Category Archives: Saturday is Horror Day

Saturday is Horror Day #38 – Krampus: Origins, Jeepers Creepers 3, Prisoners of the Ghostland

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Krampus: Origins, Jeepers Creepers 3

I am going to make these reviews short, basically because I didn’t finish either one.  Krampus: Origins takes place during WWI. There are soldiers, there are nuns, I think. Orphans. But mostly it has bad acting, bad writing, and a ridiculous story. I gave up after fifteen minutes.

I got farther with Jeepers Creepers 3 but also gave up, both because of problems with the disk and because I was really confused as to what was happening. I have the feeling this one takes place between the first and the second, which makes no sense to me, and it was boring. I’m not going to rate either one, just recommend avoiding both of them.

Prisoners of the Ghostland


Hero (Nic Cage) and Psycho (Nick Cassavetes) rob a bank, but things go horribly wrong. Hero hadn’t intended for anyone to get hurt, much less an innocent child. In attempting an escape, Hero unwittingly causes another child, a young girl, to be injured and her mother killed.

 

 

 

Years pass. The warlord of Samurai Town, the Governor (Bill Moseley) has a tight grip on the inhabitants of this pseudo Western town. But when his adopted granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) disappears, he calls on the only man he believes capable of finding her and bringing her back to him – Hero. He promises Hero his freedom when he accomplishes his mission. But of course there is a catch. Since he doesn’t trust the man, he has outfitted him in a special leather suit with some interesting modifications. Namely, explosive devices set to go off at pre-set times or under particular circumstances. He has three days to find Bernice, each passing day chiming on a wrist band. When he finds her, she has to speak her name into the wrist band, and he will have two more days to return her.

 

Another explosive device is around his neck, and another around his crotch – to make sure Bernice comes back pure and unviolated. He gives Hero the keys to a car, and he takes off. Hero runs into trouble and crashes his car, finding himself in a strange place with strange people. He shows them the picture of Bernice and asks if anyone has seen her, but no one is talking. There is something really off about this place. Some of the girls are dressed like mannequins. And some of the men are concerned with a giant clock and a prophecy regarding the starting again of time.

Hero locates Bernice and tells her she must come back with him… even if she doesn’t want to. She 


actually left Samurai Town of her own volition. But Hero is running out of time – and body parts – and he has to bring her back. But what is he bringing her back to?

I can’t say this is an uninteresting film, or that it doesn’t have some very unusual sequences and pretty shots. But I can say it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As if someone edited out some of the important scenes that might have helped to create a more coherent story.

The basic premise is easy enough to understand. Hero needs to find Bernice and bring her back before his suit blows up and he will be set free from prison. But the subplots are … confusing at best. The large clock? Is that the atomic clock? Or it is making a statement that the people are all prisoners of time? I don’t know. There is a strange Japanese style Greek chorus, as well as the human mannequins. And from what I can tell there are references to the aftermath of the atomic bomb, whether the real ones that were dropped in 1945 or future bombs dropped at some indeterminate date. The backdrop of Samurai Town is almost like spaghetti Western meets samurai film, and then they threw in Nic Cage to play the part of the hero. 

Don’t get me wrong. I found the film worthwhile just to watch Nic Cage in action. The rest of it, though, is another matter. Hero feels guilty over the death of the little boy, even though he didn’t cause it, and the ghostly child keeps popping up. Why Hero is robbing banks in Japan, I have no idea.  Then there is the busload of prisoners who end up in an accident and become the victims of some sort of atomic radiation.

All in all, I would recommend it to Nic Cage fans, otherwise probably not for others. Just for that reason, I’ll give it 3 Stars, because I do love me some Nic Cage.

Saturday is Horror Day #37 – False Positive, See No Evil (2006)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 False Positive

Lucy (Ilana Glazer) and Adrian (Justin Theroux) have been trying for about two years to get pregnant, with no luck. Adrian manages to land them an appointment with Dr. John Hindle (Pierce Brosnan), a highly noted fertility specialist who was Adrian’s teacher in med school. He assures them they are in good hands and he will do everything he can to assure them a baby through IVF. Before long, Lucy is pregnant – with triplets!  Two boys and a girl.

 

Dr. Hindle suggests that three babies will be too much, considering Lucy’s previous history, so suggests he perform a selective reduction and suggests keeping the twin boys, who share a placenta. Lucy is appalled, already having named her unborn daughter Wendy, after the girl in Peter Pan. She wrestled with her conscience and finally agrees to the reduction, but they have to save Wendy, which the doctor agrees to.

 

Lucy’s career seems to be taking off, for which she is ecstatic, although Adrian encourages her to be a stay-at-home mom. But she begins to feel off, not herself. The other expectant mothers in her group attribute this to mommy brain, but Lucy doesn’t think so. Plus she finds Dr. Hindle’s nurse, Dawn (Gretchen Mol), more than a little creepy, and definitely a fervent admirer of the doctor and his work.

Lucy sees an advertisement for a mid-wife named Grace Singleton (Zainab Jah) and despite knowing 

Adrian wouldn’t approve goes to see her. She is comforted by the woman’s manner, and decides to go with her instead of Dr. Hindle. As predicted, Adrian is angry but Lucy’s mind is made up. However, when the time comes, things don’t go as planned, and Lucy has to be rushed to the hospital, where a huge surprise awaits her.

I noticed this Hulu exclusive movie and decided to give it a try, primarily because I just love Pierce Brosnan. There is a lot going on here, more than just the pregnancy. The film seems to tackle broader issues, such as male dominance, the role of women, and more. It has definite Rosemary’s Baby vibes. I have to confess I figured out the twist but not the ending. It was a sufficiently creepy film that could have been a little better. Gretchen Mol was creepy in the way she played the nurse, and Pierce was very creepy as well. It was worth watching. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars.

See No Evil (2006)

A routine call goes horribly wrong for two police officers when they are attacked by a psychopath with an axe while attempting to rescue a young woman whose eyes have been cut out. The rookie ends up dead while the other officer is maimed, but only after shooting the killer in the head. Four years later, he’s working at the Detention Center for troubled youth. A group of them have been offered a chance to shave a month off their sentences. All they have to do is a little community service.

The teens end up at the Blackwell Hotel, which has definitely seen better days. But the owner intends to renovate it as housing for the homeless. Kids being kids, they intend to party as much as possible. After all, not obeying the rules is what got them there in the first place. And they didn’t exactly volunteer for this duty, they were impressed into it. The hotel is in terrible shape, and bugs and rats are not uncommon.

 

Unfortunately for them, the psychopath is hiding in this hotel, and he sees them as fresh meat, and he is more than happy to kill and kill again. With no way to contact the outside world, can the teens survive long enough to tell about it?

