BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011, Uwe Boll)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

This is a pretty awful film that seems intent on reviving the Naziploitation films of the 70s that everyone fondly remembers. (Oh, you don’t fondly remember them? You think they’re offensive? That’s weird.) I can’t say whether or not this is a fond tribute to those films, as I’ve only ever seen one of them, but it’s a shitty, shitty movie. Read More

Black Sunday aka The Mask of Satan (1960, Mario Bava)

Categories: 1960 and Movies.

I’m sad to say I saw the American version of this, which was cut of its most extreme horror, apparently. Even so, it’s still got some pretty gruesome effects for 1960 (to my knowledge) and that’s the attraction here. The story itself is pretty rote – doctors stumble upon a creepy, cursed castle – and though everything is pretty strongly gothic, I feel like the Corman Poe films of the era handled this stuff a little better. But it’s atmospheric and even the tamer American version is relatively daring, so that’s something. 6/10 Read More

The Limehouse Golem (2016, Juan Carlos Medina)

Categories: 2016 and Movies.

This is an atmospheric and entertaining period mystery/horror film that struggles with both telling and tone but which is mostly entertaining. My biggest issues were with the time-hoping – there are flashbacks throughout the film and flashbacks within flashbacks, a particular pet peeve of mine – as well as with the tone of the very serious, very procedural mystery versus the campy/darkly comic imaginings of the crimes. They were enjoyable, but they often felt out of place with the rest of the film. SPOILERS Read More

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010, James Nguyen)

Categories: 2010 and Movies.

I have seen a lot of bad movies in my life (though fewer recently) so I have pretty high (low?) standards for my “Worst Movies of All Time” list. For me, a film has to be have zero redeeming qualities about it for me to consider it one of the worst films ever made. Most movies do not fit that definition. Even my last few 1 star reviews were of films that had at least one redeeming quality. This film, on the other hand… Read More

Zoombies (2016, Glenn Miller)

Categories: 2016 and Movies.

I don’t go on Twitter much, but every so often I see a movie that I feel like the only true way to express its awfulness is through live tweeting. This is one of those movies. This film takes a routine zombie plot – infected monkeys infect others (always the damn monkeys! can’t whales get a turn?!?) – and makes it about as terrible as it could possibly be. I mean, the ineffectualness of everything in this film – save, perhaps, Ione Butler’s commitment to her character – is staggering. And there was so much of it that the only Read More

Case 39 (2009, Christian Alvart)

Categories: 2009.

Renee Zellwegger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper and Callum Keith Cennie star in this film. Why have you never heard of it? Well, the reason is because this film is awwwful and my guess is that it was dropped at some point when nobody would pay attention to it. It is awful in so many ways: the characterizations are awful (Zellwegger is the world’s worst social worker, or close to it, McShane is supposedly competent until he is utterly incompetent, Cooper is a better social worker than Zellwegger but that is damning with faint praise); the script is awful (it’s transparent, Read More

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Scott Glosserman)

Categories: 2006 and Movies.

MILD SPOILERS This film begins as the horror movie equivalent to the classic 1992 Belgian black comedy Man Bites Dog. It’s literally the same concept: a documentary team follows a serial killer around. However, the additional conceit here is that the audience sees what the horror movie would look like, were one being made. Does that sound a little confused to you? Because it is. And that latter part is soon dropped, as the film becomes more of a conventional horror (comedy?) movie when Leslie Vernon and the documentary team have their falling out. There are a number of really Read More

The Purge (2013, James DeMonaco)

Categories: 2013 and Movies.

The opening text this movie displays, explaining what ‘the purge’ is, is basically the pitch meeting for this movie. The filmmaker likely walked into an office, said those exact words, mentioned some actors for the key roles, and got this green-lit. This film is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with “high concept” films that are just a pitch: it’s underwritten (in so many ways – it’s not actually 85 minutes, folks, that includes the credits), it resorts to cliches once the premise is established, it is not entertaining, it’s not smart – it’s just a steaming pile of Read More

The Babadook (2014, Jennifer Kent)

Categories: 2014 and Movies.

Hype is a dangerous thing, as I have noted more than a few times in the past. Hearing too much about a movie ahead of time can unwillingly alter your expectations, even without your knowledge. And so I find myself watching yet another movie I’ve heard too much about, with out-sized expectations. Maybe if I hadn’t even heard of it, though, I would still have issues, as there are multiple quotes from famous horror figures about how this movie is super terrifying, or whatever. SPOILER ALERT Read More

Antichrist (2009, Lars von Trier)

Categories: 2009 and Movies.

