My Halloween Movie Repertoire Has Risen From Its Grave!

Black cats pause in their crossing to arch their ebon backs and hiss. Leaves expire and drift to earth. Pumpkins sprout grins of leering fire and the swollen moon is slashed by the passage of witches’ brooms. Yep, it’s my favorite time of year once again, when the sands bear the scars of mummies’ wrappings dragged from yawning tombs and the howls that pierce the countryside are not the cries of mere wolves. Halloween!

Regular followers will know every year I embark on a quest to watch as many horror movies as I can (used to be 31 movies for 31 days, but that began to feel like a paltry number). They have to be first time watches but they can come from any era.

So without further ado, let’s kick it off!

Malignant Review – A Strong Return to Horror For James Wan

Day #1 – Malignant – After her abusive husband wangs the back of Madison’s (Annabelle Wallis) favorite head against the bedroom wall, he becomes the first victim of a malevolent entity sharing a bizarre psychic connection with her which allows her to see and experience its increasingly grisly murderous escapades. I typically enjoy James Wan’s movies, and this was no exception…as a matter of fact, I think it may be my favorite. It goes so far off the rails (intentionally?) I was grinning and laughing at its gonzo absurdities….yet thoroughly enjoying myself. The reveal has been likened to Basket Case, and I get that, but in feel, it reminded me of The Eyes of Laura Mars and the Argento movie Phenomena with its so crazy it’s amazing climax. That jail scene with Zoe Bell is so eye-popping and unique! A strong start to the marathon.

Why Carnival of Souls is the greatest one-hit wonder in horror

Day #2 – Carnival Of Souls – Racing along a backcountry road against a car full of boys, Mary (Candace Hilligoss) and her friends run their car off a bridge and sink into a river. Mary surfaces three hours later disoriented. She relocates to a new town and gets a job as a church organist, but is plagued by strange visions of a ghoulish man and various eerie hallucinations compelling her towards an abandoned carnival ground where the dead dance. Innovative low budget camera work and nightmarish mood combine to successfully mimic the unease of dream logic, but don’t entirely compel or distract from the obvious plot twist. Definitely worthwhile for its time, but suffers a bit in the modern watch from all that’s come since.

Scanners de David Cronenberg - 1981 - Shangols

Day #3 – Scanners – Psychokinetic/telepathic ‘scanner’ Cameron (Stephen Lack) is recruited by defense contractor ConSec to infiltrate an underground band of renegade ESPers led by the psychopathic Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), a scanner assassinating other scanners. Along the way, he uncovers a dark, deep-seated consipiracy. I had circled this movie at my video store for years and eventually seen the infamous exploding head scene. Michael Ironside finally induced me to put it on and when I saw it was David Cronenberg I knew I’d be in for an interesting watch. There are a lot of fascinating concepts at work; the notion that telepathy is the sort of wireless interaction of attuned nervous systems, and the idea that a human nervous system could somehow link up with a computer network (cyber-telepathy) were pretty cool. Cronenberg’s body horror FX are on display, perhaps not as much as with say, The Brood or Videodrome, but the telepathic battle at the end is pretty grisly and well realized and the setting of an avant garde scanner artist’s studio was particularly interesting….some of the pieces reminded me of the imagery in his son Brandon’s movie Possessor. The malls in Canada look hellish. Like the bathrooms of Stanley Kubrick.

100 years of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: the film that inspired Virginia  Woolf, David Bowie and Tim Burton

Day #4 – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – Francis (Friedrich Feher) relates the story of Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss), a roving mountebank who kept a strange, fortune telling somnabulist, Cesare (Conrad Veidt who I watched last year in The Man Who Laughs), standing in a cabinet on display, waking him to tell the fortunes of audience members, and a series of weird nocturnal murders which occured around the pair. The presentation of this twisty, somewhat unfocused story (the anti-authoritarianism of the central plot has the rug pulled out on it by the framing story reveal) via sharp, expressionistic sets, the innovative, almost animated proscenium, seemingly crafted in the deranged mind of the narrator, are the real draw of this picture, and lend the whole affair a nightmarish quality it might not have in the hands of a lesser filmmaker. It’s readily apparent that Tim Burton and Henry Selick drew much inspiration from the visuals of this unique Fritz Lang classic.

