#274 -- Scream 2 (1997)

Director: Wes Craven
Rating: 4 / 5

Caution--will contain spoilers, because I just can't resist. And let's face it, everyone's seen these movies. And if you haven't, you deserve to have them spoiled. I'm joking, of course, but you should stop reading now and go watch them. Seriously. Get off the computer and go get these movies.

So, some people have a problem with this movie. A lot of people have a problem with sequels in general, but I am not one of those people. I'm all for sequels, as long as they're done well. Sometimes I even like them better than the originals. I guess Scream 2 could be bothersome to those who know a lot about film and really examine movies when they watch them. But I'm not (usually) that analytic. And I know jack shit about film-making. So I don't usually have that many issues with sequels. I view these movies simply as a horror lover. I'm not trying to pick them apart (unless they're so bad that it's the only thing I can do, of course). I'm just trying to have a good time. Sure, it's not quite as good as the first one, but who cares? I mean, look what it had to live up to. The bottom line is that it wasn't a bad movie at all. I think some people go into sequels hating them for the simple fact that they're sequels. When this happens, it's pretty much impossible to enjoy it. I myself have been guilty of this on occasion, but not with a movie that's so flipping amazing as Scream was. So, in conclusion to this ridiculously long and pointless introduction, I don't have a problem with Scream 2.

It's got pretty much the same premise: killer in a ghost costume stalks Sidney Prescott. The thing is, she's no longer in Woodsboro; she's in college now, I'm guessing millions of miles away from Woodsboro (that's what I'd do, at least), but this person still tracks her down. We know it's not Billy and Stu, so it's not like they were trying to finish the job. So just why in the hell would someone track Sidney down to kill her, wearing the exact same costume as the guys who already tried to kill her? Well, Sidney's got shit luck, that's why. In the beginning, there's a movie being released about the murders that happened two years before, based on Gale Weathers' book. I find it strange that they'd make a movie about some murders that happened such a short time ago. Seems kind of insensitive, if you ask me. But that's beside the point. The movie brings with it a string of new kills that are, of course, centered around Sidney.

I'm not going to go all, "the film-makers didn't know what they were doing," because come on...It's fucking Wes Craven we're talking about here. And writer Kevin Williamson wrote the first movie as well, so we know he's not all that bad either. But I will tell you why I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first one. First, the characters weren't as good. The first two characters we meet are Maureen and Phil, played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps. Maureen is annoying and seems like a bitch. Phil was okay, but I really couldn't understand why he put up with her. They weren't even a good couple; it seemed like they hated each other and stayed together for...I don't know, the sex, maybe? So they die; boo-hoo, no one cares. There are a lot of familiar faces here, but none of their characters were any good. There was Sarah Michelle Gellar as a sorority girl; her part was too small for anyone to give a shit. There's Jerry O'Connel as Sidney's boyfriend, but everyone halfway suspects him the whole time, so we're not really able to care about him either. Plus, why would Sidney EVER date again? Just doesn't make sense. The other big names were only stars in "Stab," the movie based on the murders in the first one (Tori Spelling, Luke Wilson, and Heather Graham). There are, of course, the characters we grew to love: Sidney, Dewey, Randy, and Gale. But with no other characters to give two shits about...the only point is to make sure that the characters we already know make it out alive. Which they don't, by the way. My favorite character in the first (and this one) was Randy, so I think his death is the main reason this one just didn't live up to the first for me. Kind of silly, right? Oh well.

The motive for the murders is kind of...weird. Sure, Billy and Stu's motives were stupid. But, don't all serial killers have bad motives? Isn't just because they're crazy? Here's where the spoilers start. One of the killers was Billy's mother, and she was pissed at Sidney for killing her son. Really? Of course she killed him, no shit; hate yourself for raising a crazy fuck of a son.  The other was one of Sidney's friends, and he just wanted to become (in)famous. That's cool, I guess. Oh, but here's where it gets great. Billy's mother was played by Laurie Metcalf. Yep, that's right. Aunt Jackie as a motherfucking serial killer. Who would'a thunk it? She's always been good at acting crazy; but that was always a seriously hilarious crazy. Here it was just weird. I think the fact that we all know her as Aunt Jackie kind of threw me off, and seeing her as a killer just made me laugh. Really, Aunt Jackie? Really? Go back to fighting with your sister for feeding your kid some Oreos. Damn Oreo eaters.

Anyways, even though I don't feel like it was quite as good as the first, that's not really saying much. Scream is one of the best horror movies ever made, in my opinion. So it would naturally be pretty difficult to live up to it. I still really liked this one, and I would hardly call it a shitty sequel.


Cinematography - 9 points. I don't think it had the spookiness and mystery that the first one had, but it was still great, of course. It looked good, and Wes Craven never disappoints.

Storyline - 9 points. The fact that "Stab" was made only two years after a series of grisly murders seemed really stupid to me. In all honesty, who would do that? It's just makes the entire movie less believable.

Characters - 9 points. While there were a jumble of characters I didn't care about, all my favorites were still there, which was good. But Randy died. BOO!

Gore - 8 points. I was only impressed by a couple of the kills. Most of them were only okay. And Ghostface used a gun. Guns suck, end of story.

Scariness - 9 points. Again, not quite up to par with the first movie. I saw this one years ago, but I only remembered one of the killers. This time around, I went through the whole movie trying to remember who the second killer was.  So the mystery was still there for me. That's what I love about these movies: how they make everyone into a suspect, so we never know who is a real suspect until the very end.

Overall score - 44 / 50

Where Scream received a five star rating from me, I'd give this one four.


#273 -- Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf (2010)

Director: Andrew Cymek
Rating: 3 / 5

Synopsis from IMDB:
Capturing the sadistic serial killer "The Wolf" was just the beginning for rookie cop Johnny Morgan. As he escorts the monster to his new home in the dark underground halls of Parker's Asylum, bedlam ensues and Johnny along with a handful of civilians become players in a night of survival against the world's most terrifying inmates.

So, I didn't really know what to expect from that synopsis. I read it a long time ago when I found the movie on Netflix, and since it didn't really give me much, I just overlooked it. My boyfriend wanted to watch it today, and all he told me was that it was about "some serial killer who kills little kids." I really didn't know what I was getting into. I didn't know that it was a re-imagining of the Red Riding Hood story. So, there's a guy who wears a wolf suit who likes to kill little girls. There's even a little girl in the movie who wears a red jacket. At each murder scene, a message was found that said "Are you the woodcutter?" If you, like me, don't remember the original story to begin with, the woodcutter was the guy who cut open the wolf's belly in order to save Red and her grandmother. So I guess the killer was daring someone to catch him.

When The Wolf was captured, he was sent to the aforementioned Parker's Asylum where he would be treated, along with a whole bunch of other crazy folks. I must mention that Parker's treatment methods were a tad bit unorthodox. He used drowning chambers (cages that descended into pools) and shock collars, to name a few. In the end, you'll learn that the man they thought was The Wolf, was only the true killers little apprentice, and the real Wolf was much worse. He wore a big wolf suit, which was truly a work of genius, if you ask me. It was fucking amazing. It was like a suit of armor, it had the Wolverine claws, and a bear trap like jaw that could snap shut on his victims.

One night there was a power outage, which caused the computers to malfunction and unlock all of the cell doors. The inmates were unleashed, and their shock collars were no longer very effective. So the staff, some police men (Christian and writer/director/star Andrew Cymek), and the little girl I mentioned earlier, were in the for the night of their lives.

