Day O’Horror #13! Friday the 13th!

Camp Crystal Lake

It’s Friday the 13th.  What other film series did you think that I would pick to view this evening?  Jason Voorhees has been terrorizing teens since the early 1980’s.  The films follow the same basic plot (with some exceptions such as the first film which focuses on Jason’s mom and  Friday the 13th VIII and Jason X, which take place in New York and the future, respectively) of Jason chasing and killing in different violent and amazing ways.  He has also faced off against Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

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In Part IV, dubbed Friday the 13th:  The Final Chapter (it obviously wasn’t), Jason……kills teenagers and anyone else that gets in his way.  Young nubile teens find themselves in situations that leave them in various states of undress.  Jason usually has the decency to allow them to finish whatever carnal act they are in the middle of before ending their lives.

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The difference this time around is that a family also happens to be at Camp Crystal Lake.  The family includes Trish (Kimberly Beck) and her little brother, Tommy (Corey Feldman).  As usual, the climax of the film comes down to Jason facing off against the main characters, Trish and Tommy.  Tommy, who has conveniently made a bunch of horror masks, uses one to make himself look like a young Jason.  You’ll have to watch the film yourself to find out what goes down.  Oh, and you get to see Jason’s face in this one!

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The film isn’t terrible.  It’s also not that great.  It’s a standard slasher film with standard 1980’s teen situations.  It’s better than many of the sequels that followed it but not by much.

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I’m currently watching Jason X, which I’ve seen quite a few times already.  It’s one of the lesser sequels, but seeing the sci-fi kills mixed with traditional hack and slash kills is fun.  I haven’t decided which film I’ll watch next, but I definitely want to amp up the terror.  As always, thanks for reading.  See you next time!
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An Avenging Car on Day O’Horror #12!

1986 Arizona

Some movies come along and for no real reason seem to click with the audience.  Critics may hate it, but it still draws a crowd.  Take The Wraith for instance.  It was one of the earliest films in the careers of both Charlie Sheen and Sherilyn Fenn.  It was the first major role for Nick Cassavetes, and many believed that it was meant to be the film that would launch him to stardom.  It didn’t.  Randy Quaid also had a small role as the local and very generic 1980’s sheriff.  It had fast cars, handsome rogues, and a beautiful damsel in distress.  It had a good guy with a heart of gold and a mysterious driver that would challenge the local gang to street races, all of which ended in death for the gang.

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Packard (Cassavetes) heads up a local gang running races in Brooks, AZ.  They brutally murder a young man and not long after doing so, a driver arrives in town with a suped up Dodge Turbo Interceptor. The driver challenges each member of the gang to a race and takes them out one by one.  He then destroys Packard’s hangout.  While all of this is going down, Packard and his dwindling entourage terrorize Billy Hankins (Matthew Barry), the brother of the young man that the gang murdered and Keri Johnson (Fenn), the dead boy’s girlfriend.

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The cast is decent for what was needed for this film.  Sheen, Fenn, Cassavetes, Quaid, and Barry were all up to the task.  The rest of the characters were basically car crash fodder.  With names like Skank, Gutterboy, Rughead, Oggie, and Minty, you knew that you weren’t necessarily dealing with an intelligent group of individuals, but the guys looked like they were enjoying their roles.

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Of special note are Griffin O’Neal and Clint Howard.  O’Neal comes from a long line of actors, including his father Ryan O’Neal, mother Joanna Moore, and sister Tatum O’Neal.  Clint Howard is, of course, the brother of legendary director/actor Ron Howard.

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Of course, the true stars of the film were the cars.  Along with the 1984 Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor, other popular vehicles in the film included a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z, and a 1977 Pontiac Firebird.

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The movie holds up fairly well considering the fact that it bleeds 1980’s.  From the awesome soundtrack featuring tunes from Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, and others, to the stereotypical drive in, cop car chases, short shorts, and whacky hair, The Wraith is definitely a product of its time.

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I recommend it to anyone looking for a nostalgia fix or an action film.  It’s not scary at all, but it’s definitely cool.  Thanks for reading.  Tomorrow is Friday the 13th!

 

A Haunted Day O’Horror #11!

A Haunted Mouse!

