Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Storm of the Century (1999, Craig R. Baxley)


Lately I’ve been thinking about the quote of “The banality of evil,” which is typical of this world. Yet in some cases very obvious and atypical evil arises. André Linoge is that very clear evil, however his arrival in the very Stephen King island town of Little Tall wisks away the veneer of respectability the people of the island wish to present to others. Colm Feore is fantastic here, switching from creepy uncle to pure demonic entity, often in the same scene at a moment’s notice.

Tim Daly’s Mike (in what might be his best performance ever) offers up a sharp contrast and is the mini-series’ main character. He is as good and wholesome as Linoge is evil, although Linoge asserts that usually what he encounters is the worst of humanity. Mike challenges him however lacks the ability to understand what his nemesis understands: people can easily turn on one another, and do so very quickly. It’s a bleak take on human nature yet every so often people band together only to fall apart when cracks begin to form. The center cannot hold was a theme in The Stand, and it’s revisited here as well.

Ah those cold East Coast winters. Brrrr.

I cannot say more about the final episode, only that it offers a very depressing notion about one’s fellow neighbors. I liked the second episode the best out of the three, particularly since it had some good creepy moments. Debrah Farentino is also great as Mike’s wife, Molly, and King adaptation regular Jeffrey DeMunn shows up as well, playing the town manager who’s exactly the kind of sniveling authority figure you would expect in a show like this.

Despite some obviously dated and low budget special effects (this is a TV mini series after all), I really liked this one. It’s probably one of the best of the TV King mini-series, which is ironic since it’s and original work from King and not an adaptation. Maybe that’s why it’s so effective, containing most of King’s strengths and little of his work’s weaknesses. I wouldn’t mind a modern day take on it though, although I’d make it probably only two episodes honestly. Viewed finally thanks to Hulu.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Needful Things (1993, Fraser C. Heston)


Perhaps if I had read the book I wouldn’t like the 1993 adaption of Needful Things so much. Maybe I still would, I donno I’ll find out later. The premise is fairly basic yet Stephen King adds his usual touches: ancient evil that appears nice or not so obvious at first, a pure hero and others who assist them, and a New England small town setting. Usually as in the case of Needful Things that town harbors secrets, and in this case they come to life and threaten to bring ruin upon everyone in Castle Rock, Maine.

It’s usually Maine, yet King does live there. In this small town setting a man named Leland (Max von Sydow) drives in, sets up shop and drives the locals insane. Look we all know who he really is, yet the movie spends it’s entire run time playing around with the truth. Which is oddly fun and works despite some goofy melodrama and lesser direction than the material required. In fact this should have been a mini-series, really, although this film does have a pretty awesome cast.

That grin is shaper than the knife he’s holding

Ed Harris and Bonnie Bedelia are the two people who resist Leland the most, although Bedelia’s nice dinner owner falls prey in the end to Leland like most of the rest of the town. Famous character actors Amanda Plummer and J. T. Walsh round out the rest of the cast, plus Ray McKinnon. Walsh in a way manages to steal the movie out from under von Sydow, which is no easy feat.

Some of the one liners made me laugh, and Leland and Walsh’s Keaton have a scene together that is very darkly funny in so many ways. I wouldn’t mind if this one got a modern update, yet for now I rather enjoyed this adaptation and I shall note that the title inspired Stranger Things. Plus that hilarious Rick and Morty episode. I will get to the book eventually, also.

Dead People Aren’t Much Fun: Horrorfest 2022


Still hilarious

I’ve run out of title ideas. That or I’m just tired these days. Yet I press on to another Horrorfest even though at some point I’ve got to be getting too old for this sort of thing. Anyways on with the show!

July (Monsters Oh My!):

Those folks rock.
  1. Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, Edward L. Cahn), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  2. The Werewolf (1956, Fred F. Sears), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  3. Zombies of Mora Tau (1957, Edward L. Cahn), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  4. The Giant Claw (1957, Fred F. Sears), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  5. Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975, Juan López Moctezuma), Shudder Vampire
  6. Who Saw Her Die? (1972, Aldo Lado), Shudder Giallo
  7. Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970, Luciano Ercoli), Shudder Giallo
  8. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972, Amando de Ossorio), Shudder Undead Knights Templar
  9. Eat Brains Love (2019, Rodman Flender), Shudder Zombies
  10. Mosquito (1994, Gary Jones), Shudder Creature Feature
  11. Without Warning (1980, Greydon Clark), Shudder Aliens
  12. Invaders From Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper), Shudder Aliens
  13. Dark Angel/I Come In Peace (1990, Craig R. Baxley), Shudder Aliens
  14. Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989, Richard Friedman), Shudder Slasher

