Tag Archives: horror movie reviews

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 #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.

Saturday is Horror Day #27 – Demon House

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Demon House

 


In 2014, TV host Zak Bagans purchased a house in Gary, Indiana sight unseen. The previous owners, the Ammons family, claimed the house was infested with demons, and that the demons had tortured and possessed them before they moved out. Immediately upon arrival at his new home, Bagans began to film a docudrama.

 

 

During the making of this documentary, Bagans claimed to have been so ill that he couldn’t leave his room for 8 days. People he spoke with were hurt and some where hospitalized. Members of his crew quit or were fired. Bagans attempted to speak with the former owners, but they refused to speak to him at their new home in Indianapolis. Her brother Kevin did agree to speak with Bagans. When asked, he admitted her reluctance to be involved in the documentary was because they’d received an offer from a film company for the rights to their story. After speaking with Bagans, the Ammons wouldn’t allow Kevin back into the house, claiming he might have picked up something from Bagans, who’d been inside the demon house at that point, and were concerned he would bring it back to them.

 

Bagans interview a social worker and a child psychologist who claimed to see the 9 year old son of the 


family walk backward up a wall and across the ceiling. Five minutes after the alleged incident, the child had no memory of what they said happened. The social worker turned the case over to someone else. A Catholic priest, Father Maginot, requested and received permission to perform an exorcism.

 

Various people who were involved in making the docudrama showed unusual behavior, up to and including becoming aggressive to one another. In the basement of the house, they discovered a small dirt area beneath the stairs – the only part of the basement like this – and Bagans believed they may have found a Satanic altar. In a final bid to settle the matter once and for all, Bagans had himself sealed into the house to spend the night.

Okay, where to start. A documentary is not meant to take sides, simply to present facts so the viewer can decide for themselves what to believe. Not sure if that was entirely true here. Non-demonic solutions were briefly touched upon, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, but not was investigated very thoroughly. At least they didn’t mention it.  And also, in case you don’t recognize the name Zak Bagans (which I didn’t), he hosts a show called Ghost Adventures, which tells me he is predisposed to believe.

 

In order to believe in demons, I think one has to believe in Satan, which I don’t. But I do believe in the power/energy that resides in all of us, which most of us don’t know how to control or draw upon. By the same token, why couldn’t there be a negative counterpart of this energy, one that people refer to as demons, for lack of a better word. 

At times, this film seems rather too staged for my liking, and perhaps that is the fault of the editing, or the voiceovers, obviously done after the fact. Besides the Ammons, other former residents as well as neighbors said they had no problems with the house.  Some people in Gary believe the whole thing is a crock, made up by the Ammons in order to cash in on the story. There is no overwhelming evidence to support the demon theory as being the true solution. Trying to paint an image of a twelve foot tall goat-headed being didn’t exactly win me over either.

For viewing pleasure alone, and not on believability, I’d give this about 2.5 Stars. The thing to keep in mind is that if you’re highly suggestible, be careful. This might make you think you heard something.

Saturday is Horror Day #26 – Krampus: The Reckoning, The Brotherhood of the Wolf

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Krampus: The Reckoning

 

Zoe (Amelia Haberman) is a troubled child caught in the foster care system. She is difficult at best, and some might even say she’s downright creepy. She wears a perpetual glower. So cynical for one of her tender years. When a fire claims the lives of her current foster parents, back into group care she goes.

 

 

Dr. Rachel Stewart (Monica Engesser) is a child psychologist who is assigned to Zoe’s case. She finds her rather disturbing and uncommunicative but gives her some leeway, under the circumstances. Rachel works for the police department, in the Homicide division, along with her friend, Detective Miles O’Connor (James Ray) who has a propensity for drowning his sorrows and turning up drunk on her doorstep. Although there is nothing between them, you can cut the sexual tension with a knife. Rachel has an adopted son, Lamaar, whom she loves dearly, and he’s a rather precocious young man.

 

In an effort to learn more about Zoe, Rachel plays detective to hunt down Zoe’s previous foster family. And what she learns… well, it’s not only shocking but it’s impossible. Zoe doesn’t have a lot of things, but she has a small box in which she carries her most prized possessions, including a small Krampus doll. She believes wholeheartedly in Krampus, and has no problem with summoning him, should the necessity arise. She doesn’t seem to care for other people, especially those who, in her opinion, are evil.

More people are turning up dead through fire. They’ve never seen so many crisped corpses. Something 

suspicious is going on here. What can it be?