If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting either Disneyland or Disney World (or a few other Disney parks worldwide), you are probably aware that the Haunted Mansion is one of their most popular attractions.  I’ve personally visited the Disney World Haunted Mansion on three separate occasions and loved it every time.  It’s one of the must-see items on my list whenever I travel to Orlando.

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A film based on the attraction was released in 2003.  It starred Eddie Murphy and the lovely Marsha Thomason as Jim and Sara Evers, a real estate “power couple” always looking for the next piece of property to sell.  Sara decides that the family has been neglected for far too long (and Jim misses their anniversary) and that a vacation is in order.  Jim suggests going on a lake trip.  They take their kids, Megan (Aree Davis) and Michael (the funny Marc John Jefferies), on vacation, but on the way, Jim convinces the family to check out one potential home.

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When they arrive at the mansion outside of New Orleans, they meet Ramsley (Terence Stamp), the somewhat sinister butler of Gracey Mansion.  They also meet the owner, Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), who takes a shine to Sara.  The family gets trapped at the mansion due to a storm, but are invited to stay until it is safe to leave by Master Gracey.  They are assisted by Ramsley and two other servants, Ezra (Wallace Shawn) and Emma (Dina Winters).

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As the evening rolls along, odd things begin to happen.  Jim meets Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly), and the kids run into a glowing orb that appears to be friendly.  Soon it is revealed that Master Gracey believes that Sara is the resurrected soul of his former lover, Elizabeth.

From there the story turns into a mystery, with Jim and the kids attempting to figure out what’s really going on and Master Gracey and Ramsley attempt to convince Sara that she belongs with Master Gracey.  Of course, there’s one person in the mansion that has alternate plans for everyone, but I won’t reveal who that person is here.

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Critics tore this film apart, but I don’t think that they saw it for what it was, a family spooky movie.  The acting is fine and it was fun to seek out all of the nods to the theme park attraction that the film is based upon.  There’s a forbidden love story, light comedy, and gentle scares that most families can enjoy together.

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Hopefully more people will seek out this family film.  It’s not as serious as the Pirates of the Caribbean films (and they really aren’t that serious to begin with), but it is just as good as The Country Bears film released one year earlier.  It won’t win any awards, but you’ll have a good time watching this movie.

As always, thanks for reading.  Since I posted about a family film tonight, I’ll have to crank up the terror tomorrow night!  See you again real soon!

 

Heads Rolled On Day O’Horror #10!

Inspired by Washington Irving

With direction by Tim Burton, music by Danny Elfman, gorgeous sets, and an amazing cast, it’s easy to see why 1999’s Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite films.  I watch it multiple times each year (especially around Halloween and, for some odd reason, Christmas) and I never get tired of viewing it.

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The supporting cast alone is worth the price of admission.  Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Richard Griffiths, Christopher Lee, Martin Landau, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Claire Skinner, Lisa Marie, Marc Pickering, and Casper Van Dien all provide solid support to leads Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

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Depp portrays Ichabod Crane in the film, but instead of being a gangly teacher that actually believes in witchcraft and folklore, Depp’s Crane is a New York constable who puts science before tall tales and religion.  He’s also something of a coward and extremely annoying at times.

Ricci’s Katrina Van Tassel is a young lady with a deep belief in spells and folk ways.  She, as well as the rest of the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, believe that the Headless Horseman (Walken) is real.  Crane plans to prove them all wrong, but falls for Katrina while attempting to do so.

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The sets are beautiful.  They make the film look and feel creepy and mystical.  The design of the Horseman was also excellent.  He looked aged but more than capable of tormenting anyone that crosses his path.  When he’s headless, he’s portrayed by Ray Park.  You might recognize Park as Darth Maul from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, or as Snake Eyes from the G.I. Joe franchise, or as Toad from the first X-men film.  He was also a cast member on Heroes on NBC.

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If you’re familiar with the short story by Washington Irving, you know the general legend of the Horseman.  He comes riding in the night looking for his missing head, taking heads until he finds his own.  Burton took a lot of freedom with the story, but I really enjoyed his take on the story.

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If you’ve never seen Sleepy Hollow, I highly recommend watching it as soon as possible.  It’s a truly beautiful film and despite being a “horror” film, it’s not too terribly scary.  It’s simply an excellent story with a great cast and wonderful sets.

