Dead End (2003)

“We should have left earlier.”

Somehow I managed to miss out on this sleeper hit way back in 2003, but discovering Dead End late one evening this week was a pure delight! This independent road thriller has a ton of things going for it and far exceeded my expectations. It was written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa and features an amazing cast loaded with familiar character actors that horror fans will love.

Believe it or not but this film is actually a Christmas movie! It takes place on Christmas Eve night while Frank Harrington is driving his family and his daughter’s boyfriend to visit the in-laws for the holidays. Becoming sleepy, Frank decides to take a “shortcut” to keep things interesting so that he will stay awake. It doesn’t work, however, and he soon dozes off, almost hitting an oncoming vehicle. Finally awake, Frank continues to drive but stops when he sees a young woman dressed in white on the side of the road. The family picks up the woman and her infant (who is ridiculously quiet) and decide to take her to a cabin that they passed by earlier on the road. When they arrive at the cabin, people start vanishing one by one only to be discovered later by the survivors. They also witness a black hearse driving down the road with the vanished person in the back begging for help. This happens moments before they find the body of the missing person. The survivors continue to drive hoping to make it to a small town called Marcott. How many survive? Will they ever reach Marcott? Watch the film to find out what happens!

This film was a nice surprise. Sure, it isn’t perfect and there are much better horror films out there, but this movie checks off all of the right boxes to make it a very enjoyable flick. It has an amazingly solid cast featuring Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop, Jeepers Creepers 2, The Journey of Natty Gann, Swamp Thing), Lin Shaye (Insidious, The Grudge, Alone In The Dark, There’s Something About Mary, Ouija), Alexandra Holden (Wishcraft, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dark Reel, Friends), and Steve Valentine (Crossing Jordan, Mars Attacks!, Spider-Man 3). The film also stars Mick Cain (The Bold And The Beautiful), William Rosenfeld (credited as Billy Asher, executive produced Zombeavers, among other films), and supermodel Amber Smith.

The film plays out like an episode of The Twilight Zone, with characters doubting themselves and others and turning on one another. Also like The Twilight Zone, it takes place almost entirely in one setting, a long stretch of road. In all honesty the plot is very predictable and the viewer is ultimately left to decide who will actually make it out of the film alive, if anyone at all. Wise and Shaye (as wife, Laura) turn in great performances. Wise is especially fun to watch as his sanity begins to unravel. Amber Smith doesn’t have much to say or do in this film as the mysterious woman in white, but she makes an impact with her brief performance. Billy Asher (as boyfriend, Brad) and Mick Cain (as son, Richard) both turn out nice performances with Cain being the most annoying character in the movie. The real star, in my opinion, is Alexandra Holden as Marion, the Harrington’s daughter. She has to deal with a ton of emotions right off the bat in the film and continues to struggle with them and be strong for others as the situation becomes worse.

If you enjoy highwayman horror or shows like The Twilight Zone, give Dead End a look. It’s a really enjoyable watch and I think that you’ll like it. It’s available on Tubi to stream for free as of this writing.

Thanks for checking out my post. See you again real soon!

Treevenge (2008)

The Trees Strike Back

With axes in hand, a team of Christmas tree farmers mow through a patch of trees. They burn some that aren’t worth keeping and ship the rest off to be wrapped up for Christmas tree retailers. What they don’t know is that the trees are tired of the sadistic tradition of having their family members chopped down to sit in homes for Christmas. This year, the trees fight back!

Clocking in at about sixteen minutes, this Canadian Christmas short film features a ton of gore, a few “sacred cow” moments where children (including an infant) are brutally murdered, more strong language per capita than any Quentin Tarentino flick, and plenty of laughs and callbacks to other films.

If you’re looking for a funny flick with ties to films like Hobo With A Shotgun, this short will be right up your alley. If you can’t stand gore, child or animal deaths, or tree brutality, stay away. This short is definitely not for everyone but it is something different to watch this Christmas. I liked it fine enough, but I’m sure that plenty of people that I know just won’t get this film.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’ll be posting about a few more Christmas flicks as we get closer to the big day!

Wednesday (Netflix, 2022)

“I prefer spooky.”

Despite plenty of callbacks to the original series and films and nods to everything from Edgar Allan Poe to the Headless Horseman, Netflix’s latest series, Wednesday, is much, much more than a nostalgic trip for fans of all things creepy and kooky. Yep, Wednesday is one of the best new series to make its gloomy way to the streamer. I watched the entire series over the weekend and I absolutely loved it.

