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.
There aren’t many very good video game-to-movie adaptations out there, but “Silent Hill” manages to stray from the video game to movie curse by embracing what makes the classic games so entertaining while also telling its own tale. It’s a shame that “Silent Hill” never became a full fledged horror movie franchise, as Christophe Gans’ adaptation of the classic video game allows for a visually stunning horror thriller that spooks in all of the right places.
Proving once and for all that the “Conjuring” cinematic universe works so much better when New Line takes their time to offer something made with care rather than haste, “Annabelle Comes Home” is a third entry in to the spin off that delivers big time. 2014’s “Annabelle” is a distant memory now, as the series has managed to redeem the spin off transforming Annabelle the doll in to a worthwhile villain who brings only death and carnage where ever she is, and we never spend time trying to find out why. She’s merely an instrument for evil and that’s what helps “Annabelle Comes Home” as an entertaining monster movie about evil preying on the weak.
Twenty years ago, Studio Ghibli and the master Hayao Miyazaki opened my mind up to a new dimension of animation and storytelling that pretty much changed my life. It also inspired me to look toward telling bigger tales with richer characters, because Miyazaki is very much about rich characterization and brilliant metaphor. Much of his films revolve around the love of nature, the vastness of the open sky, and the effect humans can have on the environment and the world around us.
“The Conjuring” movie universe has been a horror lovers dream, but sadly a mixed bag of movies that all interconnect in some form. The core movies that started it all are fantastic, while the rest have been either abysmal or mediocre. Thankfully, there was still some momentum in the popularity of Annabelle to allow for “Annabelle: Creation” to restore the missed opportunity that was her spin off. “The Curse of La Llorona” is a nice departure from Ed and Lorraine Warren that digs deep in to the roots of “The Conjuring” universe. It’s a horror drama about parenting, grief, revenge, and a vicious maternal villain like the previous films, but this time the producers dig in to Latin folklore.
For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” we have a look at pitch for toys involving Italian Turtles, a horror tale about a pale lady, and a comedic spoof of an eighties Christmas horror classic.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
After 2007’s failed reboot “Nancy Drew” starring Emma Roberts, I was surprised anyone bothered to take the property in to theaters again. Roberts was very good in the role of Nancy Drew, but her take on the character was more self-aware and an homage, rather than a new, more modern approach for a new generation of girls. Thankfully Katt Shea approaches “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” with the definite desire to restart the series, and Sophia Lillis is now playing the iconic teenage sleuth, and manages to help deliver (co-Produced by Ellen DeGeneres) a satisfying mystery and a very good reboot.
Now with the easy accessibility of filmmaking technology and more filmmakers stepping forward, we’re getting more horror movies based around Halloween than ever. I’m just fine with that as Halloween was always a very under tapped mood back drop for such a long time in the horror genre. “10/31” is tailor made for Halloween and horror buffs looking for a good time with assorted tales of terror and black comedy. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a damn good treat nonetheless that I can’t wait to put alongside gems like “Tales of Halloween,” 2013’s “Mischief Night,” and “Trick r Treat.”