I have to say that this film is long on blood and short on most everything else, including actual plot or 

character development. Granted, that’s not necessarily a requirement in a horror film, but it helps. I would call this movie an example of horror porn. It moves from one bloody scene to another for the sake of blood and death.

Which is all well and good, if that’s what  you’re looking for. But I had other issues with the movie. Such as these so-called teens looked older than that. What, couldn’t they find actual teen actors?  Also, I can’t believe they could just arbitrarily assign these delinquents to that kind of duty without at least notifying their parents, if not getting written permission.

As I said, the hotel is in deplorable state. Three days of work from these kids is not going to put a dent in what needs to be done. Not to mention, none of them seem to have any experience with this sort of things. Furthermore, I would think before the hotel is ready to be cleaned, they would need to send in an exterminator to help with that pest problem, ie rats and bugs.

Finally, none of the teens seem horribly disturbed by this place, or the thought of sleeping there for three days (I don’t think any of them brought a change of clothes or anything). Someone should be at least a little freaked out here. And one couple chooses to have sex in a maid’s room. God knows how long since those sheets – or anything else in this hotel – have been cleaned. The very thought is disgusting. 

We get some glimpses into the motivation of the killer, Kane,and his overly religious fanatic of a mother who made his life as a boy a living hell. His actual reason comes to light at the end of the film.

The acting is tolerable, nothing to write home about. Most of the horror is of the gory variety, and it’s of the kind that thinks it’s better to be watching it than living it. There is a sequel, which I’ll review once I get it from the library. In the meantime, I’ll give this one 3 Stars

Saturday is Horror Day #36 – Waxwork II: Lost in Time, See No Evil: The Moors Murders, Jeepers Creepers 2

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Waxwork II: Lost in Time

Mark (Zach Galligan) and Sarah (Monika Schnarre) have just escaped from the flaming ruins of the Waxwork. They’re tired and they just want to go home. Their job is done… or so they think. Little do they suspect that a disembodied hand has survived the inferno and has followed Sarah home! The hand attacks her stepfather. Sarah tries to save him, but her efforts are in vain. Unfortunately, that’s a hard scenario to explain to the police, and Sarah is accused of her stepfather’s murder!

 

Mark is determined to save her, but they need proof. The question is how to get it? They go to Sir Wilfred’s house and find a video message he left for Mark in the event of his demise, with a cryptic explanation of how to go back in time. But the two figure it out and off they go!

 

The second Waxwork film is even campier than the first one as the two would-be lovers seek the evidence they need to clear Sarah of murder (whatever that might be, to prove that disembodied hands do exist and can kill people). Played for even more laughs than the first one, this film is also gorier, so watch out for that spraying blood and flying body parts. At the same time, don’t look for any kind of logic here either.

Doesn’t this remind you of a scene from Die Hard, where one of the bad guys is about to take down Bruce Willis, John McClaine? Not surprising, as this is Alexander Godunov, who also played in Die Hard. And that will give you some indication of what the film makers were going for as they fly through various points in time and pay homage to a number of different stories, some of which I may even have missed.  (One reviewer referenced Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, which I remembered from the first film, not the second). 

We see Baron von Frankenstein and his monster, and also the ship and crew from the movie Alien. There are references to Poe, including the Raven, as well as Dawn of the Dead. One black-and-white sequence has a very funny Bruce Campbell. I believe he’s meant to be related to Mark, but if so, no one mentions it. There is a montage of quick visits that include Jack the Ripper and Godzilla, and a lengthier story that takes place in the time of King Arthur (although they never use his and his knights remind me of the Knights Templar, with their Maltese crosses. John Ireland plays the king, and Michael Des Barres his right-hand man, George. Alexander Godunov is Scarabis, the would-be usurper of the throne. Look for a small cameo appearance by Drew Barrymore in the Nosferatu sequence.

While the film was funny,  sometimes it’s just a bit unbelievable. I mean, Sarah is being tried for murder, and they’re not holding her in the jail? When does that happen? I find it hard to believe either one of them could make her bail, assuming they even set bail for such a heinous crime. The story is inconsistent and weak, and most of the time we forget why they are really traveling in time and just going with the traveling thing.  The ending is rather unbelievable too, and the film is, much like the first one, too long. Better writing would have benefited this immensely. I don’t think there is room for a third. I’ll give this one 3 Stars.

See No Evil: The Moors Murders

In 1965 England, children disappeared without explanation, alarming the community. Maureen and Dave Smith (Joanne Froggattand Matthew McNulty) are a young married couple with a baby of their own. They’re distraught when the child unexpectedly dies. Maureen is close to her older sister Myra (Maxine Peake), although she is wary of Myra’s boyfriend Ian Brady (Sean Harris). Even so, she encourages her husband to get close to Brady, at Myra’s request.

The two couples takes trips out to the moors together, where Brady shows Dave how to fire a gun. They talk about robbing a bank, as the Smiths are low on funds and about to get evicted. Myra comes to get Dave one night and takes him back to their house where he witnesses Brady kill a man. Dave is horrified and tells his wife. Together they approach the police, who pick up Brady and Myra, who lie and say that Dave helped Brady kill the man.

 

Dave tells the police that Brady boasted of having killed someone before. and he shows them photos taken on the moor. The police begin to look at Brady and Hindley as suspects but they have no evidence of the missing children. Life is getting harder for the Smiths, who are looked up as suspects despite the fact that they came to the police of their own volition.  If only they could find the spot where the photos were taken, then maybe they’ll be able to find the childrens’ graves and make a case against the pair.

 

This is the true story of the Moors Murders, a case I read about many years ago. The series is very well done, and very well acted. Most of it is from the POV of Maureen and Dave Smith, and doesn’t glorify the killers in any way. It’s very informative and interesting besides being good drama. I give this series 4.5 Stars.

Jeepers Creepers 2

The Creeper lies dormant for 23 years and then he returns for 23 days in order to feed. Twenty-three years have passed since the last time, and now it’s day 22…

Billy Taggart is helping out on the family farm, putting up scarecrows, when he notices that one is acting rather strangely. Too late, he realizes this is no real scarecrow. Despite his screams for help, his father Jack Sr (Ray Wise) and older brother Jack Jr (Luke Edwards) are helpless to do other than watch as he is flown away by a large creature.

On Day 23, a busload of high school students is returning from a victorious tournament. Suddenly the bus lurches to a halt. The bus driver, Betty (Diane Delano) discovers a strange looking implement has shredded the tire, something very odd and disturbing, as it contains what appears to be a human tooth.

 

It’s getting dark, but no one can get cell reception. So the coach goes out to light some flares and put 

them on the road so they can be seen. But he suddenly disappears. Another adult goes to finish the job, but this time they see what flies out of the sky and grabs him, to their horror!