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Thanks for reading.  I hope that you are all enjoying this series so far.  You’ll definitely lose your head over tomorrow night’s film………..which I won’t reveal until tomorrow!

Taking A Bite Out Of Day O’Horror #9!

New Orleans

If you’re not already familiar with Interview With The Vampire, I highly recommend that you A) watch the movie and B) check out the book series that it is culled from, Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles.  I’ve read three of the books in the series, Interview With The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned.  There are many more books left for me to read.

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Unlike my other posts in this series, I’m not going to focus much on the story.  The film and book that it is based upon are so popular and well known that I’d like to turn my focus to the big list of actors that were in the film, all of whom were at different stages of what would be amazing careers.

Brad Pitt

First up is Brad Pitt as Louis.  At the time, Pitt had been in quite a few films including a starring role in A River Runs Through It.  With each role that followed that film and Interview, Pitt’s star continued to quickly rise until he became one of the biggest names in film.  He’s still one of the top stars in Hollywood, consistently starring in films with big budgets and bigger profits.

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Antonio Banderas

Antonio Banderas was already an extremely popular star in Spain by the time he appeared in Interview.  He also appeared in significant roles in American films like Philadelphia Story and The Mambo Kings.  In a similar way to Pitt, Banderas only became more popular in the years following his appearance as Armand in Interview.  Although his star has faded somewhat in recent years, he has maintained steady work in both animation and live action films.

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Thandie Newton

Newton portrayed Yvette, the house servant of Louis before his ill-fated run in with Lestat.  While her name might not be as instantly recognizable as Pitt, Banderas, or Tom Cruise, she’s definitely one of the most successful actors on this list.  She has consistently gained roles in solid films and popular television series such as The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission Impossible II, ER, Westworld, Crash, and the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars film.

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Stephen Rea

With a career that now spans nearly sixty years (around thirty years at the time of Interview), Rea was definitely one of the hardest working actors in Interview.  He was perfectly cast as the creepy Santiago.  Rea doesn’t have the star power of Cruise or Pitt, but he is an excellent performer and his long list of roles is a testament to that.

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Christian Slater

Slater was nearing the end of an extremely successful wave of films whenever he won the role of Daniel Malloy.  With work in movies like Heathers, Untamed Heart, Mobsters, Young Guns II, and Pump Up The Volume already under his belt, Slater appeared to take over as a leading man in Hollywood.  Sadly he would end up in a few failed blockbusters and was then relegated to direct-to-DVD films and small supporting roles.  In recent years, however, Slater has established himself as a solid television star on shows like Mr. Robot and animated series such as The Lion Guard.

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Tom Cruise

The perpetual leading man, Tom Cruise was not Anne Rice’s first choice for her beloved character, Lestat.  However, after seeing Cruise in the role, Rice grew to appreciate his portrayal of the character.  When Interview was released, Cruise was already an established superstar having been in such big hits as Risky Business, Top Gun, Cocktail, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, and Born on the Fourth of July.  After Interview, Cruise became an even bigger star in films like Jerry Maguire, the Mission Impossible series, Jack Reacher, and Valkyrie.  It has only been in recent years where there are hints of his star fading with misses like Rock of Ages and The Mummy reboot.

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Kirsten Dunst

At only twelve years of age (and playing a character seven years younger), Kirsten Dunst portrayed my favorite character in Interview With The Vampire, Claudia.  Dunst was sinisterly sweet in the role, and made the difficult jump from child to adult-trapped-eternally-inside-a-child’s-body in the movie, and despite her taste for blood, I was said to see her death on the screen (even though I knew it was coming).

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After her portrayal of Claudia, Dunst went on to appear in a string of successful films including Jumanji, Bring It, Little Women, Marie Antoinette, and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films.  Dunst has also appeared in Hidden Figures, Melancholia, and Elizabethtown.  She’s an excellent actress, and she shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Conclusion

Interview With The Vampire is an excellent film.  Just glancing at this short list of actors that were in the film and how most of them have had continued success should show you how brilliantly the cast performed.  I highly recommend checking this film out.  It’s a great story and an excellent starting point for reading the Vampire Chronicles.

