Fear Street, Part 3: 1666 (2021)

Director Leigh Janiak’s creation of the “Fear Street” trilogy has to be one of the most impressive cinematic accomplishments this year. It’s tough to find a horror trilogy where every film feels different, but clicks together like a puzzle, so seamlessly. “Fear Street” had every chance of being a complete mess, especially with how it goes backward in time to fill in the gaps in its narrative. Not to mention the fact that it trusts audiences will return is ambitious and often impressive.

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The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

“The Conjuring” is a series I hope studios keep re-visiting (with some caveats—ahem—“Annabelle”), since there’s so much they can do with the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. At this point the movie has taken many of their actual cases and expanded them in to wonderful horror films and “The Devil Made Me Do It” is no exception. True it’s not as good as the first two films, but the third part in the core movie series really does help to emphasize the heroism of Ed and Lorraine.

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Earwig and the Witch (2020) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I’m one of the traditionalists that think Studio Ghibli should have stuck to hand drawn animation, but sometimes there’s just no fighting change. With “Earwig and the Witch” there’s so much new, that you’re almost tricked in to forgetting that the movie almost has no real narrative. At all. This is one of Studio Ghibli’s more aimless movies that doesn’t have a whole lot to it. Substantially, the movie packs in some great animation, and it’s quite startling how some of the motion for some scenes looks so realistic. I’m not going to say that the movie is an accomplishment in regards to Ghibli because Pixar has pulled off so much better.

Hell, Dreamworks has accomplished so much more with this medium.

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Unholy (2007)

“Unholy” stars horror veteran Adrienne Barbeau who does her best to cope with the material she’s given in this shlocky, dull ghost film. In one of the only gripping moments of the film, Barbeau’s character Martha arrives home for her daughter Hope’s birthday to find her in the basement preparing to commit suicide. Truly, Barbeau and co-star Siri Baruc sell this moment sans any dramatic pitch in the score. Subsequently, director Daryl Goldberg can never seem to break out of the vicious cycle of clichés, predictable plot twists, nor enough to provide material that will put the talents of its infinitely small cast to work.

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The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw (2020) [Fantasia Fest 2020]

In small, rural village where nothing is growing and people are dying, a woman has her crops thriving and seems to be doing great, so her village’s population deems her to be a witch. While she is hiding an important secret, it may not be what the villagers are expecting.

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Simon, King of the Witches (1971)

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.

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