Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Deadly Blessing (1981, Wes Craven)


Deadly Blessing is Wes Craven ironing out some more kinks before he started on his run of quality 1980s movies that kicked off with A Nightmare On Elm Street. However despite being very campy and odd, this movie works in spite of itself. The cast helps, as does the movie embracing the goofy plot, the multiple use of “Incubus!” (not to be confused with the band) and the fact that the countryside setting is creepy. After all, you are alone out in the middle of nowhere, and as the local cop reminds the trio of women at the farm, no help will arrive in time.

Perfect setting for what is equal parts a slasher flick, demonic flick, and sinister religious cult next door flick. Ernest Borgnine leads the religious fanatics who live next door, and he relishes the opportunity to ham it up as much as he did in The Devil’s Rain (hey I saw that too-neat). Maren Jensen is the woman who made the mistake of marrying his son and taking him away from a life of no electronics and tons of switch beatings. A pre-Hollywood stardom Sharon Stone and Michael Berryman add to the proceedings quite a bit.

I also liked Susan Buckner and Jeff East, though. They had nice chemistry in this flick, particularly since East plays the other son of a man not afraid to beat the fear of God into people. The final act is a strange molding of the supernatural and slasher, resulting in something that I might actually remember months later. Say what you will about Wes Craven, his movies never seem to be dull. Also feel free to turn people saying “Incubus!” into a fun drinking game. I forgot to mention that the James Horner score is fantastic, too.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1984, Wes Craven)


There are some movies that do not deserve or need a sequel. The Hills Have Eyes 2 is a jumbled mess that lacks the raw energy of the first, brutal cult classic. Sometimes franchises are a bad idea, only this potential one died rather quickly. Wes Craven made this for some fast cash, only to abandon the movie when the money ran out. Funny enough this was finished before Craven hit it big with A Nightmare On Elm Street. Lucky for Wes Craven everyone remembers that movie instead.

I don’t recall hardly any of the cast, and if this was not on Shudder I never would have made it through the movie. The cast for this is not bad, and the main storyline is ok, yet the kills are boring and there is hardly any suspense. Skip this movie unless like myself you are dead set on going through all of Craven’s filmography. Luckily he rebounded later in the 1980s and he figured out how to tackle a franchise with the Scream series. Even good directors have one or two mistakes in their careers.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Horns (2013, Alexandre Aja)


Imagine you are given the power to know what people are thinking. Sounds great, right? Well there is a catch: you have a pair of horns sticking out of your head, and the Devil has given you power to find out the truth. Someone killed your beloved and this is the only way to figure out the truth and clear your name. This is the basis for Horns, a dark horror comedy from the man who gave us The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha remakes.

Daniel Radcliffe turns in an unexpected and powerful performance as Ig, a man accused of murdering his beloved. The film actually works better as a dark comedy than a horror film, yet it abandons most of the comedic elements midway through. Which is too bad, although the rest of the movie still works. I did like how Ig goes from being innocent to being consumed by revenge, as too many movies skip that aspect.

Overall though I feel a tad unsatisfied. I do want to read the book this film is based off of, and I hope that Radcliffe does more horror movies in the future. He seems to be quite good at starring in them, and I’m glad that he escaped the shadow of the Harry Potter films. Also Juno Temple as Merrin, the dead girlfriend, is lovely beyond belief-no wonder Ig fell in love with her. Aja, the film’s director appears to specialize in gory horror films with a aim towards a 70s style. I like his work so far although I haven’t seen his remake of Wes Craven’s 70s cult classic.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Vampire In Brooklyn (1995, Wes Craven)


Lost in the discussion about Wes Craven’s career is that he engaged in comedic moments in many of his horror films. One such movie was Vampire In Brooklyn, a rather entertaining and fun horror comedy that has some good funny moments and even a few scares. Eddie Murphy in a rare horror movie role stars as a vampire seeking a cop played by Angela Bassett, who happens to be half human and half vampire. Without her the line of vampires from the Caribbean will finally die off. This movie has some decent homages to previous vampire films, and is also Wes Craven’s own take on the sub genre.