August (Things Aren’t What They Seem):

Gordy’s home!
  1. (15) Nope (2022, Jordan Peele), Theater Viewing Aliens
  2. (16) The Stepfather II (1989, Jeff Burr), Crackle Family Psycho Man
  3. (17) Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957, Roger Corman), Crackle Creature Feature
  4. (18) Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959, Bernard L. Kowalski), Crackle Creature Feature
  5. (19) AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004, Paul W. S. Anderson), Hulu Aliens
  6. (20) Needful Things (1993, Fraser C. Heston), Shudder Devil
  7. (21) Head of the Family (1996, Charles Band), Shudder Mutants
  8. (22) Uncle Sam (1996, William Lustig), Shudder Undead Soldier
  9. (23) The Wolfman (2010, Joe Johnston), Tubi Werewolf
  10. (24) The Toolbox Murders (1978, Dennis Donnelly), Shudder Slasher
  11. (25) Son of Dracula (1943, Robert Siodmak), Tubi Dracula
  12. (26) Bloodsuckers from Outer Space (1984, Glen Coburn), Tubi Vampire Zombies
  13. (27) Color Me Blood Red (1965, Herschell Gordon Lewis), Tubi Slasher
  14. (28) La Semana del asesino aka The Cannibal Man (1972, Eloy de la Iglesia), Shudder Crazy People
  15. (29) The Predator (2018, Shane Black), Public Library Blu-ray Aliens

September (Murder, and Lots of It):

Always bring a flashlight in case you lose your phone
  1. (30) Nadie oyó gritar aka No One Heard the Scream (1973, Eloy de la Iglesia), Shudder Giallo
  2. (31) Watch Me When I Kill (1977, Antonio Bido), Shudder Giallo
  3. (32) Meatcleaver Massacre (1977, Evan Lee), Shudder Demonic
  4. (33) The Wizard of Gore (1970, Herschell Gordon Lewis), Tubi Murder Wizard
  5. (34) Mansion of the Doomed (1976, Michael Pataki), Shudder Mad Doctor
  6. (35) The Oracle (1985, Roberta Findlay), Shudder Possession
  7. (36) The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, Jean Epstein), YouTube Edgar Allen Poe
  8. (37) Storm of the Century (1999, Craig R. Baxley), Hulu Stephen King
  9. (38) Barbarian (2022, Zach Cregger), Theater Viewing Don’t Go In The House
  10. (39) Day Shift (2022, J. J. Perry), Netflix Instant Viewing Vampires
  11. (40) Blood Hook (1986, Jim Mallon), Tubi Killer Fisherman
  12. (41) Pearl (2022, Ti West), Movie Theater Viewing Crazy People Prequel
  13. (42) Blades (1989, Thomas R. Rondinella), Peacock/Tubi Killer Lawnmower
  14. (43) Blood Beach (1981, Jeffrey Bloom), YouTube Killer Beach Monster
  15. (44) Cementerio del terror aka Cemetery of Terror (1985, Rubén Galindo Jr.), Shudder Undead Satanic Serial Killer
  16. (44) Abby (1974, William Girdler), YouTube Demonic Blaxploitation
  17. (45) Grave Robbers (1989, Rubén Galindo Jr.), Shudder Demonic
  18. (46) Fright Night Part 2 (1988, Tommy Lee Wallace), YouTube Vampire

October (Forever Haunted):

