Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Valentine Bluffs is a small mining town haunted by its past and a pissed off miner named Harry Warden. Seems that 20 years ago, the town was holding its biggest shindig of the year, the Valentine's Day dance. While everyone was dancing up a storm, a group of miners was still working in the mines. Their supervisors couldn't wait another minute to get to the dance, so they left the miners by themselves in the mines.

An explosion occurred and the miners were trapped! Harry Warden was the only survivor. Needless to say, after being trapped with his dead buddies in the dark and being forced to eat them to survive, Harry came out a tad bit crazy. He was committed, but escaped to kill kill kill every time the town had another Valentine's Day dance. All Valentine's Day festivities were canceled for 20 years...until now! The town has decided to festoon itself in red, pink and white again...drawing Harry back for more revenge. It all starts out innocently enough...townsfolk receive cute poems promising death and candy boxes with human hearts inside of them - you know, to show someone you really really love them...to death!

Meanwhile, the young local miners are all revved up for partying on V-Day, even after the mayor cancels the dance. They logically decide to have the party at the mines, cuz you know, it's isolated so no one will hear them. Ya, no one will hear them scream!!

Harry goes on his killing spree, using such inventive techniques as death-by-dryer and death-by-showerhead. Some party-goers end up touring the mines and then running for their lives as Harry picks (hehe pun intended) them off one by one with his stabby mining pick.

I really enjoyed this movie - I love it when a horror movie focuses on characterization instead of just gore gore gore. There was drama between the characters in the form of a love triangle - TJ left Valentine Bluffs and his girlfriend Sarah for better fortune in California. He failed and came back to work in the mines, but Sarah now has a new boyfriend, Axl. It seems like a cliche set-up, but it just adds to the tension of the movie. Also, I thought a horror movie set in a mine would be completely stupid...but I was definitely proved wrong. Mines are frickin creepy!! I also liked the ending...seems that Mr. Warden wasn't the only one pissed off at the town. Da-da-DUM!!

Order it on Amazon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Hell Night (1981)

Next, we've got Hell Night, another long-lost gem. This one stars Linda Blair as a cherub faced sorority pledge who must stay the night with three other pledges in a "haunted" mansion before being allowed to join their sorority/fraternity. The mansion used to be home to a rich man and his wife, who bore only deformed children. The husband goes crazy and murders his family then kills himself, but legend has it that one of his children has survived and still lives in the mansion...killing anyone who dares enter.

So, the four co-eds get cozy in the huge mansion while the head of both the frat and the sorority set up booby traps, trying to scare the pledges out of the house. The four soon discover what's going on and pretty much assume everything else that happens that night is a sick joke - that is, until their friends turn up dead.

The killer, complete with the obligatory heavy breathing, watches and stalks them from secret passageways that run all throughout the house. One by one, those crazy kids succumb to the killer. Once the pledges discover what's going on, they run out of the house, run back in, run back out, their numbers steadily diminishing while they wait for help or dawn to arrive.

For a slasher flick, this one wasn't bad. It was fun to see Linda Blair in another movie, even tho she looked like she was 14 years old. Another treat was to see the guy who played football star Tom Roberts in Rock N Roll High School as one of the pledges. The film created a nice sense of tension - I kept yelling at the TV - "RUN! Jump the fence...nooooo...what are you doing?! Not back in the house...nooooo!"

Also, surprising for a horror flick were the good looking guys who played the pledges - they lived longer than most guys do in horror flicks as well as providing some eye candy for the females in the audience...something I can always applaud!

Available on Amazon!

Originally posted on Fatally-Yours.com.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Phantasm (1979)

One of the many movies I recently received was Phantasm...basically a boy discovers something very odd and creepy going on at the local cemetery. Corpses are disappearing, small Ewok type creatures are running around, and spinning orbs of death fly through the crematorium. Behind this all is the creepy mortician, the "Tall Man." The boy finally convinces his older brother what's going on and together they try to solve the mystery and stop the Tall Man for good.

This movie was pretty hard to find and I paid wayyyyy much more for it than I usually do for movies. Was it worth it? I'm not entirely sure...this movie was plenty enjoyable and it is a cult favorite, but...it wasn't really scary. It was fun to watch and had a slight sci-fi edge with the revelation of who the Tall Man was...but I can't say it's favorites. Gore was minimal, acting was ok, but the story was pretty unique for a horror flick. I am glad I finally got to watch it, and I am glad I own it now. I would definitely give this film a second chance and I am in loooooooooove with the cemetery in the movie! I wish my town had THAT cemetery (minus all the supernatural stuff happening - especially the deadly flying orbs!!). I would recommend this for someone who wants to see a slightly different horror movie with a light sci-fi touch.

Note: Now that they've re-released it on DVD, it's widely available!

Order it for yourself on Amazon!

Originally posted on Fatally-Yours.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

The Happiness of Horror

I've seen a slew of horror films of late (and no, I'm not sick of the horror genre yet) and I've neglected my duties of reviewing, or at least mentioning them here.

The past month has included the old (by old i mean like from the 1980s-old) - The Hills Have Eyes, the new - High Tension, the Exorcism of Emily Rose, Cube and the Skeleton Key, and the more obscure - the Happiness of the Katakuris and Dog Soldiers.

I didn't like The Hills Have Eyes (Amazon), directed by Wes Craven. I had high hopes for this one, but again, I thought it was plain dumb...though it could have been really scary! I am interested to see what they will do for the remake...the trailer for it looked half-decent.

High Tension (Amazon) and the Skeleton Key (Amazon) were ok...I think High Tension would have been better if they did away with the stupid "twist" ending. It felt like they just tacked it on cuz they didn't know what else to do with the ending...psh...but it must get props for some bloody good deaths. The Skeleton Key, which i didn't have high hopes for, was mediocre but not horrible. It was not scary, but definitely had creepy elements and I liked the ending. I had a hard time looking at mirrors after watching it, so it definitely creeped me out to an extent.

A little higher on my rating scale were Cube (Amazon) and Dog Soldiers (Amazon). Cube was pretty cool, but the ending left more desired. It also dragged in places, but was overall pretty engaging. Dog Soldiers was a big surprise! It's a werewolf movie set in Scotland that had me actually caring what happened to the protagonists. Wonderfully shot, though not frightening...more like an action-thriller but I still loved it.

The highest marks go to The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Amazon) and The Happiness of the Katakuris (Amazon). Emily Rose was well-crafted, with creepy flashback moments throughout the trial. It was pretty heavy on the courtroom drama, but I liked it nonetheless...it posed some pretty important faith questions to the audience. The Happiness of the Katakuris is film by Japanese shock director Takashi Miike, but it is very different from other movies I've seen from him! There are wonderful song and dance numbers throughout this quirky little film which add some balance to the grisly deaths that occur...heck, there's even some claymation! Wooooot!

So, there you have it! That's my round up of horror movies, or at least the ones that came from Netflix; I haven't even begun on the ones I ordered on Amazon.

Originally posted on Fatally-Yours.com.
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