It’s just such a travesty that Adam Wingard’s shot at the “Blair Witch” mythology flopped and has been generally derided by fans alike. I, for one, completely loved “Blair Witch,” not only for being such a unique and terrifying experience, but for the respect Adam Wingard has for the mythology. Even if you never bothered to watch those documentaries about Burkittsville, director Wingard brings everything full circle, including nods to the documentaries, the much derided sequel, and the original film. It’s a legacy sequel, but one that also acts as an impromptu book end to the whole series. After this I don’t know when we’ll ever see anything about the Blair Witch ever again, but it’s a great consolation the series goes out on this note.
Returns to theaters across the nation for a 20th Anniversary celebration, complete with a new 4K restoration. Premiered in theaters Thursday, January 5 in Japanese with English subtitles and will screen Monday, January 9 with an English dub at 7 p.m. local time. Tickets are available now. The event will also feature a screening of the never-before-released music video directed by Hayao Miyazaki, On Your Mark!
Back when “Princess Mononoke” hit the states in 1999, I literally had no idea who Hayao Miyazaki was. My teacher in high school kept a poster of the movie up on her bulletin board and I thought the movie looked amazing. Years after the Oscar buzz, I discovered “Princess Mononoke” and the brilliance of Studio Ghibli. The great thing about Studio Ghibli is there is no wrong way to enter in to their universe.
Between Joseph Ruben’s “Dreamscape” and Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” arriving at just about the same time, 1984 had a keen insight in to dreams and transforming it in to compelling entertainment. Whereas the latter film is a dark horror masterpiece, “Dreamscape” is its own kind of cinematic offering. It’s an entertaining and often intelligent look in to dreams that opts more for dark fantasy with a hint of adventure. It also sparks allusions, however coincidental, Craven’s film featuring dream demons and a villain who in one instance conjures up blades from his fingers to attack hero Alex Gardner. Despite the coincidence, it’s fun to imagine these films are kind of working within the same universe.
Gregg Bishop adapts for the big screen one of arguably best segments from the “V/H/S” horror anthology entitled “Amateur Night.” The original segment was the most memorable of the bunch and was filled with tension, disturbing gore, and a very memorable final scene. Thankfully, “Siren” grabs on to most of the original short film’s aesthetic, including a lot of call backs to the original segment. Wisely, the director and studio re-cast Hannah Fierman who has a haunting beauty that most viewers really will have a hard time forgetting any time soon. What made “Amateur Night” so haunting was that Fierman could be oddly beautiful and shockingly horrifying at the drop of a dime. Here she invokes the same qualities, playing arguably the same character.
Ingrid & the Black Hole (Canada) (2016)
A boy and a girl see what they think is a black hole one night and ponder on time travel. Written and directed by Leah Johnston, this short is sweet without being saccharine and it has a touching way of going through these two kids’ lives and showing how a small thing can affect someone for a very long time. The cinematography by Christopher Ball looks great and shows the night sky in a beautiful manner as well as the interpersonal relationships of the characters through the years.
You can’t get anymore Halloween than teaming up Marvel’s monstrous Hulk alongside the Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange. On Halloween Night, demons begin wreaking havoc in New York City, prompting Doctor Strange to do everything he can to slay them and bring them in to his holding cell in his temple. Thankfully he calls upon the Incredible Hulk to help him, and Hulk is more than happy to oblige in stomping some demons. Little does Hulk know that the demons are manifestations of human victims that are being held hostage by the villainous Nightmare who has kept them held in their own dream plains. Strange ventures in to the dream dimension to save Bruce Banner when Nightmare begins using the Hulk to hurt Strange.
For “The Monster,” director Bryan Bertino who debuted with the excellent “The Strangers,” channels “Cujo,” exploring a family in disarray and what happens when they’re tested by a force of nature that’s unstoppable and deadly. “The Monster” is two parts a family drama and one part horror movie. The film’s monster serves as something of a metaphor for family dysfunction and the potential for character Lizzy to end up the victim of her rage-aholic father. Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballentine work beautifully together as a mom and daughter Kathy and Lizzy who spend more time arguing with one another than working for a goal. When Lizzy decides she wants to move with her father, Kathy begrudgingly takes her. After hitting a wolf on the road, they’re left stranded, and stuck in a rain storm. Sadly the wolf has managed to lure a monstrous beast from within the heart of the woods, leaving Kathy and Lizzy vulnerable and incapable of diving to safety.
David Decoteau’s “Nightmare Sisters” is the result of economic independent horror filmmaking and one of the finer artifacts of eighties horror sleaze. It three of the most iconic scream queens in movie history working together to dole out the best comedy that they can. “Nightmare Sisters” is a silly and often weird horror film that is oddly bloodless, considering it spends a shocking amount of time setting up the fact that our trio of lusty protagonists becomes man eating succubi. In either case, “Nightmare Sisters” is a kitschy bit of eighties exploitation that garners a unique history behind with DeCoteau using the remaining funds for “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl O Rama” to complete this movie. That’s just economic and smart thinking.