Nightmare Cinema (2019)

While I wouldn’t peg the Mick Garris fueled “Nightmare Cinema” a horror masterpiece, I had a good time with the selection of horror stories, and loved how various storytellers in the film managed to go in completely different directions than I originally thought they would. Despite a shifty story frame, like most horror anthologies, “Nightmare Cinema” is a mixed bag of horror treats that will click with most lovers of the format, if only for its ambition and style.

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You Have to See This! Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

When I was a kid, “Hello Mary Lou” was one of my all time favorite horror movies. It was a sequel to a film I didn’t see until many years later, and it was always presented in edited, cut for time versions on Channel 11 WPIX in New York, but I sure as hell loved it. It was just a wacky, occasionally creepy movie that was so much crazier than I originally thought it was. The only theme that “Prom Night II” has in common with the original slasher movie is the overtone of revenge from days past. That is about as far as it goes, as “Prom Night II” takes a massive departure from the original premise involving an axe murderer out for revenge stalking high schoolers leading in to a disco centric prom with Jamie Lee Curtis front and center.

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The Nun (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

The only studio that’s managed to build an interesting cinematic universe beside Marvel is Warner who’s “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has been a long stretch of movies varying in quality. The interconnected movie verse takes Valak the horrific nun from “The Conjuring 2” and gives her own film. What should have been an easy scare fest lending a spotlight to one of the most memorable monsters in “The Conjuring 2” ends up as yet another miss like “Annabelle.” I don’t know why it’s so tough for the producers of the “Conjuring” cinematic universe to produce spin offs for their series’ monsters.

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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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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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You Have to See This! Beyond the Gates (2016)

The eighties are often credited as the time of the VHS and video stores, but the nineties is where the VHS truly hit its stride. Throughout the eighties, the VHS spent most of its time in a war with Betamax, trying to lure customers to their format. Although Betamax was technically superior, VHS eventually won out, and by 1990 while VHS was collecting and reaping its rewards, Betamax was still trying to convince us that it was the superior format. VHS was so powerful it even evaded being sideswiped by the technically superior, albeit more expensive, Laserdisc, which jumped out like a rocket in the early nineties and eventually faded away.

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The [REC] Collection [Blu-Ray]

While the rest of the horror community are celebrating the big releases from Scream Factory this year like “Creepshow” and “Trick r Treat,” in comes a somewhat overlooked horror child known as the “[REC] Collection.” Shout! outdoes themselves packing together all four films from the found footage horror series from Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, and it’s a box set that should be explored if you’ve never seen the “[REC]” films or have only ever seen the original.

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