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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Creepy Cinema 2017: Week 2

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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! 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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