Much like some of his other films Craven presents social and political commentary. Murphy turns into a preacher and manages to convince an entire congregation that they should turn to evil. Unfortunately considering the hate many so called Christians push today such a moment is relevant and also darkly humorous to a degree. Also you have the police failing to comprehend and understand what they are dealing with, another theme that is prevalent in not only Craven’s work but also in many horror movies. I rather like how Craven is able to balance humor and horror, two genres that are tricky to get right.

Also it’s cool that he cast Zakes Mokae as a vampire hunter, since he was a horror veteran and he was great in The Serpent and the Rainbow, another Craven film. John Witherspoon and Kadeem Hardison provide additional comedic relief, yet it is Bassett who gives a strong performance and has superb chemistry with Murphy. It’s too bad that Eddie Murphy only made one horror film as he has a menacing presence. Despite its flaws this is an good, solid movie and is an example of how vampire movies contain views on society, religion and repressed feelings.

Wes Craven’s Final Nightmare


Back in high school when I was starting out as a young freshman getting more into horror movies I saw a film called Scream. I also watched Scream 2 also that night, and both films left a good impression upon me. Shortly after I also viewed for the first time one of his classics, A Nightmare On Elm Street. This is a creepy and effective horror movie with a freaky jump scare near the end and some great performances from its young cast. Therefore last night I was bummed when I discovered that Wes Craven had died from brain cancer. It’s truly a shame as the guy helped shape and influence horror many times over.

I’ve seen other films of his over the years, from the other Scream movies to cult flicks such as The People Under The Stairs and The Serpent and the Rainbow. Both underrated and enjoyable movies that are examples of how Craven also was able to work in social and political commentary into his films. I also had a blast viewing Scream 4 in theaters-it’s a fine send off for the current bunch and it’s why for better or worse that there is a Scream TV show.

There is also other famous Craven films such as his classic revenge flick The Last House On The Left and A New Nightmare, which I dig a lot. Thanks to the Scream films Craven and Kevin Williamson helped bring horror movies back from the fringe in the 1990s, and for that alone he deserves to be celebrated. Few people have the luck and the talent to be a part of two major series and to change an entire genre more than once.

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: Body Bags (1993, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Larry Sulkis)


Lately I’ve been viewing more anthologies and enjoying them, particularly horror film ones, simply because the horror genre is often at its best in the short form. Edgar Allen Poe certainly thought so and he gave us some of the best short horror fiction. Stephen King’s Night Shift and other anthologies he’s written over the years have been mined for full length horror films based off of his creepy, much shorter tales. Body Bags is such an anthology, however it was originally meant to be a TV series on Showtime-unfortunately for us all, that never happened and all we are left with is this film, which has a typical wrap around plot and of course three ghoulish tales of murder and mayhem. Overall this is a pretty good, enjoyable feature, and considering that it involved John Carpenter (also playing the sinister narrator) and Tobe Hooper, two horror movie legends, its a shame that we only have the three stories and the one film from the project.

Emerging from hiding in a morgue, the weird looking corner stops and notices us, the viewer. He then proceeds to find body bags, obviously, and uses them to spin tales. The first such one is called “The Gas Station,” and it is the best one of the bunch. Directed by John Carpenter as is the second tale, this one centers on poor Anne (Alex Datcher), a college student who takes a job at a gas station on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere. With a killer on the loose, no less, which makes her the typical final girl/not particularly bright heroine found in so many horror movies. What really makes this tale eerie and suspenseful is the killer, who I will not reveal here because it is a delightful twist, one that turns this story into an urban legend of sorts. You have Robert Carradine being his usual cheerful self, Wes Craven acting all odd and frumpy, and Sam Raimi in a cameo that is well, rather shocking. Also Carpenter cannot resist throwing in a reference to his 1978 classic Halloween. See if you can find the reference.

