Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week Four

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Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - 1987

Surprisingly, this is my first Nightmare on Elm Street movie. From what Markus tells me, this is one of the better films in the franchise, and for those of you that don’t know the lore of Freddy Krueger, I’ll break it down real easy for you. When he was alive, Freddy Krueger was a child murderer and was burned alive by an angry mob of parents who live on Elm Street. They thought that would be the end of Freddy, but in reality it was only the beginning of the nightmare. Freddy becomes a sort of dream demon and begins killing all the children of the Elm Street parents (who burned him alive) in their sleep. This movie picks up the story line from the original Elm Street by reintroducing Nancy, the main protagonist from the first film, who is now on a mission to finally put an end to Freddy’s rein of terror.

 Dream Warriors is an interesting movie. I wouldn’t say it’s great but I wouldn’t say it’s awful either. I liked finally seeing Freddy Krueger in action, and there were some really creative death scenes. I also enjoyed how Freddy would take something from your life and twist it into something macabre, just like a true nightmare. He’s definitely a creep, but not as scary as people made him out to be. The scene with his bones being reanimated was a little much and felt very out of place. I mean, how does Freddy even know how to reanimate his bones? And how does he even know where they’re located? I do think that if I watched this movie in the 80s I would’ve been terrified. I mean a guy who can literally murder you in your dreams? That’s pretty clever. Strangely enough, this movie made me want to watch more in the Elm St. series.

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The Hunger - 1983

Of all the films on this year’s list, this was the film I was anticipating the most. If you know me, the reason is quite obvious and takes upon the form of the beautiful human, David Bowie. Prior to this year, I never heard of this movie, which seems strange for me since it has ALL the things I like: Bowie, vampires, tragedy and 80s music. It’s like The Hunger was made for me. The film follows an extremely attractive vampire couple, Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as well as a doctor played by Susan Sarandon. At first I thought the film was going to be similar to the 2013 film Only Lovers Left Alive, and boy was I wrong.

So I think that my rating of “so good” is somewhat skewed by a couple things. One being my absolute blind love of Bowie and how extremely attractive he is in the first half of the movie. The other thing is that the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes are pretty great. It’s just the in-between that’s mediocre. The pacing is slow and it’s a bit to arthouse for me. Also the director shoots in a very interesting way where the camera is always close to the actors’ faces. It gives off this weird sense of awkwardness, of course that might have been the director’s intention. The cast is pretty great in this, and the makeup and special effects are truly amazing. I mean, they managed to make Bowie unrecognizable, which is hard especially with his unique eyes. The climax and conclusion of the film piqued my interest again, so I felt comfortable enough giving it a tentative “so good,” but with a warning that it might not be for everyone.

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The Fly - 1986

As long as I’ve been with Markus, he’s been talking about this movie. I’ve been able to hold out on watching this movie for the past 15 years, but this year was definitely my reckoning. I mean, I’m a huge Jeff Goldblum fan, but even he couldn’t convince me to watch this movie sooner than this year. The Fly was directed by, the brilliant yet disturbing, David Cronenberg — who also directed Scanners and The Brood. I’ve covered both of those films in previous years of Creepy Cinema, and found both to be a little unnerving. And as I expected, this movie was far more than unnerving than the aforementioned films. It was down right nightmarish for me.

I knew that there was going to be some gore and body horror in this film, but still nothing could prepare me for what it actually was. I found The Fly to be somewhat deceptive because the first half appears to be standard 80s horror movie affair. Nothing too awful, just a boy and girl who find themselves drawn to each other, and then an inciting action begins that throws them down a nightmarish path. The film follows excentric scientist, Seth Brundle (Jeff Gloldblum), who performs a series of teleportation experiments. He begins with teleporting inanimate objects from one booth to another. Soon he repeats the experiment with animals and eventually moves on to himself — which was probably the worst idea ever. I will say that the special effects makeup is incredibly well done and strikingly believable. There were a few times where I literally felt a bit nauseous and had to look away. Overall this film is actually great! The acting is top notch, the special effects and makeup are incredible and the story is compelling. It’s just that the body horror was WAY too over the top for me. I can’t envision a scenario where I would willingly rewatch The Fly, but for those of you that like that sort of thing, I recommend this movie. For those that are squeamish, at least give it a try — but then stay far-far away!

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Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week Three

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The Being - 1983

Markus described this movie to me as pure 80s B movie schlock. So how could I possibly say no to that? The film takes place in a small fictional town in Idaho where the police chief is investigating a string of disappearances and murders. He teams up with a government scientist and they find the cause to be something quite toxic.