 

This entry in the Krampus series is weak, at best, and just about as bad as the first one (which was pretty bad). The actors just aren’t very good at what they do, and they sound like just what they are – actors who learned a script (but not very well). The story is rather weak, and doesn’t even bother to explain the strange supernatural element (other than Krampus).Or how Krampus and Zoe even got together originally.

 

There are much better Krampus films out there. I recommend you find one of them and don’t bother with this one. I give this film a rather shaky 1.5 Stars.

The Brotherhood of the Wolf

At the time of the French Revolution, a nobleman who knows the peasants are coming for him,  remembers a time many years before, when he was very young, and a mysterious beast roamed the French countryside, killing hundreds of people. The Chevalier de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan) and his native American friend Mani (Mark Dacascos) are sent to investigate, at the behest of the king, Louis XV.

On their arrival in the province of Gevaudan, they are met by some highwaymen, who think they will be easy marks. But Mani is greatly skilled, and easily puts them in their place. He catches the eye of a young woman of high spirits. But when he runs into her later, during a wolf hunt, she taunts him cruelly.

 

 

The Chevalier and Mani are introduced to the family of the Comte de Morangias.  Gregoire is instantly smitten with the daughter, Marianne (Emilie Dequenne). She has a mind of her own and great beauty. Her brother Jean-Francois (Vincent Cassel) was sorely wounded on a trip to Africa, and as a result has lost one arm. Even so, he manages rather well, and keeps a close eye on his sister, with the assistance of the family priest.

Gregoire is convinced that the beast is not a wolf, despite what the others say, and Mani agrees with him. During a visit to a local brothel, Gregoire becomes intrigued by an Italian whore, Sylvia (Monica Belucci) who he suspects isn’t all she appears to be. The Chevalier has a talent for drawing, which he utilizes on his journeys, besides his skills as a taxidermist. He sketches the courtesan, but someone with an axe to grind steals the pictures and shows them to Marianne, which of course does not sit well with her.

 

When a wolf is caught, Gregoire is ordered to make it into the beast, so the people will be satisfied and the matter will be over, and the king will be happy. He has no choice, but he knows the beast is not dead, far from it. And he will do everything in his power to get to the truth.

This was a very well executed film, beautifully filmed, and very imaginative. From the title, I assumed this was a werewolf movie, but that is pretty far from the truth. I don’t often watch French films, and listening to it in its original language was a treat. For the most part, the cast was unknown to me, but I have seen Monica Bellucci before. You may remember her from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The big surprise was with Mani, who turned out to be Mark Dacascos, who you might remember if you ever watched Iron Chef America as The Chairman. He also played Wo Fat in the recent Hawaii 5-0 tv series.

The story is very interesting and kept me guessing up until the end, until we found out about the brotherhood. Mani’s action scenes are very impressive, as are Gregoire’s. Admittedly, there are some flaws, such as the mention of steel, which didn’t exist back then. And the reference to Mani as a Mohawk, another term not in use then. Maybe some minor continuity errors. But on the whole, this was an enjoyable film. I give it a solid 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #24 – The Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, The Hole in the Ground, A Christmas Horror Story

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis

Julian Garrison (John Keefe) and his brother Jake (Alexandru Geoana) are orphans, their parents having died in a car accident. The boys are being raised by their Uncle Charles (Peter Coyote), who doesn’t seem to know or care anything about kids. Charles works at Hybra Tech, a huge  conglomerate that does everything from making food to making chemicals, boasting the latest in cutting edge technology.

 

Julian hangs out with a group of kids, including his “best” friend Zeke Borden (Elvin Dandel), who insists that Julian has the hots for Zeke’s girlfriend, Katie (Jana Kramer), who also works at Hybra Tech, earning money for college. Zeke is something of a bully, who makes fun of Julian when he doesn’t want to take his motorbike up a ramp and jump it. Not surprising since he took a nasty spill last time he attempted the jump. Showing off, Zeke does the jump and it doesn’t turn out well. He ends up knocked out, so the kids call an ambulance.

 

The trouble starts when Julian goes to the hospital to check on Zeke, they tell him his friend died in the ambulance. Strange thing, when he calls Katie at work to tell her the bad news, she tells Julian that she just saw Zeke being brought to Hybra in an ambulance. So what is going on here?

Julian asks his uncle, who denies that Zeke is there. But Cody (Cory Hardrict) hacks into Hybra’s 

computers and finds that Zeke is indeed there. The teens decide to go into action to rescue Zeke.

