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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Your Required Holiday Horror Film for Veteran's Day, Sunday, November 11th: 'Jacob's Ladder' (1990)

After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña), and ex-wife, Sarah (Patricia Kalember), try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer's chiropractor friend, Louis (Danny Aiello), fails to reach him as he descends into madness.

Release date: November 2, 1990 (USA)
Director: Adrian Lyne
Screenplay: Bruce Joel Rubin

Monday, November 5, 2018

Horror-thriller STRANGE NATURE, starring John Hennigan, in theaters


It’s man versus nature when wrestling superstar John Hennigan and acclaimed actor Stephen Tobolowsky (‘’Silicon Valley’’, ‘’Deadwood’’) play ‘leapfrog’ with mutated amphibians in Ojala Productions’ highly-anticipated eco-thriller Strange Nature.

By moving in with her estranged hermit father in the backwoods of a small town, Kim (Lisa Sheridan, “The 4400”) and son Brody find themselves in the middle of a horrendous phenomenon where deadly offspring mutations spread from animals to humans.

Based on true unsolved outbreaks of wildlife mutations, fall fright-fest Strange Nature marks the directorial debut of fx maestro James Ojala (Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Thor, Tron: Legacy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and stars Lisa Sheridan (“Invasion”), Stephen Tobolowsky (Memento), John Hennigan (Minutes to Midnight), Tiffany Shepis (Victor Crowley), and Carlos Alazraqui (The Funhouse Massacre).

Friday, November 2, 2018

5 Weeks of Halloween Week 5 Required Watch: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

"Sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters."

You should have seen THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, in one form or another, at least a dozen  times by now, but if you haven't, we're sure its playing somewhere at least through the weekend. Bending genres and genders to a punk rock musical in ways that will twist your sensibilities, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is a Halloween staple. It also introduced us to the man who would become an icon as our favorite wise cracking evil clown. We can't forget Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon in their break out roles or Meat Loaf. Of course, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW also provided us with one of the most important and quintessential dance tracks for our Halloween parties.

There's still a few days left in the week if you haven't gotten your dose of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW yet this year.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Your Required Holiday Horror Film for All Saints Day, Thursday, November 1st: 'All Souls Day: Dia de los Muertos' (2005)

When young lovers Joss (Travis Wester) and Alicia (Marisa Ramirez) arrive in a small Mexican town, they inadvertently stumble upon an attempted human sacrifice. Eventually they find their way to the local sheriff, Blanco (David Keith), and begin to piece together the supernatural puzzle, which involves the dead rising from their graves. As the village's dark history is revealed, it becomes clear that the evil stems from the immortal Vargas Diaz (Danny Trejo), who must be stopped at any cost.

Initial release: January 22, 2005
Director: Jeremy Kasten
Budget: 1.2 million USD
Music composed by: Joe Kraemer
Screenplay: Mark A. Altman, Rossella Drudi

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Your Required Holiday Horror Film for Halloween, Wednesday, October 31st: 'Trick 'r Treat' (2007)

Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of a small town face real ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Tales of terror reveal the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight and a grumpy hermit's encounter with a sinister trick-or-treater.

Release date: October 4, 2009 (USA)
Director: Michael Dougherty
Budget: 12 million USD
Cinematography: Glen MacPherson
Production companies: Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions

my thoughts on.... 'Halloween' (2018)

As with all of my reviews of films for The Creepercast, I fully recommend that you check each and every one of them out. I am one man and this is my opinion. I've seen plenty of movies that received reviews that were the complete opposite of how I saw the film. These writers, directors, producers and actors all put a lot of time and love into these projects. They deserve to be seen and appreciated for what they are. Everyone has a dream and I fully support the people that take the time to make theirs a reality. With that being said....

Every once in a while you get excited about something that's coming out. I'm not talking about general excitement, but honest to goodness, kid on Christmas, excitement. That's how it was when I went to the theater to see the newest installment in the 'Halloween' legacy. Way back when I first heard about a pitch that had happened by David Gordon Green and, none other than, Danny McBride for a new 'Halloween' film.... needless to say, I was confused. What on earth does this comedic actor and (primarily) television writer/director, know about horror? But the more I read about it and saw the legitimate passion they had for the project, the more interested I became. Then they dropped the bombshell. This was going to be a direct sequel to the original 1978 John Carpenter film. Once again, I was a little bit gobsmacked. Why on earth would you retcon everything from the past 6 sequels (not counting part 3) and/or not continue what Rob Zombie had started? It seemed a rather bold decision. Once again, I read all of the articles and saw that they had a vision. They saw something fresh and new that the rest of us did not and genuinely wanted to make the 'Halloween' film that we'd all been waiting for. I mean, the original part 2 was written in a drunken stupor and John Carpenter himself, wasn't really keen on how it turned out. Part 3 was it's own thing. Parts 4-8 created an almost impossible timeline of events and confusing back story that watered down the original material to an almost unwatchable place. Even part 8, that really could have been something good, turned into one of the biggest farces ever committed to the screen. Rob's films, essentially, could stand on their own and didn't leave much room for a continuation of the story. So, when I looked at it as a whole, what other direction could you go? Then, Jamie Lee Curtis signed on and all was well in the world. At that point, we all knew that this may be something special. Here we are, a couple of years later and the film has been unleashed to the world and it is doing some crazy box office. This just proves that Michael Myers has a staying power that can't be underestimated and that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The film begins in Smith's Grove Sanitarium, the home of Michael Myers for the past 40 years. Now, an old man, he's never spoken a word and lives his days out as a bit of a modern day boogeyman; retired. Two podcasters come to visit him, in the hopes of getting some kind of an interview and a story for their latest episode. Upon meeting with Michael, one of them shows him the mask and we get the idea that perhaps there is something still a bit supernatural about 'The Shape'. They then head to the home Laurie Strode. The survivor of that single murderous night, in which Michael killed five other people and left her alive to tell the tale. She now lives in, basically, a compound that's compete with a shooting range, floodlights, all kinds of security and no one else but herself. The two podcasters once again attempt to get a story, in the hopes of possibly having her and Micheal sit down together to hash out their differences. We see Laurie is now a PTSD sufferer and has had a life full of sadness and struggle. All because of the actions of one man. She turns down the offer and escorts the two off her property. We then meet her daughter and granddaughter, who rarely see her, but are soon joined together for a meal. This turns out to be a bit of a good bye dinner, as Laurie plans to murder Michael as he's being moved to another location. She realizes that she can't go through with it and while Michael is on his way to his new home, he escapes. From there, it's back to Haddonfield, to once again pick up where he left off and possibly finish what he started.