As soon as the film started, I got some real Toxic Avenger vibes and was half expecting Toxi to come jumping out. I will say that The Being isn’t as traumatic as Toxic Avenger. I hated that movie so much and it turned me off of Troma films for life. Overall, The Being is a pretty bad movie. It comes across as a film that someone made in high school. The lead character even does some pretty awful voice over narration, completely devoid of emotion. He comes across as awkward and possibly even drunk. The film’s pacing is really slow and takes forever to get to any sort of plot progression. Most of the movie is just random people dying and the main protagonist doing some real leisurely detective work. When you finally reach the climax of the movie you get to see the monster in all his soggy glory, but you’re no longer interested. Even the monster’s death takes forever, and is ultimately mundane at best. I would say this is not even a film that’s so bad it’s good, it’s just bad and I do not recommend it.

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Earth vs. the Flying Saucers - 1956

The film follows Dr. Russell Marvin a scientist who oversees Project Skyhook, an American space program that launches satellites into space. Strangely enough this movie reminded me of Independence Day. Both films have multiple alien ships invading earth and stationing themselves in famous cities. The aliens in both movies threaten to take over the planet and kill anyone who tries to stop them.

I really wanted to like this movie and there are definite moments of brilliance, but it just fell flat. The stop motion special effects were the saving grace and the only thing that peaked my interest. That’s not surprising since they were done by stop-motion master, Ray Harryhausen, who is well known for his work on the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. All of the best scenes are of the UFOs flying over different cities. Markus and I were both pretty impressed at how gracefully those scenes have aged. The aliens are pretty interesting, but they’re your standard 50s alien. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the special effects are enough to save this movie.  You’re probably just better off watching all the UFO clips on YouTube.

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Frankenstein - 1931

Through Creepy Cinema, Markus and I are slowly making our way through the Universal Classic Monster films. So far, I’ve watched Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man and remember loving all of them. It’s strange to think that black and white films from the 30s can still be interesting and entertaining, but there’s something magical about the Universal Classic Monsters. It came as no surprise that I also really enjoyed Frankenstein.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain the story of Dr. Frankenstein and the creature that he pieces together and reanimates. It’s a story that’s been done over and over, but it’s nice seeing the original. The real winner of this movie is Colin Clive and Boris Karloff who portray Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster. They were incredibly amazing in their roles and for someone who “just grunts” their way through the film, Karloff is able to bring a some humanity to the creature. At times you really feel sorry for him, because he had a choice in his creation. His whole existence is at the whim of a mad scientist who is obsessed with his work. I really loved the atmospheric vibe of this movie. The sets and costumes are so moody and lush. I’ve seen enough of these older horror movies to be able to identify the good ones and I find that the Universal films have a higher quality with no expense spared.

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A Very Cruz Halloween 2018 | Chicago, Illinois

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As you probably already know, October is a special month in the Cruz House. Markus and I count the days until we can cover the house with vintage Halloween blow molds and other bric-a-brac. Last year, I shared how we decorated our old apartment, but we’ve since moved to a fantastic new apartment. We had to get rid of a lot of furniture and bookcases to make the most of space in the new place. Since our setup changed drastically, Markus and I couldn’t wait to bring out all the decorations. I think it was a success because it looks even better than last year. My favorite is still the vintage Ben Cooper masks over my oil portrait collection. That was a stroke of pure genius from Markus! I absolutely adore how it all looks with the new furniture and how it fits perfectly with the new space. I love it so much that I wish I could keep the decorations up year round.

Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS

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Guys, it’s my favorite time of the year! There’s a crispness in the air, the leaves are starting to change and all my sweaters have come out of storage. It’s literally the perfect season for me, and with the changing of the seasons also comes Creepy Cinema! For those of you that don’t know, Markus and I spend all of October watching horror films, and if you know me, I’m not normally a fan of these kinds of movies. However six years ago Markus and I had the bright idea to start Creepy Cinema, and I have to admit that over the years I’ve started to look forward to it. Now I actually really enjoy it! This year we thought, since Markus still has the VCR he bought in college, we would scour our local geek shops and acquired some VHS horror gems to add to our collection. So this year’s theme was conceived, “Attack of the VHS!” We’re watching 12 horrors movies from several eras — all on VHS tapes. So without further ado, scroll down to see the twelve movies I’ll be watching and reviewing! Also, let me know which movies you’re most excited about and which ones you haven’t seen!

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The first six movies include so many recognizable classics, and I’ve surprisingly only seen two of them. I’m sure you could guess which two, Evil Dead 2 and Ghostbusters 2. I’ll still be watching them again, because, let’s be real, I would watch them even if they weren’t on this year’s list.

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I haven’t seen any of the next six films, so I most excited to watch this set. There’s also nice variety in this set. We’ve got your Jinns, Beings, Freddies and Bowies. It’s a real exciting lineup and I can’t wait to check them out. If you know me, I’m pretty sure you can guess which one I’m the most excited about!

Creepy Cinema 2017: Week 3

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I cannot believe how fast this month went by! The older we get the faster the days go by, it's crazy. Thank you for sticking with me this month and I hoped you enjoyed the movies and my thoughts on them. Check out the last four films of this year below and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!

