Horrorfest 2021 Presents: The Pale Door (2020, Aaron B. Koontz)


Even though I’ve seen better horror westerns, I still liked The Pale Door. The outlaws in this movie are likable enough, and although this film opens slowly things escalate pretty quickly by the film’s middle part. These gunslingers find out only too late that they ended up in a town full of witches.

Jake and Duncan are brothers who after a train robbery are forced along with the gang they’re with to exchange a girl for medical help. The movie goes from being a western to a horror movie, much like how From Dusk Till Dawn made that transition from action flick to vampire movie. Stan Shaw is also in this movie as Lester, the brothers’ de facto father figure, as well as Bill Sage, who’s Dodd is the gang’s main tough guy.

Even though parts of The Pale Door aren’t quite as effective as I would have preferred, certain other elements work quite well. The witches look pretty cool and the gunplay is well done. Also the finale act is not boring and there are some nice eerie moments. I’m not the biggest fan of witch movies so this one of the few I’ve enjoyed so far.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Bell, Book and Candle (1958, Richard Quine)


I bent the roles and counted Bell Book and Candle as a horror movie. More of a romantic comedy flick, with witches, warlocks and spells. Naturally there is a cat, too, which Kim Novak’s Gillian uses to cast a love spell on her neighbor, Shepherd (Jimmy Stewart) because well, she can. Yet she makes the classic mistake of falling in love with him. I also like that Jack Lemon was in this, and Elsa Lanchester is also wonderful, too.

Ah romance, even if it is powered by a spell. This is a joyous movie created by nice people starring nice people that maybe could only have been made in the 1950s. Female power is on full display and both Stewart and Novak have the same chemistry they displayed together in Vertigo. I also loved the use of color in the film, which made it look all the more stunning and lovely.

I also enjoyed the subplot of Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs’ novelist teaming to write a book on witches. This movie like so many other good or great ones puts New York City front and center, relishing in the wide and awesome location. It was nice to take a break from all the violence and mayhem I had been viewing to sit through a delightful movie for a change. Oh well, back to the gore grind.

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: The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller)


It has been a while since I last saw a movie about witches, and The Love Witch is a very unique take on horror movies, sex, witches, feminism and women-men dynamics. In fact this movie deserves a second viewing and an essay on what it covers, yet until that happens this review will have to do. Samantha Robinson turns in a star making performance as Elaine, who in her search for love goes way too far.

Elaine uses sex magik in her endless attempts to find the perfect husband. She even states that she wants take from men, not the other way around. Yet she becomes smitten with a cop who embodies the opposite of herself. He is conservative and thinks of love as a weakness; she on the other hand is in touch with her feelings and seeks an equal partner. Her search for the perfect mate is unrealistic, however one can sympathize with this desire.

Particularly since Elaine is the kind of lonely soul that many people are in this life, myself included. Despite belonging to a community of witches she remains an outsider, having been a late comer to the group. She makes friends only to betray them in her search for love and desire. Elaine’s path is a lonely and sad one, destined to be haunted by a longing she cannot fulfill. Whether or not she finds what she is looking for, well you have to view the movie and find out.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Viy (1967, Konstantin Yershov Georgi Kropachyov)


Even though the main character, Khoma, is a coward and also kills someone what he goes through is something else. Having to spend three nights with a dead witch’s body is never a good thing, particularly in the Russian cult classic horror film Viy, which I saw thanks to Shudder. I liked how this film was shot-the different colors adds to it’s magical realism. Also the movie gives a bit of insight into old time Russia, depicting it as a place where superstition could kill you just as easily as anything else.

Oh and the special effects are really cool, especially in the last act. While I was a tad bored at times Viy is still a solid entry. Sometimes it is nice to appreciate a unique take on certain material, and this film was Russia’s early gift to horror cinema.