The Swarm (2020) - IMDb

Day #5 – The Swarm/La Nuée – Recently widowed Virginie (Suliane Brahim) is determined to raise her son Gaston (Raphael Romand) and daughter (Marie Narbonne) whilst making a go at starting a business of farm-raised-locusts-as-delicacies at all costs, even when she learns her strain of insectoid livestock has a prediliction for flesh and blood. Well-acted, engrossing psychological horror uses its central conceit as an allegory for the struggles and personal sacrifices of single parenthood to great effect.

Psycho Goreman Review Dragon Movie Guy - Review Nation

Day #6 – Psycho Goreman – Frenetic young Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and her beleagured brother Luke (Owen Myre) uncover a mystic gem in their backyard which keeps an intergalactic menace called The Archduke of Nightmares (Steven Vlahos) imprisoned. Liberated from his prison, the Archduke barely begins an outlandishly gory spree of mayhem when Mimi discovers she has total control of the fiend. She renames him Psycho Goreman and proceeds to command him to do a series of tasks for her own personal amusement, as somewhere out in the universe a pangalactic council of aliens scrambles to contain the threat. This bizarre shlockfest sends up the rubbery sci-fi horror movies of the 90’s and populates itself with an exciting array of GWAR/Power Rangers-type creatures and eye popping practical FX sets. It has a number of very funny moments, but ultimately doesn’t have too much to say….which is fine, really. As the dazed father says near the end, after high-fiving PG and compound fracturing his own wrist, “Wow. We really learned a lot today.” Then proceeds to swoon as the mom carts him off to the hospital. Rich Evans of Red Letter Media has a cameo as a kind of murderous industrial washing machine robot laden with body parts.

Firestarter' Remake: Blumhouse & Akiva Goldsman Reviving Stephen King  Classic – Deadline

Firestarter – Having developed telepathic powers during a government sponsored experiment in college, Andy McGee (David Keith) finds himself on the run from unscrupulous agents with his daughter Charlie (Drew Barrymore), an immensely powerful pyrokinetic in tow. A middling Stephen King adaptation with some of the flattest, most boring camera work I’ve ever seen. Martin Sheen is working on another heart attack as a government agent, Freddie Jones is quirky as the scientist who developed the ESP-boosting compound, and George C. Scott is weirdly cast as a manipulative but inscrutable, possibly Native American assassin who for no apparent reason seems to be immune to Charlie’s mind-reading. Moses Gunn, Antonio Fargas, and Heather Locklear are kinda wasted. The climactic scene where Charlie unleashes hell is alright.

The Lion Eats Tonight In This Exclusive Clip from Dick Maas' 'Uncaged'

Day #7 – Uncaged – A zoo veterinarian (Sophie van Winden), her cameraman boyfriend (Julian Looman), and a drunken, one legged big game hunter (Mark Frost) assist police in stopping the onslaught of a maneating lion rampaging through Amsterdam. Dick Maas won a lifetime of chances from me with The Lift, one of my top ten horror watches of 2019, so I pulled the trigger on this one right away. The characters are well written and engaging and the CGI lion is surprisingly well done (assisted at times by animatronics), though sparingly depicted. Much of the movie is after effect makeup and standing around talking, so it’s a good thing the cast is personable and their interplay amusing. Mark Frost’s quirky hard drinking hunter with his all terrain high speed wheelchair brightens the proceedings significantly and a scene where the lion gets aboard a slow-moving tram is a standout as is the climactic Aliens-style ending. Maybe a spoiler, but I can’t for the life of me remember if the reason for the lion running amok in Amsterdam is ever conclusively explained, which is as preposterous as it is amazing. Reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite creature features, Alligator.

