Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Urban Legend (1998, Jamie Blanks)


Yeah I know its almost time for Horrorfest 2021. Go figure. Anyways I am glad that Urban Legend popped up on Crackle last year, as it is a fun, mostly sharp, killer targets college kids slasher film that the 1990s featured a lot. Despite getting plenty of hate I actually like this movie quite a bit, particularly since it dives into one of my favorite subjects: urban legends and how they get spread. In this case however the group of young people better know their stuff, considering a murderer is on the loose and is using those famous legends to kill people. Off the top of my head the ones featured include the girl hiding in the car as the boyfriend gets murdered, the dead roommate (“Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?” Spooky), the dog in the microwave, pop rocks and soda being mixed together, and others that are only mentioned, not shown. What a great list. Oh and this film has a cast that fits the material well, for better or for worse. Really its so weird seeing Jared Leto play a seemingly normal guy, although he really pairs up well with the film’s Final Girl, Alicia Witt.

Plus the movie features Danelle Harris and Robert Englund in neat small parts, as well as Tara Reid, Loretta Devine and Michael Rosenbaum in good, notable parts. Despite the film being a bit too flashy at times and certain aspects not working as well as I would have liked, I rather enjoyed Urban Legend. Maybe it’s largely due to how much I like such tales, and in this case who the killer turns out to be is a great twist. One that I will actually admit I did not see coming, although perhaps I should have due to having viewed so many slasher movies over the years. Although back when I saw Urban Legend I still was not as familiar with the genre as I am now. Hurray for reviewing a movie four years later!

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Wishmaster (1997, Robert Kurtzman)


Even though Robert Kurtzman directed this nasty and entertaining piece of work much of this film has the look and feel of a Wes Craven movie. Which makes sense considering that the master of horror produced this film, the first in a series of movies about a sinister djinn that is released into the world, creating havoc and plaguing the living. As the insane and gory opening reveals, this foul creature requires three wishes so that it may be free to walk the earth, something that no one should ever want. This monster is portrayed in human form with wonderful sneering menace by Andrew Divoff, who is given plenty of horribly funny one liners. This film may be a reflection of other films such as the cult Leprechaun series, and yet it stands apart from those because its really creepy with only small bits of humor involved. Plus you have Robert Englund, Ted Raimi, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Reggie Bannister and other famous horror movie actors who have been in numerous classics over the years involved in this movie, which makes their cameos (save for Englund, who has a big part) fun to notice.

It also helps this movie that the female lead is pretty great-Alexandra, played by Tammy Lauren, who quickly realizes she is in over her head. The scenes where the dijnn plagues her, then later on tempts her with wishes are both freaky and engaging. And of course this film has multiple horrible things happening to people who actually make wishes, bringing to mind the idea that one should not only be careful what they wish for, but also that one should be really specific. Or just not make any wishes at all, considering that’s what the diabolical dijnn wants you to do. I also liked how the film concluded, as it was a bit of a fun surprise, and this movie has plenty of nasty elements to keep viewers who hunger for such things entertained. I’m not sure if I want to view the sequels although I’m reminded of The Prophecy, although 90s horror film series with mythical beings (depending on your point of view and beliefs) that turned out to be fun and enjoyable, so perhaps I’ll give the Wishmaster series a shot as well.

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.

2014 Horrorfest Presents: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Rachel Talalay)


This title is a lie although at the time of the film’s release it was the truth. After two decades and six movies the successful Freddy Krueger series was coming to an end. It’s strange because you don’t expect something like this to end and still you know that this is the end. Of course that turned out to not be the case. Which is a good thing since Freddy’s Dead sucks.

Too bad this was the worst installment in the series as the concept was decent. Freddy has succeeded in killing off all of the children in Springfield save for one, which is supposed to free him to kill children everywhere. This leads him to a crumbling institute for troubled kids, and a long guarded secret that finally shows up only in this movie. A secret that I really didn’t end up caring about, and which was poorly disguised for most of the movie. Worked at by the sister of Billy Zane, Lisa Zane, which is a fun bit of trivia I guess.

The creepy childless town is not properly utilized and the characters in this film are largely boring. Save for the great Yaphet Kotto who is not used enough, although I did like some of the cameos and it also stars a really young Breckin Meyer. Also the flashbacks are unnecessary since previous films covered Freddy’s backstory. Luckily for us fans this was not the last entry in the series and in my opinion it’s the only poor film out of the entire bunch.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins)


Following up the last two films which dealt with Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund in his most famous role) coming back again and again, The Dream Child is a tad darker and even more twisted than The Dream Master. Poor Alice (Lisa Wilcox) thinks that she has defeated Freddy for good, however this belief turns out to be horribly wrong as Freddy returns through her unborn child, which she meets in her dreams. This film also dives a bit further into Freddy’s past, although the whole thing with his mother was already covered in The Dream Warriors so it feels a tad overdone. Still I liked that this film, Freddy’s quips aside, was trying to be rather creepy in the same style as the rest of the series, particularly the first three.

This one also feels a bit weird, as only Alice seems to remember or know who Freddy is despite him having terrorized people for years now. Her friends are oblivious to what is going on, and only after people start dying do they actually take Alice seriously. This film has some nasty kills, although by this point I felt that the creators had run out of creative ways to murder people onscreen. The motorcycle death was rather ghoulish and disturbing however, and there are a few other moments that made me grin a little. Despite being a fifth installment The Dream Child manages to overcome some unfortunate campy scenes and is a solid addition to the series. What the A Nightmare On Elm Street series lacks in true greatness it seems to make up for in consistency.

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