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: They’re Watching (2016, Jay Lender, Micah Wright)


This movie sucked and it was made by two directors. It’s not funny save for a few parts, not scary at all and it’s populated by annoying characters. I don’t mind unlikable people as long as they are interesting. The saving grace is Vladimir, who is a thinly sketched Eastern European stereotype and is still funny anyways. He has the few quality lines in the film. This is that rare found footage movie that I don’t like, and I was disappointed because it seemed decent. The last couple of witch movies I watched I also did not care for, so maybe this particular sub genre is not my thing. Imagine Hostel without the extreme moments or the quality social and political commentary. That is They’re Watching. Don’t bother to tune in.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Lords of Salem (2012, Rob Zombie)


After witnessing a bunch of old witches having a huge devil worshiping orgy in the middle of the woods many things will seem tame after wards. In this case though the film The Lords of Salem decides to up the level of insanity after a slow buildup that establishes the main characters. Rob Zombie effectively channels Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Roman Polanski, and even Stanley Kubrick while managing to make a slightly better and frightening woman targeted by satanists movie than Ti West did with The House of the Devil. I’m impressed, to say the least, although I’ve only viewed his two Halloween films. I much prefer his latest over each of them, and I do plan to go backwards and view his first two movies. Say what you will about his music but Zombie has a knack for camera placement, haunting visuals, and fairly good plots. The problem with the two movies I mentioned have been more of the acting and dialogue variety, coupled with H2 ending up being way too concerned with overly extreme and pointless violence instead of its far more interesting psychological center.

Lords of Salem however lacks most of the issues that plagued his previous works, and has some rather starkly wonderful and creepy moments. Such as the eerie hallway moments, or the inside of Heidi, the main protagonist’s, apartment-there is only dim light in there, and it has the feel and look of a tomb. With a great big amazing poster from the classic A Trip To The Moon inside, also. I read that the moon is involved with fertility, and that makes sense because poor Hedi’s seemingly nice landlord may not be who she actually is. Spooky. Of course we are also left with the possibility that all of Heidi’s troubles are the result of her struggling to stay clean from drugs, which only adds to the dark proceedings. Oh they are dark indeed, bleak and terrifying nightmares that plague Heidi and cause her to question reality. Its bad enough when you are facing normal problems, yet suffering from possible hallucinations is even worse.

The rest of the film continues to unfold in a suffocating atmospheric manner, growing more and more odd and entering further into the world of the bizarre. Mysteries are answered only resulting in new questions, and by the film’s last act the final connections to reality are completely severed. Rob Zombie has given us a freaky new horror film, an experience in terror that is bold, well crafted, and different. By the time the end credits rolled I was almost glad that the film had ended only so that I could witness something happy to cleanse my thoughts. However the images still lingered on long after the screen had faded to black.

After Midnight: Horrorfest 2013


Lon Chaney and some creepy woman are so happy that you stopped by for the introduction to this year’s Horrorfest. I’m carrying this over from my last blog, and I’ve been doing Horrorfests ever since 2008. From August until sometime in November I watch as many horror movies as I can, only this year I’m actually planning a theme for October-you’ll see. Just sit down, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. Don’t be alarmed if you scream or if sharp fangs press against your neck. Its all part of the show, see….

The List: (Subject to Change Whenever I Feel Like It)

The Pre-Show: Homecoming (2006, Joe Dante)-Zombies-Netflix DVD-70: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/2013-horrorfest-presents-homecoming-2005-joe-dante/

August-

1.    The House of the Devil (2009, Ti West)-Demonic-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-house-of-the-devil-2009-ti-west/=91/100
2.    The Inkeepers (2012, Ti West)-Ghosts-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-innkeepers-2012-ti-west/=91/100
3.    The Prophecy (1995, Gregory Widen)-Angels and Demons-Netflix Instead Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-prophecy-1995-gregory-widen/=84/100
4.    The Man Who Laughs (1928, Paul Leni)-Man As Monster-Youtube-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-man-who-laughs-1928-leni/=95/100
5.    John Dies at the End (2012, Don Coscarelli), Monsters-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/2013-horrorfest-presents-john-dies-at-the-end-2012-don-coscarelli/=90/100
6.    House of a 1000 Corpses (2003, Rob Zombie)-Slasher-Family Video
7.    The Devil’s Rejects (2005, Rob Zombie)-Slasher-Family Video
8.    The Cabin in the Woods (2011, Drew Goddard)-Slasher/Meta-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-cabin-in-the-woods-2012-drew-goddard/=95/100
9.    Wolf Creek (2005, Greg McLean)-Slasher-Family Video
10.    Rouge (2007, Greg McLean)-Killer Animal-Family Video

