The Nun (2018)

“The Conjuring” cinematic universe kind of snuck up on the horror community over the years, prompting a series of movies that have been hit or miss. While I think “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has a ton of potential to be fantastic, at its current state, there’s still a lot for the studios to learn from the previous films. On its own, “The Nun” is a perfectly fine bit of gothic horror that’s sadly mostly half baked, and under developed. It’s saved by the small cast’s strong turns, and the dazzling imagery that successfully channels the old Hammer films. “The Nun” sets out to build a different energy from the rest of the movies in “The Conjuring” franchise, and for better and for worse, it accomplishes that.

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Mandy (2018) [Blu-Ray]

Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” came out in 2018 like a hurricane, sneaking up on even the biggest Nic Cage fan boys, and it’s one of the best films of the year. “Mandy” is a fever dream, and surreal revenge thriller that features Nic Cage at his best. Cage plays against a world that’s equally as loony as the man he portrays, who goes up against foes that in the eyes of a blood thirsty man seeking retribution for his slain lover, are purely monstrous beings dancing in hellfire.

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The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

To its credit, “The Taking of Deborah Logan” is a horror film that’s generally remained in the public consciousness mainly for its memorable imagery. As a horror movie it’s just an okay experience that probably would have been so much more effective as a filmed feature. In the end, it’s mainly an okay found footage horror movie that comes out pretty golden mainly for two or three really memorable moments that have become internet memes and are still widely circulated to this day.

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Scooby Doo and the Goblin King (2008)

Not since “The Witch’s Ghost” has there been a “Scooby Doo” adventure so deeply rooted in Halloween that it qualifies as automatic viewing for the holiday. While it is a change in pace for the Mystery Inc. crew, it’s a fun adventure in to the magic and supernatural element, along with some pretty stellar animation, and a pretty awesome surprise ending that I admittedly didn’t see coming.

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“The Haunting of Hill House” is the Best Horror Series of 2018

Warning: Mild Spoilers to the Series Included.

Take a look at any and all supernatural tales, and you’ll find that they are deep down about three things: They’re either about family, about death, or about mental illness. From “The Babadook,” and “The Conjuring,” to “The Haunting” or “Rebecca,” every great ghost story deep down is about those core themes. “The Haunting of Hill House” is the most riveting ghost story and horror series I’ve seen all year, and I say that as someone who has seen the supernatural sub-genre reduced to nothing but a series of shocks and bumps on the wall when films like “The Ring” and “Grudge” were popularized in the early aughts. To their credit, they are fine ghost films, but I missed the more humanistic elements.

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The Bootleg Files: The Hangman

BOOTLEG FILES 659: “The Hangman” (1964 animated short).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: No release to date.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It would be nice.

With Halloween a few days away, I was wondering if it would be too corny to stick a horror movie into this week’s column. But rather than go the traditional route of horror movies featuring ghouls, ghosts and God-knows-what the FX people conjure up, I am opting for an intellectual horror story where the real evil does not require the presence of the supernatural or the paranormal – but, instead, comes from the quotidian.
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Five Great Horror Movie Sidekicks

Horror Movie Sidekicks can be some of the best aspects of a horror movie. Sometimes the can be the last thread of redemption for our hero, sometimes they help the final girl see the end, sometimes they can cause a big realization, and sometimes they can simply sacrifice themselves to help our hero or heroine battle the villain. On rare occasions they can even be more memorable than the heroes. In the end, a good side kick is everything, and these are five particularly good ones.

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