As always, thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out this film!  I’ll be giving y’all another post tomorrow night!

 

 

Arts And “The Craft”: Days O’Horror #8!

California, 1996

The 1990’s were an excellent time for me. I graduated from high school and college during the decade, listened to multiple one-hit wonder bands, and got to see films like The Quick and the Dead, Empire Records, Interview With The Vampire, Mortal Kombat, what seemed like a ton of Jennifer Aniston films in order to impress a girl (and failed), and Hercules for $1 thanks to a local cinema that sadly was torn down a few years ago. I would go there to check out movies that I really wanted to see but missed due to either not being able to get anybody to go with me or because there were other movies out that I wanted to see even more at the time. I would also watch films that didn’t look like my cup of tea, but wanted to watch anyway because I wanted to see just how bad the film would end up being.

The Craft was one of those films.

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In my book it had nothing going for it. Four teen girls in California “playing witch” just didn’t appeal to me. However, the film starred Robin Tunney, who had just starred in one of my favorite films of all time, Empire Records. Being a male in college at the time, her beauty gave me just enough reason to be willing to drop a dollar on The Craft. Add to that the fact that cute Julia Salinger (okay, Neve Campbell, who portrayed Julia in Party of Five,) the lovely Rachel True, and the exotically gorgeous Fairuza Balk were also a part of the cast and I was sold.

The film reeks of the 90’s. From the clothing that everyone in the film wore (including Skeet Ulrich and Breckin Meyer) to the soundtrack that featured Matthew Sweet, Jewel, and Heather Nova, the film is a perfect capsule of mid 90’s teen/young adult life.

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At its core, I’ve always viewed The Craft as a “Teen Wants To Fit In” film. Nancy (Balk) hates her white trash life and wants to be rich. Rochelle (True) wants revenge against her nemesis, the racist Laura (Christine Taylor). Bonnie (Campbell) wants the scars that she is ashamed of to vanish. Sarah seemingly just wants to fit in, but after a date with one of the popular guys at school (Ulrich) goes sour, she wants to control him.

We’ve all been ashamed of our clothes or our home or something else like that at some point as teens. We’ve all had to deal with bullies as well. There have been things that we want to change about ourselves physically. We’ve also probably all fallen pretty hard for someone and regretted it later on in life.

When the girls’ spells actually work, they become power hungry. Sarah starts to back off and no longer wants to be a part of the coven, but Nancy embraces the power she is given and wants even more. Rochelle seems to feel bad for Laura at first, but eventually sides with Nancy, as does Bonnie, who has grown to love the attention all of the boys give her now that her scars are gone. The trio take on Sarah, who eventually realizes that she is much more powerful than any of the other girls know.

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I won’t reveal the ending of the film. Just know that this surprise hit that has become a cult favorite is worth checking out. Many members of the cast would go on to have solid careers in film and television. Tunney bounced around in films of varying degrees of success until she won a television gig on Prison Break. Campbell would become a big star with her Scream franchise role of Sidney Prescott. Balk has appeared in everything from independent films to mainstream comedies such as The Waterboy. Of the four core actresses in the film, only Rachel True seems to have had a hard time striking success again.

Christine Taylor and Breckin Meyer had bit parts in the film, but continued on to successful careers in film and television. Skeet Ulrich joined Neve Campbell in the first Scream film.

So, did I get a great deal on this film whenever I paid one dollar to see it? Absolutely. You should check it out as well if you haven’t seen it yet.

As always, thanks for reading. I’ll have another film post ready for you tomorrow knight.

Stay Awake! Day O’Horror #7!

Under The Sheets

I’ve seen all of the films in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (including the television series).  Growing up, it was one of the few horror franchises that I really enjoyed watching.  Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) became funnier with each film and, sadly, he became less of a killer and more of a comedian.  The first film truly scared me (I was only eight or nine when it was released).  Wes Craven’s New Nightmare attempted to bring Freddy back to his evil roots, and succeeds at doing so.

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Spoilers Ahead!