I enjoyed the filming on this one. The scenes were set in a sort of eerie glow, which made everything look nice. The inmate that I was most interested in, Benjamin Jacobs, was bathed in shadows for the majority of the movie, making him quite mysterious. All I knew of him to begin with was his deep, growly voice. Later I realized that he was enraged by the color red, that he was inhumanly strong, and...there was no way that guy was human. He reminded me of a mixture of Frankenstein's Monster and The Hulk--which was super cool. I wish he had gotten a lot more screen time; or better yet, the whole movie should have been about him. Put him in the wolf suit and let him loose. Now that would have been scary. Anyways...The acting was pretty decent, and included a couple of wrestlers (Christian and Test), which I always enjoy. Christian's fate wasn't too pretty, but I did enjoy him here.


While there were a lot of things I liked about the movie, there were a few things that I had problems with. One, the pacing was terribly slow. For the most part, it was just about the doctors' interactions with the patients, which is interesting enough, but it hardly qualifies as horror movie material. Once the actual killing started, it seemed like more than half of the movie had gone by already. I didn't pay attention to the times, but it definitely felt drawn out. Up until that point, it wasn't much more than background noise.

I can't really call it disappointing, since I didn't know what to expect in the first place, but I do feel that it could have been better. It wasn't a complete let down, though. It was worth watching just to see FrankenHulk.


Cinematography - 8 points. I liked the lighting and that eerie glow I mentioned earlier. It didn't have a huge budget, but it wasn't a ten-cent movie either. There were certainly some talented people behind it, and it looked good.

Storyline - 7 points. The premise isn't something I'm unfamiliar with. We've all seen tons of movies involving asylums, and escaped inmates running amok. I liked the Red Riding Hood thing too, but the pacing was far too slow.

Gore - 5 points. There wasn't a whole lot of it, but where it was present, it was pretty good. Most of the good scenes involved kills with the Wolverine claws, which were pretty good. But with a suit like that, I would have expected more gruesome kills, and a whole lot more blood. They had something that great, which could have set up some really awesome kills, but they just didn't go with it.

Scariness - 3 points. It wasn't really scary at all, or even creepy. It had some suspenseful moments, but it never got my heart pumping.

Characters - 9 points. I really--and I mean really--enjoyed the crazy inmates. There was a woman named Mabel who was the stereotypical old-fashioned black lady. She knew everything there was to know about cooking a good meal, the only catch was that she liked to eat people (that's how Christian was killed). There was FrankenHulk, who was wonderful. There was an old, naked guy in a Santa hat who had a foot fetish; he liked to cut off peoples' toes and wear them on a necklace. And then there was, of course, The Wolf. Those characters were great. I didn't care much for the protagonists, but the crazies were wonderful.

T & A - 0 points. There was absolutely nothing in this department. There were a couple of kisses, but that was it.

Overall score - 32 / 60


#272 -- Clownhouse (1989)

Director: Victor Salva
Rating: 3.5 / 5

When going into a movie about killer clowns, most people (including me) probably expect it to be kind of cheesy. Most of the time we're right. Clowns are funny, whether they're evil or not. Surprisingly, though, Clownhouse really isn't all that cheesy. It's a very simple movie, and you should know what it's all about before you watch it, or else you might be disappointed.

It focuses on three brothers, Randy, Jeffrey, and Casey. Casey was terrified of clowns, since he saw some at the circus the year before. He was so scared of them that he had nightmares about drawings of them. Yes, drawings. Not real clowns trying to kill him, but drawings in his windows. And these nightmares scared him so badly that he would wet the bed. Poor Casey had some shit luck, since there was a circus nearby. There was also an asylum nearby. You can smell the disaster already, right? So, all Casey and his brothers had to do while their parents were away was to go to that circus. Casey was scared shitless when one of the clowns tried to get him to come on stage with him, but that was only the beginning of his terrible night. Three inmates from the nearby asylum broke into the circus after hours, killed the three performing clowns, stole their costumes, and made their way to Casey's house. As he became increasingly nervous being in that house without his parents (especially when all the lights went out), those clowns were lurking in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He and his brothers were in for the fight of their lives when they finally emerged from the shadows and decided to kill them.

Clownhouse has its problems, but the good outweighs the bad, and I've enjoyed the movie on more than one occasion. The story is a bit contrived, but I can't hate it for that. It's a huge and almost laughable coincidence that there's a circus and an asylum apparently right next door to a boy who is terrified of clowns. But how else can you explain a couple of killer clowns getting into someone's house? It's a stretch, but it makes sense. We never got any insight to the inmates, which is cool, I guess. But I think they would have been scarier had we learned that they'd killed a hundred people, or something. I wanted to know just how crazy they were. But I guess it doesn't really matter how crazy they are; what matters is that they are, and that they're trying to kill a couple of kids.

They didn't have much funds to work with here (with a budget of $200,000), but they did work with what they had. The cinematography was pretty impressive; the use of lighting, shadows, and camera angles succeeded in creating a pretty creepy atmosphere. Seeing those clowns lurking in the shadows, right out of the boys' reach was definitely spooky. I also enjoyed the scenes at the circus, though it made really want to go to the carnival. It's a shitty time to be wishing for carnivals, though, so I'll just have to wait.

The three brothers worked really well together, and I almost felt like they were actually brothers. Casey was the youngest, wimpiest brother. Jeffrey was the middle brother who was kind of nerdy and sweet, and he was always looking out for Casey and caring for him. Randy was the oldest, and he was kind of a dick-head. He tried to act tough, I guess because he was the oldest, but when it came right down to it, you could tell that he cared about his brothers. The chemistry between them was good, and their acting was pretty impressive. Randy was played by Sam Rockwell (Wild Bill from The Green Mile), so I don't have to tell you that he was pretty great. The other two didn't shine quite as brightly, but I was still fairly impressed by them.

All of the kills were done off screen, and there wasn't much blood at all. But that was okay, because the movie relied heavily on atmosphere, and it definitely succeeded in that department. Yes, I am a gore whore, but I don't mind a lack of bloodshed as long as there's something  to make up for it. I can only call this movie slightly creepy but, while it didn't scare me personally, I'm sure it would have your coulrophobic friends up all night.

Even though it had a few issues, it's definitely a enjoyable film, and I can hardly call it bad. I, personally, can't bash it, since I've watched it more than once. I was impressed and entertained each time. Plus, it was directed by the same guy who directed Jeepers Creepers, so you can't hate it too much.


Storyline - 7 points. It was a bit contrived, but that didn't  distract from the overall feel or entertainment value of the movie.

Cinematography - 6 points. It made good use of lighting and shadows. It didn't have that ultra spooky feel that I love, but I was impressed by it, especially since it had such a low budget.

Characters - 8 points. Sometimes the characters felt a little forced, but that was probably due to the fact that they were only kids. Sometimes their actions didn't quite match their personalities, but overall I felt the actors worked well together and the characters were believable.

Gore - 1 point. There was no gore.

Scariness - 5 points. It didn't scare me personally, but I feel like there's got to be someone out there that was at least a little creeped out by it.

T & A - 1 point. Again, there wasn't any, other than one shot of Casey's ass, which was awkward.

Overall score - 28 / 60


#271 -- Bone Sickness (2004)

Director: Brian Paulin
Rating: 2 / 5

This review is going to be a little bit different than my others, because I've decided to try out a new rating system. Instead of giving movies that typical x / 5 rating, I'm going to give this one points in different categories and see how it does. We'll see how this goes, and how I feel about it at the end, and maybe I'll have a new way of rating the movies that I watch.