While catching the many references and Easter eggs in the series was fun, the actual plot of the show was much more interesting. In the series, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega) is sent to Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts (and the alma mater of her parents), after getting booted from too many public schools. As the days pass at the academy, Wednesday is pulled into an investigation involving a series of grisly murders outside of the school and nearby town of Jericho and also discovers that her father might be a murderer. She forms an uneasy bond with the local sheriff, Donovan Galpin (Jamie McShane), as they attempt to uncover the truth about the brutal murders. She also develops a relationship with the sheriff’s son, Tyler (Hunter Doohan). At the school, Wednesday locks horns with Principal Weem (Gwendoline Christie), befriends the “normie” teacher, Ms. Thornhill (Christina Ricci), and deals with the day to day life of a typical teen in school (but with werewolves, vampires, sirens, and more).

The series has a very “Hogwarts meets Sherlock Holmes” vibe to it. Although the kids at the school aren’t divided into houses like Ravenclaw and Slytherin, they definitely have cliques. There are also a lot of stereotypical characters in the school that all prove to be more than their stereotypes in the long run. There’s Joy Sunday as Bianca Barclay, a siren who happens to be the most popular girl in school. Then you have Percy Hynes White as Xavier Thorpe, the angst-ridden artsy heartthrob who has the ability to bring his paintings to life, some of which can be quite violent. The show also has the nerdy loser with a heart of gold, Eugene Otinger (Moosa Mostafa), who really loves bees and is the lone member of the school’s beekeeping club, the Nevermore Hummers, until Wednesday joins up with him. Last but not least we have the quirky remote and ultimately best friend of Wednesday, Enid Sinclair. Enid is played by Emma Myers and she is the polar opposite of Wednesday. She’s a werewolf who has yet to change who loves bright colors, pop music, and pretty much any and everything that Wednesday despises.

Of course, no series about one member of the Addams family would be complete without at least an occasional appearance by the rest of the gang. Joining Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones are Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley, Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, and George Burcea as Lurch. All of them have fairly limited time on the screen, especially Lurch, but the series manages to have some of its most touching moments with these characters. Specifically, Wednesday is extremely protective of her younger brother, Pugsley, and the duo share a very touching moment late in the series.

Perhaps the biggest star of the series outside of Wednesday is, at least in my opinion, Thing. Yes, Thing is just a hand but he manages to steal nearly ever scene that he appears in throughout the series. Thing is extremely expressive and communicates his messages to the rest of the characters (and the audience) without saying a word. He’s portrayed by Victor Dorobantu, a magician, and he is essentially Wednesday’s right hand man (pun intended) throughout the series. Dorobantu’s performance is amazing and almost moved me to tears.

All of the cast is strong but Jenna Ortega blew me away with her portrayal of Wednesday. Her emotions are revealed in subtle movements and glances. Gwendoline Christie is another favorite of mine in the series as is Jamie McShane. Along with those that I’ve already mentioned, the rest of the cast includes Riki Lindhome as Dr. Kinbott, the town therapist, Tommie Earl Jenkins as Mayor Noble Walker, William Houston as Crackstone, a pivotal figure in the history of Jericho who plays a key role in the series, Georgie Farmer as Ajax, a student at Nevermore who happens to be a gorgon, and Calum Ross as Rowan, a student at Nevermore with telekinetic powers.

This series is surprisingly heartwarming. Tim Burton, who directed the first four episodes and executive produced, definitely has his stamp on the series but it isn’t as obvious as it has been throughout the rest of his projects. That’s a good thing in my book as I don’t immediately think, “Oh, this is a Tim Burton project,” right off the bat. I simply watched the series as it was and enjoyed it. I believe that you’ll enjoy it as well.

I’m sure that Wednesday has something for everyone. There’s mystery, suspense, a little bit of romance, and Pilgrims! This is a fun series and I absolutely love it. If you haven’t watched the series yet, give it a shot.

Thanks for checking out my post. Let me know what you thought of this series in the comments section. See you real soon!