Next up is the also Carpenter directed “Hair,” which I found to be the weakest of the bunch although still decent/solid overall. This one has the best cast, with Stacy Keach as a vain man desperate to grow hair so that he can please his long suffering girlfriend, played by Sheena Easton. David Warner and Deborah Harry show up as people who offer to help, and of course they are not who they seem. The twist ending is actually rather frightening, and as a man going bald I have to wonder if maybe losing my hair instead of becoming a slave to something alive is perhaps the wiser choice. Although I’m not sure how this one fits into what the Corner says before the story…

Finally you have “Eye,” which is a frightening and tragic episode, directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Mark Hamill as a baseball player who descends into madness after receiving an eye transplant. Although some objected to this episode’s religious overtones, I rather enjoyed “Eye,” finding it to be both rather freaky and also sad, especially with how it ends. Besides one can argue that the episode was not condemning religion, although I cannot go into this further without spoiling the conclusion. Oh and look for great cameos from famous icons John Agar and Roger Corman, who play the doctors that operate on Hamill. I guess I should have recognized Twiggy as Hamill’s poor wife, too, and for some reason I didn’t.

As for the wrap around story, I am amused by how it concludes, and what it really entails. Particularly since it stars Tom Arnold and Tobe Hooper and has a really good singular joke. Body Bags may or may not have resulted in a decent TV show, but perhaps it works best as a singular anthology film. Many thanks goes to my local public library and Scream Factory for the DVD release I was able to get my hands on.

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: Still Not Quite Dead


Since 2008 I have watched horror movies from August to early November ever year. Its a grand tradition, one that I will probably keep on doing until I’m finally tired of horror movies…..or more likely run out of the free time necessary to binge every year. There is no set schedule this time, and the theme is horror franchises. Buckle up folks: its going to be another fun ride.

The Dry Run:

1. Zombie (1979, Lucio Fulci)-Zombies=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/horrorfest-2014-presents-zombie-1979-lucio-fulci/
2. Phantasm II (1988, Don Coscarell)-Supernatural=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/horrorfest-2014-presents-phantasm-ii-1988-don/
3. A Field In England (2013, Ben Wheatley)-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-a-field-in-england-2013-ben-wheatley/

Netflix Instant Viewing Films:

1. Phantoms (1998, Joe Chappelle)-Creature Feature=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/horrorfest-2014-presents-phantoms/
2. The Ninth Gate (1999, Roman Polanski)-Satanic=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-ninth-gate-1999-roman-polanski/
3. Red State (2011, Kevin Smith)-Rednecks=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/horrorfest-2014-presents-red-state-2011-kevin-smith/
4. Sharknado (2013, Anthony C. Ferrante)-Creature Feature
5. V/H/S/2 (2013, Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard)-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/horrorfest-2014-presents-vhs2-2013-simon-barrett-jason-eisener-gareth-evans-gregg-hale-eduardo-sanchez-timo-tjahjanto-adam-wingard/
6. Ravenous (1999, Antonia Bird)-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/horrorfest-2014-presents-ravenous-1999-antonia-bird/
7. Below (2002, David Twohy)-Ghosts-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-below-2002-david-twohy-2/
8. Wishmaster (1997, Robert Kurtzman)-Supernatural-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-wishmaster-1997-robert-kurtzman/
9. Grabbers (2012, Jon Wright)-Aliens-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/horrorfest-2014-presents-grabbers-2012-jon-wright/
10. Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/horrorfest-2014-presents-candyman-1992-bernard-rose/
11. Orca: The Killer Whale (1977, Michael Anderson)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/horrorfest-2014-presents-orca-the-killer-whale-1977-michael-anderson/
12. Nightmare City (1980, Umberto Lenzi)-Zombies-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-nightmare-city-1980-umberto-lenzi/
13. Humanoids From The Deep (1980, Barbara Peeters)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-humanoids-from-the-deep-1980-barbara-peeters/
14. Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)-Anthology-Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)
15. Visiting Hours (1982, Jean-Calude Lord)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-visiting-hours-1982-jean-calude-lord/
16. Dust Devil (1992, Richard Stanley)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/horrorfest-2014-presents-dust-devil-1992-richard-stanley/
17. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920, John S. Robertson)-Creature Feature
18. Event Horizon (1997, Paul W.S. Anderson)-Instant Viewing-WTF
19. You’re Next (2011, Adam Wingard)-Slasher/Crazy People
20. Big Ass Spider (2013, Mike Mendez)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/2014-horrorfest-presents-big-ass-spider-2013-mike-mendez/

The Franchises:

Listed are only ones that I have not seen yet. I might think of more later. I’ve viewed most of the Halloween series and all of the Friday the 13th films so they will not be featured.