In the film, Heather Langenkamp (who portrayed Nancy in the franchise), is married to a Special FX worker named Chase (David Newsom).  She has a dream that Chase and other workers on the set of a new Nightmare film are murdered by the new Freddy Krueger glove that they created.  Heather is asked to reprise her role as Nancy in a new Freddy film but is reluctant to accept it due to her recent nightmare and the fact that she now has a son, Dylan (Miko Hughes).

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As the movie rolls along, Chase is killed in a “car accident,” Dylan begins to have episodes of screaming  and sleepwalking, and Heather starts to become unhinged as the real Freddy attempts to cross over into the real world and taunts her through phone calls, cryptic letters, and earthquakes.

Wes Craven (creator of the franchise and horror legend) is also having dreams, and writing his newest Nightmare film, each page acting as a prophetic message of what next happens to Heather, Dylan, and others.  Robert Englund begins painting gory Freddy-inspired portraits.

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A local doctor believes that Heather is abusing Dylan, doing “recreational drugs,” and losing her mind.  Things come to a head whenever Dylan escapes from the hospital, runs into traffic, and gets strung along by Freddy.  Heather chases him home and runs into John Saxon (who portrayed her father in the original film).  Something’s different about him, though, and Heather slowly realizes Saxon actually IS Lt. Thompson from the film.

She then faces off against Freddy in his world.  Eventually Freddy corners young Dylan and attempts to capture him, but Heather manages to save Dylan and tosses Freddy into a furnace.  He reveals his true demonic form and burns to death while his world crumbles and then explodes.

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The film manages to generate some decent scares (the best since the second film), and Freddy has stripped back most of the humor.  It’s a solid creepy film with a few gross and gory moments.  There are also nods to the original film (watch babysitter Julie’s death in particular).  Cast and crew from the original film portray their “real world” selves including Wes Craven, Sara Risher, Robert Shaye, and Sam Rubin, among others.

It was nice to see Freddy be genuinely scary again.  He received a redesign for the film that was based on Craven’s original idea for the character.  His face has more muscle tissue exposed and the glove looks more like a burned hand with a bladed apparatus attached to it.  Basically, this ain’t you daddy’s Freddy.

I enjoyed this film.  It was dark and gloomy and had just enough scares to bring Freddy back to his old evil self.  Langenkamp did a great job as herself and all of the supporting cast did an excellent job as well.

As always, thanks for reading.  I have a busy week ahead, but I plan on watching and blogging about a new film each night!

 

It’s the Five-OOOoooooOOO! Day O’Horror #6

The Fuzz

Lon Chaney, Jr. is the sole reason that I became a werewolf maniac.  As a child, his portrayal of Larry Talbot in 1941’s The Wolf Man captivated me.  Lon Chaney, Jr. is still my favorite werewolf and while there have been plenty of other werewolves on the screen, none of them have come close to dethroning him.

I’ve watched a ton of werewolf films over the years and the majority of them are…..just okay.  I enjoyed 2010’s The Wolfman for the most part, but felt that they expanded the story entirely too much and relied on excessive CGI.  An American Werewolf in London (1981) is a cult classic, no doubt, but I wouldn’t put it in the same league as the 1941 film.  The Howling franchise, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Dog Soldiers, Silver Bullet, Ginger Snaps, Teen Wolf, and other films worked to varying degrees, but nothing can beat Lon Chaney, Jr.

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In recent years, most werewolf films find their audience in B-films and horror/comedies like Never Cry Werewolf (2008).  The film borrows heavily from the vampire flick Fright Night (1985) and stars Nina Dobrev and Kevin Sorbo.  It plays up the comedy big time, but is ultimately just a mildly enjoyable flick.

A couple of mild spoilers ahead.

WolfCop (2014), tonight’s Thirty-One Days O’Horror flick, is another horror/comedy that takes a much more adult turn when compared to Never Cry Werewolf.  It’s funny, with werewolf and police puns running rampant on the screen.  There’s also alcoholism, lots of gore, and changelings.

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The film stars Leo Fafard as Lou Garou (yes, I know), a drunken loser who also happens to be a cop in the small town of Woodhaven.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is Lou’s co-worker, Tina (Amy Matysio), a sergeant on the force who is reliable and trustworthy.  Lou’s buddy Willie (Jonathan Cherry) is convinced that teens are holding occult rituals behind his shop.  He calls in for someone to check it out and that’s when things start to get weird.