Netflix's 'Midnight Mass' Review: Mike Flanagan's Latest Gothic Horror -  Variety

Midnight Mass – Fresh out of prison following a DUI killing of a young girl, a former venture capitalist (Zach Gilford) returns to the isolated island fishing community where he was born, reconnecting with his old flame (Kate Siegel). At the same time, a charismatic young priest (Hamish Linklater) arrives as a temporary substitute for the ailing old monsignor and enflames the parish with his humanistic homilies and a series of startling miracles. Every October for the past two years Netflix has impressed me with Flanagan’s Haunting anthology series. This year’s Midnight Mass didn’t disappoint….until the final episode, which gets just a tad plot heavy in execution and crams in some tie-ups for characters that I wish had played out more gradually (particularly Sheriff Hassan/Rahul Kohli). Until then, it’s an admirable, deeply nuanced tale of personal responsibility, faith, and the self delusion of religious fanaticism that really tickled this old Catholic boy. The acting is top drawer, particularly Linklater’s Father Paul, upon whom the entire story hinges, and the town drunk, played magnificently by Robert Longstreet. The scene where the latter is confronted by the young girl (Annarah Cymone) he accidentally crippled had me in tears. Flanagan solidifies his reputation as one of the finest horror filmmakers extant. Props for the Neil Diamond tunes.

Amazon.com: I Married a Witch (Criterion Collection) : Veronica Lake,  Fredric March, Susan Hayward, Rene Clair: Movies & TV

Day #8 – I Married A Witch – When father and daughter witches Daniel and Jennifer (Cecil Kellaway and Veronica Lake) are burned at the stake by Salem Puritan Jonathan Wooley (Frederic March, who also plays subsequent male Wooley descendants), the two disincorporated spirits are confined to a tree, but not before laying a curse on the Wooley line – they are always destined to marry the wrong woman. In 1942 lightning strikes the tree, releasing the spirits of Jennifer and Daniel, who proceed to make life hell for mayoral candidate Wallace Wooley on the eve of his marriage to the spoiled daughter of a powerful political backer. But love is stronger than witchcraft! This is a delightful, sexy screwball comedy/fantasy, with the absolutely ethereal Lake romancing bewildered Marsh and ultimately opposing her vengeful father. Imaginative, funny, and highly recommended.

Magic Sets Us Free: Lord of Illusions 25 Years Later - Horror Obsessive

Day #9 – Lord of Illusions – Private eye Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) investigates the death of a master stage magician (Kevin J. O’Connor) and becomes enmeshed in a strange, occult conspiracy. The premise of a stage illusionist doing real magic and people being unable to discern the difference is great and some of the ideas and FX were interesting, but I was hoping for an occult detective noire story more in line with Angel Heart or Cast A Deadly Spell, and this just wasn’t of that caliber. Daneil Van Bergen is a good villain and I always like to see Famke Janssen. Sheila Tousey of Thunderheart has a rare and welcome appearance.

Final Guys 181 - The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Day #10 – The Wolf Of Snow Hollow – An eternally frustrated small town sheriff with a volatile temper (Jim Cummings) struggles to put an end to a series of vicious murders that appear to have a supernatural origin. Jim Cummings, who also wrote and directed, is the lynchpin of this movie. Either you find his explosive antics hilarious or you hate him. I thought he was hilarious. He’s backed by a great cast, including Riki Lindhome as his sharp deputy and the late great Robert Forster in what might have been his last role as Cummings’ weary father, reluctant to be put out to pasture in the midst of the biggest trouble the town has seen in decades.

The Mystery of the Wax Museum Blu-ray (Warner Archive Collection)

Mystery Of The Wax Museum – A plucky, hard drinking reporter Florence (Glenda Farrell), investigates the death of a model and subsequent disappearance of her corpse, leading her to a mysterious wax museum and its wheelchair-bound proprietor (Lionel Atwill). This pre-code mystery-horror has a lot going for it in its outspoken, brassy Lois Lane-type heroine. At one point she storms into a police station and demands “Hey copper! How’s your sex life?” pulls a girly magazine out of his hand and says “Oh.” Farrell is a riot as is her machinegun dialogue with her bedraggled but smitten editor Frank McHugh. Atwill is creepy as the villain and there are some nifty, downright horrifying FX for the time (though it’s fun to pick out some of the ‘wax statues’ in the background blinking – Queen Victoria is shameless). This story’s been done lots of times, but this might be the most entertaining iteration I’ve seen. Michael Curtiz’s direction and the camerawork are to be commended.

