Noroi: The Curse (2005)
Director: Koji Shiraishi
Main Stars: Jin Muraki, Rio Kanno, Tomono Kuga, Marika Matsumoto, Kei Matsubara, Makoto Inamori
Storyline: A filmmaker explores the supernatural and stumbles upon a series of incidents surrounding a demon known as kagutaba
Review (Spoils): I had no idea what I was about to witness when I started to watch this film. At first when the documentary started (yes this done like a documentary with a series of video) I was less impress as I was like god here we go again with the same paranormal shit. But about 15min into the film is started to pull me in with the series of events and even some wackiness of the psychics and the kids show. Then it started to gather a series of events and people and glued them together one by one. This is not for everyone as it can be a bit much with the slow motion replays (not sure why they did this as most accounts it was noticed the first time) but trust me keep watching this. It goes through a series of disappearances, deaths, pigeons, babies, ghost like feeling, a babe in yellow, nut bar people, crawling fetuses, hangings, dead dogs and the ritual of the great demon known only as kagutaba.
This film is not scary but instead it’s creepy as hell. The acting is actually really good especially the psychic in the tinfoil (he was awesome)and the woman known as Junko (Tomono Kuga) and this is way creepier then The Blair Witch Project which I can see people comparing it too. The sound effects are and so are even the grainy dark images and the final scene in the woods like messed up and well worth the wait. This film caught me right off guard as it kept getting graded higher in my head as it went.
Rating: This film is now on my list of classics. This film was for some strange reason hit the right nerves for me when it comes to horror films and classics are really hard to find of this era. The mood is spooky, it has tinfoil hats, and the special effects are actually cool. Watch this right through to the very very end as it continues right to the last second of the film even after the credit. Turn off the lights, grab some beers, get the subtitles going and watch this original messed film till the very end. You will thank me…
Director: Steven Spielberg
Main Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton
Storyline: A gigantic great white shark is swimming in the area of Amity causes the summer season to be cut short. A police chief, a marine scientist and a wild man fisherman set out to stop the man eating beast.
Review (Spoils): The summer is here at Amity and it is high season for money making which mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) loves. But when people start disappearing and body parts start showing up on the beach the new sheriff in town Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) tries to shut down the beach. Well this does not sit well with the mayor or the town folk who depend on the profit of the high summer season. After a few meetings and many deaths the mayor agrees to not close the beach but place out a bounty on the sharks head. After a few red necks fail the sheriff heads out with his own crew made up of a marine biologist named Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and an ex vet fisherman named Quint (Robert Shaw) to put an end to the shark.
The movie is extremely well done when it comes to graphics, the shark is beautifully made and the scenes are classic. We have everything from massive jaws chewing, biting, blood galore and lots of body parts. Steven Spielberg steals the gold here when it comes “animal attack” horror films.
The characters themselves are all memorable, the conflict between them are even well drawn out (examples of this is the sheriff/the mayor and the sheriff/his wife and of course all three main characters in the boat). The writing of the film is well done and the movie is intense with the help of the classic music that we all well know. This movie is nothing but greatness. Holding one of horror greatest lines “I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing”
Rating: I cannot really say anything wrong about this film and most people can’t. There is no better shark movie out there and it is a horror gem. Having seen this film many times it never gets old. Steven Spielberg, thank you creating one of the greatest intense horror movies of all time. Drink up people for one of the grandest films and I will end on one of my favourite quotes “Martin hates boats. Martin hates water. Martin… Martin sits in his car when we go on the ferry to the mainland. I guess it’s a childhood thing. It’s a… there’s a clinical name for it isn’t there? He replies “Drowning”
Director: James Wan
Main Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Dina Meyer, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell
Storyline: Two men wake up in a dirty bathroom and are chained at the ankles. No idea on how they got there they are tormented by a stranger character known only as the Jigsaw Killer. Police try to solve the mystery and learn that they are not the first two victims.
Review (Spoils): When I first watch this film I was shocked and locked on the film so bad I even skipped going to the bar. This film is just that good. We great character build in this film and works on you turning away from the film as it sits so realistic that it could really happen. Sure it has the police type feel when they are trying to figure where and who is the Jigsaw Killer. But the idea of the puzzles and timer for each victim to choose and survive is out there and possible that it attacks the mind. We have everything from traps, bear trap helmets, gorging someone to find a key for a lock and it goes on and on. It really is not over the top gore and not really torture as it is all about survival. This film lives off you being on the edge of your seat and sweating while watching someone escape a puzzle trap while the timer is running. This is brilliant and it is the best of the whole Saw series.