Reign of the Scream Queens: Tiffany Shepis

Scream Queen Icon

The modern Scream Queen isn’t normally an actress who actively seeks out B-movies. Many of the today’s Scream Queens are actresses who work in all sorts of film genres and many of them seek out and/or have been nominated for or won major acting awards. Chloe Grace Moretz, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and others definitely deserve the title of Scream Queen, but operate outside of horror as well, often picking up roles in blockbuster films. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but hardcore horror fans appreciate actresses who prefer taking roles in horror films more than in other types of films. They respect ladies that fit that classic Scream Queen mold that was created by actresses like Brinke Stevens and Linnea Quigley. Perhaps the greatest of the modern Scream Queens, the one that is a throwback to the traditional model, is none other than Tiffany Shepis.

Mrs. Shepis has no issues with her character getting slammed in the head with a hammer, stabbed, crushed, yanked through a window while nude by Sasquatch, or eaten by a shark that’s fresh from a Sharknado. She also doesn’t mind playing the good girl, the bad girl, the werewolf, or any other type of character. In other words, Shepis is game for just about anything and her fans lover her for it.

Shepis has 153 acting credits to her name and it all began with a small role as “Peter” in James Gunn’s (writer) Troma film, Tromeo & Juliet (1996). From there, Shepis has appeared in pretty much nothing but B-movies, softcore thrillers, and SyFy Channel schlock and it’s all been amazing. Some of the films that she has appeared in include The Ghouls (2003), Death Factory (2002), Abominable (2006), Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008), and Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014). Some of her recent work includes Knifecorp (2021) and Axeman At Cutters Creek (2020).

Shepis has also appeared in magazines such as Fangoria and Girls And Corpses. She co-hosted the podcast Casualty Friday with fellow Scream Queen Felissa Rose and Jason Voorhees himself, Kane Hodder. Shepis consistently lands on Scream Queen lists. She was ranked #27 on Entertainment Tonight’s Top 40 Scream Queens From The Last Forty Years List from 2017 and has appeared on lists by numerous other magazines and websites. In recent years, Shepis has become a gun control advocate after witnessing the trauma her daughter experienced in a school shooting.

Some of my favorite films that feature Tiffany Shepis include Abominable (2006), Delta Delta Die! (2003), Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp (2003), Night of the Demons (2009), Victor Crowley (2017), and Scarecrow (2002). Bloody Murder 2 was the first film that I saw her in and I was hooked. I started to actively seek out more of her films and continue to do so to this day. If you’re a B-movie horror fan and haven’t seen any of her work, check out the favorites that I’ve listed and then seek out more from her list on IMDb.

Thanks for checking out today’s post! Tiffany Shepis is one of my favorite actresses. She also seems like a really cool human being. To top it all off, she’s a horror fan like me and all of you! We only have TWO DAYS left of the Reign of the Scream Queens. Shepis and the final two queens are my favorite Scream Queens of all time. Can you guess the final girls?????? Let me know in the comments and return tomorrow to see if you’ve gotten one of the queens correct!

Gratuitous shot of Tiffany Shepis. Congratulations for getting all of the way to the bottom of the post! You’ve earned this photo!!!

Reign of the Scream Queens: Felissa Rose

Scream Queens Icon

For horror fans, few scenes were as impactful or unsettling as the final scene in Sleepaway Camp (1983). If you’ve never watched that film, I highly recommend it. Also, have no fear of spoilers for that film in this post. Just know that Felissa Rose could have walked away from her film career after starring in Sleepaway Camp and she would still be talked about for her portrayal of the iconic Angela Baker in that film.

Mrs. Rose, born in 1969, continued acting after appearing in Sleepaway Camp, with sporadic appearances in films and on television throughout the 80’s and 90’s. This was done on purpose, as she was attending the Lee Strasberg Theatre Film and Institute (NYU) in order to hone her craft. Rose was in good company at the institute as its list of alumni includes Linda Hamilton, Alec Baldwin, Uma Thurman, Sissy Spacek, Teri Garr, and many more recognized actors and actresses.

After working in stage plays for a bit, Rose ultimately returned to the genre that made her a star. Beginning in the early 2000’s, Mrs. Rose started gaining more and more roles in horror films. She has amassed over 160 acting credits, most of which she achieved after 2003. She continues to actively work, so the list will continue to grow.

In addition to acting, Rose has also produced a number of films and co-hosted the Casualty Friday podcast with fellow Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis and prolific slasher actor Kane Hodder. That trio also appeared in Victor Crowley together and Shepis and Rose have also appeared in other films together as well. Rose also attends multiple fan events throughout the year, happily taking photos and signing autographs for fans.

