The Devil Doll (1936)
Director: Tod Browning
Main Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, Frank Lawton
Storyline: A lunatic and a banker uses mini people to grant revenge against the ones that fraud him.
Review (Spoils): Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) is a banker but he was framed for robbery and murder and placed into prison. He escapes in time and with the help of scientist friend who can create little people (reducing real people smaller) and plan revenge.
Therefore, the story begins with the tale of the banker being wrong by his associates and wants everyone to pay for that backstab (fair enough). He meets a maniac in prison named Marcel who can create creatures and reduce them to inches. After Marcel’s death, the banker uses his tools to over take his plan of revenge. He plays most of the movie as Madame Mandilip who owns a doll shop as a front to over up his revenge.
The majority of this film is Madame Mandilip (Lionel Barrymore posing as an old woman) and showing the miniature effects of people being on inches high which the movie Son of Frankenstein took from. The film is much like other Tod Browning films as he has always had a thing for people who were indifferent or have some type of disability (in this case the mute young woman). Nothing shocking or scary with this film but it thick in plot and storyline.
Rating: Lionel Barrymore sticks out in the film, as he can be entertaining as he is playing multiple roles in this story. The miniature people are interesting but after a while, I found myself bored as the story line was too thick and there was not enough scares to keep me laughing or entertained. I preferred The Unholy Three.
Phantasm 4 (1998)
Director: Don Coscarelli
Main Stars: A. Michael Badlwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, Heidi Marnhout, Angus Scrimm, Bob Ivy
Storyline: Starting right off from the last film Mike is traveling dimension to find the origin of the Tall Man while Reggie continues to battle the spheres, the undead, and the small people and stop the Tall Man.
Review (Spoils): The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) is chasing Mike (A. Michael Badlwin) as he is trying to get away. Reggie (Reggie Bannister) is roaming the desert until he meets a hottie (Heidi Marnhout) to help him track down Mike. We have haunting and visions from Jody’s ghost so the whole gang is back. Much like the past films, we have eerie scenery, flashbacks, explosions, small creatures, spinning spheres with blades and spikes, guns, the Tall Man and dimension doors. (What is a Phantasm film without them)? The film starts to unfold what is behind the Tall Man without fully ruining the whole haunting and mystery. Yes they try to explain why he is not dead yet.
The one thing that is lacking in the series is the true reason why the Tall Man is after Jody and now Mike. Is it because they know too much from the first film or is there something that Don Coscarelli has not told us yet and more to come? We have Angus Scrimm returning as the Tall Man and yes, he does try to do the same impression of “Boy” that we have heard in past films. Reggie is Reggie and we will leave it at that.
Rating: “The secret of the spheres are released, the final game has began”. Some old same old with this one and to be honest it is the weaker of the whole series. I think it could because they do not know exactly where they were going with the series and needed something to get the fans off their own backs. Still the series is a cult classic when it comes to horror so check it out.
Killer Party (1986)
Director: William Fruet
Main Stars: Martin Hewitt, Ralph Seymour, Elaine Wilkes, Sherry Wilis-Burch, Alicia Fleer, Joanna Johnson
Storyline: A group of young girls try to join a sorority and are part of a hazing at a haunted house.
Review (Spoils): A small group of friends (who look in their thirties so bad selection of girls for the part) want to stick together and join a girls sorority. So to make the cut then need to do a large amount of stupid stuff like stealing shirts from the boys group, setup props, raw egg eating, goats eyes and goat heads. While this is going on for a near hour of the film, we have backstory (with lack of information) of a once man named Adam who was killed and haunting and old sorority house.
This movie did not age well. The film is acting silly and boring for the first hour … if you can survive it then the actual last part is actually entertaining. Outside the stupidness of the storyline when the haunting possession kicks in it is actual fun ride for about 15-20min. The special effects of the demon possession is actually fun and well done. It reminded actual of Evil Dead for the last 15min. too bad the film is poor and boring till that point.
Rating: Not the greatest 80s horror film at all. It is stupid when it comes to all the college crap and boy chasing crap. However, if you can get past that the ending is entertaining and the special effects are cool. So we have 80s chicks, tight t-shirt boys and a bee scene which gives us the typical 80s TA.
Filed under Haunting, Occult
The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers
Main Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Sarah Stephens, Daniel Chaudhry
Storyline: 1630 as New England is in a battle against witchcraft and see the outcome of one family
Review (Spoils): The film is placed in New England during the battle against witchcraft in the 1630s. A young couple with their children leave the village so that they can live on their own with their devoted Christian ways. One day when the eldest daughter is taking care of the youngest one, he vanishes when playing peek a boo and then things started to becomes darker for the family. The family start to turn on each other as they try to figure out what is what evil is haunting them and why.
