Number 2 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After a struggling writer get’s a job looking after the Overlook Hotel as a caretaker for the winter, something happens to him and his family in extreme & unforgiving ways : Based on Stephen King’s best selling novel of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick THE SHINING is an unforgettable journey into the mind of addiction, isolation, family and supernatural terror that has effected me over the years since it’s release back in 1980, I don’t think I’ve ever drooled over or talked about a movie more than this horror masterpiece : very much like Jaws that was written by Peter Benchley The Shining is an example where the movie is better than it’s original source and the changes they made when bringing it to the screen were not only in my eyes justified but add so much to the film’s scare factor, it’s scale and overall stigma : take the main differences for example, the infamous twins that scare the life out of Danny in the movie are not in the book, the blood filled elevators spilling out into the hallway is not in the book, the atmospheric maze and clever icy cold climax is not in the book and the words Jack was typing all Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy is not in the book, of course I have always been of the opinion that writers should never allow their work to be messed with & for some reason Stephen King allowed big chunks of his book to be altered, but I do believe that the changes made add so much to the terrifying nature of Kubrick’s masterpiece that watching The Shining without these would be a poorer experience : in fairness as with the Top Five Movies on the list The Shining could easily be Number One, it’s scares me because it’s about a family, their isolation and the effect The Overlook has on them all through the harshest of winters in Colorado : from it’s opening shots of the camera following Jack’s car up the mountain road to The Overlook accompanied by it’s hair raising score, Jack breaking down the bathroom door with an axe whilst reciting Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chins? and the epic confrontation on the stairwell that involves a baseball bat there are just so many memorable scenes in The Shining but one of them always manages to mess me up and it’s when Jack chastises Wendy for disturbing his place of work in the hotel, you can see the pain etched onto Wendy’s face as her husband says “Wendy let me explain something to you, whenever you come in here and interupt me your breaking my concentration, your distracting me….” the scene is emotional as you not only start to fear for Wendy’s safety but also feel sorry for her and the way that she is being treated, it’s scary because you are now seeing the changes manifesting themselves in Jack and it’s sensational because of it’s deliverance by two actors on top of their game in Nicholson and Duvall : other factors that make The Shining such an amazing movie experience range from it’s eye catching us of color, including The Gold Room’s bathroom with it’s stunning red decor, Room 237’s evocative green & orange bathroom & the mesmerising carpeted hallways throughout, a terrific performance from Danny Lloyd who plays Danny, those tricycle scenes are just Iconic and his psychic abilities lend to some rather creepy, blood soaked images & that moment Wendy is trying to comfort her son and then sees the word REDRUM reversed in the bedroom mirror is unbelievably chilling : overall The Shining is an emotional rollercoaster ride, a character driven horror piece that’s as visually disturbing as it is stunning ★★★★★
Number 22 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Five friends travel to a cabin in a remote region of Tennessee, where they release flesh-possessing demons : Sam Raimi’s THE EVIL DEAD is still after all these years a joy to behold, a guilty pleasure, a wickid low budget scare fest that sees actor Bruce Campbell get pretty much everything thrown at him and his friends? well they get attacked, possessed and wreak holy havoc : there’s no doubt that the two sequels to The Evil Dead are great fun but it’s Raimi’s original released back in 1981 that holds a place in my horror loving heart : right from the offset when their car crosses that rickety old bridge on their way to the cabin, the banging of the swing porch and then as the key is retrieved from it’s place above the door the swing stops, the poster nod to Craven down in the cellar and for a budget of $400,000 the effects throughout are impressively gruesome especially Cheryl’s possessed demon who’s one mean, twisted servant from hell : I rememeber watching this over a friends house during my early teens a few years after it’s initial release and being scare senseless, from it’s shaky camera work, the wind effect, the tree attack to the body dismemberment all had a lasting effect on me growing up and still does : The Evil Dead is pure brilliance, shoe string budget filmmaking of the highest standard that MUST BE WATCHED at least once a year : speaking in my best demonic voice JOIN US ★★★★★