If I had to pick just one Felissa Rose film to watch, it would definitely be Sleepaway Camp. I also recommend Victor Crowley and Family Possessions. Rose also has a ton of other horror films out there including A Nun’s Curse, Dahmer Vs. Gacy, and Ugly Sweater Party. She’s an independent film darling and loves making horror films so fans have plenty of films to watch that feature Rose.

Felissa Rose is one of the reasons that I started watching horror films on a regular basis. I really enjoyed her performance in Sleepaway Camp and as a result, sought out not only more of her work, but other horror films of the 80’s and 90’s as well. I hope that you enjoyed this brief glimpse at her career. I’ll have another Scream Queen for you tomorrow!

Day Shift (2022)

DAY SHIFT. (L to R) Dave Franco as Seth and Jamie Foxx as Bud in Day Shift. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2022

“Mowing down vamps with my best friend, Bud.”

Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg, and Dave Franco team up to take down Karla Souza in J.J. Perry’s Day Shift. In the film, available only on Netflix, Foxx portrays Bud Jablonski, a down-on-his-luck vampire hunter who gets Big J (Snoop Dogg) to convince the vampire hunting union to reinstate him so that he can collect enough fangs to pay off his daughter’s school tuition and get her fitted for braces so that she and his estranged wife won’t move to Florida. Despite numerous past violations, the union boss, Ralph (Eric Lange) allows Bud back into the union but only if he hunts with a union representative watching his every move. That representative, Seth (Dave Franco), has to tag along for all of Bud’s hunts despite never having stepped foot out of the union office.

The duo soon find themselves the target of Audrey San Fernando (Karla Souza), an ambitious vampire that plans to take over the city by using real estate to build a vampire community. As the hunters become the hunted, Bud and Seth battle it out with Audrey and a number of other vampires. They team up with the Nazarian Brothers, another vampire hunting team, at one point as well. Does Bud manage to prevent his wife and daughter from leaving for good? Does Seth become a field man? Does Snoop save the day? Find out in the hilarious action yarn Day Shift!

Perhaps it is the fact that I set a very low bar for this film but I really, really enjoyed it. The action sequences are simply amazing and surprisingly light on CGI. Contortionists were used for many of the fighting sequences involving vampires, giving them an even creepier vibe. All of the action takes place at a neck breaking pace and serves as a wonderful bridge between plot developing scenes.

There’s also a ton of humor in this film. It’s laced throughout the story at perfect intervals, allowing viewers to take a break from the action and story development, laugh a bit, and then jump right back into the action. The film, despite being about vampires, doesn’t have a lot of horror elements (primarily gore), but that does not mean that it isn’t a horror film. It’s a great blend of horror, comedy, and action and I believe that J.J. Perry did a fine job directing all of it.

The cast was great. Foxx was funny but never too over the top. Franco was hilarious as well. Snoop Dogg’s role is limited but very enjoyable. Souza does a good job as Audrey, but never comes across as an unstoppable beast thanks to the injection of humor into the film. Meagan Good and Zion Broadnax portray Bud’s estranged wife, Jocelyn, and daughter, Paige, respectively. Zion is especially fun to watch on the screen. Eric Lange’s Ralph Seeger is hilariously annoying and I could easily see him become an enemy in a sequel. Oliver Masucci provides a ton of muscle as Klaus, Audrey’s right hand man. Natasha Liu Bordizzo has a small but significant role as Heather, Bud’s new neighbor. Steve Howey and Scott Adkins give Bud some muscular backup as the Nazarian Brothers in one of the film’s biggest action sequences.

I also have to mention the amazing soundtrack for the film. Featuring everyone from Body Count and Ice Cube to A.C.E. and The Blackbyrds, this film has great music that perfectly fits into each scene. There’s also a new track by J. Young called Bob (Mowing Down Vamps), which might just be my favorite track in the whole movie.

This movie is fun. It has great action, tons of humor, and excellent production quality. I keep seeing professional reviewers refer to it as a B-movie but they have it all wrong. This film could have easily been released on the big screen and would have made a solid chunk of money. It’s an excellent film that never tries to be more than it is: a buddy comedy/action/thriller/horror film. I’m just happy to see that it’s available on Netflix, and I believe that you need to watch it. It’s right up there with Bright as one of my favorite Netflix films.