Rating: Creating one of the most unique horror villains in a long time this movie holds. Forget the lameness of the teeny bop horrors of that era and reach for this one. Yes it might not be for everyone but everyone should see this film at least once as it is a gem in the horror genre. Drink to the Jigsaw Killer as he “wants to play a game”.
The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene
Main Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover
Storyline: Dr. Caligari travels villages with the somnambulist Cesare who can predict the future. He predicts death and it happens the next day.
Review (Spoils): Dr. Caligaris (Werner Krauss) is one strange mad man and his somnambulist pet Cesare Conrad Veidt) who sleeps in a coffin and awakens to predict people’s future what is creepier? The movie is beautifully done for its time and a classic as it was the first to really play with shadows on screen. The scenery is breath taking with odd shapes and lines. The characters are well written and for 1920 the acting in this silent film is extremely well done. The walking Cesare is actually creepy and frighten for what it is one of the more memorable characters in horror. The character Joan (Lil Dagover) is played very well and the scene where Cesare is going to stab her but overtaken by the temptation of love is a classic scene including the part where he kidnaps her and roams the streets and woods.
Rating: This movie screams classic and this film is what gives horror a good name as it extremely well done and in good taste. Robert Wiene created a gem and something that hold through time. Thank you for introducing us to one of the first walking dead.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Main Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh
Storyline: A woman steals some money and runs from town. She stalls in an old motel owned by a strange young man and his mother. It will be her last mistake.
Review (Spoils): This film is awesome for a few reasons.The first reason is it was written and film not as a horror film but as a thriller. It makes you believe that the whole film is based around the stolen money and than BAM it’s a whole new film of horror. Alfred Hitchcock is an amazing director alone just for doing that not to mention his other great films. Janet Leigh does an awesome job playing the attractive woman who steals the company money and runs to the hills. The inner voice dialogue is a beautiful added touch. Not to mention her most classic scene in film.
Anthony Perkins plays the Norman Bates character owner of the motel with his mother and he does steal the show. The shy, strange and plays with dead animals as hobby. Oh and he is very close to his mother. The creepiness of the film is capture purely on just his character. He does one of the most memorable villains in horror film and he is handy with a knife.
Rating: Cannot dislike this film in any way. It is dark, creepy and opens the door to the classic mommy’s boy son syndrome. Grab a case and your moms dress and enjoy a great ride.
The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Main Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, T.K Carter, Keith David
Storyline: Scientists are in the Antarctic doing tests and studies when they are interrupted by a mad Norwegian and stumble upon a frozen spacecraft. What they did not know is the alien creature still lives inside the ship in a frozen state.
Review (Spoils): First off this is a remake of The Thing from Another World and it is way better. John Carpenter over did himself with over the top special effects and the storyline flows great together where the gaps were missing in the original. We have prime acting from Kurt Russell and the rest of the cast as they battle a space changing beast which brings physical and emotional conflict within the group of scientists.The film has you guessing through it who is the effected by the alien or who is the human. Between madness it is hard to tell between the two.
The movie has over the top gore; we have malformed dogs, strange blobs, gooey creatures and bodies that change to the reaction of the creature itself. This is not a date movie but it is one of the best horror films out there for special effects.
Rating: I might get nailed to the horror cross for saying this but this is John Carpenter’s best, sorry Michael Myers but this one has you beat. But I still love you!
Director: F.W Murneau
Main Stars: Max Schreck, Greta Schroder, Gustav Von Wangenheim
Storyline: Count Orlock purchases from real estate from an agent named Hutter. What he does not know is he is a vampire and has a craving for blood and for Hutter’s wife Ellen.
Review: We hit the silent era again for horror films. None are no greater known and better than Nosferatu. F.W Murneau takes the story of Count Dracula and changes it enough for copyright reasons (we blame Bram Stoker’s wife for this) to bring us the story of Count Orlock.
This film is very dark and captures the true darkness of the vampire. Unlike the later film Dracula. The castle shows the true gothic terror of the vampire, the work of shadows is well done (see the long claws sequence) and the lighting was used well (the close up of the rats in the coffin). Sure the make-up is over done but it was in most films of this age.
Count Orlock (Max Schreck) is amazing in this film, he took the character and made it believable. Thin, long faced, fangs, long talons and pointed ears he is a true monster of horror. The character is overly powerful for his size and he is true version of a vampire (see the scene with the coffin).
Rating: The music in this film is a killer as in mood killer but that could be the version I have. This movie is as classic as you can get as it is the true horror film of the silent period plus it is part of the German silent film era.