same choices? Is rebirth truly worth the price of one’s soul? How many successful people have paid a price that only they know about to achieve the American dream of stardom? There might not be any answers to these questions.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Critteriffic


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Sure this was supposed to be part of my viewing from last year. Doesn’t matter because I do what I want anyways. Critters 3 and 4 came as a double bill part of a four pack that I found at my local library. Neither are particularly good, yet I actually dug one a little bit. I like to finish franchises anyways, for better or for worse. The series isn’t Oscar worthy but it is fun to watch. For some reason the 80s and 90s had a lot of franchise horror, although that seemed to be the norm for Hollywood, period.

Critters 3 is not a good movie. It’s easy the worst of the series and is mostly notable for featuring a young Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the main roles. As the son of a douche bag who wants to drive off his tenants so he can build a shopping mall or something. After having the Critters take over a farmhouse and a small town an apartment building is a huge step down. Imagine if this had been a big budget film where the Crites invade a whole city. Too bad that never happened.

Still this film does have its moments and the cast isn’t bad for a poor showing. They make this crappy movie watchable and I did like some of the kills. Also for some reason (SPOILER) The film ends on a cliffhanger. I like that Terrence Mann and Don Keth Opper appear in all of the series. That’s welcomed consistency.

Now oddly enough Critters 4 was a step up and works okay as an ending to the series. Well at least it was supposed to be, since nothing ever seems to end in Hollywood. Opper and Mann return along with new additions Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett as members of a crew that finds Charlie in space. I overlooked the obvious Alien/Aliens ripoff moments and sat back and enjoyed the fact that for the first time ever the Crites were actually in space. And that this movie has a few surprises, including one I did not see coming.

Even though like the rest of the series the low budget feel is quite apparent, I still enjoyed the fourth movie. The first two entries in the series are the best, however I still recommend even seeing the last two, just to see how things shake out. Also I am a fan of even bad sci-fi, especially since we don’t get too much of the actual stuff these days. Comic book movies don’t count.

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Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000, Patrick Lussier)


While the first film was really good and the second one a disappointment the third movie is somewhere in-between. Its an enjoyable film sure, and I liked it more than the second one, yet it has its limitations. Christopher Walken returned as Gabriel, who is now human and in search of redemption. In fact the film’s title is directed at him and not the main character, Danyael, who is the son of Valerie from the second movie, although its also concerning Danyael’s destiny. For Danyael must battle Zophael and Pyriel, who are bent on destroying humanity. One of the things I liked about this movie is how it brings the overlying arc full circle, only this time Gabriel is on the side of humanity since he was forced to live among them.

This aspect makes the film more interesting, and of course there are angel fights and the fate of mankind hangs in the balance as usual. Maggie is Danyael’s girlfriend and becomes forced by Zophael to go after Danyael. There is multiple jokes about driving once again, which is a staple of the series, and I liked that all three films have the same corner: poor Joseph at this point seems wary of angels, and is ready for his problems to end. I also liked that Gabriel ends up at the same dinner that he stopped at during the first film, and the final battle is outlandish, having been proceeded by freaky nightmares that Danyael has throughout the film.

Oh and this movie has some thoughts on God and religion, although they are very Hollywood in nature and therefore only scratch the surface of religious discussion. I liked how this one ended, and overall I have enjoyed the three films. There is a forth film yet due to Christopher Walken not being involved I don’t really consider it part of the series. I might still watch it but I’ll have low expectations. Sometimes trilogies work best.

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