Number 26 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it : Around the end of the 90s and early 2000s the world of horror coming out of Japan was delightfully creepy & truly unforgettable, film’s such as Dark Water, Ju-On: The Grudge, Pulse, One Missed Call and of course RING and it’s sequel Rasen directed by Hideo Nakata shocked the genre, delivered Hollywood some remake material and gave me some sleepless nights in the process : Nakata’s Ring the novel of which was written by Kôji Suzuki is by far the creepiest, most sinister horror movie to come out of Japan, there’s no real violence to speak of, just that unease you feel when something is coming, that slow burning, spine-tingling and altogether unpleasant feeling of all : the beautifully talented duo of Nanako Matsushima & Hiroyuki Sanada are sublime and are both heavily involved in the film’s iconic and scary well scene, that moment when Reiko comes across the corpse and hair down the well is turn away from the screen horrific : I’ve now seen the movie around a dozen times and even during my rewatch I still find the twist to deliver an almighty knockout : if your a serious horror fan and have not seen this the original version of the RING then remedy this immediately, it’s a must watch and it will scare the living daylights out of you ★★★★½
Number 28 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further : the second movie on my list directed by James Wan and originally titled The Further Insidious is like the twisted twin sister of Poltergeist a film that has supernatural & astral dimension elements thrown together with a scary looking psychic played by horror veteran Lin Shaye, and a delightful pair of paranormal investigators who come together to help the Lambert family in their hour of need : Insidious was written by Leigh Whannell who also stars as Specs in the movie and took just over three weeks to film, the budget was an incredible $1.5 million and has since spawned a franchise including two further movies making a shit load of dollars in the process : Insidious is my favorite James Wan horror movie, the last quarter of which is haunting and unforgettable, we get to see Patrick Wilson’s Josh travelling into the Astral Plane to look for his son and hopefully bring him home, it’s pace slowly builds as Josh is seen creeping around the house inspecting the ghostly figures around him, some of which are quite distubing, then without warning and to a deafening screaching crescendo the film picks up pace and literally all hell breaks loose : the sound in the movie is unusual and quite eerie and the lighting helps give the film it’s atmosphere, there’s also the wonderful gift of Barbra Hershey in a small yet pivotal role (I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Barbara later on my list) : overall Insidious is genius story-telling, a legitimate horror gem that has a great twist during it’s final act and will scare you half to death: you may want to stay around after the credits too ★★★★½
A fragile young woman, who has tried to escape her dark past, returns to the family’s estate for a funeral. She must relive her previous traumas and confront the true source of her family’s guilt – With flashes of Kubrick and Argento Christian Neuman’s directorial debut is one of the BEST psychological horror movies for many a year, from it’s unravelling story that untangles the deeper you get, it’s giddy inducing camera work to it’s sumptuous use of color SKIN WALKER is a must watch, a film that will sit comfortably amongst my favorite movies of 2020 with a phenomenal performance by Amber Anderson who takes us on a ride through the broken and disturbed mind of human emotion : also great to see horror veteran Udo Kier giving us another creepy turn and hat’s off to Ferreira Virginia for her terrific costume design’s that fit so well in Neuman’s haunting landscape : So if your after a well written, spine-tingling Film Night then I’d highly recomend Skin Walker my words don’t do this movie justice… it’s that good ★★★★½
A homeless soldier is sucked into staying in a decaying old house and falls for a young woman who’s lives their with her dying mother : Written and Directed by Romola Garai AMULET is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning, bat shit crazy demonic horror that’s tangled up in atmosphere, flashbacks and haunting performances by the likes of Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country), Carla Juri (Brimstone) and Anah Ruddin who gives an unforgettable performance as Mother : The movie is quite mysterious, a bit like a jigsaw the pieces fit together the more you watch and during the picture’s second half you find which direction the story is taking and watch in horror as it’s pace & tension is ramped up, the mind twisting insanity is nearing boiling point and you find yourself uncomfortably enjoying it all play out : I found the whole movie quite creepy & unnerving, from the interior of the decaying house, the gory & unsettling finale to a rather delicious performance by the sinister looking Imelda Staunton AMULET really does a number on you : A superb horror that will leave it’s mark on the genre for sure ★★★★