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Lou ends up blacking out and waking in his own bed, not knowing how he got there.  He starts to heal faster, has heightened senses, and begins to become a responsible (but still perpetually inebriated) cop.  Bad guys start turning up dead, an eclipse is coming up, shapeshifters are trying to maintain control of the town, Lou drinks more alcohol, there’s a human/beast adult encounter, body parts are shown during transformations that aren’t normally shown, and things get generally messy.

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Garou starts to make sense of what is going on, as does his partner, Tina.  As they each get closer to the truth, more secrets are revealed about Woodhaven.  More bad puns are delivered as well.  There’s also a ritual sacrifice.

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The film has its moments.  There’s a big battle at a meth lab between Lou in wolf form and gang members.  It was refreshing to see practical effects instead of CGI throughout this scene and the film as a whole.  The werewolf looked excellent.  It was probably the best practical werewolf that I’ve seen since Dog Soldiers.  He definitely had a more classic look similar to Lon Chaney, Jr.’s werewolf, but with more hair and teeth.  The acting was good for an indie flick that pokes fun at itself and the horror genre in general.

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Fans of the Final Destination franchise will recognize Willie (Jonathan Cherry) and the gang’s leader (Jesse Moss), both of which lost their lives on the big screen in those films.  The rest of the cast is made up of solid character actors.maxresdefault.jpg

I definitely enjoyed this film for what it was.  The practical effects, funny transformation scene, and overall humor of the film made it worth checking out.  It’s definitely one of the better horror comedies to come out in a long time.  It’s much better than Little Dead Rotting Hood, which I watched a few days ago and you can read about here.  It won’t win any great awards but I’ve never based my enjoyment of a film on how many trophies it wins.  Just sit back and watch Wolf Cop with a few friends, a few brews, and a few steaks on the grill.

Thanks for reading.  I plan on having another review up tomorrow as I continue my hike to Halloween with Thirty-One Days O’Horror!  See ya next time!

Gettin’ Squatchy! Day O’Horror #5!

In The Woods

The Legend of Boggy Creek was the first film I watched that featured a cryptid as the antagonist.   Since that time I have watched many, many more films about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, and any other big hairy creature with massive feet.  Most of those films were terrible, but every once in awhile a film pops up that makes me take notice.  It isn’t necessarily perfect, but it’s really fun to watch.  Abominable is one of those films.

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Matt McCoy (Police Academy franchise) stars as Preston Rogers, a man who is taken up to a cabin in the woods to face his fears and come to terms with the loss of his wife at the same location six months earlier.  He is accompanied by Otis (Christien Tinsley), a nurse that takes care of Preston’s needs.  Otis is a jerk, but deep down inside he really does care for Preston.

Mild Spoilers Ahead!

After arriving at the cabin, Otis realizes that he forgot to pick up soy milk for Preston.  He decides to go back into town, leaving Preston all alone.  While waiting for Otis to return, Preston hears loud music and laughter at the cabin next door.  He takes a peek outside and sees a group of young women getting ready to have a big pre-wedding weekend for one of their friends.

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One young lady, attempting to get a stronger cell signal, steps out of the cabin and walks over to the treeline.  Preston watches her with his binoculars, only to see that a creature is standing just outside of her sight line.  All of a sudden it attacks her, dragging her off into the forest.  Preston tries to tell the other girls, but they believe that he’s doing nothing more than watching them like a creep.

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Otis returns and Preston tries to tell him what happened.  Otis doesn’t believe Preston, especially whenever Preston hands him the binoculars and Otis spies one of the girls taking a shower.  As the story rolls along, the body count goes up.  Preston attempts to get in touch with the local sheriff’s department, but the sheriff holds his men off until one of them finally decides to see what’s going on.  Will he get to the cabin in time to save Preston and the rest of the girls?  You’ll have to check out Abominable to find out.

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This film is equal parts comedy, horror, and B-eautiful.  It generates a decent amount of scares and the bulk of the cast is pretty solid.  What’s especially wonderful is the fact that genre legends Lance Henriksen, Dee Wallace, Jeffrey Combs, and Tiffany Shepis all have small but excellent roles in the film.  Combs is especially funny.  Shepis, as gorgeous as ever, has one of the best deaths in B-cinema history in this film.