Bone Sickness is a 2004 movie directed by Brian Paulin, and it's about my favorite horror movie monsters--zombies. What's interesting about this one is that it strays from the stereotypical radiation and/or government experiment gone horribly wrong scenario. As every other reviewer will tell you, it's obvious that Paulin is a fan and loves what he does. He tried really hard to make this work, but it just didn't. I've got to applaud him for trying, though, because it really did have potential. Where this movie fails is the story, because it's so drawn out and disjointed that by the end, you won't care anymore.

It centered on Alex and Kristen, a married couple going through a rough patch in their life. Alex  had some bone disease for which there was no known cure. He was very sick, and it put a very obvious strain on their marriage. Thankfully, they had a friend (played by Paulin) who worked in a morgue and had access to dead bodies. He made some homemade food for Alex, made from the meat and bones of dead bodies. Also, he may or may not having been killing people to get ingredients. But this homemade remedy did more harm than good, as it had Alex shitting/puking worms and maggots; and then he'd turn around and eat whatever he barfed up. Talk about ew. Meanwhile, for whatever reason, corpses were rising from the nearby cemetery to wreak havoc. This remedy also gave Alex the desire to eat human flesh, so there were zombies everywhere.

It's obvious from the first scene that this is a low budget movie. It looks like it's a home movie, but at the same time, it's definitely not the worst I've ever seen. That being said, I do believe that most of the budget was spent on the special effects. There was definitely plenty of gore, which I think was the main purpose of the movie. There were drawn out scenes of zombie madness that bordered on annoying. For a minute, it's cool. The gore--though the effects were cheesy--was good. But after fifteen minutes of nothing but a zombie massacre, it tends to get monotonous. The story as a whole really made no sense at all. My biggest question is this: how did they think to feed Alex corpse bones? Was this based on any real medical knowledge, or where they so desperate that they were willing to try anything--even the most radical and nonsensical things? It was never explained, and I really think that the characters (and the writers, perhaps) pulled the solution out of their asses. The reasoning behind the zombie uprising was also vague and weird. It apparently had something to do with some goblin creatures who fed on the corpses. They were angry about Alex stealing their food, so they...decided to let the bodies rise? I'm not sure, because those characters used such exaggerated supposed-to-be-scary accents that I couldn't understand what they were saying. So I honestly have no idea.

The idea was interesting. I liked that it was different than what we're used to seeing in zombie movies. But the rest of the story made no sense at all and seemed to have no real purpose. It was mainly a gore-fest, though I could tell that Paulin was trying to create and deep and meaningful story. I don't hate him for trying, but it just didn't work out for him. I feel that, maybe, with a little more attention to detail within the story, that he could have made a really great movie. But as it is, the thing made no sense. By the end, I guess I wasn't paying enough attention, and I had no clue what the fuck was happening. The ending seemed like it belonged somewhere else. The last few scenes were on some road, with some army grunts (who looked like kids dressed like army men for Halloween--complete with the camouflage face paint) running around; add in some overturned cars, and you've got one messed up ending that makes no sense whatsoever.


Cinematography - 3 points--while it was obviously low budget, it's not the worst attempt I've ever seen, so I'll give it some props.

Storyline - 2 points--it definitely had its issues, but I really liked the basic idea. It was different and certainly deserves some credit, even though the majority of it didn't make sense.

Gore - 7 points--It wasn't lacking in the gore department, which is always good. There was one scene that was truly disturbing and disgusting, and it was the most memorable of the whole movie. However, the effects weren't the greatest, and some of the gore scenes were too drawn out.

Characters  - 5 points--the acting was actually a lot better than I expected it to be, which was good. But the characters really weren't developed as well as they could have been. I really didn't care about any of them, even the guy who was dying.

T & A - 3 points--there weren't any real sex scenes. There was on masturbation scene, and a bathing scene--that's all I remember. The masturbating scene was way too weird, and who wants to watch a chick bathe, anyway? There were some tits here and there, but it wasn't anything too memorable.

Overall score -- 20 / 50


#270 -- The Messengers (2007)

Rating: 3 / 5
Directors: Oxide Pang Chun & Danny Pang

The Messengers is a supernatural horror about a family that moves into a house with spirits trapped inside. It's a premise that we are all too familiar with, but we never seem to get tired of it, for some reason. The beginning of the movie shows us a girl and her little brother being attacked by an unseen force, which is done pretty well. It succeeds in drawing us in and making us interested, and it was a very nice start to the movie. It focuses on the Solomon family, who moved out to a farm to grow sunflowers, in hopes that it would solve their financial problems. The first of the family to notice the ghosts was the little boy, Ben. He never seemed to be afraid of them; he was only interested. When he was left alone with his big sister Jess (Kristen Stewart), the ghosts got a little rowdy and destroyed the entire house. They also tried to pull Jess down into the basement to do evil things to her. Of course, no one believed her story, because she was a trouble maker. Before they moved she got drunk and drove around with Ben in the car, which resulted in an accident that left him unable to speak. It's understandable why they don't trust her and treat her like a little child. It's also understandable that they don't believe a word that she says. Finally, of course, everyone else sees the ghosts, feels so sorry that they never believed her, and have to fight some spirits to survive the night.

The movie had its problems, but it had some things going for it as well. I watched it on Crackle, which said it could be compared to The Grudge and The Birds. The former, I guess, because of the angry spirits that crawled around on the ceiling. The latter because the farm was infested with crows that liked to attack people. I see where they got the comparisons, but I don't agree. While The Grudge was a genuinely spooky movie, this one just wasn't. I've never seen The Birds, but I'm sure Hitchcock wouldn't be happy about having one of his most beloved movies compared to this. The story was interesting enough, ending with a twist that was unexpected but kind of cheesy and predictable once you see it. It had to do with a man whose wife wanted to leave, and he killed his entire family in a fit of rage. His spirit can't discern the difference between his real family and those that move into the house, so he kills them all over again. It does have a few creepy parts, and a couple of suspenseful moments here and there, but it's not enough for me to be able to call it a great movie.

There are a lot of things that are left unexplained. Like who or what are the "messengers" and what message are they trying to relay? I never got the title, because there was not an explanation. Maybe the birds were the messengers, and they were trying to tell them to get away as fast as they could? Possibly, because they all scattered once the evil was defeated. Or maybe the ghosts (which were the ghosts of the family whose father killed them) themselves were the messengers, and they were trying to warn the Solomon family of the crazy man/spirit that was right under their noses. It left me with more questions than answers. I also had a problem with Kristen Stewart, as I always do. I'm not a fan of her acting, and I never will be. She is so dull and she hardly ever shows any emotion. Maybe once throughout a movie she'll show some sign of life, but it's never enough to make her character even remotely believable. She always seems entirely uncomfortable in her roles, and it makes things hard for me. I believe that, to create a successful horror movie, you must make the viewer able to believe that it's real, even though the events are implausible and we know that they are not real. It's impossible to make me believe anything when the lead actress looks like a statue. Throughout the movie, she keeps saying that she's so scared, but I never saw it. Maybe once did she look even a little bit frightened, but most of the time she either looked confused or constipated. The boy who played her little brother, who didn't speak a word until the very end of the movie, gave a more believable performance than she did. Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) was wonderful, of course, and I didn't have any problems with him. Actually, I only had a problem with her, and she's one of the reasons that this movie just doesn't stand out for me.