Faces of Cinema - The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Day #11 – The Invisible Man Returns – The brother of the original Invisible Man administers the invisibility formula to a wrongly accused Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) languishing on death row. Radcliffe escapes and sets out to clear his name, whilst the doctor (John Sutton) races to perfect a cure before the psychosis kicks in. Middling sequel with impressive effects and a good villainous turn by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. A bit toothless. I prefer my Invisible Man rampaging through town causing mayhem.

Train to Busan Peninsula trailer: Sequel to South Korean horror blockbuster  ramps up the frights

Day #12 – Peninsula – When the zombie pandemic from Train To Busan wreaks havoc on Korea, a Korean marine (Gang Dong-won) is forced to abandon his sister and niece in the race to evacuate to Hong Kong. Four years later he and his brother-in-law (Kim Do-yoon) return to the peninsula to retrieve an abandoned truck packed with US dollars and contend with numerous mercenary survivors as well as the rabid dead. This is a sequel to Train To Busan in the Dawn of The Dead vein. Same setting, same universe, different characters. I think it suffers a bit of the Halloween 3 curse being equated with its far superior predecessor. This is a decent zombie actioner with some really cool sequences and set pieces that unfortunately never quite achieves the emotional heights and mood of Train. Still worth a watch, and far less bleak than the animated Seoul Station, also in the Busan zombi-verse.

The Surreal Films of Curtis Harrington | Unframed

Day #13 – Night Tide – A sailor (Dennis Hopper) meets a sideshow mermaid (Linda Lawson) in a jazz bar off the Santa Monica pier and begins to believe she might be the real thing. Excellent, moody little low budget picture with a compelling central mystery and fine performances all around. Marjorie Eaton (who among other things, played the original Emperor Palpatine in Empire Strikes Back) is memorable as a fortune teller and Gavin Muir is good as the sea captain proprietor of the sideshow. The mysterious Sea Witch is Jack Parsons’ elemental woman, Marjorie Cameron, a lifelong Thelema practitioner.

V/H/S '94 Review: Time to Eject this Found Footage Horror Franchise |  IndieWire

Day #14 – V/H/S94 – A S.W.A.T. team raids a warehouse with a cameraman (why is there a cameraman?) and finds a series of disturbing videotapes. The latest installment of the found footage anthology series bored the hell out of me. The FX are pretty well done, but it’s so loud and gory and doesn’t really utilize the found footage conceit in any meaningful way. I guess the most interesting segment was The Subject, in which a kidnapped woman is ‘borged’ out by a mad scientist documenting his work. At least the continued use of video POV made sense, whereas through the other stories, I couldn’t stop questioning why anybody was still filming.

The Wasp Woman (1959) ROGER CORMAN - YouTube

Day #15 – The Wasp Woman – Women’s cosmetics entrepeneur Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot) enlists the aide of disgraced research scientist Dr. Zinthrop (Michael Mark) to breathe new life into her company with a revolutionary de-aging injection based upon wasp royal jelly, but when she insists on being the first human trial run (and starts upping her dosage to accelerate results), monstrous calamity ensues. This was an enjoyable Roger Corman outing earnestly enacted by a charismatic lead and serviceable supporting cast. The transformed Janice is ludicrous in conception but kinda creepy and cool in execution. Something about that mask and those claws paired with the beatnick black top and medallion. Big ending satisfies, though what’s it all saying about the male gaze’s effect on an aging woman? Turn off your brain, as they say.