This film has some very interesting and enjoyable scenery such as old buildings, trees and that damn black goat (which you are waiting for something to happen). The acting is actually really good and the storyline has prudential but the sound is not that great. The music and sound effects over take the script (character lines) and along with the hard accent sometimes difficult to keep up. Which is too bad but the film is likable. We have lots of blood, naked witches, a black goat, some nasty head wounds, and some symbolism of coming into adulthood, a coven, a wicked tree and a nice Snow White type seduction.
Rating: This film is not bad but it could have been a lot more enjoyable if they would fix the audio and less on the music. I personally liked the idea and I enjoyed Anya Taylor-Joy as the main character as she was interesting and played the sides of the character very well. I hope this film is not ruined with a sequel, as it was nice to have the open ending.
As Above, So Below (2014)
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Main Stars: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert
Storyline: A young woman gets a gang of explorers to venture into some catacombs underneath Paris to uncover the secret of the City of the Dead.
Review (Spoils): The young and beautiful Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is an adventurous explorer who wants to live up to her father’s name and make sure his life and death was worth it. She starts a documentary on her choices and her travels as she tries to break into where the City of the Dead is located. She travels to the eastern lands and cracks into a hidden catacomb and takes with her video and pictures of the lost words. She uses her charm and gets help from fellow explorer George (Ben Feldman) to get it translated and they end up in Paris. In Paris they track down a bigger group of young explorers and they travel underground to find the lost City of the Dead.
We have the typical young and wild party people, the very talented and gorgeous Perdita Weeks, ghosts, jumpy camera, a stone bull, flashes of supposedly scary people, some flying blows, a nasty gored out fall, a crazy head bash (one of the best in the film), a healing stone, the cute Marion Lambert, some closer phobic moments and the same damn film as Grave Encounters.
Rating: I was expecting a lot more from this film. I read a number of reviews and they seemed to be great but once I started watching the film it screamed Grave Encounters and/or a horrible version of [REC]. I am personally so tired of the video camera view when it comes to horror films. It has been overdone like 5 years ago! As soon as I see this now in a film I scream to myself no budget but wanted to make the film anyways. When you have such a beautiful talented actress like Perdita Weeks do not waste it with this replicated horror stuff. Such a waste.
Filed under Haunting, Occult
Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Director: Don Sharp
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: The story of the power of the madman monk Rasputin
Review (Spoils): Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee) has the mental power to bend people to his will. When he uses his power to heal a woman and starts to gain the reputation from the villagers as a good guy eh starts to show his true colours. Rasputin uses his mind to brain wash women to become his slaves and bid his evil doing. To the point of their breaking point and their weakness.
Much like other Hammer Films this one is made up with beautiful gothic scenery and clothing. We have Christopher Lee at one of his best make-up setup as the mad monk. His acting stands out in this film and Rasputin should be a legendary character of his much like Dracula. The film tells the story of the drunken mad monk and how he uses his mind to control people to do his bidding so that he can live happily in wealth. The two damsels in this Hammer film are legendary scream queens Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley, we do not have the bosoms out like most Hammer films but at the same time we do have great acting as Shelley places the poor soul that the monk torments.
Rating: I will be honest I did not find it the strongest Hammer Film as it is lacking frights but the story and the acting alone is worth watching. Some of the story is lacking on how he gets the powers and the ending just kind of just ended but that is not much different other Hammer Films. I think we needed more cleavage and less mullets.
Horror Hotel (1960)
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Main Stars: Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis, Christopher Lee, Betta St. John, Venetia Stevenson
Storyline: A young woman takes a winter vacation in Whitewood while studying on the topic of witchcraft, what she does not know is that she has stumbled upon a coven.
Review (Spoils): A professor recommends that the young and beautiful student Nan (Venetia Stevenson) should settled in Whitewood to take some time to study on her topic of witchcraft. She comes across an old inn called Raven’s Inn to have her stay and she meets the caretaker Mrs. Newlis (Patricia Jessel).
As she is there she starts to see connections of her studies that what is happening around her such as celebrations of Candalmas Eve and the 13th hour. Oh and the truth of the spirit of the late witch Elizabeth Selwyn.
This film is heavy on the goth and heavy on the fog. The feel of the film is not much on the talk but leans on the scenery as we have the innocent Venetia Stevenson roaming around the village and hotel and trying to get a grasp on the nightmare slash dreamy visit she is having. Not sure how she did not put it all together with the noise of chanting at night and the dead birds but anyways. Patricia Jessel character screams witch but anyways this all slips past everyone in the film.
We got dead birds, fog, crucifixes, old books, chanting, some daggers, the lovely Venetia Stevenson in stockings (while reading in bed alone because that’s what all ladies do), Christopher Lee as a side character and some nasty holy fire!
Rating: This film is not bad but at the same time it has its flaws as some of the funny are actually funny on how people react to things. Is it a classic? Not sure of that but at the same time it was a nice little witchcraft film. The scene of Venetia Stevenson being dragged and captured sure is classic in its own right for horror, plus Iron Maiden used some of the scenes for the Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter video.