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins)=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-5-the-dream-child-1989-stephen-hopkins/
2. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Rachel Talalay)=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/2014-horrorfest-presents-freddys-dead-the-final-nightmare-1991/
3. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven)=
https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-wes-cravens-new-nightmare-1994-wes-craven/
4. Child’s Play (1988, Tom Holland)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/horrorfest-2014-presents-childs-play-1988-holland/
5. Child’s Play 2 (1990, John Lafia)-Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Child’s Play 2 (1990, John Lafia)
6. Child’s Play 3 (1991, Jack Bender)
7. Bride of Chucky (1998, Ronny Yu)
8. Seed of Chucky (2004, Don Mancini)
9. Curse of Chucky (2013, Don Mancini)
10. Halloween: Resurrection (2002, Rick Rosenthal)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-halloween-resurrection-2002-rick-rosenthal/

Other Films:

1. Body Bags (1993, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Larry Sulkis), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-body-bags-1993-john-carpenter-tobe-hooper-larry-sulkis/
2. Perfect Blue (1998, Satoshi Kon), Public Library-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/horrorfest-2014-presents-perfect-blue-1997-satoshi-kon/
3. Opera (1987, Dario Argento), Slasher-YouTube=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/horrorfest-2014-presents-opera-1987-dario-argento/
4. Phenomena (1985, Dario Argento), YouTube-Slasher=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/phenomena-1985-dario-argento/
5. Night of the Demons (1988, Kevin Tenney), Public Library-Demonic=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/horrorfest-2014-presents-night-of-the-demons-1988-kevin-tenney/
6. The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton), Netflix-Ghosts=
https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-innocents-1961-jack-clayton/
7. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy), Netflix-Satanic-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/22/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-wicker-man-1973-robin-hardy/
8. The Premature Burial (1962, Roger Corman), Netflix-Revenge
9. The Masque Of The Red Death (1964, Roger Corman), Netflix-Satanic-Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Masque of the Red Death (1964, Roger Corman)
10. Tales From The Crypt (1972, Freddie Francis), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-amicus-double-bill-tales-from-the-crypt-1972-freddie-francis-and-the-vault-of-horror-1973-roy-ward-baker/
11. The Vault Of Horror (1973, Roy Ward Baker), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-amicus-double-bill-tales-from-the-crypt-1972-freddie-francis-and-the-vault-of-horror-1973-roy-ward-baker/
12. Prom Night (1980, Paul Lynch), Netflix-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/horrorfest-2014-presents-prom-night-1980-paul-lynch/

Favorite Horror Movies


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  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A. Romero)
  2. Gremlins (1984, Joe Dante)
  3. Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
  4. Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
  5. Night of the Creeps (1986, Fred Dekker)
  6. The Last Man On Earth (1964, Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow)
  7. The Horror Express (1973, Eugenio Martin)
  8. Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
  9. Carnival of Souls (1960, Herk Harvey)
  10. Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
  11. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987, Sam Rami)
  12. Scream (1996, Wes Craven)
  13. Tremors (1990, Ron Underwood)
  14. Re-Animator (1985, Stuart Gordon)
  15. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984, Joseph Zito)
  16. Horror of Dracula (1958, Terence Fisher)
  17. Sleepy Hollow (1999, Tim Burton)
  18. Trick ‘r’ Treat (2008, Michael  Dougherty)
  19. The Frighteners (1996, Peter Jackson)
  20. Arachnophobia (1990, Frank Marshall)

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