One by one the adults are picked off, leaving just the frightened teens. But rather than behaving like a team, they fight amongst themselves, which doesn’t help the situation. When they finally manage to make contact with someone, he tries to pinpoint their location, but they only vaguely know where they are. They believe that help is now on the way, but they have only managed to contact Jack Taggart Sr, who is determined to kill the creature who killed his son.

 

I liked this sequel to the original Jeepers Creepers. It has a solid premise and decent acting. Not surprising that it has good production values, it’s a Coppola production. It was certainly creepy, and the division among the team players was realistic, although it never came out and said racism, but it was pretty evident what the problem was, at least for one student.

The part about the student who had some kind of telepathic abilities, though, was a bit much, and really just served as exposition to explain to the kids what they were dealing with. Seemed kind of hokey to me. Still, all in all, it was a decent horror film, and worth watching. I’ll give it 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #35 – Creep(2004), V/H/S 2, Waxwork

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Creep (2004)

 

Kate (Franka Potente) goes to a party with some friends, but it isn’t quite what she hoped for. A guy she works with, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield) doesn’t know how to take no an answer, making himself quite obnoxious. But Kate has better places to be. Her friend knows where George Clooney is partying that night and has two tickets for them to get in. But her friend leaves without her, so the disappointed Kate heads to the subway, hoping to find her. Having had a bit to drink, she falls asleep and only wakes after the last train has gone.

 

The station is eerily silent with no one else there. To Kate’s dismay, when she heads up, she finds the gates locked and no one around. When after a while a train unexpectedly shows up, she gets on with great relief, only to find Guy there. And he still won’t take no for an answer.  But as he tries to assault Kate, something grabs him and pulls him off the train. Suddenly Kate becomes painfully away there is someone or something else down there. Something deadly.

 

Kate has to navigate the subway tunnels, searching for a way out. Her life depends on it.

This isn’t a half-bad horror movie. It has a creepy premise, and who wouldn’t commiserate with Kate,

who is having a bad night and just wants to get home? That is the secret of horror films. You care what happens to the main character and live vicariously through them, which also means you become scared for them as well, which heightens the thrill of the movie.

 

When Kate runs into George, the new subway employee, she feels a sense of relief at seeing another human being in the same predicament as her, sure that by working together, they can flee this place.  There are a number of jump scares, not unexpected. And the atmosphere is sufficiently icky/creepy to convince me not to go into a subway, ever. But what does bother me is the answer to the riddle, the explanation for the place Kate found, and for the guy who obviously lives in the tunnels and probably has his whole life. One can extrapolate based on what is shown, but that really isn’t quite enough. And so you are left with a great big WHY at the end of the day. I am giving this 3 Stars.

V/H/S 2

 

A private investigator and his girlfriend/assistant are given an assignment to find a missing student by the student’s mother. She gives them permission to go into his house in order to look around. The PI breaks in, but can see nothing, other than a video set-up and some VHS tapes. He has his gf watch the tapes while he searches for clues in the rest of the house.

 

 

What she finds is a series of found footage videos, with different stories. One of the films is about a man who lost his eye in an accident and is given an experimental prosthetic eye with a camera. The only downside is that the camera sees all, and he’ll have virtually no privacy. After coming home from the doctor’s office, he begins to see strange things. People who look like they are dead. Naturally he starts to freak out. And then he receives a visitor – a girl who was also in the office. She says she needs to talk to him and he will want to hear what she has to say. Apparently she had a cochlear implant, and now she can hear the dead people he can see.

 

A young man has a video channel and is going to make a video of his bike ride. But inside the woods, he almost runs into a woman who is covered with blood, screaming that he has to help her boyfriend. Panicked, he tries to help. But what he sees in the woods is a lot worse than an injured man, and when he returns to the woman, it seems she has met the same fate. Things just go downhill from there.

Young documentary makers want to film an interview with a cult leader in Indonesia. He reluctantly 

allows them to visit the cult in their compound. But from the beginning, something seems off, maybe even unnatural. They all refer to the Leader as the Father, and he talks about taking them to their safe haven. Shades of Jim Jones! Or is it something worse?

 

Two brothers and a sister are left home alone for the weekend while Mom and Dad are away. The boys decide to prank the sister and her boyfriend when he shows them and interrupts them in the bedroom. They vow revenge. But what starts out as a simple prank becomes far worse when aliens decide to attack on that night, and they want to take the boys with them.

This film is similar to the one before in that it involves found footage on a video tape. But the stories are different, and each is told rather well. And there is more than a sufficient creep factor for horror buffs. The couple who are the investigators are the framework the film is built on, their story framing the whole. The one about the implant could be a glimpse of the future. The alien story might be a little over the top, but feasible if you believe in aliens. The cult story is very damn creepy, because I’m sure there are people out there just that fanatical about their cult leader. Definitely worth watching. I give it 4 Stars.

Waxwork

 

A new waxwork museum has just opened up in the middle of a well-to-do residential neighborhood, and some of the teens are curious. A couple of teenage girls receive an invitation from the proprietor (David Warner) to come for a private party at midnight, and they can bring some of their friends. But no more than six people, please.

 

 

Mark (Zach Galligan) likes China (Michelle Johnson), but she is rather flirtatious, to put it mildly. He agrees to go to the waxwork to be with her. The group assembles outside the door on time, but a couple of the kids chicken out, to the disappointment of the diminutive man who answers their knock. The group begins their tour of the wax exhibits, and are surprised at how lifelike they appear.

 

 

 

Some of the exhibits include Count Dracula, Jack the Ripper, the Mummy, the Marquis de Sade, as well as others. But something strange begins to happen. One by one, the teens find themselves inside the different exhibits. More than that, they are part of the exhibit. And suddenly they find they are fighting for their lives in order not to become permanent parts of the exhibits.

 

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this comedy horror movie, but I became really interested. Okay, the characters are a little stereotypical teens, but that works in this context. It’s watching what happens when each gets pulled into a different exhibit that makes it interesting. The girl’s reaction to the Marquis de Sade (J. Kenneth Campbell) is not what you would expect, neither is the girl who winds up with Count Dracula (Miles O’Keefe). David Warner is handsome as ever, and look for John Rhys Davies as a werewolf, and Patrick MacNee as Sir Wilfred.  A fun romp, although maybe it could have been tightened just a bit. There are a few moments that last too long. I give this a solid 3.5 Stars.