Oh, did I mention here be zombies? Courtesy of the Army, of course, with the help of Uncle Charles.

So let me just say that every entry in the Return of the Living Dead series is weaker than the one before. Hard to believe, I know. I loved the first two, not to much the next two.

The plot is contrived and ridiculous. And we still don’t know why the hell the army keeps these zombies around. Are they thinking of recruiting future soldiers from the dead? Save on pay and food? If that’s the case, they better find a manual on zombie control, because they don’t have it. The acting isn’t particularly good, not even Peter Coyote (who has done better films). There is one scene where a teen cries over a death, and his crying sounded incredibly fake/forced.

The soundtrack wasn’t particularly memorable, being part of the school of let’s slap some sort of heavy metal onto this and call it done. Real teenagers would not be this stupid, either. I don’t recommend watching this. I even lost track of the action a couple times because I was bored. I’ll give this a very shaky 1.5 Stars.

The Hole in the Ground

Single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) moves her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) and herself to the Irish countryside, presumably to start over. Chris is something of an introvert, and frightened of spiders, but very close to his mother. On the way to their home, they have an unsettling encounter with their neighbor, Noreen (Kati Outinen). The older woman, who appears to be demented in some way, besides appearing out of nowhere and almost causing an accident insists that Chris is not Sarah’s son!

Exploring the land around their home, Sarah comes across an enormous sinkhole, and finds herself concerned for her son’s well-being. The old woman’s words continue to haunt her, which isn’t helped by the woman’s unexpected death. Suddenly, Sarah seems to see Chris differently, and she doesn’t like what she sees. Soon, she is doubting whether he is her son or not.

 

This is a very well-made psychological thriller, one which can make you look at your children differently and wonder. This is a real woman in a terrifying situation. You have to feel for her. What would you do if you began to think your child wasn’t really your child? Who could you confide in, when most people would think you were crazy for even suggesting such a thing. Director Lee Cronin has done a splendid job. Direction and cinematography are great, and so is the acting. 

Granted, by the end of the film, I still had some questions which went unanswered, such as why has no

one reported this sinkhole or warned her about it? Surely such a thing would need to be filled in or something, right? Still, those matters aside, it’s a riveting watch and well worth the view. I give this film a solid 4 Stars.

A Christmas Horror Story

This is an anthology film with four intertwined stories that all take plus on Christmas Eve… or Krampusnacht, if you will. Santa Claus faces down a group of zombie elves, a desperate family makes a last ditch appeal to a rich relative, teenagers film a documentary of the gruesome murders that occurred at their school a year ago, and a family in crisis tries to have a normal Christmas.

 

The common thread within these stories, other than the particular night, is the ongoing narrative by a disc jockey who is stuck working on Christmas Eve, played by William Shatner. His co-worker has left the building, after giving the dj a disparaging message, and hopefully leaves to cover the food drive at the mall. Dan (William Shatner) just keeps on going.

 

Taylor (Jeff Clarke) takes his wife and two children to visit his elderly Aunt Edda (Corinne Conley), in the hopes of being able to get some money from her. What his family doesn’t know is that she has no idea they’re coming… he’s basically waylaying her. Is it surprising that she is less than enthusiastic and can see right through him from the moment of his arrival?

Molly (Zoe De Grand Maison), Dylan (Shannon Kook), and Ben (Alex Ozerov) are filming a student documentary on the disturbing events that happened at their school. But when they find themselves locked into the school at night, things take a sinister turn. Is it possible that what killed the two students still lurks inside the building?

Scott (Adrian Holmes) was the first officer on the scene of the horrific killing, and the discovery has

taken a toll, not just on him, but on his family. In an effort to put a sense of normalcy back in their lives, he proposes they go together to chop down a Chrismtas tree. However, the land he intends to do that on is marked do not tresspass. His wife Kim (Oluniká Adeliyi) doesn’t like the idea, but puts up with it for the sake of their son Will (Orion John). The parents begin to panic when Will disappears into the forest. They find him unharmed inside of a huge hollow tree. But something isn’t quite right…

You don’t usually see Christmas and horror in the same film, but you see plenty of it here, and well done at that. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very happily surprised by what I saw. Each story is well told and well acted. We move from one to another, back and forth, as the tales unfold before our eyes. Each one is riveting and original, not your standard horror fare or Christmas either, an interesting and unique hybrid. There are plenty of scares here, lots of blood, and yet some laughter as well, albeit a mite unsettling. I bet you’ve never heard elves use the language some of these do!

