Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven)


Finally after a decade Wes Craven returned to the A Nightmare On Elm Street series, which he created. It resulted arguably the best film in the series in my opinion and it also served as a dress rehearsal for his popular Scream franchise. This film also saw the return of Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, only this time they played themselves in what is a meta style film about Freddy Krueger attempting to enter the real world.

Gone is the campy jokes and corny one liners-in this one Freddy is made scary again, which is a good thing. I never cared for joking Freddy and the menace that the character posses was almost ruined by some of the sequels. Plus the opening is properly gory and creepy, setting the mood for the rest of the film. Having Robert Englund play himself was also nice and there is an eerie scene where after he pops up dressed as Freddy people cheer for him. That’s a bit weird and even ghoulish to Heather as she fears the prospect of a new Freddy movie is driving her crazy.

Pushed into a final battle with an evil that is represented by Freddy, Heather deals with her son being under attack. One of the freakiest moments in this film is when Heather thinks she is witnessing multiple Freddy’s coming towards her in a busy city street. This film is the most interesting out of the series because of how it blurs the lines between reality and fiction in a strong meta sense. Despite some dated special effects and a few cheesy moments New Nightmare is a creepy and well crafted film that also did not end up being the last chapter either. That last scene did make it seem that way curiously enough. Evil only stops when the box office grosses go down, clearly.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Phantasm II (1988, Don Coscarelli)


Created almost a decade after the original cult classic, Phantasm II is a really cool, well made sequel. Reggie, Mike return to do battle with The Tall Man once more after surviving the events of the first film. Hunting the evil being across the United States, this film has the look and feel of a road trip movie in addition to being a horror film. The stakes are even higher in this movie, as Mike rushes to save a girl he loves from a terrifying fate.

Unlike the first movie there is more action involved. Particularly in the form of a chainsaw battle, which is epic. Also the flying spheres of death are back and one turns out to be the ultimate in horribly killing people. The series retains its dark sense of humor and keeps the strong weird factor that makes it so watchable and interesting in the first place.

Furthermore elements of this film are right at home stylistically when it comes to some of Don Coscarelli’s work. You have inter-dimensional beings, sinister henchmen that dress only in black, and even a mocking of organized religion. It seems that many of the 80s and 90s horror films had something to comment about God, the Devil, and evil versus good in the world. Also the flamethrower moments plus the beings from another plane of existence reminded me a bit of one of his latest films, John Dies At The End, which I also enjoyed last year.

Naturally this is not the last entry in the series. I look forward to viewing the rest of the Phantasm series and enjoying what they have to offer. Oh and they are making another one, which just goes to show that nothing truly ends.

It’s Hammer Time Presents: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967, Terence Fisher)


One of the best things about Peter Cushing is how no matter what the movie he appeared in he always gave his all to whatever role he played. The part of Baron Frankenstein suited him rather well, and in Frankenstein Created Woman the Baron is working with an older assistant named Dr Hertz, attempting to isolate the soul of a person. In doing so he will conquer death via a new means, so long as he is able to captain a person’s soul and essence. Finally the brilliant madman is able to achieve his goal without interference from others, yet human nature becomes his new problem.

Like many of the entries in this series there is a ghoulish and cruel opener. A man is the executed, and the repercussions of this action happen years later when his son is framed for murder by a trio of upper class thugs. His beloved, Christina (the lovely and talented Susan Denberg) kills herself in response after seeing her lover brutally executed, and Frankenstein realizes this his chance to prove his metaphysical theories. Of course this leads to that classic scene featuring strange machines at work, resulting in weird science happening.

Frankenstein Created Woman is a film with two halves: one a science fiction Gothic horror tale with tragedy, the other a slasher film. The Baron does create a monster that is beautiful and lovely, and yet due to having the soul of a vengeful man it proceeds to go on a rampage. Unfortunately for Baron Frankenstein and his assistant the authorities of the village come after him per the typical realization that he is responsible, and events come to a head. Particularly after the Baron and Dr Hertz realize what is actually happening.

Despite at times being cheesy and a little slow in the middle, Frankenstein Created Woman is one of the better sequels in the Frankenstein series. The conclusion is both sad and haunting, and this film is rather entertaining and intelligently made. I continue to enjoy viewing these movies, as its amusing to me how Frankenstein continues to survive and work despite everyone being against him.

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