Once in a while, the stars align and the moon shines bright enough to where a bonafide cult classic of horror cinema is born. Out of the absolute depths abysmal cinema comes one of the most laughable and painfully awful horror movies of the year. From rock icon Glenn Danzig, no less, comes his directorial debut, a live action adaptation of his comic book series “Verotik,” a title that mixes erotica and violence in to one monster. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea for an anthology. But someone forgot to tell Danzig that if you want to direct a movie, you probably should know how to operate a camera, first.
I originally checked out “White Snake” when it was at the Fantasia Film Festival last year, and it’s not what I’d call the best anime movie to open 2020 with. While I love and appreciate the brilliant animation, “White Snake” is somewhat of a shallow and dull anime epic that packs in a lot of sub-genres and themes involving demons, war, the supernatural, dragons, and a very exhaustive reliance on ancient mythology. It would probably help the experience of “White Snake,” but having to do research to enjoy a movie is not appealing, even for movies that garner my interest.
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.
From Mill Creek Entertainment comes the perfect Halloween treat, The Complete series of “Forever Knight.” If ever there was a nineties series, it’s a show that takes a procedural cop drama and pairs it with vampires. One of the precursors to cult shows like “Angel” and “Blood Ties,” the syndicated series lasted for a total of three seasons and became obscure for many years after its run. This is shocking considering the series has its faults, but is genuinely a fun and Gothic vampire series. This was the decade where a lot of radical concepts were posed for television (Ahem—“Cop Rock”), but “Forever Knight” plays the whole premise with a straight face.
Even as a fan of “The Conjuring” movie universe, I’ll admit that the movies within the line up of the Warrens’ saga have been a mixed bag. But the foot work and improvements they’ve made on the “Annabelle” saga has been pretty fantastic as the studio finally seems to have a firm grasp on why the character is so popular and why she poses such a threat to the Warrens within this movie universe. “Annabelle Comes Home” is an ultimate battle of good vs. evil, exploring how the fight against the paranormal begins and ends at the Warrens’ home base.
You’re just not prepared for what Charles Phillip Moore has to offer you, the horror fan. Never have I seen such a bat shit insane, moronic horror movie that is so tough to digest, but goes down so well. “Demon Wind” is the epitome of bad low budget horror that seems to basically make it up as it goes along. By the time we reached the climax of the movie I literally just gave up trying to comprehend what I was watching and basically laugh my ass off at the sheer hideousness of it all.
Although “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has gone down considerably well with audiences it might remain one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. The original books from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell were compilations of urban legends, urban folklore, and original tales, the former of which had been shared for generations by many people. They began life as morality stories and then became campfire tales. Sure André Øvredal could have turned the books in to a normal anthology, but in the end he opts for something of more substance. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about stories. The stories of the past. The stories we tell one another. The stories the characters tell each other to survive. The stories that can ultimately destroy us.
I don’t know what Warner are planning for a domestic release, but “White Snake” (Warner Bros. first animated feature made completely in China) is far too complex and adult for a family friendly audience or broader crowd, and way too briskly paced for movie fans that appreciate the more subtle tone of Pixar and Studio Ghibli. As someone genuinely looking forward to “White Snake” I loved the animation and genuine sentiment behind it, I just wish I wasn’t so bored by it half the time.