I struggle with Von Trier’s movies – and megalomania – for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ridiculous Dogme 95 statement that he has gone back on so thoroughly in his later films. (It’s not that I object to Dogme 95 in itself but it’s the brashness of youth I object to, and how hilariously he has abandoned his supposedly sincere principles later in life. Von Trier seems to belong to a segment of artists who revel in depression, as if it’s a badge of honour or a badge of their position as Artists or Read More

TIFF 2015: Demon (2015, Marcin Wrona) (12/15)

Categories: 2015 and Movies.

This is the most unique horror comedy I’ve seen in some time. Whereas most horror comedies are ready to notify their intention to get you to laugh early on (and usually to laugh instead of scream or to laugh and only occasionally scream) this movie’s humour is rooted in the absurd dramedy of a cast of characters at a Polish wedding. The humour is based almost exclusively in the characters and their situation and has nothing to do with horror movie conventions, and I really cannot tell you the last time I saw a horror comedy that wasn’t concerned with Read More

Angel Heart (1987, Alan Parker)

Categories: 1987 and Movies.

This is an over-stylized but interesting attempt at reviving American Film Noir in a decade in which it could be presumed dead and it’s combined with an interesting genre-mashing twist. There are some obvious problems: For one, the accents are nonexistent. DeNiro doesn’t try a Cajun accent, neither does Bonet (and what’s with the flat female “love interests”?) and Rampling is the wrong kind of French (though at least she’s actually French). Another problem is the soundtrack, which starts out full of ‘80s cool jazz sax, completely fucking with the tone of the movie and momentarily confusing me about what Read More

American Mary (2012, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska)

Categories: 2012 and Movies.

Two telltale signs of the budget of this film: Casting: A British actor who cannot do an American accent is cast as an American detective; Gore: For a movie about body modification there is (thankfully) not a lot of gore. This movie seems to exist for one reason and one reason alone: to cater to the Body Modification Community. Without them, I can’t imagine why this would have been made. Presumably some of these people who appear in this in cameos are famous within the community, which would explain why they have actual modifications/aren’t very good actors. I am really Read More

Amer (2009, Helene Cattet, Bruno Frozani)

Categories: 2009 and Movies.

This is a French tribute to / revision of the Italian Giallo genre (used in the English sense of the word) that encompasses everything that is great (crazy colours and visuals, insane cutting, music that will not let you ignore it) and everything that is bad about it (all of the above plus narrative incoherence) but the twist is that it comments on the genre by using elements of other genres. (At least, this is what I think it’s doing. I don’t mind saying that I don’t like Giallo, and so I have no idea how truly novel this approach Read More

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006, Jonathan Levine)

Categories: 2006 and Movies.

I watched the first 30-35 minutes of this maybe a year ago (in pieces) while someone else was watching it. I figured I should watch it all the way through, even given my reservations. My reservations were a few: I didn’t go to a school like this. I guess there were one or two girls as attractive as Amber Heard, but did the boys really behave this way around her? Maybe, I don’t think so. Not being cool, I didn’t go to parties or go to weekends away, but was everyone this sex obsessed? I mean, it wasn’t even this Read More

Afflicted (2013, Derek Lee, Clif Prowse)

Categories: 2013 and Movies.

This is a well meaning, reasonably entertaining found footage horror film that suffers from some major flaws. I like the concept and I wanted to like it a lot more than I did, but unfortunately I just can’t get by the problems. It gets off to a good start: I just recently watched Departures for the first time in years, intending on rewatching the show (but then I forgot how annoying the hosts were). This movie starts off just like that show. It’s a neat concept and that part is really dead on. SPOILERS! Like all found footage films, the Read More

Pandorum (2009, Chrstian Alvart)

Categories: 2009 and Movies.

Pandorum has a neat concept to start, but unfortunately it is undercut by overly explanatory title cards – better the movie open with Bower coming out of his chamber, I think. But, that being said, otherwise the movie seems quite strong at first. The reveal is way too early, but otherwise it’s good. There are some silly science fiction cliche set pieces – for example a reactor that is impossible to get to – but otherwise the movie is a fairly good science fiction horror movie, with enough interest and jumps until SPOILERS!!! Two unnecessary and dumb twists ruin the Read More

The Essential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1995) edited by Leonard Wolf

Categories: 1995, Books, and Fiction.