The Spider Blu-ray (Earth vs. the Spider)

Day #16 – (Earth vs.)The Spider – When teenager Carol Flynn’s (June Kenney) father fails to return home one night, she enlists her boyfriend Mike (Eugene Persson)’s aide to find him. Together the couple discovers an enormous spider lurking in Carlsbad Caverns. It’s not quite all of Earth but a single town dealing with a giant rampaging tarantula. I had actually mixed this movie up with the other 50’s giant spider flick Tarantula. I enjoyed this a lot. There’s a great bit where the sheriff and the local egghead fill the cave with DDT and drag the apparently dead spider out, storing it in the high school gym till the miliary comes and hauls it off, only to have a teenage (though some of these ‘teens’ look to be pushing thirty) rock band wake the thing up with their music. Apparently it doesn’t much care for rock ‘n roll. The FX are pretty cool for their time, the spider sufficiently vicious. Quality kills and a nifty ending. Director Bert Gordon also did The Amazing Colossal Man and Attack of The Puppet People, and shamelessly has Mike plug both of those pictures in one scene (I believe June Kenney also starts in Amazing Colossal Man).

In the Earth review: Cosmic horror in the void between technology and magic  - Polygon

Day #17 – In The Earth – Martin, a scientist (Joel Fry), travels to a remote forest research outpost, ostensibly to facilitate the study of some sort of undefined global pandemic, but really to check up on his ex-girlfriend Olivia (Hayley Squires) who has gone incommunicado. He sets out with park ranger (Ellora Torchia) to find her and encounters a crazed researcher, Zach (Reece Shearsmith), communing with a standing stone and perhaps the forest itself. As with Dick Maas and The Lift, Ben Wheatley’s brilliant Kill List gave him a line of credit with me, but I have to confess thus far I haven’t been overly smitten with any of his subsequent output. This is no exception. I didn’t get much of the sense of foreboding and danger alluded to in the script. The woods seemed like any old pleasant national forest, and the deliberate obscurity of both the science and the occult mainly annoyed. I got the Covid allusions, but franky, Covid isn’t a sexy pandemic. It’s a pretty boring subject. A couple moments of grisly humor, but the story is so threadbare, even a quick cocaine bump of surreal visuals doesn’t quicken the pulse to any significant degree. In the end I was not only left without answers, I wasn’t really interested enough to have any questions.

Boys from County Hell' Review - Nothing Short of a Good Time

Boys From County Hell – A rural Irish community, whose modest claim to fame is an obscure legend based upon an ancient burial caern supposedly visited by Bram Stoker and become the basis for Dracula, bucks against an unpopuar bypass road construction being contracted by a local father and son construction crew (Nigel O’Neil and Jack Rowan). When the son’s best friend William (Fra Fee) is accidentally killed by a bull and his blood falls on the caern, the Abhartach rises with an insatiable thirst for blood. Strong characterizations and a winning cast do a lot for this little movie, as well as a fresh and interesting local take on the vampire legend. The vampire’s peculiar blood drinking power is awesome, but his various strength and weaknesses paint the writer into a corner a bit, and the particulars of dealing with him become a bit distracting. Still a fun movie.

Tear It Up: Revisiting the Rat-Infested Cult of 'Willard' - Bloody  Disgusting

Day #18 – Ben – Immediately after the events of Willard, the intelligent rat Ben leads his trained horde underground, emerging to raid for food and cause mayhem. Along the way, a kindhearted sick boy named Danny (Lee Harcourt Montgomery) befriends the rodent. This doesn’t have the punch and viscera of Willard (which I don’t remember having that much of a kick itself), and overall has a TV movie feel. The kid is pretty earnest and gives a great performance however. Not a bad horror movie for young kids, honestly as there’s no real cussing or sex and the gore happens off screen. Mainly just the peril of a whole lot of rats hanging on people. The mom from Family Ties (Meredith Baxter) is the older sister. A couple really bizarre moments made me scratch my head, like the kid who randomly squeals “I’M GONNA KILL YOU ALL!!!” at the scene of Willard’s death, and the otherworldly, almost Italian giallo acting of the crowd after the truck driver is attacked.