 

Saturday is Horror Day #34 – Night of the Demons (1988), Saturday the 14th

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Night of the Demons (1988)


It’s Halloween night and spirits are high. Well, most are. There’s at least one curmudgeon who hates the holiday and trick-or-treaters and has bought apples and razor blades to ruin their evening. Judy (Cathy Podewell) has a date with Jay (Lance Fenton). Innocent and outgoing, she isn’t sure why he asked her out, but decides a party sounds fun. Sal (Billy Gallo) likes Judy and is dismayed to learn she has a date but bribes her little brother Billy (Donnie Jeffcoat) into telling him where it will be. Angela (Amelia Kinkade) is throwing the party, along with her friend Suzanne (Linnea Quigley) in an old deserted former mortuary. She has an interesting method for acquiring snacks for the party, which involves using Suzanne in a very short skirt as a distraction. Good thing Suzanne is obsessed with being the center of attention and is not self-conscious in the slightest.

Also coming to the party are Stooge (Hal Havings), Rodger (Alvis Alexis) and Helen (Allison Barron). Stooge is an asshole with a jock mentality who thinks he can boss people around. Sadly they let him do it. But his car breaks down on the way and they have to walk the last part of the way to the party. The final party-goers are Frannie (Jill Terashita) and Max (Phillip Tanzini).

 

The house is not only deserted, but it’s creepy and dilapidated. Angela isn’t exactly a polite hostess and


Suzanne is boy-crazy. When Stooge’s radio dies while they’re all dancing, they decide to play games. Finding a large mirror, they all sit in front of it to see their past lives. But something else is there, something that shows Helen an image of herself that causes her to scream. And then the demon takes over Suzanne’s body! She lures Stooge into an upstairs bathroom, but not before laying a major liplock on Angela which sends a demon into her as well!

Suddenly this party doesn’t seem to be such a good idea after all, and it becomes a race to see who can survive the night of the demons.

I hadn’t seen this movie in years and always liked it then, but I realize now that distance lands enchantment. It’s not as good as I remembered. A lot of the acting is the kind you’d see in a beginner’s acting class, although some of the actors are better than that. The story is simplistic, and actually not very scary. But if you take it as camp, it’s not the worst. Not like Puppetmaster, which I revisited and couldn’t get far enough into the movie to pass judgement, it was so bad. I’ll give it 2 Stars, and I’ll make the observation that if you enjoy T&A, you might like it better than I did since that isn’t really my thing. And Linnea Quigley obviously has no problem with taking her clothes off for the camera. Nuff said.

Saturday the 14th


In Eerie, Pennsylvania, a strange caped man and his wife( Jeffrey Tambor and Nancy Lee Andrews) are attempting to purchase a particular house for reasons of their own, but the realtor (Carole Androsky) says there is a problem. Namely, the house has recently been inherited by another family. This is distressing news, as there is something in the house that Waldemar and his wife have been trying to obtain for a very long time. Hundreds of years!

 

John and Mary Hyatt (Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) are shocked at the reading of John’s uncle’s will to learn that he left his house to them. They are ecstatic to finally have a house for themselves and their two children, Debbi (Kari Michaelsen) and Billy (Kevin Brando). But when they see the house, it isn’t quite what they had imagined. It’s so creepy, their dog won’t even come inside and runs away.

 

Despite the realtor’s claims that this house is a fixer-upper, it gives off more of a creepy mansion vibe. The TV only gets one program on all the channels – The Twilight Zone. Things are falling apart. And there is nothing for the kids to do, as the weather prohibits going outside. Or does it? While Billy is exploring the house, he runs across an old book and begins to read it. Unfortunately, he has found the Book of Evil. It’s filled with pictures of monsters, and every time he turns the page, the monster disappears from the page only to appear in the house!

 

A fishman in the bathtub, bats in the belfry, and creepy monsters raiding the kitchen in the middle of the night? What’s a family to do? They call an exterminator to help with the bats, and a man comes to their home, hoping this will be the one! Dr. Van Helsing (Severn Darden) has apparently been seeking the book for a long time, much like Waldemar.

Unfortunately, Mary has invited all the relatives to a party on Saturday the 14th! Unless they can get these monsters under control, the world as they know it will come to an end!

I haven’t seen this movie in a long time and have always enjoyed it, and I’m happy to say that hasn’t changed. It’s a fun, campy, funny movie with some familiar faces, such as Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, as well as Jeffrey Tambor. A light-hearted spoof of horror movie tropes, it’s a fun watch and safe for the kids as it isn’t really scary. I’m glad I found it again (it was streaming on Shudder). I give it a solid 3.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #33 – Girl in the Box, Creep (2014), Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Girl in the Box

1977 was a different time, when you could hitchhike all over the country and not worry about anything but your destination. Colleen Stan (Addison Timlin) is hitchhiking when she accepts a ride from a married couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker (Zane Holtz and Zelda Williams). What she doesn’t realize is this couple is not normal… and they’ve already buried one body.

It doesn’t take long for Cameron to put his horrific plan for Colleen into motion. Driving her to an out of the way spot, he handcuffs her and forces her put her head into a heavy wooden box and covers her body with a blanket so no one will see her, then drives home. After dark, he moves her inside and into the basement.

Cameron’s wife Jan is very meek and submissive, as if she is afraid of doing anything to anger her husband. She goes along with what he wants, but it’s clear that on some level it’s disturbing to her. But in her own way, she can be just as cruel as him. Cameron quickly controls the helpless Colleen and lays down the rules. She is to call him Master and Jan is Ma’am. She is to do everything requested of her. If he says the word, she is to run to the arch in the living room, disrobe, and stand there with her hands pointing up.

Fearful of discovery, Cameron builds a coffin-like box for Colleen, which he keeps under his and Jan’s 

bed. Colleen is forced to stay there up to 23 hours a day. He tells her about the Company he works for, and how people have slaves, like her, and forces her to sign a slave contract. He warns her that the Company will hurt her and her family if she should escape. And she believes him.

Colleen settles into her life of slavery and drudgery, and life goes on, Jan has a baby, and she’s still there. But she is so brainwashed that when Cameron actually allows her to go home to visit her family, she tells them she is fine! But Jan is reaching her breaking point, as she sees how Cameron prefers Colleen, whom they call K. She leaves her husband, with their daughter, but comes back when he is gone in order to free Colleen and send her home.

This is based on a true story, and it is horrific. The film is well done, and I think the actors did a good job. Cameron is creepy and cruel, and Jan is subdued most of the time, as if she has given up on life. I can’t imagine having to endure such a life for seven years! Colleen Stan must be a very strong woman. I liked the movie (not the subject matter of course) and I give it 4 Stars.

Creep (2014)

Aaron (Patrick Brice) accepts a job to video a man named Josef (Mark Duplass) for one day for a lot of money. He drives to the man’s cabin to begin his day, and learns that Josef has terminal cancer, and wants to leave the video as a message to his unborn son whom he will never meet.

Josef is very fond of pranks, as Aaron quickly discovers, and he never knows when he’ll find Josef lying in wait to pounce on him. The two proceed to spend the day together, hiking far into the woods at one point, and talking all the time. They have some heartfelt moments together, and as the day progresses, begin to tell one another their secrets.