William Shatner is the icing on the cake, the lone DJ who is just trying to get through the night and keep his audience entertained, while wondering where the hell his co-anchor has gotten to and why isn’t he doing what he’s supposed to. He’s very funny, and it’s always good to see him in anything.

The ending… well, I won’t give it away, I’ll just say I never saw that coming in a million years. This was a thoroughly enjoyable film, and I hope these guys make more like this. I’ll give this a strong 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #23 – Krampus: The Christmas Devil, Krampus (2015)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Krampus: The Christmas Devil

As a child,  police officer Jeremy Duffin (A.J. Leslie) was abducted, dragged in a sack and tossed into a frozen lake from which he managed to escape. It’s thirty years later, and he still can’t forget. Not to mention, he is convinced that the perpetrator of that crime is still out there, and every ten years he repeats the cycle. What’s a cop gonna do?

 

 

Sure enough, it’s happening again, and Jeremy has to do something about it.  Christmas is almost upon them, and all children know that Santa wants them to be good. What they may not know is that the flip side of Santa, who deals with naughty children, is the Krampus. He’s got a list…. and he knows how to use it. Where does he get that list? From Santa Claus, of course, his brother!

 

As if this isn’t bad enough, a criminal that Jeremy put away, Brian Hatt (Bill Oberst Jr) has just been

released from prison after ten years, and of course he has revenge on his mind. Who wouldn’t, right? Which puts not only Jeremy but his wife and daughter at risk. Unbeknownst to Jeremy, his daughter Heather (Samantha Hoepfl) has also made the top of Krampus’ list! Which evil is he going to have to fight off first?

So, what can I say about this movie? I had high hopes for it which were quickly dashed. Right off the bat, the acting sucks. Big time. I’ve seen better acting from high school students. Granted, I’m sure they all tried, but they failed, rather miserably. The best acting I saw was from a minor character in the bar, and I forget his name. As bad as Jeremy is, the actress playing his wife was worse.

What else? Oh yes, the writing was horrible. Terrible script. And the fight scenes were badly choreographed and virtually non-existent. The action would always cut away so you wouldn’t really see anything and would cut back so you could view the end result. The blood looks like strawberry syrup, btw, and not the good stuff.

Krampus himself is not scary. Weird, sure. Creepy? Definitely. He is holed up in a cave or something, and keeps a child in a cage. He also has a half naked woman chained to the wall that he likes to… play with. Seriously? Wth? Why even bring that up? He’s a demon, right? I have no idea.

From the start, this movie is ridiculous and not the least bit scary. The scariest thing to me was wondering how this even got made, who wasted good money on making it. And why were there sequels? Guess I’ll find out when I watch the next one. It has to be better, right? One can hope. On that basis, I’ll give Krampus: The Christmas Devil 1 flimsy Star, and that is being generous. This isn’t a horror movie, it’s a horrible movie.

Krampus (2015)

Christmas is almost here, and it should be a time of great cheer! But young Max (Emjay Anthony) feels otherwise, since it means his horrible cousins and their parents are coming for the holiday.  Mom Sarah (Toni Collette) and dad Tom (Adam Scott) are trying to be good-natured about it, because they are family, after all. But some people are just hard to take. And as if to make matters worse, Sarah’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman) has brought along Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). Can things get any worse?

Hell yes, it can.

It begins at dinner when Max’s cousins reveal that they’ve found Max’s letter to Santa Claus and proceed to read it in front of everyone, to Max’s mortification. Lots of personal stuff in it regarding his family and theirs, and of course the two girls don’t like what he’s said about them. A fight ensues, and ends with Max taking refuge in his room. He takes the offending letter and tears it up, then throws it out his window, where it scatters to the winds.

 

It begins with a power outage. Although technically it began with the arrival of some unexpected gifts on the porch. Sitting in the dark is not how anyone had envisioned their Christmas. Max’s sister Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) is worried about her boyfriend, who lives nearby. Despite the weather, she gets permission to check on him, since he isn’t responding to her texts. What she finds is horrifying, and as she attempts to race home, to safety, she sees some very strange things.

Meanwhile, back at the house, everyone huddles together in the living room for warmth in front of the 

fireplace, attempting to sleep. But something strange is happening when a chain drops through the chimney, with a strange creature on it, which draws the attention of Max’s cousin Howie Jr (Maverick Flack). The other wake up just in time to see him being sucked up the chimney.

