Hollywood loves to look for new angles on public domain fairy tales and intellectual properties. They’re always looking for a platform for a brand new franchise, and they either go the horror route or the action route. If one fails, they automatically revert to the other a few years later. “Cinderella” and “Snow White” have been brought to the big and small screen as pseudo-horror movies and action bonanzas, with varying degrees of success. The one fairy tale that hasn’t dodged the massive overhaul for a new generation is “Hansel and Gretel.”
There’s something kind of charming about Alex Merkin’s “House of the Witch.” It’s a straight up rip off of “Night of the Demons” while also feeling a lot like a fan film for “The Blair Witch Project.” It’s part are all from much better movies made before, but even at its most clunky, I didn’t have a bad time. “House of the Witch” is that kind of movie you could probably appreciate as a passing treat on a random night if you had absolutely nothing to do. I also found the final scene to be pretty damn clever, as it at least gives us a reason for the seemingly random series of events that unfold.
The explanations I’ve read on online for “Simon, King of the Witches” insist that the obscure Andrew Prine movie is not meant to be taken seriously. It’s strictly dark comedy. But then you watch one of the most nonsensical unnecessary opening monologues ever filmed, and wonder if the writer himself was high while creating this genre confused tedious mess. “I really am one of the few true magicians,” Simon insists in the prologue, while declaring his affinity for magic, and aspirations to be a god. It is then followed by the man being arrested for vagrancy while being hulled away from his home: a sewer.
1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is and is still widely considered the definitive fantasy masterpiece that has barely aged after so many decades. Even film fans that don’t care much for older films still have a hard time turning down “The Wizard of Oz” and ignoring its indefinable charm, and sense of adventure. Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard Of Oz” remains one of the most influential and engaging masterpieces, one filled with awe, surrealism, and a healthy sense of mystery, even eighty years after its initial release.
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I’m surprised “Treehouse” ends up being the best episode of Blumhouse and Hulu’s ambitious anthology “Into the Dark,” yet. I have to admit that I hated James Roday’s “Gravy,” so to see him approach “Treehouse” with a very relevant message, an inherent tone of terror, and some darkly comic undertones, was a welcome surprise. “Into the Dark” has been more hit than miss since its introduction in October, but with “Treehouse” it hits right out of the park as an ode to spring that explores hell having no fury like a woman scorned.
Just in time for “Women in Horror Month,” Andrew Fleming’s “The Craft” is one of those movies that’s gained some heavy cult momentum over the years, and for good reason. Even with the nineties aesthetic, “The Craft” has aged quite well offering up a mature genre picture that begins as a coming of age supernatural drama and gradually transforms in to a horror film. There just aren’t films like “The Craft” anymore, and that’s a shame, since Andrew Fleming offers up a unique tale of good and evil, and power corrupting absolutely.
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.