Tag Archives: horror movies

Film Friday #284: Halloween special

I pretty much only watch horror movies once a year because they really aren’t my thing and that’s in the lead-up to Halloween. So here we go… my 4 horror movies for the year.

Hush (2016)

Deaf mute writer, Maddie (Katie Siegel) lives on her own in a remote house in the woods where she is working on her latest novel and struggling with the ending. As she works into the night a masked man (John Gallagher Jr.) stalks her but he’s going to get a lot more than what he bargained for. Read more…

Film Friday #204: The Halloween Edition

I am not generally a fan of horror movies, which is something that probably became very clear in my answer to The Oracle of Film’s Question of the Month. However it feels like Halloween is a time of year to put prejudices aside and take one for the team so I have watched and reviewed four horror movies purely for your titillation (yes, Eric… I said tit). I have tried to mix it up by going for one comedy horror, one found footage, one modern classic and one what the actual fuck was that. I hope you all enjoy it because I am probably not going to watch anymore horror movies for a whole year!

Sinister (2012)

Ethan Hawke plays, Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer who had one major hit ten years ago. Since then he’s been looking for the next big thing and when a family is hanged in their backyard apart from one child who is abducted, he thinks he might have found it. Ellison uproots his wife (Juliet Rylance) and two children, Ashley (Clare Foley) and Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) and moves them into the house where the murder happened… without telling them the history of their new home. While exploring the house, Ellison finds a box full of old 8mm home movies, which depict a series of murders which seem to be related to the hanging. As he investigates further, throwing himself into his work, strange things start to happen in the house – including increasingly strange behaviour from Ashley and Trevor. Is there a killer on the loose or is there something much more sinister underway? What I liked about Sinister was that time was taken to build characters you could care about and to develop a story line that was mostly coherent and cohesive. It was also really quite unsettling, not resorting to endless jump scares. You spend more time freaking out about what might be about to happen than what is actually happening. Hawke plays Ellison as a man so desperate to recapture his former glory that you can imagine he would keep watching the terrible videos without alerting the police. Ultimately the ending was a bit meh though and the “monster” was less scary than the idea of him. Not bad. 3.5/5

Ashley's new playmate was not mom approved

Ashley’s new playmate was not mom approved

Idle Hands (1999)

Anton (Devon Sawa) lives to smoke weed, hang out with his friends and watch as much TV as possible. Unfortunately his right hand has become possessed by the devil and is trying to kill everyone. That’s about the extent of this completely unfunny, unscary snoozefest. I am trying to think of a good thing to say about this but the best I can manage is that Sawa’s hand movements really do make his hand look like it’s possessed. Pity his face acting doesn’t live up to it. Idle Hands also features a young Jessica Alba sporting a hideous mushroom-like haircut that I also happened to sport in 1999. The shame. Her character’s sole purpose appears to be to parade around half naked while lusting after Anton for unfathomable reasons. There is one scene where she seems simply incapable of resisting her desire to shag him despite the fact that he is filthy, covered in blood, stinks of weed and he can’t stop waving his hand around. She doesn’t even react negatively when he tries to strangle her while they’re making out. I also couldn’t understand why Anton’s friends, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) come back from the dead after he kills them. He kills his parents and they don’t come back. I can only imagine this was made by a fourteen year old boy with a similar audience in mind. Avoid. 0/5

What do you mean my hair looks fuggly, you're the one who looks like he's been dumpster diving

What do you mean my hair looks fuggly, you’re the one who looks like he’s been dumpster diving

House of 1,000 Corpses (2003)

While on a road trip, two couples come across a gas station with an attached amateur theme park. The creepy clown-painted attendant (Sid Haig) shows them around and tells them the legend of Doctor Satan, who supposedly performed loads of dodgy experiments on people and was hanged from a tree out in the woods. Of course the blokes want to go and check it out but the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and they’re forced take up the offer of a sexy hitchhiker (Sheri Moon Zombie) to seek shelter at her house. What they don’t realise is that she and her family are all complete hillbilly psychos and it’ll be a miracle if any of them make it out alive. I have to admit that this film was probably wasted on me. I didn’t get the point of all the weird visual effects and I found the endless ranting of the family patriarch (Chad Bannon) annoying… but not as annoying as Sheri Moon Zombie’s laugh. Maybe I’m missing something but it was all a bit too weird and off the wall for me. 1/5

I'm ready for my close-up

I’m ready for my close-up

Scream (1996)