This version of the Krampus legend is as different from the first one as night and day. This one has a solid cast, good writing, good direction, and an interesting story. Darkly humorous, it doesn’t lag. I could easily identify with Max’s parents, doing their best to get through the holidays despite having douchey relatives in the house. Tom’s mother, whom they call Omi, is also there. She is Max’s anchor, and she is the only one with a clue about what’s happening.

 

The story is funny and also scary, it has a unique take on Christmas, and has all the elements of a good horror film. There are more sequels in this series and I intend to watch the ones I can find, except for the sequel to the first one. Same writer and cast, so I’m gonna just call it quits on that while I’m ahead, expecting nothing better. But I’ll keep you posted on the others. I am giving Krampus (2015) a solid 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #22 – Night of the Living Dead 2

Return of the Living Dead II – 

Jesse (Michael Kenworthy) is bullied by two other boys into joining their club. Billy (Thorn Van Lingen) forces him to go to their clubhouse, which turns out to be a crypt in the cemetery. There they find some old army cannisters, and Billy claims them. Jesse wants nothing to do with them and makes his escape, but the other boys aren’t as luck as they accidentally break the seal and are overcome by an obnoxious gas.

Ed  (James Karen) and Joey (Thom Mathews) work together, their job being to rob graves for body parts which they sell. supposedly in the name of research. They come across Jesse, who is hiding in a crypt.  He eludes them and runs off, but quickly discovers that things are not what they should. Dead people are rising, and they’re hungry.

Jesse races home and wants to call the number he found on the cannister, because surely the army can

help them, but his sister Lucy (Marsha Dietlein), who is babysitting him, has other ideas. When a young, good-looking cable installer, Tom (Dana Ashbrook) shows up, she is really determined to keep her brother under control.

But the dead have other ideas…

The sequel to The Return of the Living Dead  has some of the wit and charm of the first movie, but no Dan O’Bannion, alas. But the good news is that we have the return of James Karen and Thom Matthews, who did much to make the first film memorable. They’re working together again but they’re playing different characters, yet they’re very similar to the first ones. If you’ve seen the first film, you’ll remember this line: “Watch your tongue, boy, if you like this job!”

While still interesting and comedic, it lacks a bit of what made the first one so good. Even so, it’s a good watch and well worth the effort. You might remember Dana Ashbrook, who will later go on to play in Twin Peaks as Bobby Briggs.  Also, keep an eye out for the Michael Jackson zombie toward sthe end. All in all, I give this a solid 3.75 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #21 – The Return of the Living Dead, The City of the Dead

The Return of the Living Dead

Freddy (Thom Matthews) has just begun a new job at a medical supply company, joining the ranks of the gainfully employed. His boss, Burt (Clu Gulager) seems like a good guy, and leaves Freddy in the hands of his co-worker, Frank (James Karen). Frank proceeds to show Freddy the ropes. The company has all sort of odd items, such as skeletons for medical schools, and half dogs, for veterinarian schools, and even fresh cadavers in the walk-in. While swapping strange stories, Frank tells Freddy about the weird cannisters that are stored there, something to do with the army. Of course Freddy wants to see them, who wouldn’t? But things go horribly wrong when Frank accidental strikes one of the tanks, releasing some kind of noxious gas.

Freddy’s girlfriend Tina (Beverly Randolph) is riding around with some of her friends, trying to figure out what to do. A rather eclectic group, running the gamut from Goth to glam, they’re bored, and the driver refuses to go anywhere without receiving gas money. Tina suggests they pick up Freddy from work, which idea is enthusiastically received as he always knows where there’s a part. But he won’t get off for two hours, so they head to Resurrection Cemetery to hang out, right across the street from the medical supply house.

There, Trash (Linnea Quigley) reveals to Spider (Miguel A. Nunez Jr) her fantasies about death, and her fears of dying surrounded by old men who eat her. This leads to her getting naked on top of a crypt.  In the meantime, Frank and Freddy become freaked out, not just by what they did, but by strange sounds inside the warehouse. Imagine their surprise to find one of the half dogs barking! And the cadavers are trying to break out of the walk-in cooler, just like in the story Frank had told Freedy.

The two men try to handle the situation, but finally give up and call Burt to come back to work. When

he finds out what happened, he is appalled, having warned Frank many times to stay away from those tanks! Be that as it may, they have to deal with what’s going on, so Burt calls on his good friend Ernie (Don Calfa), who has the mortuary across the street. They try to pawn off a story about rabid weasels on Ernie, but that doesn’t fly, and they are forced to not only tell him but truth, but show him. The only thing he can think to do is to burn the evidence in the crematorium, which of course sends the smoke up into the air, and then the toxic chemicals end up being rained back down and seeping into the ground… reanimating the corpses in the cemetery!