Aaron begins to discover there is something a little (or a lot) off about Josef, and the wolf mask he named Peachfuzz is the least of his worries. After answering Josef’s phone, while he is passed out, Aaron begins to realize the predicament he is in, especially when Josef’s sister herself says to get out of the house. Now.

Aaron makes it home, and he thinks it’s over now. Except when the package arrives, and he realizes Josef knows where he lives. And he isn’t about to stop stalking Aaron anytime soon.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of this film, other than a weird kind of sob story about a dying man. But it is a lot more than that. In fact, it isn’t even that. The title says it all. Josef is a creep, and he will creep you out. The acting was good. I understand a lot of it was improvised. Not surprising since they are also the writers of the film, and Patrick Brice is the director. This one will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, bracing for whatever is about to come next. Well worth watching. I give it a solid 4 Stars.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) does not tolerate bad cops. Ever since he turned in one of his fellow officers, he hasn’t been the most popular guy in the precinct. He responds with snarkiness and curses and an ef you attitude. His commanding offer, Captain Angie Garza (Marisol Nichols) is trying to help, but he’s resistant to her efforts. To make matters worse, she assigns him a partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella). She wants Zeke to show him the ropes. When a new case comes in, Zeke reluctantly takes the newbie with him.

The initial report says a bum was killed by a train in the subway. But close investigation reveals this was no bum. Not too many bums wear Fitbits. A package shows up at the station addressed to Zeke. It contains a flash drive, as well as a tongue and a policeman’s shield.  Turns out the dead man is Detective Fitch, who Zeke had been at odds with. Accused of giving false testimony against innocent people, his tongue was torn out. And judging by the video on the flash drive, the killer is a Jigsaw copycat.

When Captain Garza tries to give the lead on the murder investigation to another detective, Zeke lashes out and lets them know he should be the lead, and he doesn’t care if the others like him or not. Angie finally gives in and Zeke takes the lead.

When Zeke goes home, he finds his former captain sitting there – none other than his father, Marcus

Banks (Samuel L. Jackson). Zeke is none too pleased to see him, and maybe their relationship isn’t the best. But Zeke reluctantly agrees to meet his father the next night for dinner (they live in the same building) and to discuss the case.

More cops are being killed, and more messages are being left as Zeke delves into what is happening and why. Is the killer a wannabe Jigsaw, or are his motives more personal?

Having seen all eight Saw films, I was very excited to learn about this new addition to the fandom, and greatly looked forward to seeing it. I was not disappointed. I have always liked Chris Rock and he does prickly very well, with a get-out-of-face attitude that just doesn’t quit. He’s trying to play the hand he’s been dealt, but the people around him don’t make that easy. His new partner turns out to be pretty nice, and Zeke warms to him as he puts a picture of his family in the squad car. Plus he’s a hard worker who isn’t afraid to stay later to get things done.

While technically not an actual Saw film, Spiral is definitely a part of the Saw family. Lots of gore and guts for those who are fans of the original, an interesting storyline, and an unexpected twist that will keep you guessing. I really hope they make another one. There is great future content there. I give this film 4.5 Stars.

Side note: Look for Trevor Gretzy, son of former Blues hockey player Wayne Gretzy, in a small role.

Saturday is Horror Day #32 – Dark Water, V/H/S

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Dark Water


Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) is going through a difficult divorce. Her husband wants custody of their almost six year-old daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno), but Yoshimi refuses to entertain the idea. Not in the best of financial situations, Yoshimi moves herself and her daughter to an older apartment building, anxious to put down roots quickly so she can keep Ikuko with her. The apartment has issues, including water spots on the ceilings, but the maintenance is less than stellar.

While exploring the building by herself, Ikoku discovers a red bag containing an assortment of little girls’ toys, but her mother won’t allow her to keep it. She leaves it with the building’s maintenance man, who puts it into the lost and found. And yet it inexplicably turns up among Ikoku’s things. A distraught Yoshimi throws it away herself.

 

Yoshimi is under a great deal of stress, with a new job and having to pick up Ikoku from kindergarten. She is often late, which stresses Ikoku out too. The leak in the apartment has only become worse. Yoshimi thinks maybe it’s the people above them, so goes upstairs to talk to them. But no one answers her knock. Yet when she is in the elevator, she sees the door open, and a small figure in a yellow raincoat appears. When Yoshimi goes back up, though, there is no one to be seen.

Yoshimi wants to move, immediately, but her lawyer advises her that would not look well, especially


since Ikoku would be forced to change kindergartens, and stability is what is needed in the situation. Yoshimi isn’t sure how much longer she can take all this water. People say that there is something wrong with the water and some won’t even touch it. 

Yoshimi spots a flier in the building about a little girl who went missing in 1999. A little girl in a yellow raincoat.  She is worried that someone or something is trying to take Ikoku away from her, and she is determined to do everything in her power to prevent that.

On one level, perhaps this film can be seen in terms of symbolism. The leaking roof of the battered apartment building being the leaky relationship that is their marriage.  On another level, it’s a horror movie about a missing little girl who just wants to be found and loved.  There are parallels between the two girls, Matsuko and Ikoku, with both of them waiting at the preschool to be picked up, feeling alone and abandoned. Yoshimi is so desperate to keep her daughter with her that she becomes almost irrational in her actions when faced with the idea of losing her. To some, her actions might be understandable, but they are also open to misinterpretation by her husband’s lawyer. Damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t.

As the roof gets worse and worse, so does Yoshimi, until you begin to question is she really seeing what she thinks she is? A complex horror story, Dark Water was well worth watching, and somewhat sad. I’ll give it a sold 3.5 Stars.

V/H/S


Brad (Adam Wingard) and his friends are always up for a good prank, and love to record themselves performing them, even if they are in questionable taste. So when someone wants to hire them to break into a home and steal back a VHS tape, they’re up for it. To their dismay, they find an old man has expired inside the house. But at least he won’t bother them, right? The trouble is, there was no indication exactly which tape is wanted, and there are a whole bunch of tapes. So while the others search the house, Adam sits down to view some of the tapes. And what he sees is…. well, disturbing.

Three drunk young men who get themselves thrown out of a night club because of their behavior, end up taking two girls to a motel room for some fun. One is very willing, at least until she passes out. The other girl is a little strange. But what the little head wants… well, any port in a storm. One guy is kind of shy but interested, and allows himself to be coaxed into a threesome, while the third guy just sits on the couch and laughs his head off. But things go a little awry.

 

A couple go on a road trip together. But at their motel, a strange young woman beats on their door, wanting a ride. After she leaves, they’re a bit creeped out. They’d be even more creeped out if they could see what she did while they were sleeping.