Please remain seated until the plane has finished crashing.
  1. (47) Sole Survivor (1984, Thom Eberhardt), Shudder Watches The Dead
  2. (48) Lady In White (1988, Frank LaLoggia), Shudder Ghosts
  3. (49) Lust for a Vampire (1971, Jimmy Sangster), Tubi Karnsteins
  4. (50) The Vampire Bat (1933, Frank R. Strayer), Tubi Old School
  5. (51) Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986, Brian Gibson), Tubi The Beast
  6. (52) Poltergeist III (1988, Gary Sherman), Tubi Supernatural Skyscraper
  7. (53) Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright), Movie Theater Viewing Zombie RomCom!
  8. (54) Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965, Freddie Francis), Tubi Amicus Anthology
  9. (55) Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990, Jeff Burr), Tubi The Saw is Family
  10. (56) I Like Bats (1986, Grzegorz Warchoł), Shudder Polish Vampire
  11. (57) The Munsters (2022, Rob Zombie), Netflix Instant Viewing Family Fun
  12. (58) The Ritual (2017, David Bruckner), Netflix Instant Viewing Creature Feature
  13. (59) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, Marcus Nispel), Tubi Remake
  14. (60) The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! (1972, Andy Milligan), Shudder Werewolf Family
  15. (61) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022, David Blue Garcia), Netflix Instant Viewing Requel
  16. (62) Werewolf by Night (2022, Michael Giacchino), Disney+ Werewolf? There, wolf!
  17. (63) Prey (2022, Dan Trachtenberg), Hulu Comanche vs Predator
  18. (64) A Blade in the Dark (1983, Lamberto Bava), Shudder Giallo
  19. (65) Oculus (2013, Mike Flanagan), Hulu Killer Mirror
  20. (66) Fangs (1974, Art Names), Shudder Killer Snakes
  21. (67) Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla (1994, Kensho Yamashita), Hulu Monster Fight
  22. (68) Trick ‘r Treat (2007, Michael Dougherty), Movie Theater Viewing Halloween Anthology
  23. (69) Watcher (2022, Chloe Okuno), Shudder Paranoia
  24. (70) Roadgames (1981, Richard Franklin), Tubi Trucker Blues
  25. (71) The House of Seven Corpses (1973, Paul Harrison), Tubi Undead Manor
  26. (72) Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001, Sam Irvin), Shudder Elvira Fun
  27. (73) Manhattan Baby (1982, Lucio Fulci), Shudder Egyptian Evil
  28. (74) Aenigma (1988, Lucio Fulci), Shudder Psychic Revenge
  29. (75) The Raven (1963, Roger Corman), Tubi Sorcery
  30. (76) The Flesh Eaters (1964, Jack Curtis), Tubi Creature Feature
  31. (77) Deathdream (1974, Bob Clark), Tubi Undead Soldier
  32. (78) Häxan (1922, Benjamin Christensen), Criterion Blu-ray Witchcraft Through The Ages
  33. (79) Onibaba (1964, Kaneto Shindo), Criterion Blu-ray Demon Hag
  34. (80) The Cremator (1969, Juraj Herz), Criterion Blu-ray Evil Incarnate

Coda (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop):

  1. (81) Halloween Ends (2022, David Gordon Green), Movie Theater Viewing Team Corey
  2. (82) The Devil’s Backbone (2001, Guillermo del Toro), Criterion Blu-ray Spanish Ghosts

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: IT Chapter One (2017, Andy Muschietti)


Despite the obvious limitations of it being a TV mini-series in the early 1990s, I rather enjoyed the 1990 IT adaptation. The young cast and Tim Curry were the best aspects of the whole project, and the original mini-series was not afraid to show plenty of violence for being on network television at the time. The newer version that I saw in theaters back in 2017 improves upon the material, although granted this new version of IT has a bigger budget and they wisely split the movie into two parts. Andy Muschietti also put together a talented young cast as well, and his Pennywise is in some ways different from Curry’s take on the character while also being just as scary in his own way. I feel that Curry’s was more sinister, however both versions of Pennywise made you believe that they would destroy you in a heartbeat and also devour anyone and everyone you ever loved or cared about. That is one important underlying thing about the movie and the book’s monster, how if you were not careful whatever mistakes you committed would be your last. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise embodies that aspect very well.

Plus the newer version is unlimited by how much gore and violence can be unleashed upon the viewer. The infamous sewer scene is expanded upon and is far more terrifying, especially since Muschietti wisely slowly unfurls what is happening. Poor Bill (Jaeden Martell) is left haunted forever by that experience, and I really dug the young cast assembled here: Jeremy Ray Taylor and Sophia Lillis are the standouts, although Finn Wolfhard almost steals the movie as as young Richie. Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff and Jack Dylan Grazer also round out the pretty talented main cast, and as I’ve noted before child actors are no longer a hinderance to most cinema: they’re expected to be able to act as well as their adult co-actors. Getting the young cast right was important, as this film and the mini-series both reflected the book in that the flashbacks to the younger days are the best things about all of them.