Dream Home | China-Underground Movie Database

Dream Home – When earnest havenot Cheng Lai-sheung (Josie Ho) takes two jobs and sacrifices everything in order to afford a nice flat overlooking the harbor, the elderly owners decide to pull the rug out from under her and hold out for a bigger and better offer, goading her into committing an increasingly psychotic and outrageously violent series of acts in order to win her dream home. This is one of the most astoundingly violent and cringe-inducing movies I’ve seen in years. The superbly shot, stomach-turning gore effects had me wincing more than once. It’s a savage assault on capitalist greed and the insanity of the mortagage racket, sometimes revolting, sometimes liberating. It’s difficult to know when we should be cheering Cheng and when we should be booing her. But I sure couldn’t stop watching to see what she’d do next.

We Love '90s Horror] Gory, Gooey 'Ticks' Will Make Your Skin Crawl - Bloody  Disgusting

Day #19 – Ticks – When a drug dealer (Clint Howard) gets sloppy with his steroid-induced marijuana plants, ticks become infected and mutated by the runoff, becoming monstrous, ravenous killer pests which a group of troubled teens on a wilderness retreat must then contend with. A host of familiar faces (Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ami Dolenz) make for a likeable cast, and the practical effects are pretty great (and gross), particularly in the climactic siege when the ticks (who explode when confronted with fire) flee a forest blaze and besiege the cabin of kids and counselors.

Gonzo and Pepe Preview Muppets Haunted Mansion's Big Guest Stars

Muppets Haunted Mansion – Gonzo and Pepe bow out of the annual Muppets’ Halloween party to attend a scare event at a mansion where Gonzo’s idol, The Great MacGuffin (Will Arnett), disappeared a hundred yeas ago, only to find themselves locked in for the night with a bevy of real ghosts (and celebrities). I’ve loved the Muppets since grade school, when I sent a letter to Kermit inviting him and his friends to spend the weekend at my house (and got a signed photo reply – my only celebrity letter – “Thanks for the invitation, Eddie!”), so I’ll give anything they do a shot, like Dick Maas. This isn’t quite the holiday classic Muppet Christmas Carol is, and I wish the Henson Company would stop foisting that Prawn us. He’s OK as a background character but in terms of partnering up with Gonzo, I’m a Rizzo The Rat guy. It’s fine. I loved the ‘aging’ Gonzo – it made him look like a Skeksis. Funny that I watched two Alfonso Riberio movies in a row. Taraji Henson is enjoyable as the spirit of a killer bride and the Muppet cameos as her doomed husbands are funny. Pepe did deliver the one laugh out loud line for me when he called John Stamos something like Juan Estamos or something. I sure wish they’d bring back Muppets, that office-style show. It was brilliant.

House (1985)

Day #20 – House – Horror writer Roger Cobb (William Katt) moves into the house where his aunt committed suicide and his son Jimmy (Erik and Mark Silver) disappeared to write his Vietnam War memoir only to find himself besieged by strange entities. I love House 2: The Second Story unabashedly. Watched it with my grandmother as a kid and enjoyed it so much I dropped a reference to Bill Towner, Electrician and Adventurer into one of my Merkabah Rider novels. This….isn’t so hot. It’s almost as bizarre as House 2 but not nearly as fun. Night Court’s William Moll is the ghost of the guy William Katt left behind in ‘Nam. George Wendt as an inexplicably nosy neighbor is alright and Mary Stavin of Octopussy and A View To A Kill is weirdly trusting with her only kid. Writing is bad, creatures kinda goofy. Not too much to recommend.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Review |BasementRejects

Day #21 – The Poughkeepsie Tapes – A fictional found footage documentary about The Water Street Butcher and a series of videotapes the killer made documenting his crimes. Well made, in that it perfectly recreates the true crime documentary style, but some of the writing is a bit loopy. Off the top of my head, no 911 operator is gonna tell the mother of a missing eight year old they have to wait 24 hours before declaring her missing. That’s a TV trope and doesn’t apply to children in real life. The whole endeavor was very misogynstic (which I get, we’re following the exploits of a psychotic misogynstic sadist) and ultimately felt kinda meaningless. I’m not sure how this is meant to be entertaining or who the intended audience is. True crime enthusiasts will shrug and go watch an actual documentary. And to myself as a horror fan…I can appreciate the craftsmanship to an extent, but there’s nothing entertaining to me about the murder, humiliation, and rape of multiple women, including an eight year old girl and the near killing of a couple of girl scouts. One scene where the killer traps a woman in the back of a caged car by letting her assume he’s a policeman is inspired, but ultimately this made me wanna take a shower when it was over.