A young woman and her boyfriend are separated by miles but stay in touch through Facetime. She’s a little nervous in her apartment, and wakes him up in the middle of the night, having heard something. He tells her that nothing is going on. And when she insists that something is wrong with her arm, he tells her he’ll take a look at it in a week, when he is there. But when she wakes him again, he begins to see she is not alone…


A guy is ecstatic when a girl he’s interested in invites him to a park for some alone time. Except another couple is coming with them. And apparently she told the other girl it would be a girls day. So, what exactly is going on here?

A few friends are excited to attend a Halloween party. But when they arrive at the address they’re given, there is no sign of life, so they begin to look around the old house. Maybe this is the set-up and they have to figure out where the party is happening. When one of them goes into the basement, in search of the party, he reports hands coming out of the walls. The others think that is pretty cool. But what they find next isn’t quite so cool.

This is a collection of found footage stories. The title stands for video horror shorts, and these are. Shot in found footage style, I have to say the beginning seemed a little slow and I wasn’t sure I was going to continue to watch. But I did, and I’m glad. As the stories progress, you begin to see the inherent horror in each. I’ll tell you this right now, this film is not for the squeamish. I found it exceedingly creepy, and more than a little jaw-dropping. But that’s what you want in a horror film, right? This is the kind of film you find yourself shouting at the characters to watch out ’cause they can’t see what you do, and you are afraid of what is about to happen.

 

I would not want to live through any of these scenarios. This was definitely well worth watching. As I said, I don’t scare easily, but this had a definite creep factor. And I watched it in the daytime. I can only imagine that being magnified if I saw it at night. I’ll give it a solid 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #31 – Summer of Sam, Candyman (1992)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Summer of Sam


It’s the summer of 1977, a long hot summer in New York City. Disco fills the air when a series of murders terrifies the inhabits of the city. A serial killer is on the loose, one who uses a .44 caliber weapon. And no one knows where he’ll strike next.

 

 

 

Vinny (John Leguizamo) is a young married hairdresser who loves his wife Dionna (MIra Sorvino). Even so,  Vinny has an eye for the ladies, including his wife’s cousin. When the cousin wants to go home, Vinny graciously offers to drive her, and they end up in carnal knowledge in the car, outside her house. Rudely interrupted by a driver leaning on his car horn, Vinny leaves, not realizing until later that he narrowly avoided becoming a victim of the serial killer.

 

Vinny has a group of friends he hangs around with, including Richie (Adrien Brody), Joey (Michael


Rispoli), Brian (Ken Garito), and Bobby (Brian Tarantina). Richie stands out in this group because of the way he dresses and acts, always reinventing himself. He’s an aspiring punk rock musician, but he leads a secret life that his friends would never understand – he dances in gay bars, and participates in pornos, and has sex with men for money.

 
As more and more people die, with no clues to the killer’s identity, New York is petrified with fear. Rising temperatures only serve to exacerbate the situation. Everyone is on edge and looking at one another askance, even the people they really think they know. How long can this situation go on before something has to give?
 
This film is Spike Lee’s commentary on that summer of 1977, although after an initial outcry from Son of Sam survivors who didn’t want to see the killer glorified, the director turned the film’s focus to the people and their perception of what was going on in their lives. It must have been frightening, to say the least. In the film, women began to wear blonde wigs, since it seemed he was targeting long haired brunettes. John Leguizamo is wonderful as Vinny. I’ve always liked him and think he is underrated as an actor. Adrien Brody, who I admit haven’t seen very much of, excels as Richie, who marches to the beat of his own drummer, and who becomes the brunt of his friends’ anxiety-fueled suspicions.
 
Just a side note, but look for a couple members of the Sopranos cast here – Michael Rispoli, who played Jackie Aprile, and Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti, and was one of the writers of Summer of Sam, besides playing a character named Midnite. I will say that although a good film, it could have been tightened a little bit and did drag a little at times. It ran almost two and a half hours. But it was worth it. Interesting glimpses of David Berkowitz. I think the film captured the feel of that summer pretty well. I’ll give it a solid 4 Stars.

 

Candyman (1992)


Grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and her friend Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) are working on a joint thesis involving urban legends. To her dismay, she learns that her professor husband Trevor (Xander Berkeley) has been lecturing on that very topic to his students, despite her request that he not do so. But then Trevor seems to do as he wants, despite the fact that Helen is very devoted to him. When she drops in on his lecture unexpectedly, she senses a little something something between Trevor and a student named Stacy. A something Trevor is quick to deny.

Helen runs across a story of a man known as the Candyman, who has a hook where his hand should be, and terrorizes people to this day. According to legend, he can be summoned by looking into a mirror and repeating his name five times, which Helen does, although nothing happens. Deciding to delve into this myth, Helen discovers that the projects where Candyman is said to have been seen is a mirror to the apartment building she lives in. The difference, other than economics, is that a woman died n the projects, supposedly at the hands of the Candyman.

 
 

Being rather outspoken and bold, Helen persuades Bernadette that they need to investigate this new 


lead, despite the fact that these projects are more than a little dangerous. This fact is emphasized by the harassment they receive on their arrival. It doesn’t help that they are dressed like cops. Once inside, they find the empty apartment and look around in the hallway first, photographing some of the colorful graffiti that lines the walls, such as Sweets to the Sweet. Helen insists on looking behind the bathroom mirror. Against Bernadette’s advice, she enters the next apartment. Did she just see something?

 

The two women are caught red-handed in the apartment by a young mother Anne-Marie (Vanessa Williams) who lives next door. Helen takes advantage of this to question her. On returning later, she meets a young boy named Jake (DeJuan Guy) who is frightened of the Candyman, and doesn’t want to get into trouble with him.

About this time everything begins to go wrong. After an encounter with the Candyman in the parking garage, Helen finds herself in Anne-Marie’s apartment, covered in blood, next to the severed head of a dog. And the baby is missing! Anne-Marie is screaming at Helen, who has picked up a knife from the floor, and that’s what the police see when they break in.

Now that she has been labeled as not only a killer but crazy, who will ever believe that the Candyman is real?

I took a class on urban legends a few years ago (it was a fascinating class and actually fulfilled a requirement. Where else can you get to read and watch The Exorcist for college credit?) As I watched this, I wondered if Candyman was a variation on the urban legend of the Hook Man?. Just a thought.

At any rate, the theme of this film is definitely urban legends, in particular Candyman.  Candyman’s story is a tragic one. He was condemned for his relationship with a white woman, his hand cut off, then tortured and killed. Now he only cares about killing, and being feared by people, lest he cease to exist. 