Though it has an interesting, if not completely predictable, premise, the movie falls flat. It had some genuinely promising moments that it let die without any real results. It failed to be scary at all, or even creepy. It did have a few somewhat creepy moments, but it failed to be spooky as a whole. It wasn't altogether boring, though; it did keep me interested, if not just to see what the spirits were about and why exactly they were trapped in the house. But it in the end, it's just a so-so movie that didn't live up to the potential that it created for itself.


#269 -- Heartless (2009)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Philip Ridley

I had been eye-balling this movie on Netflix for quite a while, but I was never really sure what to expect from it. I finally saw the trailer, which made me even more intrigued, but I still waited a little while to watch it. I was intrigued, but at the same time hesitant, for reasons unknown. Usually when this happens, I end up enjoying the movie. This was no different.

Heartless is the story of a young man in London named Jamie. He was born with a heart-shaped birthmark on his face (as well as running down the length of one of his arms). Jamie was played by Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), who is a gorgeous man, if you ask me. The birthmark only made him slightly less gorgeous. He was still very beautiful, but it caused him to feel extremely insecure. All that he wanted was to fall in love and have a family, things he felt his appearance made impossible. You can sense that he's never been in a relationship, and was probably a virgin at twenty-five--which is sad, since he was such an intelligent, creative and beautiful person, inside and out.

Eventually, he started seeing strange reptilian creatures on the streets of London. They wore hoodies, killed innocent people with molotov cocktails, and people thought they were associated with a gang run buy some guy named "She". He saw these things on a daily basis, and he began to feel very frightened and paranoid. When the creatures caught up with him and killed his mother, the only thing he felt from that moment on was rage. He wanted his revenge. He set out to kill the things (but of course was never successful), which brought him to the attention of Papa B, the devil-like person described in the synopsis. Papa B informs him that, even though there are several natural disasters in the world, Mother Nature can't always take care of the chaos that the world needs. That's where he and his demons come in. He wanted Jamie to help him in his quest to bestow chaos unto the world, and as payment for his help, he could have one wish. We all know what his wish was. Papa B removed his birthmark by setting Jamie on fire, turning him into a walking mass of charred flesh. Jamie peeled off the charred skin, and what lay underneath was a smoother, birthmark-free Jamie. Papa B promised that all Jamie would have to do was some graffiti, and their deal would be even. He would be visited by a man they called "Weapons Man," to let him know when his contribution would be required. Once Weapons Man showed up, though, Jamie realized that Papa B had lied.

Weapons Man put Jamie's information into a computer, which determined what sort of chaos he would have to do. So in reality, Papa B didn't know what exactly Jamie would do at all. The computer told him that he would have to kill someone--cut their heart out and place it on a church step before the end of the full moon. Weapons Man had a magical stick that would lead them to the weapon Jamie would have to use in his act. It turned out to be one of Jamie's dead father's favorite knives, making the act even more horrendous for him.

Jamie, of course, wasn't a killer. He didn't want to kill anyone, and he was outraged at the fact that Papa B lied to him. But he injured him until he agreed. Papa B had an assistant as well, a little Indian girl named Belle. She sort of acted as Jamie's spirit guide, helping him out with the crime he would have to commit. She was the main reason that Jamie went through with it--because he thought that Papa B would kill her too if he didn't. Eventually, the two grew very close and Belle started calling him Dad.

After he killed a random guy out on the streets (who happened to be a male prostitute and thought Jamie was going to pay him for some sexual favors), he met a girl named Tia and fell in love. Or at least he thought he did. There was some betrayal (by Tia and Jamie's nephew, who really was involved with She's gang), and things didn't turn out quite like he'd expected. Also, Papa B was angry that Belle had grown so attached to Jamie, so he started asking more of him. He wanted him to kill more people, to cause more chaos. But Jamie was finished, and he was prepared to fight to keep Belle and not have to kill anyone else.

I think Heartless was a beautiful movie. The cinematography was stunning, even though it was set in a sort of ghetto town in London. Everything looked spectacular. The effects were great, the acting was magnificent, and the story was definitely interesting. Also, it was sweet. There were some heartwarming moments thrown in among all the chaos--like when Jamie discovered that his birthmark had actually never been removed. Papa B just made it so that Jamie couldn't see it, which made him feel more confident and he was able to go out and meet someone. People still thought he was beautiful, even with the birthmark, so long as he acted like he did too. It really is a beautiful story, even with all the murder and betrayal and demons. Now that I've watched it, I really can't tell you why I waited. I guess I just wasn't sure about it. But make no mistakes, it's a movie that's definitely worth seeing. The beautiful cinematography, the horrors that are the real world and the fantasy world, and those kick ass reptile guys. It all comes together to make a very interesting ride.


A Very Merry Creepmas

So, Christmas is almost officially over. I'm glad I don't have to do any more shopping, but I'll miss the togetherness that Christmas always brings. This year was pretty much the same as the last, with just one difference. This year was the first Christmas that I got to spend with my sister and her kids. It's a long story, and it took something extremely unfortunate to bring us together, but it turned out to be one of the best Christmases of my life. I'm very thankful that I got to spend it with my wonderful family. There was my mom, my dad, my aunt, my boyfriend and his son, my two nephews, my niece, and my sister. Then we headed on over to my sister in-law's to spend Christmas with her, her three children, and my mother in-law. And of course my boyfriend and his son (Dameon), plus Dameon's mom, her boyfriend and their daughter. There were a lot of people and a lot of love to be spread around. It was great. And, of course, I got some pretty great gifts.

Some of you might remember (though most of you probably don't) that my birthday was on the 23rd.

My step-son gave me this for my birthday. It's an ornament that he made in school. He said it looked like the gingerbread man had been shot in the head, so he decked him out with corpse-like features, and figured it would be the perfect gift for his zombie-lovin' stepmom. He was so right! I love this little guy.

My mom made this awesome birthday cake for me. Best one yet!

These came in a package full of little zombie figurines. There are plenty of other ones (I didn't want to fill the page full of pictures of them!) that are now scattered around my desk. They're awesome! 

These are a couple of DVD sets. The first one my aunt gave me. That eyeball is holographic, and it opens and closes when you move it.  The second was from my mom, and it's got some pretty great movies in it--like Night of the Living Dead and White Zombie. 

And this is perhaps the best one. The Walking Dead board game! There are a lot of components, and a lot of different rules. It's a little complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's loads of fun. We had a great time playing it, and I absolutely love it!

So my Christmas was really great this year. I hope all of yours were just as wonderful. Merry  Christmas everyone!


#268 -- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Jonathan Demme

There are quite a few famous horror movies that I have never seen. It's always made me feel like a bad horror fan, and I'm honestly not sure why I've never seen them. Silence of the Lambs was one of those movies. Years ago, my best friend let me borrow the DVD, because she thought that I absolutely needed to watch it. It sat on my shelf for a long time, until she finally gave up and wanted it back. I had a chance so long ago, but I missed it. I didn't want to watch it, though I'm not sure why. I know now that it's really not much of a horror movie. There are some disturbing scenes yes, but nothing genuinely terrifying (other than the fact that these things are very plausible and actually do happen). That being said, I still thought it was a wonderful movie.

Clarice Starling, a student at an FBI academy, got the chance to interview notorious serial killer, Hannibal Lecter. This was an attempt to gain his trust in order to get his help in catching a more recent serial killer they called Buffalo Bill. They promised him that he would be re-located to a facility with a view--which is all he wanted--so he agreed to cooperate. It was a lie, however, and he was transferred to a different facility, with no view. He escaped from that facility by killing a couple of officers and wearing a human mask to get past the guards. While Hannibal is certainly the most interesting character in the movie, he is hardly the main one.