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Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) hams it up as the local sheriff, Halderman.  He drops numerous references to The Breakfast Club, including a few direct quotes and that brilliant hand gesture he uses during the film.  This movie would be one of his last roles.

Director Ryan Shifrin phones in for assists from his father, legendary composer Lalo Shifrin, and artist Drew Struzan (creator of posters for film franchises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones).

Christien Tinsley pulled double duty as both an actor and as a makeup artist.  He’s actually an Oscar nominated artist that has worked on films such as The Passion of the Christ (where he excelled at creating prosthetic tattoos) and No Country For Old Men, as well as television shows such as Westworld and American Horror Story.

Despite being a convincingly scary beast, the creature in the film reminded me of Jack Elam.  He’s still pretty scary, and executes some excellent kills on the screen.

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If you haven’t seen Abominable, I highly recommend checking it out.  It’s an excellent creature feature with some nice scares, decent acting, excellent music, and Otis, the grand jerk of nursing aids.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll have another post tomorrow night!

Double The Terror! Day O’Horror #4

Eat Or Die

Welcome to day four of my Day O’Horror series!  Today is twice as nice because I watched not one, but TWO horror flicks.  Last night I watched Curse of Chucky and followed it up with the brand spanking new Cult of Chucky.  I’ll get to that chewy morsel of terror in a moment, but first I’m going to cover a cult classic that I saw on the big screen way back in 1999.

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At the time I was dating the lady that would become my wife.  We were bored one evening and decided to see what was playing at the movies.  Wing Commander was one of the choices, so deciding to view Ravenous was a no-brainer.  My future wife had her doubts, but considering the fact that I watched She’s All That with her and would happily be watching 10 Things I Hate About You in the very near future, she let me have one movie.

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Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle were the stars of the film.  I didn’t know anything about Pearce (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Time Machine, Iron Man 3) at the time, and barely remembered that Carlyle had been in The Full Monty and Trainspotting.  The rest of the cast included prolific character actor Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, The Devil’s Advocate), David Arquette (Scream, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Eight-Legged Freaks, Never Been Kissed), the always underused Neal McDonough (Arrow, Angels In The Outfield, Tin Man, Timeline, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and a number of other solid cast members.

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SPOILERS AHEAD!!

The film opens with Pearce’s character, 2nd Lieutenant John Boyd, receiving a promotion to captain due to his “brave” work in the Mexican-American War.  His promotion is fruitless, though, because the general is aware that Boyd played dead while the rest of his men were slaughtered and then took the Mexican leaders in a stroke of luck when all of the bodies were brought to the Mexican headquarters.

As punishment, Boyd is sent to Fort Spencer, an outpost in the Sierra Nevadas.  Colonel Hart (Jones) heads up the fort with Major Knox (Stephen Spinella) as second in command.  Also at the fort are Private Reich (McDonough), Private Cleaves (Arquette), Private Toffler (Jeremy Davies), and two Native American siblings, George (Joseph Running Fox) and Martha (Sheila Tousey).

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The area is desolate and according to the colonel, rarely has visitors in the winter.  The outpost gets a very strange visitor one evening whenever Colqhoun (Carlyle) appears.  He claims to have been starving for three months.  When the group doesn’t believe him, he breaks down and tells them how the small group that he was traveling with became lost in the woods due to the misdirection of a Colonel Ives.  As a result, they hide in a cave for shelter and quickly run out of food.  They resort to eating the oxen and even Colqhoun’s dog.  When those resources run dry, they eat one of the members of their group when he dies from starvation.  Soon enough, Ives begins murdering members of the party.  Soon it is just Ives, Colqhoun, and Mrs. MacCready.  Colqhoun abandons them and runs for help, ending up at the garrison.

When George hears this story, he tells the others about the Wendigo, a man who eats the flesh of other men in order to gain their strength.  Earlier in the film it is revealed that Boyd drank the blood of his dead soldiers (but not intentionally) as it trickled down to his mouth on the bottom of the pile of bodies.