Review] 'The Block Island Sound' Is a Daring Horror Mish-Mash - Bloody  Disgusting

Day #22 – The Block Island Sound – When an increasingly senile fisherman (Neville Archambault) washes up dead on the beach of remote Block Island, his son (Chris Sheffield) becomes obssessed with the idea that his death was not accidental, especially when he begins to experience the same debilitating mental episodes as his father, accompanied by unnerving visitations of the man himself. An intriguing mystery well-acted and well-realized, with an interesting tail-end metaphor that’s hard to talk about without spoiling the story. Jim Cummings of The Wolf of Snow Hollow appears as a conspiracy theory-minded local and Michaela McManus is good as the skeptical but empathetic daughter/sister. Archambault is genuinely menacing at times.

Freaky review: New movie is part Freaky Friday, part Friday the 13th, and  part Jack Black in Jumanji.

Day #23 – Freaky – A 17 year old girl, Millie, (Kathryn Newton), switches bodies with a deranged, unstoppable killer (Vince Vaughn) and must figure out how to undo the swap by midnight or be trapped in the body of a hunted mass murderer forever. Meanwhile, the killer has not stopped his spree. This fun mashup of Freaky Friday and Friday The 13th has loads of inventive gore and makes an earnest attempt at addressing issues of female empowerment. It doesn’t always ring completely true somehow, but it’s very funny at times and an enjoyable watch all around.

089 - Wait Until Dark (1967) & Hush (2016) — Pod Sematary

Day #24 – Wait Until Dark – Through a complex series of events, Susy (Audrey Hepburn), a recently blind woman, winds up alone in the basement apartment she shares with her husband (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) when a trio of criminals (Alan Arkin, Jack Weston, and Richard Crenna) posing as police and a friend of her husband initiate a convoluted plan to search her place for an antique doll crammed with stolen heroin. After an intriguing set up, the plight of Susy sort of becomes exasperating when the crooks start spinning increasingly farfetched lies instead of just killing her and turning the place over. Fine performances all around, especially from Arkin and Hepburn, but as disabled women in peril movies go, this ain’t no Lady In A Cage.

Paranormal Activity 7 Will Premiere Exclusively on Paramount+ - News  Concerns

Day #25 – Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin – Margot (Emily Bader), a young woman abandoned as a baby by her wayward Amish mother Sarah, returns to the insular community from which she sprang to film a documentary about her family but uncovers horrifying occult secrets. I’m a dedicated fan of the Paranormal Activity series, but admit I have trouble keeping track of the intricate internal mythos and its characters. Apparently this sets the series off in an entirely new direction with no real references to the previous entries (although my daughter noted that the website a character looks up information on has turned up in the other movies). This is still a well done found footage horror with a compelling mystery and some legit jump scares, though if you know anything about Amish people one of the twists is a bit obvious early on and the slickness of the GoPro camera robs it a bit of the grainy creepiness you’ve come to expect from the series. Still a solid entry, and I hear the next one is going to tie this story into the rest of the series, so bring on Part 8. And more of the kids from The Marked Ones. That remains my favorite.

And…..I’ve been a bad movie viewer this season. Apologies, but I started a new overnight job that robbed me of a lot of my watching time in the end. Though I did technically just manage to get in thirty one first time watches, it was only because I had the foresight to double up on a couple of days early on. I didn’t get to see the new Candyman, or Antlers, or a couple others as I intended. Next year.

Top 5 watches this year: Midnight Mass, Dream Home, I Married A Witch, Malignant, Mystery of The Wax Museum.

Published in: on October 1, 2021 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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