Remember that thing we learned about Samara from “The Ring” and “The Ring Two”? There’s a bit more of the story we didn’t learn about her and we have to sit through a hundred minutes to find it out. Why? All for the sake of a surprise ending that apes James Wan, but packs none of his usual flare. Like, you know… an actual surprise. Truthfully, I saw the surprise twist coming for “Rings” about twenty minutes in to the actual film, and while I appreciate wanting to reboot the series for a new generation that only knows what a VHS or VCR is through history books or novelty articles on Buzzfeed, “Rings” just isn’t a good movie.
Mike Flanagan is one of the best directors working in film today. His list of genre offerings have been impressive, not just because the movies have been great, but because he knows how to build a damn good narrative. Flanagan has consistently impressed me, and with “Gerald’s Game” he delivers a stellar horror drama from the works of Stephen King. Even the best directors have fallen under the weight of the difficult to adapt King tales, but “Gerald’s Game” manages to be an unnerving and complex dramatic thriller that is focused on character and the sometimes weird coincidences of life and fate.
Stephen King has always been less about ghosts and monsters, and more about the ghosts and monsters in man. “The Shining” and “It” were so much less about the supernatural, as they were the darkness that is already there in humanity that helps breed evil and allow it to thrive. The stay at the Stanley hotel, the experience that inspired “The Shining” also helped King garner a keen insight in to the human condition. “1408” is something of an extension of “The Shining” where a man is already doing battle on the inside and comes face to face with a presence that is only a mere extension of himself. That’s scarier than anything that anyone can conjure up.
“Twilight Zone: The Movie” is one of my childhood favorite movies, it’s a pretty all star tribute to one of my all time favorite television series. While it’s by no means a masterpiece, it’s also never been as bad as many people have proclaimed it. It has genuine heart, some wonderful production quality and a great sense of humor to it. Re-watching it years later, it’s still very heavily flawed, but damnit, it’s also a strong anthology horror film that’s inconsistent in tone, but also embraces the weird and wonderful of the original show. Despite the horrendous legacy involving the on set deaths, the movie is worth checking out, and sets the stage for the solid eighties reboot.
The “Wes Craven Presents Dracula” series has been one of the kookiest and oddest trilogies ever conceived by a studio. Obviously the trilogy is just a hodgepodge of three vampire movies connected because Dracula. But it’s an eccentric trilogy when you take a step back. The first was a sleek action horror film with Dracula being the reincarnated Judas. The second is a goofy thriller about scientists trying to manipulate Dracula’s blood in to a healing medicine. The third is a romance with a martial arts fighting rogue priest who is trying to stop immigrants from becoming Dracula’s imported food.
It’s tough to find someone like Elvira who can squeeze in so many double entendres in to only a half hour of comedy. “The Elvira Show” was essentially like the movie from the late eighties, but extended in to a sitcom setting. It was “Bewitched” meets “Sabrina” meets “Married with Children” with Elvira dominating the screen as always with her sexuality and sharp delivery of one liners. There are so many great sexual puns squeezed in to the opening scenes of the pilot from replying to hunky officer Chip “I bet you can’t eat just one,” to explaining that she and her family will be like the Cleavers, with she, of course, being “The Beaver.”
William Friedkin’s adaptation of “Bug” is a clear and stark picture of how often it only takes a nudge to bring someone in to the deep pool of insanity and how they can drown in their own delusions. “Bug” is a slow burn horror thriller that pictures two people colliding in a perfect storm of misery and sadness that have convinced themselves that there are dark forces outside that have caused their sadness and misery. It’s not negligence, or ignorance, or just plain bad decision making, it’s “something else” entirely, and what’s haunting is how easy they are willing to bend to the notion that there is an elaborate force outside their door manipulating their lives, rather than own up to the fact that some of us can never truly learn from our mistakes and from our pasts.
Halloween night, a motel room, someone has requested a very specific call girl for very specific reason. As the client and provider get to know each other, a story of survival, betrayal, love, and life is woven.