A masked killer is stalks the sleepy town of Woodsborough on the eve of the anniversary of Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother’s murder. There’s nothing particularly complex about the plot of this modern slasher classic but what makes it stand out is the way it self-consciously plays on all the typical horror movie tropes following, and occasionally breaking, the rules that seventies and eighties slashers all seem to be based on. It’s like a fan love letter to the genre. I have probably seen it about fifty times and I bet most of you have as well but I am still not going to spoil by telling you the twist. What I will say is what also helps Scream stand out is its great characters. Sidney is a tough yet vulnerable heroine that you can root for and she’s backed up by a brilliant turn from Courtney Cox as a bitchy, cut throat reporter called Gale Weathers. Even Skeet Urich (what happened to him?) is suitably charming/creepy as Sid’s boyfriend and David Arquette makes a great rookie deputy. An absolute must watch for any movie fan, whether you love horror or not. 4/5

Hey baby... wanna spoon?

Hey baby… wanna spoon?

My top 10 horror movie targets

In many horror movies the targets of the villain/monster are often no more than cannon fodder, destined to be slaughtered without the audience even really getting to know their names. But sometimes the person being targeted is just as interesting or iconic as what or who is after them. These are the ones that stand out just for me.


Melanie Daniels
Played by: Tippi Hedren
The film: The Birds (1963)
Who/what is after her?: Birds… all of them.
Badassability: 4/10
“Melanie Daniels: Close that door, quickly.
Annie Hayworth: What?
Melanie Daniels: Please.”


Carol Anne Freeling
Played by: Heather O’Rourke
The films: Poltergeist (1982), Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), Poltergeist III (1988)
Who/what is after her?: Lots of ghosts
Badassability: 3/10
“Diane: Sweetheart, last night, when you said “They’re here’…
Carol Anne: Can I take my goldfish to school?
Diane: Sweetheart, do you remember last night when you woke up, and you said “They’re here’?
Carol Anne: Uh huh.
Diane: Well, who did you mean?
Carol Anne: The TV People.
Robbie: She’s stoned.
Dana: Oh yeah? What do you know about it?
Robbie: More than you. Ask Dad.”


Clarice Starling
Played by: Jodie Foster
The film: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Who/what is after her: Hannibal Lecter
Badassability: 5/10
“Clarice Starling: You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you – why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.”


Laurie Strode
Played by: Jamie Lee Curtis
The films: Halloween (1978), Halloween II  (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Who/what is after her?: Michael Myers
Badassability: 6/10
“Annie Brackett: Still spooked?
Laurie: I wasn’t spooked.
Annie Brackett: LIES!
Laurie: I wasn’t! I saw someone standing in Mr. Riddle’s back yard.
Annie Brackett: Probably Mr. Riddle!
Laurie: He was watching me.
Annie Brackett: Mr. Riddle was watching you? Laurie, Mr. Riddle is eighty-seven!
Laurie: He can still watch.
Annie Brackett: That’s probably all he can do!”


Regan McNeill
Played by: Linda Blair
Film: The Exorcist (1973)
Who/what us after her?: A demon
Badassability: 1/10
“Psychiatrist: Is there someone inside you?
Regan MacNeil: Sometimes.
Psychiatrist: Who is it?
Regan MacNeil: I don’t know.
Psychiatrist: Is it Captain Howdy?
Regan MacNeil: I don’t know.
Psychiatrist: If I ask him to tell me, will you let him answer?
Regan MacNeil: No.
Psychiatrist: Why not?
Regan MacNeil: I’m afraid.”


Played by: Sigourney Weaver
The Films: Alien (1979), Aliens (1986)
Who/what is after her?: Big, bad aliens
Badassability: 10/10
“Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.
Ripley: Yes, there are, aren’t there?
Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
Ripley: Most of the time it’s true.”

Played by: Simon Pegg
Film: Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Who/what is after him: Zombies
Badassability: 7/10
“Shaun: Look, I don’t care what the telly says, all right? We *have* to get out of here. If we don’t they’ll tear us to pieces, and that is really going to exacerbate things for all of us.”

SidneySidney Prescott
Played by: Neve Campbell
Films: Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Scream 4 (2011)
Who/what is after her?: Various people all acting as Ghostface
Badassability: 8/10
“Phone Voice: Do you like scary movies?
Sidney Prescott: What’s the point? They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting.”


Played by: Sharni Vinson
Film: You’re Next (2011)
Who/what is after her?: Masked intruders
Badassability: 9/10
“Erin: Grab anything that might make a good weapon.”


