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.


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.


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.


Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week Two

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Ghostbusters 2 - 1989

If you know Markus, you know he is a HUGE Ghostbusters fan. He has heaps of vintage Ghostbusters memorabilia, and even has every version of Egon Spengler from the 80s Kenner toy line. It’s really quite adorable and it’s only natural that we have both movies on VHS. Previously, we watched the first Ghostbusters for Creepy Cinema. We always need a little levity every year, so Markus suggested that we add the sequel this year.

The film is set five years after the first and follows Egon, Ray, Peter and Winston as they navigate life after saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer. You would think that they would be treated as kings, but humanity always has a way of being ungrateful. The guys are forbidden to have anything to do with the supernatural, but of course spooky things always have a way of finding the Ghostbusters. I remember this film from my childhood and it has always been a favorite. I haven’t seen it in ages, but it was nice watching it again, especially on VHS. Usually sequels aren’t as good as the first, but this one was still pretty good. In some ways it was better, like not have to go through the set up and getting straight to the good stuff. Ghostbusters is a classic 80s movie that never gets old and is always fun to watch!


Christine - 1983

It feels like the past few years have seen a surge in all things Stephen King. Not that I’m complaining, if you followed last year, you know I reviewed the new IT and absolutely loved it. A year later, I still love it and wish all scary movies were just as fun. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about Christine, I only knew that it was a about a killer car, so I knew it was going to be interesting. I was also happily pleased to see it was directed and scored by John Carpenter, so I knew it would have a nice synth soundtrack.

The film follows a nerdy kid named Arnie who is bullied in all aspects of his life. His only reprieve is when he’s with his best friend and jock, Dennis. Arnie becomes obsessed with restoring an old junky car to it’s former beauty which is named Christine. After Christine is restored, strange and deadly things start to happen to people in Arnie’s life. I was hesitant to give Christine a “So good” rating, but I also don’t think it warranted an “It’s aight.” I like the premise of a possessed car terrorizing people in the name of a bullied teen, but there were some things that I couldn’t look past. The pace of the movie is quite slow and the storytelling is quite disjointed as it goes back and forth between Arnie and Dennis. We don’t even see Dennis for most of the second act. I did love the soundtrack, the premise and of course Christine, who is one cool car. Overall, it wasn’t a perfect film, but it was definitely an enjoyable ride!


Wishmaster - 1997

I knew nothing about Wishmaster before we added it to the list this year. Judging from the title, I assumed it had something to do with wishes going wrong and I was totally right! The story begins in an ancient Persian palace, where a king’s wish goes horribly wrong because of and evil djinn (genie). The djinn wreaks havoc on a huge celebration, and what ensues is the stuff of nightmares. Extreme body trauma, people turning into giant snakes, and monsters galore. However the king’s alchemist stops the djinn by trapping him in a jewel. We then jump forward in time to the present day (the late 90s), where the djinn manages to break lose and wreak havoc on humanity once again. This time he specifically preys upon the main character, a woman named Alex.

I really enjoyed this movie and thought it was really well done. Also adding to the fun of this movie, there were tons of little cameos from iconic horror actors, like Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Tony Todd (Candyman) and horror special effects wiz Tom Savini. Since I’ve been doing this for six years, it’s actually quite fun being able to pick out these people. However the real star of this movie is the Wishmaster himself, played by Andrew Divoff. He was phenomenal as an evil djinn, and was probably one of the best and most unique villains I’ve seen in a long time. Every time he was on screen, my eyes were drawn to him. The way he spoke and the intenseness of his gaze was really captivating. All the other characters were just filler until he returned on screen. In fact he was so good, that I’m interested in seeing him in other films. He’s a real Jeffrey Combs in my eyes. I cannot recommend this movie enough, even if it’s just to see Divoff portray a deranged djinn in a movie bookended by great special effects horror.


Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week One

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The Thing from Another World - 1951

This movie was the inspiration for the 1982 film, John Carpenter’s The Thing, which is one of Markus’ favorite movies. We watched it for the first year of Creepy Cinema, and I have never been the same. So it was very exciting to watch the film that inspired that nightmare inducing bottle movie. The Thing from Another World follows a group of scientists and military crew that discover a crashed alien spacecraft in the North Pole. The group investigates and realizes that there is some “thing frozen in the water next to the crashed ufo. The rest of the film follows the aftermath of finding the unknown creature and how it affects the isolated group. There are some bad decisions made by the military and the scientists to their detriment. I actually spent some time yelling at the TV when people made poor decisions or went on to “investigate“ a situation.

