I’ve always been and will continue to be a staunch defender of John Carpenter. He’s one of my all time favorite filmmakers and even his weakest outputs have some great creativity to them. “Vampires” is fun in all its schlocky nonsense, and “Ghosts of Mars” is a fun remake of “Assault on Precinct 13” for a contemporary audience. Eighteen years later, “Ghosts of Mars” is fine C grade science fiction redeemed by Carpenter’s sharp direction, and the absolutely gorgeous Natasha Henstridge.
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.
2014’s “Annabelle” should have been an easy win. Take one of the most frightening elements from 2012’s “The Conjuring” and give her her own spooky tale about where she comes from and you have another hit. Sadly, “Annabelle” was an ill conceived and silly movie that is given a second chance with another prequel “Creation.” This film goes even further back before “The Conjuring” to where the doll was merely a dormant spirit lying and waiting for fresh souls to exploit.
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.
Many years later, director Sam Firstenberg’s “Ninja III” is an out of left field mix of horror, action, and ninjas, all of which were very popular in the eighties. I was never quite sure what happened to “Ninja” one or two, but when I was a kid, “Ninja III” was a bonafide favorite of mine that I’d indulge in every time it was on network television. Thankfully I’m not alone as “Ninja III” has become a cult classic that stands alone, much like “Troll 2.” There’s just something fascinating about a young woman and aerobics enthusiast being possessed by the ghost of a ninja, who begins to seek revenge on his past foes.
Well it’s done and sadly, this is probably the last we’ll ever see of Ashley Williams. Despite fans wanting more from “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” Starz! Verified that the series was officially cancelled after three seasons, and Bruce Campbell confirmed that he’s hanging up his boom stick and chainsaw as Ash forever. It stings to know Ash won’t be back in live action form at least, but you know what?
On the bright side we got three whole seasons of a great series. “Ash vs. Evil Dead” continued the movie series, paved new roads for the series, introduced new deadite fighting heroes we can root for, and never held back on gore, grue, and deadite chopping action and comedy. Thanks to Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell for giving fans a last hurrah for Ash Williams. Hail to the King.
Here are ten of my favorite moments from “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”
“Truth or Dare?” is a movie that feels like it belongs in 2005 where Hollywood was churning out abysmal remakes of mediocre Japanese horror movies. And that’s what it felt like I was sitting through. It feels like somewhere there’s an original Japanese version of “Truth or Dare?” that’s sadly not even very good, either. “Truth or Dare?” comes from Blumhouse which is usually great about releasing bold and unique horror movies. Even when they land with a thud, their cinematic experiments usually have potential to impress. “Truth or Dare?” wants to be this modern tech iteration of “It Follows” and “The Ring.” With a competent director and writer, this could very well have been a haunting story about the damaging effect of secrets, trauma, and how we never quite know the people we love.
The cult classic that spawned from the big craze from “The Exorcist” is finally on blu-ray in its original glory, as it was once butchered for television and altered for a wider audience. “Ruby” is a goofy film, albeit one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time, starring Piper Laurie whose undead husband begins haunting the family through her deaf and mute daughter. Despite some really striking scenes of horror, and some fine hammy performances from Laurie and the like, “Ruby” is pretty much a stinker.