Although some parts failed to scare me, the projector scene in the garage was pretty terrifying to me and some parts worked incredibly well. Unfortunately even this movie gives into the modern reliance on jump scares too much, so there was some parts that didn’t work at all for me. The lady in the painting was at least really creepy, and there is one scene that is probably one of the bloodiest moments in all of cinema that doesn’t feature anyone being murdered. I am disappointed that the turtle elements were mostly dropped from the movie, although perhaps that stuff was just too weird and not really necessary to advance the movie’s plot. I suppose you either prefer the original 1990 version or this one (I happen to really like both) yet in the end I prefer this take on the material. Besides the original didn’t have Ben professing his love for New Kids On The Block, and that is one moment I wouldn’t have missed for the world ha ha. As for the second part, that’s for a later review…all hail the Losers Club!

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Rituals (1977, Peter Carter)


Rituals is a low budget 1970s wilderness horror thriller that was definitely inspired by Deliverance. Yet it has it’s own style and is mostly effective although parts of the movie was the director trying too hard. The final act drags on a bit too much also. Still I liked this movie and I realized midway through that I’m a fan of wilderness horror movies as a sub-genre. Hal Holbrook leads a cast of lesser known actors as they struggle to escape from a killer pursuing them in the Canadian wilderness.

This movie has some great outdoor shots, and Peter Carter puts both the characters and the audience through the ringer. This was a decent enough flick that I only saw thanks to Shudder. I’m not surprised that Steven King is a fan of this movie as many of his stories feature people dealing with extreme situations. Be prepared when you head out into the middle of nowhere and expect crazy people to show up is the lesson I got out of this movie.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: I Bury The Living (1958, Albert Band)


Even though I Bury The Living does not stick the landing with the ending, the rest of the movie is pretty cool. You have Richard Boone playing a businessesman who has to oversee a local cemetery. During his stint as chairman he believes that he possess the ability to cause people to die. That is a good concept for a movie, and to have it be a 1950s movie reminds me that 1950s horror cinema is quite underrated. The black and white cinematography works in this movie’s favor as well, casting shadows and building up the movie’s overall atmosphere.

You have Boone’s Robert slowly falling into despair and insanity as he begins to believe he is the cause of people he knows dying. There is a fantastic scene where he runs among the tombstones that is one of the movie’s highlights. Alas the film’s conclusion is too mundane and a copout that happens too often in older horror movies. I do agree with those who say this is literally a Twilight Zone episode turned into a movie, which is fine.

My final thoughts are that my local community college cable channel used to show I Bury The Living all the time, and yet I never got around to seeing it. Thanks to Tubi I finally did and I’m glad because it is a really good old school horror movie. Richard Bone was a cool actor too by the way, definitely one of the more famous stock character actors of his time.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Firestarter (1984, Mark L. Lester)


Drew Barrymore has always been a good actress, and she got her start as a young girl appearing in multiple famous 1980s movies. One of them was Firestarter, which I think was really great even though the critics didn’t like that one. I bet they compared it to Carrie, and while it’s not as good as that film it is certainly a well done effort in its own right. Imagine a girl with the ability to cause fires with her mind. I wouldn’t want to anger that person, and the people who are after her find that out all too well.

Charlie and her dad Andy (David Keith) are on the run from The Shop, a quasi-CIA style organization that wants to harness her powers. Leading the group is Hollister (Martin Sheen played two evil characters in Stephen King adoptions), who sends George C. Scott’s creepy hit man Rainbird after them. What happens next is both violent and shocking, as Charlie’s full powers are revealed. I was reminded of The X-Men films, and while the comics existed before Firestarter the modern film adaptations clearly borrowed some elements from this movie.

I liked the flashbacks, which outline both Andy and his wife Vicky (Heather Locklear)’s powers, and how they try to deal with Charlie’s struggles to control her abilities. The Tangerine Dream score for this film is also unreal, and the final act is pure escalation, to put it mildly. Despite being a tad dated I really loved this movie, and I eagerly recommend it. Maybe one day I’ll read the book, too.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: City of the Dead (1960, John Llewellyn Moxey)


Sure City of the Dead has other names, yet I really like that title. It fits the movie really well, and this flick is one of those hidden gems I always seem to find every time I binge horror movies in October. Christopher Lee is the major star in this film and he isn’t even one of the main characters. Perhaps he made City of the Dead inbetween Hammer Studios movies. Oh and Rob Zombie used this movie in one of his songs and it had to have influenced his modern day flick The Lords of Salem-a film I love a lot. Witches seem to pop up quite a bit in horror cinema, only in this case they operate as if fueled by urban legend.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) under the guidence of her professor (Lee) decides to investigate a small New England town where witchcraft happened centuries ago. This mission ends up dragging in her boyfriend and her brother, and leads to one Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel in a fine performance). Despite being not very quickly paced at times, City of the Dead works as a good slow burn with some very wicked atmosphere and a good closing act.