Played by: Ivana Baquero
Film: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Who/what is after her?: The creatures in a dark labyrinth
Badassability: 8/10
“Ofelia: Many, many years ago in a sad, faraway land, there was an enormous mountain made of rough, black stone. At sunset, on top of that mountain, a magic rose blossomed every night that made whoever plucked it immortal. But no one dared go near it because its thorns were full of poison. Men talked amongst themselves about their fear of death, and pain, but never about the promise of eternal life. And every day, the rose wilted, unable to bequeath its gift to anyone… forgotten and lost at the top of that cold, dark mountain, forever alone, until the end of time.”

My top 10 movies that scare me

Since today is Halloween I couldn’t think of a better top 10 than the movies that over the years have scared the bejesus out of me.

the-birds_2105331iThe Birds (1963)
Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette
What happens: Birds suddenly and inexplicably start attacking people in massive flocks
Creepiest moment: When the children are singing at the school and the birds slowly but surely amass
“Mother in Diner: [to Melanie] Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you’re the cause of all of this. I think you’re evil. EVIL! “
The Omen (1976) DamienThe Omen (1976)
What happens: After a husband agrees to swap his wife’s stillborn baby for a healthy newborn he slowly comes to discover that the child is the Antichrist.
Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
Creepiest moment:  When Damien’s nanny kills herself at his birthday party and he smiles because it’s the first time we really know he is evil.
“Robert Thorn: If there were anything wrong, you’d tell me, wouldn’t you?
Kathy Thorn: Wrong? What could be wrong with our child, Robert? We’re the beautiful people, aren’t we?

seven1Se7en (1995)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow
What happens: Two detectives attempt to track down a serial killer who is picking off his victims according to the seven deadly sins
Creepiest moment: When the guy who has been tied up with no food for a year revives himself. Proper jump out of your seat stuff.”David Mills: What’s in the box?”

ring_8The Ring (2002)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson
What happens: Strange things start happening to a journalist investigating a video tape that seems to be killing people seven days after they’ve watched it.
Creepiest moment: When Samara climbs out of the TV. Getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
“Rachel Keller: Honey, the house you drew for me…
Aidan Keller: Uh huh.
Rachel Keller: Where did you see it? Did you see it in your head? Is that why you drew it?
Aidan Keller: In my head?
Rachel Keller: Aidan, why did you draw that house?
Aidan Keller: ‘Cause she told me to.
Rachel Keller: Who? Who told you to?
Aidan Keller: The little girl.
Rachel Keller: She talks to you?
Aidan Keller: No, she shows me things.
Rachel Keller: Did she show you the horses?
Aidan Keller: She doesn’t like it in the barn. The horses keep her up at night.
Rachel Keller: So she still lives there?
Aidan Keller: No, she lives in a dark place now.

panslabyrinthPan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
What happens: A young girl obsessed with fairy tales escapes her family troubles by entering a secret world where she must complete three gruesome tasks.
Creepiest moment: Everything involving the dude with the eyes on his hands.
“Ofelia: My name is Ofelia. Who are you?
Pan: Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.”

EventHorizon_2Event Horizon (1997)
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan
What happens: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared and then reappeared and discovered that it might have come back a little bit possessed.
Creepiest moment: I had nightmares about the woman with no eyes for weeks after this one.
“Miller: Oh. My. God. What happened to your eyes?
Dr. Weir: Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see.
Miller: What are you talking about?
Dr. Weir: I created the Event Horizon to reach the stars, but she’s gone much, much farther than that. She tore a hole in our universe, a gateway to another dimension. A dimension of pure chaos. Pure… evil. When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back… she was alive! Look at her, Miller. Isn’t she beautiful?
Miller: Your “beautiful” ship killed its crew, Doctor.
Dr. Weir: Well… now she has another crew. Now she has us.”

day_286__film_still_study___poltergeist_by_cryptid_creations-d6kok4tPoltergeist (1982)
Starring: JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Craig T. Nelson
What happens: A family’s house is haunted by ghosts who seem to be obsessed with their young daughter.
Creepiest moment: The clown doll under Carole Anne’s bed.
“Diane: You were saying about poltergeists.
Dr. Lesh: Poltergeists are usually associated with an individual. Hauntings seem to be connected with an area. A house usually.
Marty: Poltergeist disturbances are of a fairly short duration. Perhaps a couple of months. Hauntings can go on for years.
Diane: Are you telling me that all of this could just suddenly end at any time?
Dr. Lesh: Yes, it could. Unless it’s a haunting. But hauntings don’t usually revolve around living people.
Diane: Then we don’t have much time, Dr. Lesh, because my daughter is alive somewhere inside this house.”