Let me know what you think of the film in the comment section. I really like it and hope that you enjoy it as well. Thanks for reading my post. I’ll see you again real soon!

Classic Horror: Bowery At Midnight (1942)

“Keep that cat from desecrating my graves!”

Bowery At Midnight has everything that it needs to be a great horror film. It stars Bela Lugosi, Count Dracula himself, features a creepy mad doctor, and even has a few reanimated undead victims. The problem though, is that the undead folks don’t show up until the final minutes of the movie. The 1942 feature plays out more like a crime thriller than a horror film and in all honesty, the “horror” feels jammed into the film at the end.

In the film, Lugosi plays Professor Brenner, a psychology professor at the local university, who spends his nights living a double life as Karl Wagner, a crime boss who uses a soup kitchen as a front for his crime ring. He uses the shelter to recruit potential members for his schemes. When the film begins, he has a right hand man named Stratton who helps recruit lackeys for Wagner. Wagner is extremely paranoid, so he has Stratton kill the new recruits when the job is done. Wagner also has Doc Brooks, a drug-addicted doctor who disposes of the lackeys that Stratton kills for him. To top it all off, Brenner/Wagner has a wife who is clueless to his criminal activity and he hides his work from the shelter’s nurse as well. It’s all a tad bit crazy but it’s not a terribly bad film.

I won’t give away the ending of the film, but Wagner’s scheme collapses around him once the shelter nurse’s boyfriend (who also happens to be a student of Brenner) starts poking around the shelter because he believes that his girlfriend is fooling around with Wagner (who he has never seen in person). Toss in the fact that Doc Brooks has a few sinister plans of his own that add the horror elements to the film and you get a crime thriller that ends in a somewhat bizarre way involving the undead. It’s not a terrible film. It just feels like the undead were tossed in at the last minute to satisfy the Lugosi fans that expect him to only appear in horror films.

The film stars Lugosi, who turns in a fine performance, and a ton of character actors and horror genre regulars such as Lew Kelly (Doc Brooks), J. Farrell McDonald (Captain Mitchell), Anna Hope (Mrs. Brenner), Wheeler Oakman (Stratton), and John Berkes (Fingers). The nurse, Judy, is portrayed by Wanda McKay. Her boyfriend, Richard Dennison, is portrayed by John Archer. Wallace Fox directed the film.

Thanks for checking out my review. This isn’t a terrible film, it just feels a bit conflicted about whether it’s a crime film or a horror flick. Had the plot just picked a genre and stuck with it, the film might have been a lot better. Let me know what you think about the film in the comments.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

The Gentrification Of Slasher Films

2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a sequel to the original 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre, has quite a few things going for it. It takes a number of Texas stereotypes, social issues, and specific Austin, TX stereotypes and drops them in the middle of Leatherface’s latest killing spree. The funny thing is that these issues and stereotypes are at odds with one another but are forced to join forces to battle the chainsaw wielding wild man.

The film opens with a pair of somewhat arrogant social media influencers, Melody and Dante, on the road with Melody’s sister, Lila, and Dante’s fiance, Ruth. The group is headed for the ghost town of Harlow, where Melody and Dante plan to gentrify the heck out of the deserted locale. Hot on their heels is a bus full of potential investors, all of whom are nothing more than chainsaw fodder for the film. While heading to Harlow, the foursome manage to offend a local named Richter, a big truck drivin’, gun totin’ stereotypical Texas redneck. When they arrive in Harlow, they realize that Richter is the contractor that they hired to spruce up the town a bit ahead of the arrival of the bus of investors. Melody and Dante also discover an elderly woman who is still living in the local orphanage. Dante and Melody confront the woman, telling her that she must leave the property, and the old woman, upset, has a heart attack. She dies on the way to the hospital, setting off a “chain” of revenge killings by Leatherface. Bodies begin to pile up and the influencers are forced to set aside their personal biases and ideals in order to end Leatherface’s terror tour throughout the town.

When she hears that Leatherface has returned, Sally Hardesty, the only survivor from the original film, decides to finish off her adversary and heads for Harlow. She joins up with the remaining survivors in order to kill Leatherface. Her presence in the film feels a tad unnecessary but I’m assuming that it was meant to serve as a direct link to the original film. It also reminds me of every instance where Laurie Strode pops up in the Halloween franchise.