It focuses a lot of Clarice and Hannibal's relationship at the beginning of the movie, but once he escaped there was no relationship to focus on. It turned its focus instead on Buffalo Bill. For the longest time, I thought that Hannibal was based on Ed Gein, but it was actually Buffalo Bill that was based on him. Certain aspects of his personality, and some of his methods, were based on Ted Bundy as well. Buffalo Bill liked to skin his victims, so that he could create a woman suit for himself. He had a terrible childhood, hated himself, and he wanted to change who he was. He had been rejected for sexual reassignment surgery, and so he decided to take matters into his own hands. All of these things were discovered by Lecter as he read the reports on Bill. He was a very intelligent and charming man, played absolutely brilliantly by Anthony Hopkins. That is what makes Lecter such a terrifying character. He seems so nice and charming, and he's definitely educated (he was a psychiatrist); but underneath all of that, you know, is a lunatic who will eat your face if he gets the chance. Bill was quite a terrifying character as well, since he is steeped in reality. People like him (and Hannibal) have actually existed, and probably still exist. It is the fact that these things are possible and highly likely that make them scary.

Hannibal's insights did eventually lead Clarice to Buffalo Bill. He was captured before he could murder the senator's daughter, who was trapped in a hole in Bill's basement. But at that point, Hannibal was on the loose, so it was obvious that things were not fine and dandy yet. The world was still in danger, Clarice possibly the most of all.

I think this movie could more accurately be classified as psychological thriller. Yes, people are being murdered in terrible ways, and these killers are frightening. But they're only frightening once you stop to think about it. There is nothing happening on screen to scare you; the scenes are not nightmare inducing. Once you stop and think, "Hey, this could actually happen," and realize that things like that have happened...that's when it starts to scare you. There are certain moments in the movie that are genuinely creepy (like Clarice's first meeting with Hannibal, when we realize just what type of person he is, and how damn creepy Anthony Hopkins is), but overall there's nothing extremely frightening about what you see. Another disturbing scene is when Clarice is in the house of Buffalo Bill. He turns out all the lights so she cannot see. He has night vision goggles, and he stays very close to her. Several times he reaches out to her, nearly an inch from her face, but he never touches her--and she doesn't know that he's that close. To think about a monster being so close to you without your knowledge...That truly is frightening.

It puts the lotion on its skin...
With only two somewhat scary scenes, this can hardly be called a horror movie. As I said, it's more of a psychological thriller because it fucks with your mind. But I don't think it's a bad movie at all. It was wonderful. Every aspect of it was intriguing. The investigations, the FBI, and the serial killers. And the actors and crew worked with real life investigators and FBI personnel while shooting, so it's about as accurate as you can get. Much more so than CSI. The characters work well together, and the actors were phenomenal. I haven't seen Anthony Hopkins in very much, but I can tell you honestly that he's a damn good actor. His scenes were my favorites because they were the most disturbing. Jodie Foster was also wonderful as Clarice. The character had been through some rough things in her life, and that is plain for the viewer to see. Throughout most of the movie, she seems kind of distant from everything; like she's numb. We get the feeling that something terrible happened even before she exposes it. There wasn't a whole lot of gore; but since the movie relied mostly on messing with my mind, I'm okay with that.

Thanks to wonderful actors, and film crew who really cared about their product, Silence of the Lambs is one great movie. It is the only horror movie to have won the Academy Award for best picture. Now usually I could give a rat's ass about what awards a movie has won. But, come on, that's got to mean something, right?

#267 -- Rest Stop: Don't Look Back (2008)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Shawn Papazian

This is the sequel to Rest Stop: Dead Ahead, a movie that I really enjoyed. In it, people were taken to a bus to be tortured by a crazed man in an old yellow truck. This one is basically the same, with a few differences. Don't Look Back explained some things and answered some questions that the first left unanswered, but it still somehow managed to be less enjoyable.

In the first, we knew practically nothing about The Driver, or the crazed family in the winnebago. This one explained all of that, right at the beginning. The Driver had car trouble and was picked up by the crazy family. The wife, apparently, was very sexually frustrated and ended up sleeping with The Driver. When the husband caught them, she screamed rape, so the husband beat him within an inch of his life. They then tied him up and began to torture him, claiming that he was a sinner and that he needed to be cleansed. They cut his hand off, cut his eyes out and buried him in a field. Later, though, he returned to have his revenge, and he killed the entire family.

When I saw the first one, I thought that The Driver was just a crazy person, but completely human. It turns out, though, there's some pretty supernatural stuff going on. The Driver was a ghost, as were the people in the winnebago. We learn later on about some legend that says if a person is buried without their eyes, then their soul will roam the earth in pain and suffering. The only way to lay the spirit to rest is to find and burn the eyes, and the smoke will rise to the heavens. Things like this, though, are only theories, as they can only be proved once they are done successfully. So there's really no way for us to tell if it will work.

The movie focuses on Tommy, Marilyn, and Jared. You might remember Jesse, the young guy from the first movie. Well, Tommy is his brother. Tommy had just returned home from some war, and the first thing he wanted to do was go to California to find Jesse and Nicole. He brought along his hot girlfriend and his dorky friend to help. Since Tommy was in the military, I figured that he'd be pretty bad-ass, and that The Driver would have a real fight on his hands. Unfortunately, Tommy was the first to be abducted an taken to the bus; so that left the hot, drunk girl and the nerd. Tommy was able to escape the bus, but not before having nails driven into his kneecaps.

There are ghosts all over the place in this one, making it hard to distinguish what's real and what's not. Oh, they found them! Oh, no they didn't. Well, maybe just one of them. Oh, wait...Oh, he's dead, no he's not, yes he is, no he's not...I really didn't know what to think throughout the whole thing. There was also a ghost bathroom. When Marilyn first went into the bathroom at the rest stop, it was remodeled, clean, and nice. Then she saw Nicole's ghost, freaked out left, and went back in to find the old messed up bathroom from the first movie. Oh, and Jared (who was in love with Nicole) saw Nicole after The Driver rammed into the porta-potty  he was shitting in--covering him with buckets of feces--fixed her up and proceeded to give her some lovin'. She was just a ghost, though, so...Yeah, that's kind of gross. And very, very sad for Jared.

So, once the creepy gas station guy told them the legend about the eyeballs, they started to look for them so they could destroy them. The old winnebago was in a junk yard, empty. Jared saw the family's disfigured child who told him (in his own way) that his twin brothers had the eyes. So they blew up the winnebago, thinking that would do the trick. But did it?

The only good part...
I kind of liked that this one explained everything about The Driver and the creepy family, but at the same time, I don't. I liked that he was a faceless killer that we knew nothing about. It made him scarier. I like knowing their back-stories too, but his really made no sense. He was murdered, so he decided to murder people who were just like him? I'm not really sure what the point of that was. And all the ghost stuff was cool to begin with, but then it just got confusing. Like I said, I didn't know what to believe most of the time. The characters really weren't that great, which was disappointing since I loved the characters from the first one. There was a lot of action in the first one, with lots of blood and fire and what-not. There really wasn't much going on in this one. Tommy was abducted; he got nails in his knees, and then he escaped. Jared had one of his eyeballs removed, and Marilyn got her legs drilled. Other than that, there's really nothing in the way of gore or torture. That was also disappointing, since the first had some truly disturbing scenes.

