Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

After the dumpster fire that was 2014’s “Ouija,” it’s a most impressive feat to see Mike Flanagan follow it up with a damn good horror film that serves as a prequel. It’s also kind of shocking how Flanagan is able to deliver a truly creepy horror movie that also almost makes the original “Ouija” retroactively better; if just a little. While “Origin of Evil” is not a masterpiece and feels a bit like a pseudo-sequel to “The Conjuring,” director Mike Flanagan is able to do what the original film couldn’t. He involves us in an engrossing and interesting story about loss, death, and grief, and how evil can prey on our desperation to want closure in a world where very few of us can actually get it.

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Train to Busan (Bu-San-Haeng) (2016) (DVD)

If you hate zombie movies, and think there’s nothing left in the sub-genre, you’ll be surprised with Yeon Sang-ho’s “Train to Busan” and what it does with big budget zombie movies. Director Yeon Sang-ho practices the tradition of George Romero’s horror movies with thick social commentary, while also tapping in to the blockbuster crowds and proves you can have one without losing the value of the other. “Train to Busan” came completely out of left field for me back in 2016, and was not only the best horror movie of the summer, but one of the best movies of the year, easily. Yeon Sang-ho explores how a massive society is destroyed by flesh eating, rabid zombies, all of whom are relentless and charge rapid fire at their victims from around corners.

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Pitchfork (2017)

I can’t help but appreciate the inherent ambition behind the production of “Pitchfork.” Director and Writer Glenn Douglas Packard delivers a slasher film that offers the classic tropes, while also feeling like something completely different. He also manages to concoct a premise that’s actually original and doesn’t feature the same old idiot teenagers looking to party who get stranded or whatnot. He actually sets out to deliver a unique premise, and gives our characters their own motivations. It’s also not often we get slasher movies with final boys, but “Pitchfork” creates one who is not only genuinely heroic, and selfless, but facing his own dilemma when we meet him.

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Retro Puppet Master (1999)

While “Puppet Master 3” was a prequel to “Puppet Master” parts one and two, “Retro Puppet Master” is a prequel to the entire series. Rather than being chased by the Nazis, a young Toulon is facing off against mysterious undead agents working for a demonic force that wants his life serum. In “Retro Puppet Master,” the writers pay tribute to the original movies by re-casting Guy Rolfe as Toulon. Still running from Nazis, he camps out for the night in a cabin and regales his puppets with how he originally began his journey.

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5 Things “Jason Takes Manhattan” Taught Me

It’s Friday the 13th and once again I thought it’d be fun to take another look at one of the most widely derided and mocked entry in to the iconic horror series “Friday the 13th.” In 1989 Paramount promised Jason would be visiting New York, and promoted it heavily as a stand out entry in the series. I fondly remember the teaser blowing me away when my dad took my brother and me to see “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Sadly the studio cut most of the film’s budget big time, and in a one hundred minute movie, Jason is only in New York for a grand total of fifteen minutes. And a majority of that time Canada blatantly doubles for New York. Because, you know, New York has a ton of Hockey billboards around the city. In either case, here are five things the deliciously terrible “Jason Takes Manhattan” taught me.

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Hush (2016)

After the slow burn of his indie thriller “Absentia,” director Mike Flanagan delights again with “Hush.” One of the many films in the grand tradition of “Wait Until Dark,” director Flanagan teams a disabled heroine against a merciless predator who not only wants to murder, but also delights in making her final moments as painful as possible. With a limited setting and cast, director Mike Flanagan is able to take what could have been a tired rehash of tropes and clichés, and transforms it in to a devastating and intense game of cat and mouse. Maddie is a woman who was left deaf and mute after a viral infection. Seeking to finish her new novel, she ventures out in to a condo in the woods as a means of getting away from a turbulent relationship and figuring out how to finish her new manuscript. One night, Maddie doesn’t notice the wolf standing at her door who quickly realizes her inability to detect him.

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Drive-In Mutants: Hell Night (1981)

Every month we discuss some of the best and worst cult films ever made, from the hits, classics, underground, grind house, and utterly obscure, from Full Moon, and Empire, to Cannon and American International, it’s all here, minus the popcorn, and car fumes.

Hell Night
1981
Compass International Pictures
Directed by:
Chuck Russell
Starring: Linda Blair, Vincent Van Patten, Peter Barton, Suki Goodwin

The Plot is Afoot! It’s Hell Night, the night before classes officially start, and Marti and her friends have been challenged by Alpha Sigma Rho to stay overnight at the dreaded Garth Mansion. The Mansion has a long history involving a deformed family, murder, and suicide, and the classmates are intent on making their night terrifying.  Taking the challenge, soon they begin to realize they’re being terrorized by the deformed owner of the manor, and are unknowingly locked in the mansion thanks to the steel gates. Now they have to escape and make their way back to town, or fight for survival and hope for a rescue.

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Go North (2017)

A potentially apocalyptic even wiped out all adults from the country, leaving kids to take care of younger kids.  In this situation, some became leaders, some teachers, while others thrived in chaos.  As things are looking bleaker and bleaker, Josh decides to do something and heads North with a friend.  Soon, some of those in charge go after them.  Through this, all will discover more about the world and themselves. Directed by Matt Ogens who co-wrote with Kyle Lierman, the film takes the post-apocalyptic approach that is being seen more and more again and removes all adults from the picture, leaving it to a Lord of the Flies situation with kids being left to their own devices and some knowing better how to keep going while others look for escape.

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