Horrorfest 2021: Head Count (2019, Ellie Callahan)


Head Count is not the first slasher movie to have mostly unlikable characters. Yet despite that I still cared about what happened to the people in this movie. Also this is as much a supernatural urban legend film as it is a slasher movie, and that aspects makes the movie work. The lead isn’t too bad, either-Evan (Issac Jay) is a college student who throws in with a group of other college students on vacation.

At least the desert location explains why the group can’t really call for help exactly. The location is used to great effect, and is as much a character as the actual people. Head Count seems to be inspired by urban legends such as Candyman, and weirdly the conclusion felt a tad rushed. Ashleigh Morghan is also great in this movie as Zoe, who Evan falls for early on in the movie.

Oh and this flick definitely sets up a possible sequel, particularly with how the movie ends. Even if this was merely decent I still liked this movie. I’m wondering if I should give this movie another viewing, and for now it’s on Shudder so I have that opportunity. Never read scary stories from the Internet out loud, I guess.

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 2017: Dead Can Dance!


Image result for Dead Can Dance gif
Go Zombie Michael, Go!

Okay enough Friday the 13th homage titles. If you have not listened to the band Dead Can Dance, do so. Anyways its time for more horror films, as I have fallen into the old habit of viewing them every year. Plus writing reviews, which I plan to do much faster this time. My public library (three separate branches in town) has enough to get me started, and I am finally making the switch to Blu Ray after years of slumming it with DVD’s. So for my few readers, time to get scared…again.

PS: Long overdue reviews being written now. Also unfortunately this one was a rare bust due to life issues, lack of streaming, etc.

Public Library Edition Planned List (in alphabetical order):

1. Bite (2015, body horror)
2. The Black Torment (1964, gothic horror)
3. Blair Witch (2016, duh)
4. Blood For Dracula (1974, duh again)
5. Bram Stroker’s Dracula (1992, DUH)
6. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, creature feature)
7. Crawlspace (1986, crazy people)
8. A Cure For Wellness (2016, crazy people)
9. Drag Me To Hell (2009, demons)
10. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, creature feature)
11. Final Destination 2 (2003, DEATH)
12. Fright Night (2011, vampires)
13. The Girl With All The Gifts (2016, zombies)
14. Green Room (2016, crazy people)
15. The Horror Show (1989, evil spirit)
16. Krampus (2015, duh)
17. Legion (Exorcist III Director’s Cut, 1990, demonic)
18. Leviathan (1989, creature feature)
19. Lights Out (2016, evil spirits)
20. Little Shop of Horrors (1986, creature feature)
21. The Neon Demon (2016, crazy people)
22. Prison (1988, evil spirits)
23. The Quiet Ones (2013, evil spirits)
24. The Ring (2002, pissed off spirit)
25. The Tall Man (2012, urban legends)
26. Wrong Turn (2003, cannibals)
27. 31 (2016, seriously crazy people)

Other:

28. Night Monster (1942, creature feature)
29. Mother! (2017, crazy people)
30. The Manster (1959, creature feature)
31. Raw (2017, cannibals)
32. The Satanic Rights of Dracula (1974, yep)
33. Urban Legend (1998, slasher)
34. It (2017, Pennywise the Dancing Clown!)
35. Pieces (1982, giallo)
36. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, giallo)

Halloween:

Rewatch: Return of the Living Dead (1985, zombies)

37. Jennifer’s Body (2009, demonic)
38. Salem’s Lot (1979, vampires)

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose)


Filmed in the poorer parts of Chicago where the events of Candyman take place, Bernard Rose’s film is a unique and great 1990s horror movie that is creepy due to how quiet many of it’s scenes are. Virginia Madsen is a young grad student who decides to write about the infamous urban legend of Candyman, only to discover too late that the monster is very real. Thus begins a spiral into madness and despair as she loses most of what she cares about. Xander Berkeley does a nice turn as her scumbag husband who betrays her as she finds herself in a walking nightmare.

Unlike other slasher films this one is well shot and directed. Like many horror films Candyman benefits from a great eerie score that helps set the mood. Tony Todd is perfect in the title role, operating as a demonic spirit. Although this film doesn’t touch heavily enough on social and political elements that it could have further explored it is still a wonderful addition to the horror genre. I loved the Hitchcock references midway through and the asylum scenes were freaky. Of course this film has sequels and it can’t resist a darkly funny spot of revenge near the end. I’ve never said Candyman five times in front of a mirror and I’m in no rush to do so. In this world sometimes one doesn’t tempt fate.

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