The premise is interesting, but I wasn’t  overly impressed with Virginia Madsen in the lead role of Helen. In fact, she often got on my nerves with her limited range of expressions and emotions. And why is it that people, when they come upon a murder scene, insist on picking up the murder weapon?  Seriously? The best thing about the film is Candyman, played by Tony Todd. He is elegant and menacing, evil and yet almost human and it’s hard not to feel sorry for what happened to him, even though he takes revenge to a whole new level.


There is a second Candyman movie that came out this year, done by Jordan Peele, also starring Tony Todd. In this version, the baby is grown up, and I am guessing that Candyman enters his life somehow, maybe through his mother. Should be interesting. I recommend watching this one first, and I’ll give it a solid 3 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #30 – The Family I Had, Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Family I Had


On February 5, 2007, the Abilene Texas 911 operator took a call from a sobbing 13-year old boy who said he had killed someone – his 4 year old sister. The operator tried to get the boy, Paris Bennett, to attempt CPR on his sister Ella, even though he assured the woman his sister was dead. Spoiler alert: she was. The children’s mother was called at work, at a local Buffalo Wild Wings, and told to come home immediately.

 

This documentary takes place ten years later, and is told through a series of interviews, primarily with Charity Bennett, the mother. Having lost her daughter to her son, she forgave him and remains in touch with him to this day. Her mother, Kyla, does as well. Charity became a mother at a young age, being only 18 when Paris was born. Interestingly, Charity lost her own father at an early age, a death for which her mother was tried and acquitted.

 

Paris loved his sister from the moment she was born, and they were very close. A very intelligent boy, he has an IQ of 141. That didn’t keep him from committing this horrendous crime.

The directors of the film try to present a balanced picture without placing blame. But from what I can 


see, there is plenty of that to go around, and not just with the actual murderer, Paris. Watch the interviews with Paris and see how emotionally detached he is. He is an actor as well, as we learn that the whole sob story he gave to the 911 operator was a lie. Plus when she thought she had him performing CPR on his sister, he wasn’t. In fact, before he called 911, he called a friend and chatted for a few minutes.

There are details that the documentary fails to mention that I read afterward. The night of the murder the two children were being babysat while their mother worked. But Paris talked the sitter into going home early (she doesn’t even appear in this film, and other than the one mention, nothing is said, so I wonder if she was questioned as to why she would take her charge’s word that she could go home when the mother clearly wasn’t there). Apparently Paris was watching violent porn for some time (I assume even before the sitter was dismissed by him). At some point in the night, he went into his sister’s room, sexually assaulted her and repeatedly stabbed her as he did. According to him, “it felt like stabbing a mattress or a marshmallow”.

 

Prior to this crime, Paris was diagnosed as having homicidal tendencies, as well as sexual aberrations. And yet no one thought to do anything about it? I have a problem with that, as well as with the “forgiveness” of the mother, who at the same time fears him. Since this happened, she had another child, a boy she named Phoenix, and she doesn’t want the brothers to meet, although they do speak over the phone, but with her in control.  I couldn’t help but notice that she seems to treat Phoenix as a replacement Ella, even putting his long blond hair into a hair tie or barrette of some kind.

To be honest, I find both Charity and Kyla to be narcissists, and while the film is about Ella in that she is the subject, it is more about them, and how they claim to not be at fault for what happened. The reason we are given for what Paris did was sibling jealousy. He wanted to hurt his mother because he wanted to be the sole focus of her attention. His grandmother is in denial that her grandson is a sociopath, but I think that much is obvious.

It’s a tragic situation which I see as becoming worse if they ever let Paris out of prison. He only received a 40 year sentence, because of his age, and will be eligible for parole when he is 33. Charity is afraid of what he might do to Phoenix, and I think her fears are justified. She claims he isn’t getting the help he needs. I hate to say it, but not every illness can be cured. And I don’t think that leopard can change his spots. If anything, I’d be afraid he’s learned more about the subject while he’s been incarcertated.

This was an interesting documentary. The only person I feel sorry for is Ella, whose life was cut so tragically short.  Watch it for yourself and see what you think. I give it 3.5 Stars.

Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride


Twas the night before Christmas in Cleveland, Ohio, and four young women are completing their compulsory community service. Only a few more hours and they’ll be free. They’re stuck assisting at a shelter which is feeding the poor and homeless. The girls are less than enthused about the situation and don’t take it as seriously as they perhaps should. When they duck out to a bar, one girl finds her boyfriend there with another woman. And during the ensuing discussion, they end up in his car having sex. Another girl, Lady Athena, who is a transvestite, plies one of the other girls with drink. None of them are in particularly good shape.

When they finally return, the frazzled manager of the shelter asks them to deliver meals for the seniors on her route. What else can they do but say yes? The three girls cover for the fourth, who is still with her boyfriend. They’ve been instructed to spend half an hour at each stop, to spread Christmas cheer. Their efforts are met with less than great enthusiasm, which matches the effort they put into it.

 

One house, though, is different. Unbeknownst to them, someone has come into the house and killed the inhabitants and is now playing like she is the woman of the house. And she is their next stop.

Okay, where to start with this one?  First, how about the title. Despite what it says, there is not a Krampus in sight, and no mention of one. So right away, we have false advertising. The film starts with a masked figure who comes upon all the inhabitants of this house and murders them one by one.Why? We don’t really know. Later in the movie, she tells the girls she’s lived there all her life, but if there is a backstory, it’s never told.

 

The movie is only about an hour and a half long (but seems longer), and some of that time is taken up with sheer stupidity and gratuitous nudity and near nudity. Why one of the girls changes into a very very short red dress with a plunging neckline is beyond me. Then she sneaks her boyfriend into this stranger’s house and has sex with him in one of the upstairs bedrooms, after which the girl feels free to take a shower, while he watches cartoons on the TV.

The acting is tolerable, I’ve seen worse. The pacing is uneven, the writing not particularly good. You know from the beginning that this woman is nuts, so it’s just a matter of time until she goes after the girls and the supervisor who comes to give them Christmas presents on their last day of service. Honestly, the only halfway interesting character in this is Lady Athena. There is a lot of gore and badly down bloody make-up. The ending makes me wonder if there could be another one.

I sincerely hope not. I’m going to give this 1.5 Stars and call it a day.

Saturday is Horror Day #29 – Mother Krampus: The 12 Deaths of Christmas, The Hitcher (2007), Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Mother Krampus: The 12 Deaths of Christmas, 


In 1921, twelve children went missing near a small town, on the 12 days of Christmas. They were said to victims of Frau Perchta, the Christmas Witch. Just before Christmas of 1992,  five children have already disappeared. Some of the parents take it upon themselves to accuse a woman they believe to be the killer, and they hang her. Before dying, she curses them. Now it’s 2017, and children are disappearing once more.