The film is pretty good. If you are familiar at all with the state of Texas, you know that its capital, Austin, is a polar opposite of the rest of the state. It’s a highly liberal city in a primarily conservative state, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre manages to force both of them to work together. It does a great job of showing the best and worst of both stereotypes without becoming political or heavy handed. In fact, there are quite a few humorous moments (possibly unintentional) in the film such as when a self-driving car rolls away while a victim is being massacred and when a young woman decides to use a gun only to find that it’s not loaded.

The film also utilizes contemporary issues such as school shootings, gun control, and gentrification to push its story forward. It manages to do so without getting preachy or even taking a side on any of the issues. It’s one of the best aspects of this film in my opinion.

There’s also plenty of gore. Leatherface uses hammers, knives, broken bones, and his token chainsaw to take out his victims. He’s also given a motive for his mutilation. You almost feel sorry for the guy, especially when it comes to one particularly arrogant young lady in the film.

The film’s cast does a great job. Elsie Fisher portrays Lila, the only truly likeable and sympathetic character in the film. Sarah Yarkin plays Lila’s gentrifying and arrogant sister who realizes her and Dante’s mistake and tries to fix things unsuccessfully. Jacob Latimore does a great job as Dante, who comes off more business minded and visionary than Melody. His fiance Ruth is played by Nell Hudson, who has a small role in the film but seems to be a pretty decent character. The film also stars Alice Krige in an almost unrecognizable performance as Mrs. Mc, Leatherface’s elderly caretaker. Jessica Allain stars as Catherine, a banker who brings bodies….um…..investors to the town of Harlow. Leatherface is portrayed by Mark Burnham and Moe Dunford portrays Richter, the Texas-as-Texas-can-be contractor.

Much like the original film, sound plays a massive part in the movie. Colin Stetson does an amazing job using music to build up tension in the film. Director David Blue Garcia keeps things moving at a frenetic pace as one would expect and there’s a lot about this film that reminds me of the original. It isn’t a watered down misfire like Halloween Kills, but I also don’t believe that it will have a lasting impression as the original film did way back in the seventies. It’s available to stream exclusively on Netflix at the moment and I do recommend it. It’s a gory callback to the original with plenty of unlikeable victims that you’ll enjoy watching Leatherface rip to shreds.

Thanks for reading my review. Leatherface isn’t one of my favorite film killers but I really did enjoy this film. Give it a chance and let me know what you think in the comments.

Thirty-One Days O’Horror: The Resident (2011)

Dr. Bliss

The second coming of Hammer Productions in the 2000’s has focused primarily on traditional horror stories involving vampires, ghosts, and bringing the dead back to life, but 2011’s The Resident goes in a different direction. It uses voyeurism, stalking, and psychological horror to feed the fears of the audience. In theory this should have worked extremely well, but it’s all pretty flat despite a star-studded cast, a wonderful setting, and a plot grounded in reality.

In the film, Hilary Swank stars as Juliet Devereau, an ER doctor who finds herself in need of a new apartment. Thinking that she has landed the deal of the century, she moves into a massive apartment owned and managed by Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who lives in the building along with August (Christopher Lee in his final Hammer film role), an odd elderly man. As the days go by, Juliet begins to get weird feelings in her apartment. She also begins to hear odd creaking sounds. She struggles to determine if the sounds and feelings are genuine, a fabrication of her own mind, a supernatural occurrence, or even a stalker.

Thrown in for good measure is Juliet’s strained relationship with her ex, Jack (Lee Pace). When she begins seeing him again, the bizarre happenings seem to ramp up and Juliet has cameras installed to see if she can catch a ghost or her stalker. Things come to a head when Juliet begins to oversleep and arriving late for work. With a blood test she discovers that she is being drugged and things go into overdrive. Who is her stalker? Is it a ghost, a jilted lover, or something even creepier? Watch The Resident to find out.

This has got to be one of the worst Hammer films that I’ve watched during my Thirty-One Days O’Horror. It absolutely falls flat. There’s no genuine terror, no especially good acting, and the slowest build up to the most anti-climactic ending that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a true shame that this was Christopher Lee’s final appearance in a Hammer film as he was completely wasted in it. Hilary Swank was uninspiring on the screen. Jeffrey Dean Morgan did manage to give us a few creepy moments but he fell flat as well. Poor Lee Pace……well, let’s just say that he did nothing to speed up or slow down the pace of this film. This was bad, y’all. Really…..bad.