Overall, Don't Look Back wasn't quite as good as Dead Ahead. It's not horrible, but it definitely pales in comparison to its predecessor. Blame it on dull characters, lack of gore and action, and a silly back-story.


#266 -- Camp Hell (2010)

Rating: 1 / 5
Director: George VanBuskirk

This movie is a wonderful example of false advertising. The poster that I saw on my On Demand feature was quite different from the one you see, and that one was a bit more menacing, if you ask me. But the ones you'll see online all have Jesse Eisenberg's face plastered on them, and of course his name is the only text on the poster except the dreaded Inspired by true events. In most cases, I shrug it off because those events that are supposed to be true are completely unbelievable. In this case, though, I believe it, because there's absolutely nothing supernatural going on here, though the synopsis you'll read will tell you there is.

So, there's a boy named Tommy who lives within a community (which I assume is a covenant, because they feel the need to give us a definition of the word right at the beginning of the movie) that is extremely religious. And I mean extremely. The only people within the community who aren't are a bunch of "thugs" who dress like headbangers and shout things like, "God's a loser!" Tommy is sent to a Christian summer camp that is apparently meant to bring the kids closer to the lord. But these people are so adamant about what they believe that the kids aren't aloud to do anything. They can't wear shorts, they can't listen to music or read comics; they can't even speak to girls without those girls being called whores. Yes, grown ass people called a teenage girl a whore for simply talking to Tommy. Tommy does eventually meet the girl out in the woods for a dry-humping session, but that hardly makes her a whore. It just makes her a teenager. He told the priest that all he did was kiss her. He told his father the same thing, and they were both so disgusted and appalled by his actions that you'd think he killed someone. I hate to imagine what they'd do to him if they knew the truth, or if he'd actually had sex with her. They probably would have stoned him or something.

Meanwhile, Tommy has nightmares about being in a hole with some demon breathing, "I hate you!" standing over him. This is the only even remotely supernatural thing that occurs in the movie. But that only signifies Tommy's mental breakdown due to the pressure he's put under by the community. None of the other kids have any issues like this. Some of them are just as devout as their leaders; some aren't, but they're open about it and suffer no hallucinations or demons chasing them through the woods. It's just Tommy, because he's overwhelmed by the confusion and the conflicting feelings of his faith and his emerging sexuality. I think the demon might have represented his temptations, but I'm not sure if the writers could have thought of something so intelligent.

So, all these kids are allowed to do is pray and play Frisbee, apparently. After Tommy commits his terrible sin, he's cast out by the priest, who tells him he will no longer be a part of the camp, but he must stand back and become the priest's personal slave. Now all he can do is wash dishes and do other chores. The girl leaves the camp, though it's unclear whether she was kicked out or left of her own will (she mentioned that her parents were thinking about leaving the community). Another boy is kicked out of the camp after he snuck into an amusement park (according to their head counselor, amusement parks are also a mortal sin). So, you see, these peoples' idea of sin is completely ridiculous. You can be treated like a leper or a murderer for the simplest of things, and it actually pissed me off a little bit. I know there are people like this in the world, who think their way is the only way and that if you do anything different, then you're the spawn of Satan (the priest actually does call Tommy this, because he masturbates. I guess every teenage boy is Satan's child).

In the end, Tommy does exactly what Jesse Eisenberg's character did. He renounced his faith. In the beginning, the priest told Jesse's character that nothing in the world happens without God's permission. I'm sure he thought the same thing I did: why would God give people permission to rape and murder and torture? He didn't want to believe in a God like that, and neither did Tommy. He would rather have no faith, no beliefs, than giving in to a God that was so cruel. He thought that the community and its actions were far too terrible and he simply refused to be a part of it any longer.

I'm really not sure what the point of this movie was. Was it anti-religion? Was it trying to show us that sexuality is wrong, and that if you have impure thoughts they will eventually become plagued with demons? It seems to me like something they'd show at a Christian camp to scare the sin out of the kids. So, maybe that's what it's meant for. It's definitely not going to scare anyone else. The only thing scary about it is how annoying all the characters are.

Recommended for: people who wish to show their children just what masturbation can do to their brains.


#265 -- 5ive Girls (2006)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Warren P. Sonoda

I saw this movie years ago, and I remembered nothing about it save that it had something to do with Catholic school girls. That, immediately, was a bad sign when I decided to watch it again.

My only memory was somewhat off. The girls were at some Catholic school, but not by choice or religion. They were there because they were bad seeds. Their parents didn't want to deal with them anymore, so they sent them away to have the fear of God put in them. In this school, though, were only two adults: a teacher, Father Drake (Ron Perlman), and Ms. Pearce, the evil headmistress. We were never given any details about what exactly the girls did to end up there, but we can assume that it was simply because of their "powers." Yes, they have special powers. The main character, Alex, is telekinetic and can apparently hear voices and see things that others can't. Mara is the bad girl, who is a lesbian and has a healing hand. Cecilia is a blind girl with a precognitive second sight. Leah is able to walk through walls, and Connie is a spiritual conduit. The characters were all crafted well, and I found myself more interested in them and their interactions with one another than I was with the horror aspects of the movie.

Soon after arriving at this reform school, Alex begins to see ghosts and hear voices. She believes that a young girl's spirit is trapped inside and wants to get out. That young girl is Elizabeth, who disappeared from the school right before it closed five years before. We learn later that it's because Satan, or Legion as they call him, tried to possess her. She was too pure and pious to fully possess, though, so she remained in a sort of limbo. Throughout the movie, Legion is trying to return by possessing and killing the girls one by one. In the end, Ms. Pearce has a secret that may be the downfall of the girls.

Legion is forced out of Mara's body
The movie had a few problems. First of all, Ms. Pearce, who was supposed to be evil, was only annoying. The acting was terrible and unbelievable. Ron Perlman was great as Father Drake, but his part was downplayed and his character somewhat irrelevant. I suppose he was there because there had to be a teacher, in order to make the school seem somewhat legit. But with only one teacher and one class, it's hard to believe this is a real school. The school used repetitive prayer and chores to reform the girls, rather than any actual therapy or reformative actions (unless you count brutally whipping them with a five-foot long ruler). That's my biggest problem. Were these girls' parents so terrible that they'd send them to a school that so obviously wasn't a school at all? Were they really that blind? And why didn't the girls notice the strangeness in that simple fact, rather than later on when things started to go sour? Certain aspects of the story make the movie unbelievable, and therefore impossible to be scary. It did have a few somewhat creepy moments, and the production values were done so well that you almost don't notice. The movie definitely looked good; the effects were great, and the mood lighting and camera angles were effective. But the poor story-telling is where the movie loses its viewers. The ending is too predictable (though it did stray somewhat from a certain horror cliche), too easy and too sudden. And the solution wasn't a solution at all, as nothing was solved and no villain was defeated.

Ms. Pearce swallows a crucifix

Even with all the problems, I didn't hate it. There were sexy school girls, nice character interaction, some cool effects, and freakin' Hellboy as a priest. So it's not altogether un-enjoyable. It's just unbelievable. The viewer can't put themselves in the characters' shoes because it offers nothing to make us feel like it's real. And therefore, this movie can't possibly frighten anyone. You may be entertained by the strip-search scene, and the characters, but the horror and reality aspects are lacking. Overall, though, it's not that bad.