A rescue party forms up.  Colqhoun leads them up to the cave where Ives was supposedly hiding out.  Reich realizes that the whole situation is a trap, but it’s too late.  Colqhoun kills everyone in the party except for Boyd, who jumps off of a cliff to escape.  Boyd ends up in a deep hole with the body of Reich, and after a long period he begins to eat Reich in order to build his strength back up.

He returns to Fort Spencer and tells the few remaining members of the outpost about what happened.  Cleaves, Knox, and Martha are all that is left with Boyd until a temporary colonel is assigned.  That colonel is Ives (who is actually Colqhoun).  Ives tries to convince Boyd to join him as a cannibal, but Boyd refuses until he’s mortally wounded by Ives and forced to either eat human flesh or die.  An old acquaintance reappears, Knox and Cleaves are murdered, Martha is sent to get General Slouson (John Spencer) and a battle ensues between Boyd and Ives.  I won’t spoil the ending for you.

I really love this movie.  Many call it a dark comedy/horror film, but I see it more as a western horror film.  The cannibalism story is loosely derived from the true stories of the Donner Party and a man named Alfred Packer.  The acting is superb.  The music is excellently offbeat, and the story works for what it is.  I don’t get to watch this film very often, but every time I revisit it, I appreciate something new about it.  I highly recommend this film if you’ve never watched it before.  It gives you a peek at Pearce and Carlyle just before their stars really take off.

Round 2:  Cult of Chucky

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I won’t spend too much time on the plot of this film since my review of Ravenous ran long and because this film is brand new, but here’s a brief rundown of what happens.

Mild spoilers below!

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Cult of Chucky picks up a little while after the events in Curse of Chucky.  Nica (Fiona Dourif) has been placed in a mental institution after being found (wrongly) guilty of murdering her family.  There she befriends Multiple Malcolm (Adam Hurtig) in her therapy group.  He suffers from a multiple personality disorder.  She’s also friends with Madeleine (Elisabeth Rosen), a woman who murdered her own child, and protects her from the snipes of Claire (Grace Lynn Kung).  The group is guided by Dr. Foley (Michael Therriault), who makes sexual advances toward Nica.

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Soon enough, a Good Guy doll, purchased by Dr. Foley, is introduced to the group and Madeleine immediately takes him as her “baby.”  Another doll is given to Nica by her deceased niece’s former guardian, Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly).  Yet another doll is shipped to Dr. Foley by an unknown person giving us a grand total of three Good Guy dolls.

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Soon enough, bodies start piling up.  Patients and staff are found choked to death by doll hands, drilled by power drills, killed with broken glass, etc.  This is done with one Chucky wisecrack after another.  Nica tries to convince Dr. Foley that Chucky is murdering everyone and an old enemy of Chucky arrives late in the film to help.  That person is Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), the young boy that Chucky attempted to possess in the first three films.  He has his own plan to kill Chucky.  If you’ve ever seen Curse of Chucky, you know that Andy shows up in an after credits scene (but not the Netflix version, where that scene is edited out).

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Also waiting in the wings is Tiffany (Tilly), Chucky’s old flame.  She’s ready to rejoin her lover for new murderous adventures.

I really enjoyed Curse of Chucky and whenever I found out that Cult was going to be a direct sequel to that film, I was very excited.  Unfortunately, Cult meanders back toward the comedy that overtook many of the sequels.  While I enjoyed the humor in those films, it wore on my nerves a bit.  Curse was a more straightforward horror/suspense film.  I missed that in this latest film.  Also, a new gimmick is added to Chucky’s arsenal, and it feels a tad forced.  That’s saying a lot about a franchise based around a possessed doll.

The cast was excellent despite a disappointing story.  Brad Dourif can probably voice Chucky in his sleep now, having performed as the Good Guy for seven films.  Dourif’s daughter, Fiona, reprised her role from the previous film and does a solid job.  The rest of the cast is dependable and Jennifer Tilly is wonderfully psychotic.

I do recommend seeing the film, but if you can, view it on Blu-ray or DVD.  The Netflix version once again edits out a post-credits clip.  You can google who else returns in that clip.  I won’t spoil it here.

As always, thanks for watching.  I hope that you’re ready for tomorrow night’s film…..it’s oversized and angry!