 

Amy (Faye Goodwin) and her mother Vanessa (Claire-Maria Fox) head to visit Amy’s grandfather., Alfie (Tony Manders) for the holidays. Amy’s dad Wildon (Tom Bowen) isn’t going with them, as he moved out two months previously – for a younger woman. Undeterred, Amy secretly calls her father, who agrees to come for dinner on Christmas. However, when he does show up, he isn’t alone.

 

A woman turns up unexpectedly on Alfie’s doorstep, one he isn’t particularly happy to see. She tells him that it’s happening again, despite the fact they hung the witch years ago, and tells him he has to come to a meeting. He reluctantly goes to the church, where the other parents have gathered, to discuss what to do to save their loved ones.

Well, to begin with, the title is misleading – there is no Krampus, just Frau Perchta, the Christmas


Witch. Secondly, it’s a very muddy story, and it’s not done particularly well. I had hopes for it at the beginning, but those soon faded. While I don’t mind being mislead or misdirected, sometimes I wondered if the writer knew what they were talking about or doing.

Timing and pacing are certainly an issue here, besides the less than stellar writing and so-so acting. There’s a scene early on with a babysitter and her charge, and my first thought was why does this girl have a babysitter? She’s way too old to need one. Then when she requested… no, demanded… a bedtime story, I was like seriously? She proceeds to tell the babysitter not to tell her Snow White and how she got lost and lived in the woods with seven men… and she knows what was happening there. Again, seriously?

The other distracting issue for me was the casting for Amy’s father. The first time I saw him, before I realized who he was, I thought he was some kind of boyfriend or something. In no way does this guy look old enough to be her father, and in contrast he makes the mother look as though she robbed the cradle.

There is a great confusion in this movie, lot of blood and gory bits, including but not limited to the eating of body parts. The witch is not particularly scary (until she attacks, and anyone would be then). The ending is strange, and makes you wonder if you’re going to be tortured with more of the same. I admit I did request Mother Krampus 2 because it didn’t sound like a direct sequel. I’ll get back to you when I found out.

All in all, I’ll give this film a shaky 1.5 Stars, and I’m being kind at that.

The Hitcher (2007)


College students Grace (Sophia Bush) and Jim (Zachary Knighton) are headed off for a break from school, going to Lake Havasu to meet up with some of Grace’s friends. They haven’t met Jim yet and she wants them to get to know him. Driving at night, in the rain, Jim almost runs down a figure standing in the middle of the road. After the narrow collision, they see the man headed toward them and Grace urges Jim to go on, they can send help back to him. Jim agrees and they continue on.

Later they stop at gas station for snacks and to take a bathroom break.  Jim asks about help for the motorist but the clerk tells him none is available. A semi pulls in, and a passenger hops out and heads inside. Jim realizes it must be the same guy and tries to make himself inconspicuous, but the chatty cashier gives him away, and Jim finds himself agreeing to give the man a life, to Grace’s chagrin. The guy’s name is John Ryder (Sean Bean).

 

Grace sits in back, while John sits up front, by Jim. What starts out as innocuous conversation quickly crosses a line, as the hitcher reveals himself to be less than the ideal companion. When he becomes too much to handle, Jim and Grace force him out of the car, thinking that will be the end of it and they can continue on their way.

They are sadly mistaken, however.

This movie is surely a cautionary tale of why  you should not pick up hitchhikers. To be honest, I haven’t really seen a hitchhiker in years, but there was a time when I was young and foolish, and did pick hitchers up. This hitcher is not your run of the mill hitchhiker, by any means, and he makes these two young people’s lives a living hell.

 

Sean Bean plays his usual superb villainous self, charming one moment, exceedingly creepy the next. Mostly creepy as he tries to kill Jim and Grace, and manages to kill a number of other people along the way. One can only speculate what his actual body count is. Also, why is he doing this? We never really find out, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

This movie succeeds on many levels, not least of which is that it made me jump… more than once… and that isn’t easy to do. I generally brace myself for those kinds of scenes. This film caught me unawares. Look for Neal McDonough as a New Mexico State Trooper who wants to stop Jim and Grace in their flight no matter what, unaware where the real danger lies.

I really enjoyed this film, and I’m glad to give it a solid 4 Stars.

Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)


Martin Lomax’s life has not been an easy one. His father molested him at an early age, and sexually abused him, for which he was sent to prison. Martin (Lawrence R Harvey) is not only mentally disturbed as a result, he has limited intellectual capacity, and works in a parking garage. He is the classical loner, lives with his mother (Vivien Bridson), who blames him for her husband, whom she misses being in prison. His psychiatrist Dr Sebring (Bill Hutchens) makes house calls in order to treat him, but the good doctor has ulterior motives, and wishes to sexually use Martin himself.

Martin has a fascination with centipedes, and keeps one in a terrarium, feeding it live insects. He is also obsessed with the film The Human Centipede, and watches it constantly, dreaming of having his own human centipede someday. At some point, he decides to make his dream come true. He wants his centipede to be longer than the original, so decides on twelve as the perfect number of people for his project.

 

He acquires his victims from the garage where he works, couples who are just there to park their cars.


Martin utilizes a crow bar as well as a pistol to beat or shoot them into submission. One couple includes a very pregnant woman, who is carrying a toddler. Martin goes to see about renting a warehouse, a place where he can carry out his plan. And when the rental agent gets a little mouthy, he makes quick work of him. Then he takes his victims and lays them out on the floor, bound and naked, as he acquires them. Some of them he has enticed through bogus offers to audition for a Quentin Tarantino film.

The feather in Martin’s cap is getting an actress from the original film to “audition”. He picks her up from the airport in his van, and as she excitedly chatters about the opportunity to work with Tarantino, he drives her to the warehouse. There she mistakes the agent’s luxury vehicle for Tarantino’s. But when she gets inside, a whole other scenario presents itself. Soon she too is subdued, and Martin is ready to bring his plan to fruition.

 

First, I really suggest having seen the first film before you tackle this one. It’s not the same experience without that. Secondly, this movie is not for everyone. I’m not gonna lie. The director himself, Tom Six, admits that the first film is My Little Pony compared to the second one. Lawrence Harvey is amazing as the demented Martin, deliciously creepy and repulsive and crazy. Of course, you can understand why that is, at least up to a point, considering what his father did, and the way his mother treats him, including trying to murder him in his bed. 

The film is shot in black and white, which is explained by Tom Six in an interview in the Bonus section, and I think that was a great choice to make. He makes a brief nod to Schindler’s List (which I admittedly didn’t catch, having not seen that) in a briefly color sequence at the end. I think everybody did a pretty good job of this, and kept it from being something schlocky or outrageous in a bad way. And, unlike the first film, this one is 100% medically inaccurate. I plan to watch the third film at some point, will review it then. I give this one a pretty solid 4 Stars.