#264 -- The Raven (2012)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: James McTeigue

James McTeigue is a name I'd never heard before (not to mention a name that I can't even pronounce). Now I realize that he also directed Ninja Assassin, a movie I absolutely loved. And here is The Raven, a movie that I thought was beautifully made, wonderfully crafted, and incredibly interesting. Though I'd never known about him before, I praise him for the wonderful work that he does.

Every horror fan should be at least a little familiar with Edgar Allan Poe. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Poe expert, but I know him, and I know that he created some of the most amazing stories ever written. And that's why I was so excited to see The Raven. It wasn't just based on one of Poe's stories, but it focused on a whole slew of them. Not to be mistaken with the 1963 movie of the same name, starring Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Jack Nicholson (which was also based on Poe's story), it takes place after Edgar had had his run in the writing business. He couldn't get anything published, he was turned down in favor of his arch nemesis, he had no further inspiration for horror, and he just wasn't having any more success. That was, of course, until a serial killer emerged who killed his victims in ways described in Poe's stories. Poe himself was a suspect at first, but once he was ruled out, the police force enlisted him to help. He was the only one who could really gain an insight into the mind of the killer in order to stop any future murders. Poe and the police didn't have much luck to begin with, as the killer was always one step ahead of them. He was very crafty and cunning, and he knew his way around Poe's stories almost as well as Poe himself. When he kidnapped Poe's fiance, Emily, it really hit home, and he started to knuckle down and focus all of his energy on finding the murderer. The killer then started leaving clues with the corpses that would lead to Emily's whereabouts.

As I said, The Raven was a beautifully filmed movie. The set was absolutely beautiful, and it portrayed the era wonderfully. The set, the costumes, and the characters certainly seemed to belong there. John Cusack, who played the role of Edgar, did a fantastic job in portraying what seems to be a very sporadic personality. One moment, Poe was a crazy drunk; the next he was an upset failing writer with a bone to pick with his editor; and the next he was a romantic with a gentle heart. Cusack played all of these parts really well, and I really fell for the character. The other characters, as well, were portrayed wonderful. The part of the concerned investigator in need of saving the community from danger (Luke Evans), the part of the damsel in distress who was a stronger female than most of her counterparts (Alice Eve), and the part of the concerned albeit overprotective father with the notion that no one--especially a low-life horror writer--was good enough for his little girl (Brendan Gleeson). All of the characters were believable and real.

I was also surprised to see that the gore was quite impressive. These days, with so much technology available, it's no surprise that effects look good. But it's rare to find a horror movie with kills that are actually unique and inventive. This one utilized the elements of Poe's stories and crafted kills that were awesome and cringe-worthy at moments. The kills were also intelligent, which is even more of a rarity.

The only thing I didn't like about the movie was how stupid it made me feel. I consider myself a fan of Poe's work, but I never realized just how uneducated I am. I've read several of his stories, but it was still difficult for me to pinpoint them throughout the movie. However, it was definitely fun to try. The only ones I recognized before they were actually revealed were: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and The Masque of the Red Death. The others, though I have read them, seemed foreign. Still, it was interesting trying to figure everything out. Maybe this is my wake up call. Read more Poe!

In the end, I thought The Raven was definitely a light in the blackness that is Hollywood these days--especially when it comes to horror. In the era of a thousand remakes, it's nice to find a movie that's original, even though it does draw inspiration from other material. It doesn't copy, it doesn't re-boot or re-imagine. It is simply inspired, and it succeeded in being a story of its very own. I applaud the crew for creating something that wasn't Hollywood bullshit, and giving me a new release that I could actually enjoy.

#263 -- The Gate (1987)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Tibor Takacs

I remember watching this movie as a kid, when my aunt loaned me her VHS copy of it. I always thought the cover looked really cool, so when I finally got up the courage, I was so excited to see it. Even then, I remember thinking it was weird. Not in an awesome, scary way, but in a what the hell? kind of way. Or since I was ten, it was probably more of what the crap? 

It's about a boy named Glenn and some interesting things that happen when his parents go out of town. At the beginning of the movie, Glenn has a nightmare about everyone disappearing and his tree-house getting knocked down by lightning. When he wakes up, though, it's just because his parents are having the tree cut down. I guess just to crush his little boy dreams. I'm not sure. When the tree's cut down, it leaves a gigantic hole in the yard, from which Glenn and his best friend Terry find a beautiful rock with colorful crystals inside. They figure they can sell it and become rich, so they take it inside and bust it open. When they do, it leaves some weird markings on a sheet of paper (conveniently), and since they resemble letters, Glenn reads them aloud. Meanwhile, Glenn's parents go out of town for three days, leaving him and his sixteen year-old sister Al by themselves. There's a party full of drunk teenagers, and some of them decide to test out the "light as a feather" game on Glenn. He levitates really high and gets freaked out. After the party, their family dog, Angus, dies. Instead of calling their parents, they get Al's boyfriend to dispose of the body--which he does by dumping it in the hole that was left by the tree.

See, all of this is important because that's how the gate is opened. Apparently, there were some old gods that were around before the bible even. And they wanted to return, or something, but someone had to open the gate in order for them to do so. And once they emerged from the hole, all they had to do was get two human sacrifices and they could take over the world. Terry discovers everything from a heavy metal album. The sacrifice (Angus), the incantation (those weird markings), and blood (which was given when Glenn cut his finger while rummaging around near the hole). Apparently, these heavy metal artists (who died in a mysterious plane crash after creating the album) were the experts on demons. From the album sleeve, they learn how to open the gate, close the gate, and even how to kill the demons. Unfortunately, once the demons arrive, they burn the book up, so they have to try to remember everything they'd already read. Since these are little boys and an airhead teenager, things are bound to go horribly wrong. The fate of the world is left up to these three, as well as two of Al's even dumber friends.

I will say that the kids did a pretty good job with their roles; besides Terry, because his acting seemed kind of over-the-top and weird. Not bad, just weird. The effects were typical '80s, and I always like that sort of thing. The story was interesting, if not a little too contrived. The demons were a bit ridiculous, though. They were tiny little things with big 'ol bug eyes. They looked more like miniature aliens than demons. And once the big daddy demon showed up, he looked just as ridiculous, if not more.

Some of the scenes in the movie simply didn't make sense. Like, after they all thought they'd defeated the demons and closed the gate (by reading some bible verses, even though they knew these demons were supposedly around before the bible), a random zombie came out of the wall and kidnapped Terry. It was some story that Terry told Glenn trying to freak him out, and then it magically came true. Also, once the gate was opened, Terry started having weird dreams too, so Glenn wasn't the only one. He dreamed that he was seeing his dead mother, only to wake up and realize he was cradling Angus' corpse. I'm not entirely sure if the hole had anything to do with it, or if it was just some weird plot point that really had no point at all. If even one of the kids had said "the hole makes me have weird dreams!" maybe I would have been able to understand where it was coming from. But no, it was just something that happened, but no one ever talked about it or wondered why it was happening.

It has its issues, of course, but The Gate really isn't a horrible movie. Or maybe I'm just associating it with my fond childhood memories of staying up late and watching these horror movies that my aunt gave me (because, honestly, she gave me most of the ones I saw as a kid). It does have a tiny little place in my heart, simply because I remember seeing and somewhat enjoying it. Yeah, I'm sentimental like that. But watching it as an adult, I realize that it's really not all that great. It has its moments, its ups and downs, but at the end of the night, it's just a bunch of kids fighting demons. How can you hate that?

Don't worry...at the end, the dog comes back.