I really don't want to divulge much more than that, because this is such a new film and part of the joy in seeing it is the ability to watch the events unfold naturally. While this might not be a perfect film and may have been a bit to over hyped by the press, it does pay off on the majority of what it promised. A return to form and a story that's worthy to be included in the canon that is 'Halloween'. One of the big things that immediately jumps out at you, with this film, is the score. John Carpenter returns to take what he originally wrote and expands on it in ways that punctuate the film beautifully. There are some intense moments that are only amplified by the musical score. What he's done with the music is perfect and fits tonally with what David was going for with the film itself. They really work quite well together and it lends some credence to the entire affair. Another aspect of this film that really spoke to me was the erasing of all that came after part 1. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy 2 and 3 quite a bit, but never really could appreciate the later outings like the rest of the fandom does. It wasn't until Rob Zombie's films, that I really got into the Michael mythos. I always felt like they were continually diluting what made the main character scary in the first place and making him more of a puppet that a monster. Whereas Jason was an undead killing machine and Freddy was a murdering mirth maker, Micheal became confusing. This wipes that slate clean and leaves you with the impression he may be more than just a man, but maybe not? It seems as though they were taking aspects of the other ten films and incorporating them into this one, in bits and pieces, but never really giving the audience more than a nod that they even existed. All in all, this film just felt 'right'. Like it fit perfectly in the world that John created and gave us some much needed closure on the story. Not that it's necessarily over....

With all of that being said, there were some things here that didn't work. There are some logic jumps, which kind of come with the territory. I mean, you can't make a horror film without it. At least not with a modern day boogeyman. There was one scene in particular that seemed a bit out of left field. I don't want to provide any spoilers, but it involves the doctor and.... well, you'll know it when you see it. However, the moment that part has ended, what happens next raises a lot of very interesting questions that make me look forward to the commentary on the DVD/Blu-ray release. I've also got a few minor issues with the mask itself, as I think I got a little bit spoiled with the quality of the one that Rob had created for his films. Not too mention, that if this is supposed to be the one that was used back in 1978, I would think that it wouldn't have been wearable by 2018. Based on what I know about latex masks. (Which isn't much). Finally, the ending. I'm a little puzzled by the decisions that were made with how to close out the third act. The final two shots and the (sort of) cut scene after the credits. They leave us with more questions than answers and it felt just a bit confusing. I don't know what the plan was with the franchise, when they were writing it, or if there was a plan, but it leaves me wondering if/and or what would happened next? Maybe that was the goal? All in all, this is a solid entry into the series and bookends nicely with the original films and even the remakes. Sadly, the majority of the other big names have fallen on hard times. The 'Friday the 13th' films have all but petered out, unless they do another reboot or find a fresh way to pick up where the left off. The 'Nightmare on Elm Street' films left us on a high note, only to kill that with a horrific remake. With 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', it's become one of the most absurd timelines in cinema history. Although, I really enjoyed the most recent installment, it didn't really leave them room to grow. It's like each films is almost it's own separate entity with only Leatherface tying it all together. The 'Child's Play' films have held things together really well, in my opinion, and may finally be making a mistake with a reboot, but time will tell. Finally, 'Hellraiser'... well, that's just a mess. For the newest 'Halloween' (2018) I'm giving it a 4 out of 5 star ranking and have added it to my list of the 'Top 13 Horror Films of 2018' and justifiably so. It's a love letter to the first films, while breaking its own new ground. If you get a chance, go see this one in the theater with a room full of people and I think you'll walk away feeling satisfied. Also, thank you to Danny McBride and David Gordon Green for not making Laurie without the flaws and scars of someone who's endured a traumatic experience. Far too many films shy away from this for their 'final girl' and sadly, it ends up cheapening the story line and the characters that have been created. Bring on the next film!

If you like this film, please revisit: 'Halloween' (1978), 'Halloween' (2007) and consider the rest of them too. We all have our favorites, eh?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Your Required Holiday Horror Film for Devil's Night, Tuesday, Ocotober 30th: 'Devil's Night' (2015)

On the night before Halloween, four high school friends choose to bail on the big costume party in favor of some holiday vandalizing, a choice with dire consequences.

Director: Nathan Bucar
Writers: Nathan Bucar, Evan Mulgrave
Stars: Massimo Lista, Joe Grimes, Will McMahon