Conjuring 2 – Why horror movies exist

Long time no see. I’ve been busy doing that ‘review for pay’ job I’m a bit fond of, but it’s back to my own review for a quick look at Conjuring 2. Conjuring 2 is the movie The Witch should have been but drastically wasn’t. It is the ‘if you believe, you will be scared and probably have to research most of this on the way home–with the lights on’ type of movie. Hell, even if you aren’t a believer in the after-life, this movie is packed with ‘scares’ that work. The setups are patient things and my hats off to James Wan on this. The payoffs for the ‘monster scares’ are rather sinister in parts.

At one point, I honestly didn’t know who was screaming–the girls on the screen or the ones in the row ahead of me.  That is how good this movie is.  I did not see it in 3D. I do not know if a 3D version exists, but if it does–you better bet your ass I’ll be in on it.

If you haven’t seen the ‘rebirth of real horror’ (aka Conjuring)–it’s okay (no it isn’t! GO OUT AND SEE IT NOW!).  You don’t need to see the first one to enjoy the sequel. Oh, and speaking of sequels I have it from this website that the Nun is getting a treatment of her own. Oh mama…

The Witch is awesome…unless you wanted horror

Before my almost non-existent horror video blogs are boycotted, let me start out by saying, “I like The Witch”. I think it was well done. I think the writing and the acting and everything in between was well done. It works brilliantly as a period piece exposing the all too familiar push of religion in the US. It works brilliantly as a tale about the way society manipulates women and punishes anyone who dares think her body is her own.  In that aspect, it is rather well done as horror. The horror of “Sweet Jesus, this is still the time we live in.”


Scary in the sense of “I can’t sleep at night/What was that? Fuck you, cat! Gave me a heart attack!”? No. It just isn’t horror in that sense. It isn’t. Unless you were traumatized by a cult (or any religion) and/or had a really bad experience at a petting farm, well, it won’t be scary to you. The BEST line I have seen describing this movie comes from  The review by Rich Smith was pretty spot on, but the Comment by Michael Crowl is priceless.

“I’m glad she escaped her horrifying family. She’s happy now.” That’s what hit me like a bucket of blood-milk as I walked home from the theater.
You’re both wrong. The Witch is basically Sixteen Candles with a better ending and more goats.” – Michael Crowl

Zombie Down Under – Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Zombie movies. How I love them. I seriously think the only movie genre that can trump a zombie movie is the possession genre. I haven’t seen anything worth mentioning on the possession end, but darn if I didn’t find a gem on US Netflix. It’s called Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and it’s a sleeper. I am shocked at how little I’ve heard about this (apparently) award-winning film. Out from the land down under (where beer does flow and men chunder, or so I’ve been told and choose to believe), this gem is what Mad Max should have been (I can’t be the only one to think that the claims of “Furiosa” as a feminist role model is laughable, right?).

The movie is dark. It’s funny. It’s a bit gory (not too much blood, really). It even has a boomerang in it. I mean, need I say more?

Go. Go to Netflix US now and plop yourself down for an hour or two. Play a bit of Men Without Hats or Men at Work, or just have it bloody raining men (hallelujah!). Either way, just press play.

Inner Demons – #Netflix US gem

I’m back in Canada for a bit and that means my VPN is stuck on Netflix US.  I’m not sure why Netflix Canada has such a poor selection of horror (or even non-horror…).  One great gem that is now trending is Inner Demons.  Inner Demons is a low budget indy film that, although given low star ratings, is actually damn good.

The premise is simple:  A formerly ‘good girl’ turns to drugs to suppress the demon trying to control her body. The writing and acting are both rather strong through most of the movie.  The ending (almost) works well.  I won’t give spoilers away, but this is one of the few ‘let’s do a mock reality show’ films that I actually watched to the finish.  If you are looking for 30000 scares a second then pass this one by, but if you want a horror film that spins from the newspaper reality, then this is your movie.



#CrimsonPeak a new shade of Awesome by Guillermo del Toro

Image Credit: Kerry Hayes
Image Credit: Kerry Hayes

I’ve been busy a bit. A new magazine launch will do that for you (not to mention the letters of applications that are being sent out to  universities. Oh, the life of a recent PhD!). I am never too busy to get into a great horror show though. I love horror and I love my friends, so this is a great mix of the two.

Crimson Peak is the newest offering from Guillermo del Toro. If you don’t know who that is then stop reading right now and watch Pan’s Labyrinth or The Strain. He’s done other great things but those are my recent favs. Basically, all you need to know is Guillermo del Toro = Genius.