Don’t watch this snooze fest unless you only want to see Christopher Lee in his final Hammer role. I cannot recommend it. It’s sad because this film had so much potential based on its cast and theme, but it never found its footing and never managed to do much more than generate a few icky feelings. This was a dud.

I want to thank you for reading this review. The film was pretty bad but I promise that tomorrow’s review will be of a much better film. See you later!

Thirty-One Days O’Horror: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)

“Who did this?!?!?!?”

When a mute altar boy discovers the body of a young woman in the bell of the local church, the locals begin fearing for their lives and the priest goes rogue in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. While traveling through the area, Monsignor Mueller learns of the failings of the local priest and decides to help him. The priest tells the monsignor that Dracula has returned and people are too afraid to attend Mass. The Monsignor decides to exorcise and bless Castle Dracula to stop the vampire’s reign of terror. The rogue priest agrees to go with the monsignor to Dracula’s castle but will not follow him all of the way up the mountain. When Msgr. Mueller blesses the castle, placing a large cross upon the doors, a storm brews up and knocks the rogue priest down, causing his head to bleed. Unfortunately for everyone, the monsignor believes that his work is done. Little does he know that the rogue priest’s blood has awakened Dracula and now the count is out for revenge!

Dracula takes the rogue priest as his slave and forces him to lead him to the monsignor in order to get revenge. Unable to access his castle, Dracula takes up residence in the basement of a tavern while the priest gets a room upstairs. The count begins using and manipulating the lovely barmaid, Zena, to draw in the monsignor’s niece, Maria, so that he can take her as his bride in revenge for blocking off his castle. Standing in the count’s way is the monsignor and Maria’s boyfriend, Paul. The duo are quite the odd couple as Paul is an atheist and the monsignor is, well, a Catholic priest. They form an uneasy bond to take on the count. Who wins? Watch 1968’s Dracula Has Risen From The Grave to find out!

This film is considered to be one of the weakest entries in the Christopher Lee Dracula films. Personally I believe that it is very well done and deserves more attention than it receives. For starters, director Freddie Francis does a great job of shocking viewers with epic little moments throughout the film. One of the best, at least in my opinion, is the build up to and ultimate revelation of the dead girl inside the bell of the church. I also loved many of the wide shots that featured Count Dracula standing and peering out at his enemies and/or his slaves. Christopher Lee cuts quite the imposing figure in all of these shots and I thought that they were amazing.

The film’s cinematography, provided by Arthur Grant, is breathtaking at moments. The colors pop when they need to and are refrained at just the right moment. Also, take note of the framing of each shot whenever Dracula is involved in a scene. There’s a nice filtering touch that you’ll find in these moments. The music by James Bernard is great as well. You could hear a theme building around Dracula before, during, and after his appearance in a scene.

Then there is the cast, who all do wonderful jobs. Rupert Davies’ performance as Monsignor Mueller is full of anger, a bit of arrogance, and wisdom. He’s the perfect foil to the very likable and charming Barry Andrews as Paul. He’s one of my favorite characters in all of the Hammer films that I’ve watched so far. Lee does an amazing job as the count as expected and Ewan Hooper is great as the local priest who struggles between forced service to Dracula and his love for the Lord. Veronica Carlson is both sweet and seductive as Maria and, gosh, I can’t say enough about the wonderful Barbara Ewing as Zena, the ill-fated barmaid who has a crush on Paul and is used as a weapon against Maria. Ewing was so striking in this film that I ended up crushing on her a bit myself. Also, I want to give a nod to Carrie Baker. She portrays Gisela Heinz, the young lady who hangs from the bells of the church and whose coffin is stolen by the priest for the count to stay in during the daytime.

I also loved the promotional posters for this film, especially the American release poster pictured at the beginning of this post. It’s simple, revealing Veronica Carlson’s neck with two bandages strategically placed over her vampire bite wound. It’s a cool poster and I need to find a copy of it for my wall. I also loved the many lobby cards, promotional photos, and other posters for this film.

I really did enjoy this film. I don’t understand why so many people dislike it. It’s fun, has plenty of action, and includes some of the best acting performances that I’ve seen in a Hammer production. Sink your teeth into this film. You just might like it!

I hope that you enjoyed this post. We’re more than half of the way through Thirty-One Days O’Horror, and Halloween is just around the corner. Keep your eyes peeled for even more Hammer goodness this month!