Tag Archives: Larry Blamire

Saturday is HOrror Day #115 – The Witch Files

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Witch Files

Five teenage girls meet during a shared detention period, and become fascinated by the idea that one of them,  Jules (Britt Flatmo) has special witchy powers. She tells them she can show them how to harness their powers, and that together they are stronger. So Claire (Holly Taylor), Brooke (Alice Ziolkoski), MJ (Tara Robinson), and Greta (Adrienne Rose White) agree to meet with her. But it has to be late at night, which means lying to or ducking out on parents and or boyfriends. They sit in a circle and Jules tells them to chant. At first, nothing happens. But then they find themselves able to cause a book to lift into the air, and then one of them. The girls are elated, and decide to test their powers in the real world, which includes stealing from a store by convincing the clerk they paid, and eating for free at a restaurant the same way.

Aspiring documentarian Claire films what they do, as well as doing a little research into some past strange events in the town. What she finds is rather disturbing, and the incidents seem to run in a seventeen-year cycle. Even more disturbing, the girls themselves are starting to feel the effects of their usage of this power, or whatever it is, and their bodies seem to be aging at an inordinate rate, showing signs of arthritis, macular degeneration, and more. Things are going horribly awry, and they begin to wonder who or what Jules really is.

This film has definite echoes of The Craft, but without the heavy vibes and taking itself too seriously. Not surprisingly, one of the writers is Larry Blamire, who brought us The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra films as well as Dark and Stormy Night. The Witch Files is funny and dark without being heavy-handed. I think they channeled the Craft for sure. I know there is a transgender character in The Craft, and one of the girls in The Witch Files makes such references about herself such as needing to “drain the snake” which leads me to wonder if she is transgender as an homage to the other film.

I read some reviews in which people complained about the lack of realism (in a movie about witchcraft? Seriously?) And some said it wasn’t as good as The Craft. Personally, I liked it better. It was fun to watch. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #113 – Dark and Stormy Night, Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Dark and Stormy Night

It’s a dark and stormy night when reporter 8 O’Clock Farraday (Daniel Rockbuck) arrives in a taxi driven by cabby Happy Codburn (Dan Conroy). Apparently, the reading of Sinas Cavinder’s will is to take place, and Farraday plans to nab that story for himself. On arrival, he’s short 35 cents of his fare, so Happy follows him up to the door of the mansion, despite the dire weather. They are unexpectedly joined by a third party, who enters with them when the butler Jeens (Bruce French) admits them, even though none of them have a real reason to be there. The newcomer is none other than rival reporter Billy Tuesday (Jennifer Blaire), also there to get the scoop on the reading of Cavinder’s will.

Unbeknownst to homeowner Burling Famish Jr (Brian Howe), his wife Pristy (Christine Romeo) is

having  an affair with Teak Armbruster (Kevin Quinn). Suddenly, people continue to appear as out of nowhere, including Sabasha Fanmoore (Fay Masterson), Lord Partfine (Andrew Parks), Seyton Ethelquake (James Karen), and others. An unexpected twist occurs when it is revealed tha tthe bridge leading to the house in the middle of nowhere has been washed out, and now everyone is trapped there.

Despite long-winded delays and boring stories, the lawyer Farper Twyly (Mark Redfield) gets to the actual reading of the will.  Oddly, there is a random bequest for total stranger Ray Vestinhaus (Larry Blamire) whose car broke down in the middle of nowhere and he wanted to attend the reading of the will. The bulk of the estate goes to Sabasha, but should anything happen to her, it will then go to Burling Famish. However, there is a separate envelope, which was intended to be read after the will. It seems there was a codicile, stating that a change has been made, and that everything is to go to…. and then the lights go out.

And of course, this is when mayhem ensues as somebody is picking off the occupants of the house, one by one. But who… and why? This is a classic dark and stormy night murder mystery that is also a damn funny comedy, from the same guy who brought us the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, including many of the same faces. But there are also people you might otherwise recognize as well, including Jim Beaver, Marvin Kaplan, Betty Garrett and James Karen. Alison Martin is hysterical as so-called psychic Mrs. Cupcupboard, and the seance scene is beyond funny. Look for a gorilla in the house, too. The back and forth between the two reporters reminded me a lot of the banter of the Three Stooges. Everyone in this film is wonderful.

I’m sorry I didn’t discover Larry Blamire sooner. His films are great. I’m trying to find more. If you like mysteries that make you laugh, this is the film for you. I give this film 4.5 Stars

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead

Martin (Geir Vegar Hoel) is the sole survivor from his group of friends who only wanted to enjoy a skiing vacation but were brutally attacked and killed by… Nazi zombies!  But just when he thinks he is home free, Martin realizes he has one of the gold coins the Nazis wanted inside his car, and the Nazi commander, Herzog (Organ Gamst) is right there to get it. They end up fighting for it, and Martin speeds away with the Nazi zombie clinging to the car, one arm trapped inside the window. Martin avails himself of a semi passing in the opposite direction to remove his problem, although the arm flies onto the floor of the car. Martin tosses the coin out the window and figures he’s seen the last of them. However, road conditions are poor and Martin ends up in an accident.

Martin awakens to find himself in the hospital. But his nightmare has just become worse, for the police

have discovered the bodies of his friends and think he is responsible for their deaths! Even worse, he is approached by a surgeon who wishes to give him some good news. Noticing his missing limb (Martin cut it off after being bitten), the police searched the car and found his arm, and they have successfully reattached it. Isn’t that good news? Poor Martin is horrified as he realizes that this arm is actually Herzog’s.