clip_image001_0001The Exorcist (1973)
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
What happens: When a teenage girl is possessed her mother calls on the help of priests to try and get her daughter back
Creepiest moment: When Regan comes down the stairs bent over backwards
“Chris MacNeil: You show me Regan’s double, same face, same voice, everything. And I’d know it wasn’t Regan. I’d know in my gut. And I’m telling you that ‘thing’ upstairs isn’t my daughter. Now, I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there’s nothing wrong with my daughter, except in her mind. You tell me for a fact that an exorcism wouldn’t do any good. You tell me that! “

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-1984-movie-still-robert-englund-as-freddy-krugerA Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
What happens: The ghost of a child murderer stalks the nightmares of the children of the people who killed him.
Creepiest moment: When Glen gets sucked into his bed and explodes out in a volcano of blood.
“Dr. King: [At the sleep clinic, referring to the monitor’s brainwave display] A nightmare now would be plus or minus five or six. She’s about three.
Marge: [Nancy begins twitching, as you hear Freddy’s knives] Doctor, what’s she doing now? Is she asleep or awake?
Dr. King: [the monitor’s number quickly increases to 30]
[Shaking his head in disbelief]
Dr. King: Something’s wrong. It never gets this high! “

28-days-later-645-7528 Days Later (2002)
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
What happens: A mysterious virus sweeps through the UK turning everyone into rampaging high speed zombies
Creepiest moment: The early scenes of a completely abandoned London
Selena: It started as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different. Because it was happening in small villages, market towns. And then it wasn’t on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming in through your windows. It was a virus. An infection. You didn’t need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood. It was something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities it was already too late. Army blockades were overrun. And that’s when the exodus started. Before the TV and radio stopped broadcasting there were reports of infection in Paris and New York. We didn’t hear anything more after that.”

Film Friday #153: Halloween special

Since it’s Halloween next week, I figured a themed Film Friday might be in order. I am not normally a fan of the horror genre, mostly because I am a giant wuss and I get freaked out really easily but because I take this blog very seriously, I have bitten the bullet and watched four actual horror movies… well two of them are horror comedies, but they still count, right?


On a small island off Ireland, where nothing ever happens, there’s not much police work to be done. So when, plucky Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arrives, heavy drinking local Garda Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is none too pleased. At the same time weird creatures appear to be attacking the townsfolk, forcing the two Gardas to work together. With the help of a straitlaced English biologist (Russell Tovey) they figure out that the creatures don’t like the blood of drunk people meaning that they’ll have to get the whole town wasted until the authorities arrive, but fighting off giant tentacled monsters is not as easy as it looks when you’ve had a skin full.  This film is in equal parts ridiculous and hilarious and overall rather a lot of fun but really not very scary at all. 2.5/5


So what you’re saying is that we all need to get really pissed? What’s the catch?

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

After spending all their money on a deserted cabin in the woods hillbillies, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are excited to spend the weekend there doing it up. What they didn’t bank on was that a group of college kids would be camping in the same woods on the same weekend. When Allison (Katrina Boden), one of the college hotties, falls into the lake while the two best friends are fishing, they come to her rescue but the college kids immediately get the wrong idea and mount a rescue. As more and more misunderstandings occur, the college kids begin to die in gruesome ways leaving the two friends with no choice but to defend themselves. This clever twist on the murderous hillbilly trope is really funny and Tucker and Dale are so endearing that you can’t help but love them. Also loads of fun but not at all scary. 3/5

There's something stuck in the wood chipper

There’s something stuck in the wood chipper

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

This iconic zombie flick thrusts us straight into the action with the plague already underway. Two soldiers (David Emge and Ken Foree), a pilot (Scott H. Reiniger) and his girlfriend (Gaylen Ross) manage to escape in a helicopter and take shelter in an abandoned shopping mall. Here they secure the surroundings and build a sort of a life for themselves attempting to fight off the creeping boredom and claustrophobia. But they’re not the only ones who want access to all the supplies that the mall contains and soon they have more to contend with than just the ever-present threat of zombie attack. Dawn of the Dead is less about zombies and more about what happens to people in isolation. It also manages to be remarkably clever for a zombie film. A classic. 3.5/5

I'm feeling a bit blue today

I’m feeling a bit blue today

Drag Me to Hell

Christine (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer struggling to get a promotion because she finds it tough to say no. When her boss challenges her she decides to deny a gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) an extension on her mortgage, the woman attacks and then curses her. Christine then has her fortune told and a spiritualist (Dileep Rao) tells her that in three days an evil spirit called the Lamia (or Llama or Labia or something) will drag her soul to hell for eternity. Now Alison must find a way to escape the curse before it’s too late as more and more weird things start to happen around her. There are a few good jumps in this and although it has moments of silliness, it’s relatively watchable and Christine is a heroine you can root for… and I have learned never to cross a gypsy. 2.5/5