Overall it was a really fun movie and quite scary for the era it was produced in. The film also has an exciting and explosive third act conflict that is a must see. The titular Thing never speaks, is quite menacing and frightening in its own right. However despite all these monstrous qualities, humanity again shows that it truly is the real monster. It’s easy to see why this film would influence and inspire Carpenter to create such a beloved cult classic. Definitely give it a watch.

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Evil Dead 2 - 1987

One of my favorite movies we’ve watched for Creepy Cinema is Evil Dead. I’ve never been more terrified in my life. I remember watching with my legs bent up in to my chin the whole time and screaming at anything, even if it wasn’t meant to be scary. I screamed so much that I even freaked out Markus. It was a great time. Seriously, when a movie is so good at scaring the audience, but also interesting and compelling — I kinda get why people become horror fans. Prior to this viewing, I watched Evil Dead 2 years ago and I remember really enjoying it. I always described Evil Dead a true horror movie, because it’s terrifying and Evil Dead 2 as the lighter and funnier version.

The real star of this movie is obviously Bruce Campbell as the lead character, Ash Williams. I mean come on, look at the dude, he’s so charismatic it’s unreal. While the first film focused on Ash’s character with his friends, this one spent a lot of time with him alone in the infamous cabin. It’s really great to see him grow as an actor and character, and ultimately become the Ash that we all know and love. I will say that I liked the first film a bit more because it was scarier, which I know is so strange. This movie was still incredible, but for different reasons — and it of course lays the foundation for the incredibly awesome movie, Army of Darkness.


Bats - 2000

Oh man, it’s not like I didn’t know what to expect. I mean the movie really is about bats, and a ton of them. Before we saw the movie at the store, I actually didn’t know it existed. But how could I say no to Lou Diamond Philipps and Dina Meyer, aka Dizzy Flores, from Starship Troopers — one of my favorite movies of all time. It has all the trappings of a great B-grade creature feature, like Gremlins and Critters, but it just really falls flat.

Phillips is the sheriff in a sleepy Texas town that is suddenly invaded by a huge swarm of genetically altered bats, who are also carrying a terrible virus. In order to capture the bats and contain the epidemic, the CDC call in a zoologist who specializes in “batology.” At first, the film is off to a running start and is quite action packed. When we get to the town and finally introduce all the characters, it just slows down and get’s really uninteresting. There were too many scenes with bats attacking people, and said people being unable to defend themselves. I kept rolling my eyes the entire time, because the townsfolk simply continued making the worst decisions. When we finally reached the movie’s resolution, I wasn’t invested in a single character and honestly couldn’t tell you what happened to them. It’s really unfortunate because this could’ve been a really fun flick, but it ultimately disappointed me.


Creepy Cinema 2017: Week 2


It's Week Two of Creepy Cinema and one of my favorite Korean movies is on the list! Can't wait to share my thoughts on that as well as the beauty of Gong Yoo! Keep scrolling for this week's films and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below! 


4. Train to Busan (2016)

Disclaimer, this film stars my favorite Korean actor of all time, Gong Yoo, so there might be a lot of gushing in this review. The film follows a group of strangers that board a cross country train bound for Busan. Fun fact, the two years that Markus and I lived in South Korea, we lived in Busan! So we’ve actually taken the same route in the film, which made it even cooler and realistic, at least for me.  As someone who is absolutely obsessed with Korean food, music, shows, etc., I’m not the biggest fan of their films. Korean films tend to be too long and often flounder in their storytelling at the beginning of the third act. At that point I often find myself feeling the length and losing interest quite quickly. Every Korean film I’ve seen thus far seems to be plagued with these two things. Thank goodness Train to Busan proved me wrong and is the best Korean horror film I’ve seen so far.