This is an immense edition of what is otherwise a pretty short novella. It is nice that a story like this would get this kind of treatment, but it’s kind of over the top. For example, the novella itself is rather over-annotated. How is that possible, you ask? Well, even one of the footnotes has its own footnotes. (Yes, that’s right, a footnote has multiple footnotes to itself.) And while some of this information is interesting, much of it is inconsequential and repetitive. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide is one of the great works of horror Read More

You’re Next (2011, Adam Wingard)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

I can’t say I like it when a horror film reveals most of its secrets within its opening minutes. Whatever the twist to come, it’s frustrating when the thing that’s supposed to be scary is revealed, partially, in the opening, and completely within the first act. The twist on the genre – and its a decent one I guess – is more important to these folks than the fact that this is a horror movie. I mean, I guess it’s nice to see the more “human” side of horror – by that I mean the more error prone and bickering Read More

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011, John Pogue)

Categories: 2011 and Movies.

I thought I had seen the original but I was just getting it confused with some other “Stuck in a building, being chased by rabid humans” movies and, well, I’ve seen [Rec], so I basically have seen the original. This is all kinds of stupid. Aside from following the usual cliches of this now-overdone genre, the movie has some serious lapses of logic, the two most annoying being how they apparently can’t leave this “locked down” terminal, even though there’s a jetway to the outside right there – I’m totally buying an electronic lock on the door at the end Read More

The Woman in Black (2012, James Watkins)

Categories: 2012 and Movies.

This begins as an atmospheric, period horror film which is pretty effective except for the soundtrack, which is full of Scary Horror Movie Noises, and which somewhat weakens the appeal, given that the film would have been very creepy without them. The real problem begins when Radcliffe’s character figures out what the issue is, and tries to solve it. The movie stops being scary for a while, only managing one more creepy moment SPOILER ALERT I like how they played with this “Ghosts are are a riddle that need to be solved” concept, and I like how they rejected it. Read More

Cujo (1983, Lewis Teague)

Categories: 1983 and Movies.

I have never read any Stephen King, but I assume the reason he has so many fans is that his stories spend a long time on character development and sense of place – a sense that these are real people in real situations. And I must presume that this is what makes his horror work for so many people. But I must admit that with the exception of Kubrick’s version of The Shining, I do not find the film adaptations of his stories and novels to be scary in any way, shape or form. And a lot of time when Read More

Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem (2007, Colin Strause, Greg Strause)

Categories: 2007 and Movies.

This is actually significantly better than the original AVP in that a lot of effort is put into character development and sense of place. But that being said, too much time is put into that stuff. At the end of this day, this is a movie about one set of monsters vs. another, and that’s what the audience wants to see. We don’t care about these people, we just want to see them die. Here are a couple hilarious problems: This small town has the sewer system of a major city; People show up and say things like “Hello” and Read More

Contracted (2013, Eric England)

Categories: 2013 and Movies.

Not only is this film idiotic, but it is boring. I think it’s supposed to be a horror movie but nothing about it is scary (and there are only a few gross moments). The movie has too many flaws to mention, but here are a few: The relationships aren’t believable at any level (I’m not sure whether it’s just the acting or the staging). Nobody does anything that makes any sense ever – people see this sick girl and they do the opposite of what any person would actually do in that situation (as does the girl herself). And nothing Read More

The Greatest Horror Movies of All Time…that I’ve seen

Categories: Movies.

In honour of Halloween, but really inspired by a facebook discussion earlier today, I figured I would write a brief little list of the greatest horror films ever made. (With the obvious qualifier that, while I have seen a lot of movies – 3500 is probably a conservative estimate – I have by no means seen anywhere near every horror movie made in English or in any other language.) But here’s my problem: I don’t really know how to list them. How do I pick the greatest horror movie of all-time when there are so many worthy contenders? So I’ve Read More

Almost Human (2013, Joe Begos)

Categories: 2013 and Movies.

So Jen, I’m trying to decide if this was the worst movie I have ever seen at TIFF. Really, Seth? That seem’s a little harsh. But Jen, the opening 5-10 minutes of it were painful. Seth, you’re right, that was bad. As was that scene in the diner, Seth. Jen, it was like we were watching Netflix,  Jen! Seth, it was almost as if the actors were better at acting hysterical than at just having normal conversations. Right, Seth? Right Jen. It might be easier to act hysterical. But Jen, that script didn’t help. No Seth, it didn’t. I mean, Read More