Crimson Peak is his latest offering and, from what I saw, it looks to be stelar. A period piece with excellent casting, directing, writing and costumes. Seriously–take a look at the trailer and tell me this doesn’t make you feel excited to be a horror fan.

I’ve got a lot on my plate (I just had a screenplay of mine optioned!) but I can always make time for Awesome and Crimson Peak definitely looks to fit that bill.

#Horror #Hellraiser and the Hellbound Heart by @realclivebarker


Hellraiser. This movie made me love the bad guys. Tell me you didn’t cheer for the Cenobites. Tell me that you actually liked the vacant headed heroine of the movie. This movie, quite simply, builds like a great orgasm. Okay, so not that intense. But the image is there. The image and the use of bodily fluids are quite prevalent in the movie. The story is a morality tale with a slight twist. The twist is–we start to want the people to get punished. They are representatives of the human race and, yet, we want them to be destroyed. We want them to be consumed. This isn’t because the story isn’t strong (it is), or because the characters aren’t likeable (they are) but because the Cenobites are so fricken cool and a total embodiment of the taboo that we want them to win.  We want them to win because we don’t want them to leave our sight.

There might be some sort of comfort to know that there is an order–even in Hell and even if it is the Order of the Gash.

If you haven’t read the book that the story is based (The Hellbound Heart) then you really need to pick it up. Clive Barker is a masterful story teller. He is simple. Direct. Dark. Having his words for this story come off the page is a real treat for me as a writer. I grew up watching the movie (and grew up a few yards from where the Hellraisers are filmed), but it is the story and style of Clive Barker that really pushes this through.

Yes, I know. I usually leave you with the trailer to the film. This time…Let’s just say I love Ozzy and Motorhead.



Alien and the Great Digital Film Festival

huggerThe one movie that really scared the crap out of me as a kid was Alien. This movie changed my idea of what science fiction could be and what horror could open up. The facehugger pictured here is the reason why I slept with my hand over my face for about 14 years. Yes, the argument was already posited that my sleeping with my hand in such a way actually mimics the facehugger rather than protects from it, but hey, I started it when I was 7.

This movie built a franchise, a world, and a hell of a lot of nightmares (a dancing spoof and one very cool space herpes reference). Was it the fear of the unknown that made this movie so terrifying as a kid? There were a lot of movies that dealt with the unknown and a general distrust of tech, sleeper cells and xenophobia. This movie goes beyond all of the traditional sci-fi as horror genre by pushing the storyline. Again, all of the special effects and super creeps in the world won’t hold up to a great story brought to life by a talented crew. It is their humanity that made this movie more frightening. This wasn’t some sort of ‘teens go out on a romp and start dying’ type thing. This was ‘People stuck in a job they didn’t want to be in and getting screwed over, used and abused by their employer’ type thing.

The time had a lot to do with the effect. Families were settling down and usually trying more than a few jobs to hold ends together. A group of vets were being refused jobs they were qualified for just because America wanted to exorcise its demons and cleanse its conscious, not by addressing its own evil, but by scapegoating the ones sent to fight. Then again, maybe a face hugger scared the crap out of me because I am an asthmatic who never could be more than two steps away from his rescue inhaler. They may not be able to hear you scream in space, but neither can they hear someone with a full blown attack cry out either.

The movie Alien will be played in all its glory for the Great Digital Film Festival brought to Montreal by Cineplex. I am going to the February 2nd showing. If you want to say hi, please do so. I’ll be the one watching the movie not with his fingers over his eyes, but rather across his mouth.




#Horror Strangeland

‘Stay away from Captain Howdy.’ That is the lyric, isn’t it? I saw Strangeland a few years ago. I think I had to rob a RedBox to watch it. What brought me to the movie was Dee Snider. Yes, I am an SMF. I remember seeing Twisted Sister live with Sebastian Bach before and stuff like that sticks with you (in a good or bad way). This movie made me see Dee Snider in a different way.

Snider writes this film which is part creepfest and part warning of a pre-dawn internet free for all. The movie feeds in on our fears of the online creepoid stalking the net waiting to meet either a young girl/boy or Chris Hansen. (For the record: If you are on his show enough to have your GPS listing the target house as a ‘favourite’ then you might want to rethink your life choices.) It taps into those fears and gives us a bit of a ‘look at me!’ type venture.

Can you identify with Snider’s character of Captain Howdy? Isn’t that the sign of a good writer? No matter how much of a monster the villain is, there is something identifiable about the man. Did Snider go a bit too far in insane isolation? Give the movie a whirl and find out. I think we are all a bit Captain Howdy in some aspect.