I cannot express to you how much I loved this movie. It’s chock full of action and the acting was on point. Gong Yoo is pretty dreamy even though he’s playing an absent father, but I kinda loved that he was terrible at the beginning of the film because it gave his character the opportunity grow into a protagonist we actually care about. A real revelation was Kim Su An, the girl playing his daughter. She was such an incredible actress for her age. Actually, the entire ensemble was great and I enjoyed all of their performances, each holding a good amount of character development for a film with such a large cast. Of course no character was safe, and just when you start to get attached to one of them, in true horror movie fashion, they perish along with your heart. Train to Busan manages to be both an incredible Korean film, but also a fantastic survival horror film. Honestly, if there is only one movie you watch from my list this year, please watch this one. If not for me, at least for Gong Yoo, because he’s my fave.


5. Alien Covenant (2017)

I will forever be haunted by my first viewing of Alien back in 2012. It was one of the scariest films, I’ve seen to this day. So much so that when we watch any other films in that universe, I get a bit of anxiety. In regards to the sequels, nothing has been more frightening than the first and I’ve started to lose that initial fear along with interest. I know that it’s hard to meet the standards of the first film in a franchise, but my golly, do we really need this new iteration?

I’m not 100% sure why they made another movie in the vein of Alien prequels when the response to Prometheus was so mixed, but who knows why people make movies these days anymore. (Ahem, money.) Either way, at least this one attempted to get back to the roots of its predecessors. It follows a ragtag crew of people who face the unknown, only to end up being trapped with a killer alien. Who’s going to survive? Who cares, because I sure didn’t. I couldn’t tell you much about the character except that they all possessed some jerk-like qualities and did a lot of senseless and reckless things. Also Michael Fassbender’s weird accent--No. The film also seemed to have tonal issues. The first half of the film was what I feel audiences wanted, explorers discovering a strange land full of mystery and danger. Then we run into a big slow-down where the film starts rambling via creepy Fassbender-bot about the genesis of this world, evolution, blah blah blah. Then out of nowhere it turns into a monster-chase film! I really felt the length of this movie, and I would pass on this one to just re-watch Alien.


6. The Babysitter (2017)

This movie was a last minute addition and I never heard about it before Markus suggested it. I think not knowing anything about it was an advantage because it was a really fun movie.  It definitely felt like an homage to classic 80s horror flicks but with a fun twist. The story follows Cole, a twelve-year old boy, who is having a rough time in middle school - who didn’t have a rough time then? Cole is quite book smart, but when it comes to people, he’s a bit awkward and is often bullied and overlooked in life. To add insult to injury, he still has a babysitter, that stays with him when his parents go out of town. It's okay though because she’s real hot and they have an amazingly geeky and almost sibling-like relationship. The montage of all their inside jokes was actually really cute and one of the best parts of the movie.

The first 20 minutes or so didn’t feel like a horror movie at all, then when you least expect it the rug gets pulled out from under you-and you get beaten with it. Things get a bit crazy when Cole decides to spy on his babysitter and see what she does when he’s asleep. Then the film ramps up and it’s a non-stop action horror until the very end. In these sort of movies, you usually expect the women to be the damsels in distress, but not in this movie. The Babysitter was tough as nails and pulled no punches. However what I think makes this movie so strong is that at it’s core, it’s really just a coming of age story and those are always my favorites.


Creepy Cinema: Cult Camp | Week One

I'm so excited to finally share my thoughts on this year's list of cult classics. The first week of Creepy Cinema was a nice mix of films and for the most part I enjoyed most of them. Although, it's possible that I saw the worst film I've ever seen. It was pretty awful. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my reviews and let me know what you think in the comments below!
1.   Nosferatu (1922)
This film is the oldest on this year’s list, and since I didn’t want to jump in head first, I dipped in slowly by watching this one first. Nosferatu is probably one of the most iconic horror films of all time. It has such a cult following that they even made a movie about the filming of Nosferatu, called Shadow of the Bat.  The film is such an obvious rip off of Dracula, but that’s what makes it great. The makers of Nosferatu couldn’t obtain the rights to make a movie adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so they told their own version, which was just as good in its own right.

I actually wanted to watch this movie last year, but Markus wanted to save it for this year. The movie itself is pretty good, but it isn’t my favorite “Dracula” film or vampire movie. The cinematography is amazing and there are so many iconic shots. I absolutely love the look and feel, but it did lag a bit. I know it has a lot to do with the time period in which it was made, but it was still too slow for my taste. Also, I know the Dracula story really well, so there was no mystery to keep me going.