If anything this film reminds me of Stephen King and I wonder if he saw it as well. The idea of small ancient towns hidding dreadful secrets appeals to me for some reason. I guess I have always wondered if some legends are true, and that maybe I am too afraid or smart to find out. Horror movies have taught me that it is best to leave the searching to others.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Creepshow 2 (1987, Michael Gornick)


Those few who have bothered to read my reviews know that I am a sucker for horror anthologies. Even the lesser ones have something good to offer, however Creepshow 2 is a good one that I rather enjoyed. The first film is better due to the director and casting choices, yet the sequel has its charms. The Creep, this time played by horror legend Tom Savini, hands the latest issue off to young Billy, all while laughing with glee. And thus, begins our film. Hey it’s from New World Pictures, that company rocked.

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Ok the wrap around story is cool, although its mostly animated. Probably for budget reasons, and because it looks great, reminding me a little of the animation from Heavy Metal. More on that later. The first story is called “Old Chief Wood’nhead,” and it concerns a nice elderly couple played by George Kennedy and Dorothy Lamour. What happens to them is tragic, resulting in a killer statue coming to life and seeking revenge. This one is awesome and is wisely kept short, although the viewer is left to wonder if the old chief will do it again. Or has done it before. Spooky. Also I didn’t recognize Holt McCallany as Sam, the leader of the gang that gives the old couple trouble. It must have been the hair…

Before the next story begins, Billy stops to buy a Venus flytrap bulb. Does this figure into the story later? Maybe…and now, for “The Raft,” the best tale of the bunch. A group of young kids make a grave error and encounter something monsterous on a secluded lake. Not the fun romp they had in mind. I like the FX in this one, and the ending made me chuckle. I know the story is slightly different, and I will read it at some point. This is the only tale of the trio that could have been made into a movie. Which is not a knock on the film overall, just a reminder that some tales are better than others.

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Look at that fat bully. He leads a gang that makes the really big mistake of going after Billy. The wrap around story is actually my favorite thing about Creepshow 2, and has the main thing I like about both films: if you are a sucky person, you get crushed by the wheel of karma. This brings us to the last tale, a bleak slice of humor called “The Hitch-hiker.” Lois Chiles cheats on her husband, then runs over some poor guy on her way home. She keeps on driving, only to find out that sometimes the dead refuse to stay dead. “THANKS FOR THE RIDE, LADY!” is a line I will never forget, haha, along with Stephen King playing a trucker in a weird little cameo.

Overall despite its flaws (low budget, only three stories, lesser cast, etc) I rather liked Creepshow 2. I have no desire to watch the third film. I believe that Shudder is making a new Creepshow show, which sounds promising. They were also the reason I was able to finally view this flick. What a great resource.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: Goosebumps (2015, Rob Letterman)


Look this film needed more monster blood. Come on people how do you make a Goosebumps movie and not have monster blood? Oh well at least this film was entertaining and had Slappy. Also R.L. Stine has a cameo so brief that you will miss it if you aren’t paying attention. I also loved Jack Black playing Stine because he is hilarious and it works perfectly. The film is a bit hit and miss at times but that’s okay.

Also the main trio of kids made smile. Zach, Hannah and Champ come off as normal kids who become wrapped up in extraordinary situations. Stine reveals that he not an average person after a funny egging on by Zach and Champ where they compared him to Stephen King. Plus Slappy appears and unleashes all of the characters from Stine’s books, leading to chaos in the town and monster attacks.

Despite some elements not working this was still a mostly funny and enjoyable flick. Black is great in multiple roles and the kid actors are likable and not annoying. Plus the last act owes a bit to Army of Darkness, which is fine. Too bad I didn’t bother to go see this in theaters as I love the book series and I’m hoping for a sequel.

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