It’s stunning that there has never been much stride made in the realm of possession movies. It seems like “The Exorcist” was the beginning and end of the sub-genre, followed by decades of films that ranged from serviceable to downright abysmal. “Belzebuth” further proves that theory as it’s a middling horror thriller that’s densely packed, kind of confusing, and ironically manages to deliver some good scares from the real life atrocities it depicts rather than the images of demons, evil Jesus Christ, and exorcisms.
The only studio that’s managed to build an interesting cinematic universe beside Marvel is Warner who’s “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has been a long stretch of movies varying in quality. The interconnected movie verse takes Valak the horrific nun from “The Conjuring 2” and gives her own film. What should have been an easy scare fest lending a spotlight to one of the most memorable monsters in “The Conjuring 2” ends up as yet another miss like “Annabelle.” I don’t know why it’s so tough for the producers of the “Conjuring” cinematic universe to produce spin offs for their series’ monsters.
There really is no one on Earth that can top the combined forces of Dario Argento and Goblin’s excellent “Suspiria,” so Luca Guadagnino doesn’t even try. Instead, this new version of “Suspiria” is less a remake and more of a new tale in the same universe, or a spiritual sequel if you really want to get technical. Luca Guadagnino definitely approaches his spin on “Suspiria” with about as much ambition and enthusiasm he can muster up and what results is a wonky, surreal, bizarre, and yet overstuffed six act horror film that never quite knows when to call it quits. That said, “Suspiria” will most definitely acquire a fan base and I assume years from now fans will debate on whether this or Argento’s original is the superior film.
“The Conjuring” cinematic universe kind of snuck up on the horror community over the years, prompting a series of movies that have been hit or miss. While I think “The Conjuring” cinematic universe has a ton of potential to be fantastic, at its current state, there’s still a lot for the studios to learn from the previous films. On its own, “The Nun” is a perfectly fine bit of gothic horror that’s sadly mostly half baked, and under developed. It’s saved by the small cast’s strong turns, and the dazzling imagery that successfully channels the old Hammer films. “The Nun” sets out to build a different energy from the rest of the movies in “The Conjuring” franchise, and for better and for worse, it accomplishes that.
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.
It makes sense that Shout Factory would package “Tales from the Crypt” with “Vault of Horror” since both horror films are essentially a part of the same universe, and are adapted from the genius EC Comics brand. In “Vault of Horror” you can even see one of the characters sit beside a stack of EC Comics while turning to continue reading a “Tales from the Crypt” novel. It’s a good thing too since both films are stellar horror anthologies, practicing the tradition of EC Comics’ storytelling formula that involves revenge, irony, plot twists, and turning the tables on characters at every turn. If you can spare the time, these films deserve to be viewed as a double bill, because it’s a master class of storytelling and creeps.
Joseph Sargent’s “Nightmares” is one of the more underrated anthology horror films to ever cross the genre and it’s surprising how constantly overlooked it is. While it’s not a masterpiece, it definitely serves up its fair share of strong horror tales. It’s probably because it doesn’t have a mascot like the Creeper or the Cryptkeeper to tell its tales. We’re essentially treated to a pair of glowing eyes in a storm, and hands that open us up to some really creepy tales. “Nightmares” wastes no time with fatty introductions and gets right to the thick of the creeps.