2.     The Toxic Avenger (1985) 
If there ever was a movie that I could un-see it would be The Toxic Avenger. I don’t even know what possessed me to allow this on the list. What kills me is that in earlier versions of this year’s list, this movie wasn’t even in the running. If I could turn back time…

I don’t think there is anything good about this movie. I wrote notes for all the other films, but I only wrote one sentence for this movie: “ This movie is so gross.” Markus was telling me that all the movies made by Troma Films (the creators of The Toxic Avenger) are like this. It’s just gratuitously disgusting. They basically take every extreme and nasty thing you could think of and intensify it. I will never ever watch another Troma Film movie again.

3.     Atom Age Vampire (1960)
Markus and I saw this movie on Hulu and decided to add it to the list. This was a huge mistake. There probably is a good reason why I’ve never heard of it. The basic premise is that a beautiful woman is scarred in an accident and a scientist cures her, but at a high cost.

The beginning started out really good. I liked the opening sequence and I thought it was the start of a hidden gem. I was definitely wrong. There are some good things about the film, but the woman’s overacting is just too much. She spent most of the movie crying, weeping and screaming. I mean, I get that women tend to be emotional, but this was too much. Also, what is it with men always choosing women that are all wrong for them? I don’t understand why the antagonist in this movie goes crazy for this woman. She doesn’t even feel an attraction to him. Her kindness to him is solely based on her gratitude for having her beauty returned to her.

4.     Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
This film has been heralded as the “worst movie of all time”, but I may have to disagree. I’ve definitely seen worse films. Plan 9 was created by Ed Wood, which also happens to be the subject of one of my favorite Tim Burton films. Since I know a little about Wood, I was excited to see this film. He’s known for making a slew of really low budget movies ranging from sci-fi to westerns.

I have to admit that this isn’t a well-done movie, it’s actually really bad. There isn’t any care to continuity and the sets look like they were made by middle-schoolers. Despite all of this, I really liked this movie. Since I knew it was the “worst movie of all time”, I expected it to be badly made, but I think the terrible acting, poor shots and juvenile sets are what made the movie worthwhile and enjoyable.

5.     Children of the Corn (1984)
This is one of those movies that you know about, but haven’t watched because it’s too creepy. I think that Stephen King is quite brilliant and always delivers, but I have a confession to make. Before Children of the Corn, I’ve never seen a Stephen King film or read any of his books. I know, it’s so strange. When I told Markus, I think he was really perplexed.

Children of the Corn was quite good and I enjoyed watching it.  It’s such a creepy movie, and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I didn’t know much about it and I honestly thought it was about kids who really liked corn. Or maybe they liked to terrorize people with corn. Or they were actually children made of corn. Either way, the movie will make me think twice before wandering into any fields of corn.

6.     Carrie (1976)
I watched this right after Children of the Corn. I guess after 29 years of a Stephen King-less life I had to catch up. Carrie is one of those movies that you know about without having to watch. That’s the thing about pop culture; you can “know everything” about a film without ever seeing it.

Watching Carrie was a lot like watching Psycho last year. I thought I knew the whole story and I would be bored, but it was the complete opposite. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, there was so much more that I didn’t know. Actually seeing the relationship with her mother explains a lot of what motivates Carrie. Every time her mother came on screen, I was instantly irritated. I probably would’ve gone crazy too if I were Carrie and had to deal with an overbearing mother like that.

7.     Pumpkinhead (1988)
Like many movies this year, I’ve never heard of Pumpkinhead. I try not to read anything about the movies before I watch them. It definitely adds more mystery and suspense. The main premise of this movie is revenge and the endless cycle of hate that it perpetuates. It’s set in a small backwater country town where a lot of weird voodoo and occult stuff is present.

Pumpkinhead wasn’t too scary and was easy to watch. It’s got all the fixings of a cult horror: a small budget, great practical effects, staple characters like an old crone, creepy hillbillies and a menacing humanoid creature. When the creature is finally revealed, I thought it looked a lot like the alien from Alien. The story is pretty good and it has it flaws, but like most 80s movie I don’t expect the script to be airtight. I was able to predict the outcome of the story way before it even happened. Nevertheless, it’s still enjoyable and definitely a hidden gem. I can see why this film has a cult following.