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It is definitely one of my favorite movies from this year. I’ve been spreading the gospel of It to anyone that will listen, and I think people are getting sick of me talking about it. I’m actually quite surprised at how many people find clowns terrifying. I get it, I don’t really like clowns either. A grown man with a painted face and a permanent, sinister smile - it’s unnerving. This film definitely draws from that fear and turns it up more than a notch.

It was an incredible film that 100% met expectations and lived up to all the hype. This movie had everything: an interesting storyline, great actors and most importantly, a terrifying monster. Pennywise is the epitome of what I think a monster should be. He completely lacks humanity, preys upon all your fears and is downright scary. Bill Skarsgård did an incredible job portraying Pennywise, so much so that you forget how hot he is in real life. Pennywise will forever haunt my dreams. The cast of main characters (all kids), also known as the Losers Club, was phenomenal. They all had great character development, and being a “loser” myself growing up, I definitely empathized with them so much. In the past few years, there has been an influx of 80s nostalgia in media, and this movie really cashed in on it, much like Stranger Things did last year. However It wasn’t nostalgic for nostalgia’s sake, and hits all the right notes an incredible film should. I can honestly say, this is quite possibly one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this movie. Markus has been going on and on about this franchise, and we purposefully waited till this year to watch it so that we could make it a double feature with the sequel. As you may know, I love Unsolved Mysteries and other shows that deal with mysteries and investigations, so this movie is right up my alley. The film is based on the real life husband and wife paranormal investigative duo, Ed and Lorraine Warren. This film is loosely based on their investigation into the Perron Family Haunting in Rhode Island.

I really liked The Conjuring, I thought it was a well done supernatural horror movie. It didn’t feel like the typical film of its genre. Sure it’s draws on the familiar trope of a family being terrorized by some malevolent spirit, but it still felt fresh and interesting thanks to some great acting and direction. There were some genuine scares as well as jump-scares, but the film didn’t heavily rely on those elements. I also enjoyed that the story is told from the point of view of the Warrens instead of the family. It felt more personal and we delved a bit into their other stories and what drives them to do this type of investigative work for a living. The actors that portray Ed and Lorraine, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, deliver a genuine performance. Their chemistry is on point and you can really feel how much this pair needs each other -  they really compliment one another on screen. The backstory of the spirit that haunts them was also a really cool mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. So much so that I was ready to watch The Conjuring 2!

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Unfortunately this sequel wasn’t as good as the first, which is usually the case. I still think the concept of these movies are really good and I love Wilson and Farmiga in these roles, but something seemed a bit off. The film opens with the Warrens mid-investigation into the Lutz Family murders, otherwise known as the Amityville Horror. During the investigation Lorraine sees a horrible vision that puts her family in danger, and convinces Ed to stop investigating in order to prevent it from coming true. Of course the Warren’s can’t stay away from their work, and end up traveling to Enfield, England to investigate a series of strange occurrences.

I did like that this film moved the setting to England and focused on a haunting occurring overseas. Most of the famous true crime mysteries are based in the U.S., so it’s always refreshing to watch something that’s set in another country. I also really enjoyed the actress that played the young protagonist, Janet Hodgson. She was a real emphatic, human character and the best part of the film. There was just something about this movie that rubbed me the wrong way, and truly can’t put my finger on it. I had to watch this film in 4 separate parts - I don’t know if it was my fear of that creepy nun at the beginning, pure disinterest, or if I just couldn’t connect with the story itself. Probably just the creepy nun. (shudder)

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I couldn’t think of a better film to end Creepy Cinema with, and ease us into the holiday season. The Krampus is an Eastern European Christmas monster from folklore. I first heard about the Krampus when I was younger. Being someone named Noelle, you get curious about all things yuletide. No one knows when and how the Krampus originated, but one thing is sure, he is definitely not Saint Nick. He’s the complete antithesis of the jolly old fellow. He’s described as a horned demon that punishes wicked children and drags them away in chains. When Markus and I first saw the preview for the film, we were so excited and couldn’t wait to watch the movie.

The film follows a very dysfunctional family as they come together for Christmas. It mainly focuses on the younger son, Max, who wants to keep all his family traditions alive, while his parents and relatives fight amongst one another. The tension is quite strong between the family members, and when they’re all finally under one roof, everything goes wrong. A blizzard overtakes the town trapping residents in their homes - and this is when the film becomes a classic bottle movie. We watch as the family tries to survive the terrible weather conditions, handle the growing tensions amongst themselves and inevitably, the arrival of the Krampus. I think for most of us, we know that Christmas time can be a time of great joy, but also stress. So it was fun to watch a familiar situation turn into a horror film. I thought the movie was really enjoyable and entertaining, and the Krampus was totally scari-fying. If you want to hold onto Halloween for just a little longer but still get into the Christmas mood, I most definitely recommend the Krampus! It’s the perfect segway!

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