September-

1.    Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971, Dario Argento)-Slasher-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/2013-horrorfest-presents-four-flies-on-grey-velvet-1971-dario-argento/=90/100
2.    Tenebre (1982, Dario Argento)-Slasher-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/2013-horrorfest-presents-tenebre-1982-dario-argento/=95/100
3.    The Lords of Salem (2012, Rob Zombie)-Demonic-RedBox-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/horrorfest-presents-the-lords-of-salem-2012-rob-zombie/=95/100
4.    The Evil Dead (2013, Fede Alvarez)-Demons-RedBox-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-evil-dead-2013/=76/100
5.    The Hamiltons (2006, Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores)-Creepy Family-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-hamiltons-2006-butcher-brothers-phil-flores-mitchell-altieri/=65/100
6.    The Prophecy II (1998, Greg Spence)-Angels-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/2013-horrorfest-presents-the-prophecy-ii-1998/=60/100
7.    The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton)-Ghosts-Netflix
8.    What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962, Robert Aldrich)-Crazy People-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/horrorfest-2013-presents-what-ever-happened-to-baby-jane-1962-robert-aldrich/=95/100
9.    Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972, Bob Clark)-Zombies-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/horrorfest-2013-presents-children-shouldnt-play-with-dead-things-1972-bob-clark/=85
10.    Stake Land (2010, Jim Mickle)-Vampires-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/horrorfest-2013-presents-stake-land/=87/100
11.    [REC] (2007, Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza)-Zombies-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/horrorfest-2013-presents-rec/=93/100
12.    Critters 2: The Main Course (1988, Mick Garris)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/horrorfest-2013-presents-critters-2-the-main-course/=79/100
13.    V/H/S (2012, Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swangberg, David Bruckner, Ti West, Radio Silence)-Anthology-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/horrorfest-2013-presents-vhs-2012/=83/100
14.    Cemetery Man (1996, Michele Soavi)-Zombies-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/horrorfest-2013-presents-cemetery-man/=95/100
15.    Hellraiser (1987, Clive Barker)-Satanic-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/horrorfest-2013-presents-hellraiser/=90/100
16.    Who Can Kill a Child? (1976, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador)-Slasher-Netflix
17.    The Blob (1988, Chuck Russell)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-blob-1988-chuck-russell/=83/100
18. Forbidden World (1982, Allen Holzman)-Aliens-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/horrorfest-2013-presents-forbidden-world-1982-allen-holzman/=75/100

October-

Hammer Studios Horror Films Edition:

1.    X The Unknown (1956, Leslie Norman)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/its-hammer-time-x-the-unknown-1956-leslie-norman/=74/100
2.    The Abominable Snowman (1957, Val Guest)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/its-hammer-time-presents-the-adominable-snowman-1957-val-guest/=60/100
3.    The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958, Terence Fisher)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/its-hammer-time-presents-the-revenge-of-frankenstein-1958-terence-fisher/=93/100
4.    The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959, Terence Fisher)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/its-hammer-time-presents-the-hound-of-the-baskervilles-1959-terence-fisher/=65/100
5.    The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959, Terence Fisher)-Madmen-Netflix
6.    The Plague of the Zombies (1966, John Gilling)-Zombies-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/its-hammer-time-presents-plague-of-the-zombies-1966-john-gilling/=83/100
7.    The Reptile (1966, John Gilling)-Creature Feature-Netflix
8.    The Witches (1967, Cyril Frankel)-Witches-Netflix
9.    Frankenstein Created Woman (1967, Terence Fisher)-Creature Feature-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/its-hammer-time-presents-frankenstein-created-woman-1967-terence-fisher/=84/100
10.    The Mummy’s Shroud (1967, John Gilling)-Mummies-Netflix
11.    Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968, Freddie Francis)-Vampires-Netflix
12.    Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969, Terence Fisher)-Creature Feature-Netflix
13.    Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970, Peter Sasdy)-Vampires-Netflix
14.    Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971, Seth Holt)-Mummies-Netflix
15.    Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972, Alan Gibson)-Vampires-Netflix
16.    Dracula: The Satanic Rites (1973, Alan Gibson)-Vampires-Netflix
17.    Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1979, Roy Ward Baker)-Vampires-Netflix