#262 -- Halloween II (1981)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Rick Rosenthal

Everyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I've never been a huge fan of Halloween. It's weird, since I'm such a huge fan of slasher movies. You'd think I'd be in love with the one that started it all. But no. I remember watching the movies when I was a kid, and I just thought they were boring, and they never scared me. But when I re-watched the first one last year, I gained some more respect for it. I realize that the film-making is brilliant; I was just never a fan of its killer. Now, re-watching this one for the first time since I was say, twelve, I've gained even more respect for Michael. I think all of my hatred for him stemmed from the fact that he and Jason were somewhat nemesis when I was growing up. I guess it's good that I'm older now, and I can see (almost) where everyone is coming from. Most of the respect I now have comes from the beginning of the movie. It takes place on the same day as the first, right after Dr. Loomis shot Michael six times, only for him to get up and walk away. There's a scene right at the beginning that's from Michael's point of view. You can hear his labored breathing as he slithers through the darkness of the neighborhood, but other than that, he seems like the six gunshots didn't phase him a bit. Yeah, I've always known that he's indestructible, but that's the norm with pretty much every slasher out there. It wasn't until this scene that I realized just how strong he is.

Dr. Loomis was terrified after he failed to kill Michael. No one else believed his story; they thought that he just "missed" him, and only thought he shot him. But then they saw someone walking around with the same mask, and the person turned and walked away when he saw them notice. So they killed him. Ran him over, squished him between two vehicles, and blew him up. But it was not Michael--shocker. Still on the loose, he made his way to the hospital that Laurie was transported to, and began yet another killing spree trying to get to her.

There's something else I realized while watching this that I never noticed before. I'd always thought Michael just used that knife over and over, which is one of the reasons I found him incredibly dull. In this one, he utilized several different weapons, including scalpels, hammers, boiling water, and even his bare hands. The kills weren't brutal, which was typical for the earlier ones. That's another reason I thought the movies were boring. My first experience with horror movies was Friday the 13th, and those kills were pretty brutal. So when I saw this, I thought, "this isn't right." By that point, I was so used to seeing blood everywhere that I thought anything else was just boring. I still think there should be more blood, but I do realize what the film-makers were trying to produce. They relied more on chilling scenes than a bunch of gore. They used shadows, the implied, and the viewers' imaginations to get the scares in. Which is cool, I guess.

Another thing I liked about the movie was its theme song. No, not the main song. But during the opening scene, as well as the end credits, they played Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes. If you're not familiar with the song, look it up, and you'll think it's pretty funny too. It just doesn't fit. Michael is definitely no dream, and I sure as hell wouldn't be praying to someone to bring him to me. It's a strange song choice, but I liked it. Probably just because I love that song. This is also the movie where we found out that Laurie was Michael's sister, so that was a pretty big deal. Though the characters did reveal this crucial plot point rather casually, I'm sure it shocked audiences everywhere when it was first released. Now, of course, everyone knows, so it's no shocker at all.

So, I do think that my initial opinions on this franchise were a bit rushed. I saw them at an age where I wasn't able to appreciate them for what they were. I do appreciate them now, and my respect only grows each time I watch one of them over again. No, they're still not my favorites. I'm still not a gigantic Halloween fan, but I'm starting to like them more than I used to. I'm glad that I'm able to make a mature assessment of the films, so now I don't feel like the only weirdo who doesn't like them.


#261 -- Fido (2006)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Andrew Currie

"Good dead are hard to find." That's the tagline of Fido, and it couldn't be more true. Good zombie movies are also hard to find, but you don't have to look any further. Fido is a unique and heartwarming story that weaves a very different tale of the zombie apocalypse. The outbreak started due to some radiation. The zombie war was fought hard, until a scientist discovered the secret to killing them: by destroying the brain. That same scientist also came up with a way of domesticating the zombies. He invented a sort of dog collar that could curb the zombies' appetites for human flesh. They also worked as shock-collars for, I guess, whenever the zombies misbehaved. Also, if the collars should malfunction, the zombies would return to their flesh-eating ways. The zombies were turned into servants (they worked at supermarkets, as delivery men, crossing guards, etc.), and they were treated with disrespect and disdain. But they were contained, and everyone was safe. They were also safe due to some fences and gates surrounding their town. The area outside of the gates was known as the "wild zone," and that's where all the un-domesticated zombies were. It was also where they sent the bad people to die.

The movie takes place in the 1950s, and it follows a young boy named Timmy. His father works for Zomcon, the company responsible for taking care of the zombie problems. He is the head of security/safety of Zomcon, but he's got some secrets that none of his coworkers are aware of. When Timmy's mother brings a zombie home, those secrets are brought to light--at least for the viewers. Timmy's father is terrified of zombies, and we find out later it's because his own father tried to eat him. From the beginning, Timmy's father is not fond of Fido, but he becomes a very important part of Timmy's life. You see, Timmy is sort of a dork. He's bullied in school, as well as at home. His mother is very concerned about her appearance and how other people see the family. It seems like she's ashamed of Timmy for being such a loner. At one point, she tells him not to play ball by himself because it makes them look bad. But, thankfully, once Fido arrives, Timmy is no longer without a friend. Fido follows orders well, though he is kind of clumsy, and since his brain doesn't function as well as a normal human's, he has some issues. But Timmy teaches him and helps him grow as a servant and a friend. Eventually, Fido begins to stick up for Timmy against his bullies. At one point, the bullies tie Timmy to a tree, and Fido saves him. Those kids end up dead, but hey--good riddance, I say.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Fido becomes a killer. While playing catch with Timmy, he ends up in the yard of a mean old lady.

She starts beating him over the head with her walker, which causes his collar to malfunction. In turn, he starts munching on her. Timmy eventually has to behead and bury her, but it does cause some rogue zombies to show up later. Once it is discovered that Fido and Timmy had something to do with it, Fido is taken away. Timmy's father is happy, but he and his mother are devastated. So Timmy decides to break into Zomcon and get Fido back. While they're there, some of the zombies from the Wild Zone break in (after one of Dad's co-workers shoves Timmy out of the gates!), and it's up to Timmy and Fido to save the day.

The Good

The relationship between Fido and Timmy was wonderful. Fido was kind of like a pet, but they were best friends. Like a boy and his dog. It was obvious that Timmy would do anything for Fido, and vice versa. Eventually Timmy's mom begins seeing Fido as if he's a real person, rather than just a servant, and their relationship blossomed as well. There was a hint of some romantic spark between them, but it's never really more than a hint.

It's definitely different. We've seen zombie love stories, and stories that focus on the zombie's point of view, but I've never seen domesticated zombies before. Eventually, Fido got to the point that, even if his collar malfunctioned, he would still stick up for Timmy and his family, showing that he had his own thought process, as well as his own feelings. It's really a beautiful story.

The part of Fido, played by Billy Connolley, was wonderful. He did a wonderful job acting like both a zombie and a friend, and he blended the two personalities quite well.

The movie started off with one of those old '50s like educational videos, explaining how the outbreak started and what Zomcon did to solve the problem. It was way cool!

The Bad

I'm a big fan of the movie, so there's not much I find bad about it. The only thing I can say is that there's not much action. There's practically no suspense, up until the final moments. It focuses more on the owner/zombie relationship, and Timmy's relationship with Fido as a friend. I don't really have a problem with that, because that's where the movie gets its charm, but lack of action can make some people become bored.

But I never got bored. The relationships alone are enough to keep me interested. It's easy to care about the characters, or hate them, accordingly. It's also extremely easy to fall in love with Fido. He's a sweetheart!

Recommended for: zombie lovers!