I pretty much grew up with Elvira as a kid, and I’m old enough to remember the bygone era of the horror host. Elvira was one of the last hold outs for a long time as Television changed formats and needed less filler with big personalities introducing us to movies. Elvira managed to live on as a cult icon, appearing in music, and on pretty much anything and everything that involved horror and or Halloween. It was only a matter of time until there was “Mistress of the Dark”
Director Patrick Rea’s horror thriller “Arbor Demon” (Originally titled “Enclosure”) is a quite compelling and eerie tale of supernatural interference during what can usually be a tumultuous time. As per the usual with Patrick Rea, “Arbor Demon” is a much more human approach to the typical survival horror movie. His movie is set primarily within the closed in quarters of a tent in the deep woods. But he’s able to derive a lot of terror from the surroundings, and derives some great performances from his cast. In particular there’s Fiona Dourif who impresses once again in a role she dives in to and commands with a lot of pathos and charisma.
It’s really hard to ignore the charm of Ernest and his Halloween adventure. “Ernest Scared Stupid” most definitely has a lot of nostalgic value and sentimental value, but it’s also a very good kids’ horror movie where Ernest battles a bunch of trolls. Ernest and Jim Varney has just always had a good chemistry and here it’s on full display when trolls are unleashed during Halloween. Here, Varney plays Ernest as a garbage collector in a Missouri town. Hundreds of years before a troll that used magic to turn kids in to wooden dolls was locked in a tree and kept dormant. Ernest helps his three friends Kenny Binder, Elizabeth and Joey construct their own tree house which they use as a means of entertainment and warding off the local bullies.
William Friedkin’s treatment of William Peter Blatty’s groundbreaking novel thankfully translated in to a groundbreaking horror film that continues to be the standard for the dismal “possession” movie sub-genre. Friedkin’s take on Blatty’s novel is a masterstroke of horror and dramatic cinema, and is easily one of the most intelligent horror films ever made. Ellen Burstyn plays Chris MacNeil a woman still reeling from a bitter divorce who is tasked with a heavy work schedule filming a movie and attending to her young daughter Regan. Linda Blair is brilliant as Regan, a young girl longing for attention, especially from her estranged father, and begins to make contact with an imaginary friend through a Ouija board she called “Captain Howdy.”
Catherine Sweeney wants to make her first fiction feature film, a zombie romantic comedy, but to do so; she must find people to finance her and help produce the film. After everyone she meets in the industry is telling her to put a speaking dog in her film as it will sell it like crazy. After first resisting this idea, she eventually gives in, losing her integrity and possibly her sanity in the process. This film about the plight of the filmmaker, particularly of the female horror filmmaker, is written and directed by Kate Shenton whose first feature film this is. The lead she creates here feels like a woman some of have met in the industry, possibly a little bit or a lot of Shenton herself as she has to have seen a lot of what Sweeney sees in her own career.
“E.T.” is pretty much the quintessential Steven Spielberg film. It’s very much an autobiographical tale, and speaks waves about the life Spielberg led and the life he almost wished he’d had. “E.T” is about a weird boy from a divorced family who gains a kinship with yet another outcast who happens to be from another world. The way protagonist Elliott is able to bond with the alien that is stranded on Earth is possibly because Elliott is something of an alien in his own world as well. Despite his best intentions to mix in with his family and his class, he’s something of an oddity who gains something of a sense of identity after garnering a bond with someone from a whole other galaxy.
Fiona Dourif is one of the premiere actresses making waves in the horror genre, and she continues delivering powerhouse performances in one of the more creative and complex horror films director Patrick Rea has ever given fans. After her powerhouse performance in “Curse of Chucky,” Dourif stars in “Enclosure,” a film that’s teeming with tension, terror, and mystery and ends as a pretty original twist on the lost campers in the woods trope. I initially assumed “Enclosure” was another big foot or yeti horror tale, but director Patrick Rea strives for so much more, and delivers a film that’s so much more meaningful than a simple monster in the woods tale. “Enclosure” is very much a Patrick Rea film with his usual injection of tension, twists, and subtle humor, along with a premise that transforms in to a whole other beast mid-way.
A group of students heads to the island cabin one of the girl’s parents just bought. Once there, they party like they used to, drinking and partaking in recreational drugs. Meanwhile, in a medical facility that looks more like a prison, tests are bring run on unwilling participants. Soon it becomes clear that not all is at is seems when the students start attacking each other.