Rest of the Month:

1.    Ravenous (1999, Antonia Bird)-Slasher-Netflix
2.    Ghoulies II (1988, Albert Band)-Creature Feature-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/horrorfest-2013-presents-ghoulies-ii/=44/100
3.    Nomads (1986, John McTiernan)-Crazy People-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/horrorfest-2013-presents-nomads-1986-john-mctiernan/=52/100
4.    Kill List (2011, Ben Wheatley)-Cult People-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/horrorfest-2013-presents-kill-list-2011-ben-wheatley/=97/100
5.    The Devil’s Backbone (2001, Guillermo del Toro)-Ghosts-Netflix
6.    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986, John McNaughton)-Slasher-Netflix-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/horrorfest-2013-presents-henry-portrait-of-a-serial-killer-1986-john-mcnaughton/=92/100
7.    The Flesh and the Fiends (1960, John Gilling)-Slashers-Netflix
8.    The Bay (2012, Bary Levinson)-Creature Feature-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-bay-2012-barry-levinson/=85/100
9.    The Last Broadcast (1998, Lance Wiler, Stefan Avalos)-Supernatural-Netflix
10.    Immortality aka The Wisdom of Crocodiles (2000, Po Chih Leong), Vampires-Netflix Instant Viewing-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/immortalitythe-wisdom-of-crocodiles-1998-po-chih-leong/=90/100
11.    Resident Evil (2002, Paul W.S. Anderson)-82/100=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/horrorfest-2013-presents-resident-evil-2002-paul-w-s-anderson/
12.    Pumpkinhead (1988, Stan Winston)-90/100=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/horrorfest-2013-presents-pumpkinhead-1988-stan-winston/
13.    The People Under The Stairs (1991, Wes Craven)-86/100=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-people-under-the-stairs-1991-wes-craven/
14.    Mimic (1997, Guillermo del Toro)-88/100=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/horrorfest-2013-presents-mimic-1997-guillermo-del-toro/
15.    Bloody Birthday (1981, Ed Hunt)-76/100=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/horrorfest-2013-presents-bloody-birthday-1981-ed-hunt/
16.    The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000, Patrick Lussier)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-prophecy-3-the-ascent-2000-patrick-lussier/=73/100
17.    Graveyard Shift (1990, Ralph S. Singleton)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/horrorfest-2013-presents-graveyard-shift-1990-ralph-s-singleton/=70/100
18.    Sisters (1973, Brian De Palma)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/horrorfest-2013-presents-sisters-1973-brian-de-palma/=91/100
19.    Village of the Damned (1960, Wolf Rilla)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/horrorfest-2013-presents-village-of-the-damned-1960-wolf-rilla/=90/100
20.    Terror Train (1980, Roger Spottiswoode)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/horrorfest-2013-presents-terror-train-1980-roger-spottiswoode/=80/100
21.    TerrorVision (1986, Ted Nicolaou)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/horrorfest-2013-presents-terrorvision/=81/100
22.    The Video Dead (1987, Robert Scott)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-video-dead-1987-robert-scott/=74/100
23.    City of the Living Dead (1980, Lucio Fulci)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/horrorfest-2013-presents-city-of-the-living-dead-1980-lucio-fulci/=81/100
24.    Leprechaun 2 (1994, Rodman Flender), Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/horrorfest-2013-presents-leprechaun-2-1994-rodman-flender/=79/100
25.    The Funhouse (1981, Tobe Hooper), Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/horrorfest-2013-presents-the-funhouse-1981-tobe-hooper/=91/100
26.    Phenomena (1985, Dario Argento)-Slasher/Supernatural-Netflix
27.    Opera (1987, Dario Argento)-Slasher-Netflix

One Night Three Bavas: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/one-night-three-bavas/

28.    5 Dolls for an August Moon (1970, Mario Bava), Slasher-Netflix Instant Viewing=81/100
29.    Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970, Mario Bava)-Slasher-Netflix Instant Viewing=92/100
30.    Bay of Blood (1971, Mario Bava)-Slasher-Netflix Instant Viewing=88/100

Thus ends Horrorfest 2013. I enjoyed watching a ton of movies and being scared and thrilled during a three month period. I can’t wait for Horrorfest 2014. Cheers.

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