While he’s held captive in the hospital, he gets a visit from a young man who snuck in to see his arm. Turns out he is a member of a Zombie Squad, and he is excited to find evidence that what they believe to be true is true – that zombies are real! He takes pictures of the arm and sends them to his friends in the US.

Things go from worse to worser as Martin discovers that the arm has a mind of its own, and it isn’t good. It goes on a killing rampage, including the boy. Martin finds himself with the boy’s phone when the Zombie Squad calls, and he reports that the boy was killed by zombies. The leader of the squad, Daniel (Martin Starr) assures him that they are professionals and they are on the way. That’s good news, right? Except Martin doesn’t realize that the entire squad consists of Martin and Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Blake (Ingrid Haas). Daniel tells Martin to find out what Herzog wants before they arrive.

Martin goes to a World War II museum where he meets Glenn (Stig Frode Henriksen), who is a little intimidated by him. He shows him what they have regarding Herzog, and what his original mission was – namely, to destroy the town of Talvik, because of their anti-Nazi sabotage. When Glenn shows him the map, Martin realizes to his horror that where they are lies between where the Nazis were and Talvik. Sure enough, looking out the window to where a bus of tourists had arrived and were disembarking, the two men witness a scene of carnage and chaos.

Cue the arrival of the Zombie Squad. Somehow, Martin isn’t reassured at the sight of the three. He’d expected more help. But this is the reality. That, and his arm, which he has begun to learn to control. Will this be enough to stop the Nazi horde once again?

Honestly, I liked the second film even more than the first. I liked the first, but this one doesn’t have all the relationship bs that clouded the first one, plus no one is having sex in an outhouse (just ick). The Nazi zombies are unique and different from other zombies in other zombie films, they are actually worthy adversaries. The Zombie Squad aren’t as foolish as they first appear, and they don’t hesitate to jump into the fray. I really liked Glenn, too. And the Norwegian police, who can never quite seem to figure out what’s going on. If you watch this, stay until the end of the credits for a final scene.

Sadly, there will probably not be a Dead Snow 3, as the actor who played Martin passed. Too bad, there was supposed to be a zombie Hitler. That would have been epic. Nonetheless, this was worth watching. I’ll give it 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #111 – The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, It Comes at Night

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

Dr. Paul Armstrong (Larry Blamire) is a man of science. He and his wife Betty (Fay Masterson) are seeking a meteor which has fallen to earth, in search of the rare element atmosphereum.  He must study it, so he can do science.  Another couple, Kro-Bar (Andrew Parks) and Lattis (Susan McConnell) are new on the planet earth, having come from outer space. Their space ship is broken, and in order to fix it, they require atmosphereum. Also, it seems as though their pet Mutant (Darrin Reed) has escape and is on the loose somewhere. Dr. Roger Fleming (Brian Howe) , unlike Dr. Armstrong, is an evil scientist who is seeking the legendary lost skeleton of Cadavra. And when he finds it, the skeleton instructs him to find atmosphereum for him. He follows the lost aliens and observes them as they find their way to a cabin in the middle of the woods, where the Armstrongs have gone. Following the aliens’ lead, Fleming makes himself a companion from a few woodland creatures, a woman he names Animala (Jennifer Blaire). And then there is Ranger Brad (Dan Conroy), who simply wants to help someone.

If this plot sounds a bit far-fetched, believe me, it’s meant to. This film is actually a cleverly made B

movie where the actors are so intentionally bad they are good. Borrowing on elements of sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s, Larry Blamire has created quite a little gem here, up to and including the skeleton. (Look carefully when the skeleton is climbing down the rock face and you’ll see the wires).

The scene where they share a meal is hysterical, as is the way the alien couple tries to behave like regular human-type Earth people. Unfortunately, they chose to copy the wrong “person” at the dinner table! I love to hear Paul Armstrong talk about how he loves to do science. And his wife is the quintessential housewife!

This film is very low budget and yet in a creative way. The skeleton was actually bought off of Ebay.  If you get the chance, I recommend watching the special features which includes a Q&A and bloopers. This film was hilarious, and I loved it. I’ll give it 4.5 Stars

It Comes at Night

A mysterious illness is consuming the world. Paul (Joel Edgerton) takes his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), his son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) and Sarah’s father Bud (David Pendleton) to a remote location, far from everyone. But tragedy strikes when Bud dies.

The family have isolated themselves, far from everyone. Therefore, the knock on their door is

unexpected. Will (Christopher Abbott) approaches them for help. They are reluctant, but he is begging, saying he has a family. They put him to the test before admitting him into their home, along with his wife Kim (Riley Keough) and young son Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner).

Everything seems fine at first, but Travis begins to have terrible dreams. And he sees and hears things. His father is fearful that the newcomers have brought the sickness with them. What should they do?

It Comes at Night is more psychological thriller than traditional horror film. The monsters aren’t

immediately visible, but they are there, the products of paranoia and fear. The viewer is kept wondering what is real and what is imagined, and what would I do in this situation when the slightest mistake could mean death for my family.  The pace is slow, but deliberately so, even as the tension builds to an unforgettable climax. Well done and well acted, it will make you examine yourself and wonder what would you do. I give this film 4 Stars.