This movie is both a horror film and a comedy, and I have to say I think it’s better than most of George Romero’s films (except for the original Night of the Living Dead). These zombies are not shambling brainless hulks, they are cleverer than some of the teens, and are smart enough to realize how to get people to send more fresh meat.

Frank and Freddy are hilarious as the duo who start this entire zombie apocalypse, and Clu Gulager does a great job as Burt and ditto for Don Calfa as Ernie. And c’mon, it’s Burt and Ernie. You don’t think that’s a coincidence, right? That reminds me of a Burt and Ernie in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, which obviously predates Sesame Street, and I believe the Sesame Street writers got the names of their characters from there.

The music is fitting, some kind of punk, I think, and helps drive this film along. The writing is most excellent, and how surprising is that since this is a Dan O’Bannion film!  You remember Dan from Alien, right? The movie ends with the protagonists appealing to the army to help them, as per the phone number on the tanks. But you can only imagine the sort of help the military is willing to give when it comes to covering up a mistake. The ending leaves no doubt there is more to the story…. and there is.

I give this film a solid 4.5 Stars.

Before I go to the next review, I just want to mention that I tried to watch George Romero’s Day of the Dead, but I turned it off because it bored me. So I can’t really give it a review, since I didn’t finish it, but maybe that says enough.

The City of the Dead

When a woman accused of witchcraft is burned at the stake in 1692, she curses the village that condemned her even as she makes a pact with Lucifer.

Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a young college coed with a bright future ahead of her. Determined to attain her history degree, she intends to work on her paper as much as she can, even if she has to miss spending time with her boyfriend, Bill (Tom Naylor) in order to do so. Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) suggests Nan go to the very small town he had just lectured about where a witch was burned years ago, and suggests she stay at the Whitewood Inn – just mention his name. Nan bids her boyfriend and her brother Dick (Dennis Lotis) a fond farewell and heads out to Whitewood.

Stopping for directions, she learns just how seldom this eerie road is traveled, and doesn’t heed his warning not to go on. She picks up a strange man who is hitchhiking, and is also headed to Whitewood. He has an odd way about him, and a deep, resonant voice. But on her arrival, the man has disappeared! Nan goes to the inn, and the proprietress, Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel) insists there is no room at the inn until Nan invokes Professor Driscoll’s name, and suddenly there is a room available, so Nan takes it. A young girl named Lottie works at the inn. Lottie is mute, but she seems as though she is trying to tell Nan something but Mrs Newless always finds a way to stop her.

Nan hears things in her room, and when she asks about the strange trap door in the floor, she is told that there is nothing beneath it but dirt. In exploring the town, she goes to the church, but the blind pastor, Reverend Russell, (Norman MacOwan) shoos her away. Borrowing a book about witchcraft from the pastor’s granddaughter, Patricia (Betta St. John), Nan finds out the truth, but it’s too late.

When Nan fails to return after two weeks, and no one has heard from her, her boyfriend and brother

decide enough is enough and trace her footsteps to Whitewood.  The question is will they make it out alive?

This movie is clearly a product of its times, no doubt about that. Having said that, though I wanted to like this film because… well, Christopher Lee… but things made that hard to do. My first question was why does no one in this town notice the perpetual rolling fog that covers the ground at all times (probably to disguise the fact that they’re on a set). But nothing is ever said, as if no one notices. Seriously?

None of this is scary stuff, but in all fairness, perhaps modern moviegoers have come to expect more and have seen this sort of thing a million times. Having said this, what happens comes as no surprise if you look for the signs that are about as bright and easy to see as Rudolf the Reindeer’s red nose! Lottie trying to warn Nan, the mysterious book, even the church, where I saw the name Driscoll on the sign outside but scratched through. The eerie innkeeper who bears a close resemblance to…. no spoilers, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

Some of the acting is better than others. Much as I love Christopher Lee, I can’t say this is his best performance, but he has others beat hands down. What’s worse than the scenery and the acting, though, is the writing. Just not good. The soundtrack is a strange sort of 50s jazz-like sound which seems at odds with what is going on. Predictable and poorly executed. I’ll give this a shaky 2 Stars, and mostly because I love Christopher Lee.