A young couple having trouble with their relationship take a trip to the families Beach House only to find their getaway turns into a struggle for survival – Jeffrey A Brown directorial debut THE BEACH HOUSE is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning chiller with enough going on to keep you interested and then WHAM BAM all shit rains down – It’s impressive how Brown keeps everything so damn eerie, from those opening 10mins to the final ten you really are biting your fingernails and sat on the edge of your seat in anticipation at what’s coming next, the drug induced scene is freaky in an almost uncomfortable sort of way and that cellar and beach scene messes with your mind – However the real payoff with The Beach House is that you have no idea how it’s all going to play out and more importantly what the actually shit is going really going on…. from Jeffrey Brown’s original story, it’s idealic yet sinister location but most of all Liana Liberato & Noah Le Gros innocence & fear driven performances make this one helluva trippy, atmospheric ride and a delicous horror gem that I’d highly recommend ★★★★
I have never seen Misery, Relief & Hatred captured so magnificently than in Todd Phillips JOKER – Over the years I have been lucky enough to watch every movie JOKER on the big screen and they have all been good for different reasons YET in my opinion they are all pale imitation’s of the DC character when you compare them to Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the madman of Gotham – the intensity that Phoenix brings to the role is immense, it’s a whirlwind of crazy, one that is quite terrifying to watch – The film has so many evocative scenes and it’s also possibly the best movies I can remember with night time scenes, all beautifully shot by cinematographer Lawrence Sher who also did great work on Phillips 2016 movie War Dogs – My Opinion: This is no ordinary comic book movie it’s essentially a character study, a thought provoking piece on how one of the great comic book villains came to be, it touches on mental health issues, bullying and is very dark and incredibly moving – it’s well worth putting on your happy face and visiting your local cinema NOW ★★★★★
In 2000 came in my opinion the greatest M. Night Shyamalan movie UNBREAKABLE a true masterpiece in it’s genre with great performances by Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson – 16yrs later Shyamalan came at us with a mind twister of a movie SPLIT that was linked to the Unbreakable universe and was pretty darn epic with James McAvoy going all batshit crazy on our asses – looking forward to 2019 both films will merge into GLASS and judging by the trailer below this promises to be the best yet.
Sadly another year for us at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando has come to an end but what another fabulous event Michael Aiello and his team at Universal has put together for us fans of this scary at times terrifying yearly event – HHN26 is our third straight and we always purchase the Frequent Fear Plus to maximize our nights in the park (this year we visited the event 5 times) – the 2 live shows are always entertaining, the scare actors on the streets and in the houses are mind blowing all acting their particular role with dedication and tireless energy and each year we continue to marvel at the attention to detail on the props, the devilish makeup, the smells and overall appearance in transforming a sound stage into one of our worst nightmares – yes it’s sad that another HHN has come to an end but thankfully my mind is full of lots of cool, disturbing memories that will tide me over for another year – I have posted below my Top 9 Houses of this years event, not purely based on scares but also appearance, all 9 were epic in different ways but the Texas and Halloween houses were just mouth watering, blood curdling fun and for me deserved top marks – we always try to view each house 4 times and this time round in some case we managed 5 so we were able to take more of the scares at different times and admire some of the interior more than if you just visited the house only the once – again a huge thanks to Mike, his creative team and the scare actors and performers at this years Orlando Event – see you all next year….
I wasn’t totally convinced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake but his latest the low budget thriller Don’t Breathe is a different animal – I’m sure my heart actually stopped for a brief second whilst being terrified by this darkly intense and at times brutally twisted horror movie – Alvarez really makes use of the house interior, his camerawork adds so much to the scares and along with Stephen Lang’s deranged victim come tormentor this is one creepy ass movie that will scare you senseless – do yourself a favor and don’t miss this on the big screen….
If you enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier’s epic “Blue Ruin” then you will love the grittiness, the uncompromising & at times the shockingly uncomfortable GREEN ROOM – from the time the punk band “The Ain’t Rights” hit the neo-Nazi club and takes to the stage you just know things are going to get downright ugly – Saulnier’s strength as a filmmaker is the weaving of realism into his characters, most are broken individuals (or soon will be) and Saulnier is the master of taking you into their world, a world that’s not pretty or glossed over, a dark unforgiving ferocious world and if you dare Saulnier will take you there – along with a very intriguing, delicious band lineup the movie is jam packed with interesting characters from the white supremacist club owner a creepy individual played by Patrick Stewart, a crowd of badass skinheads that look ready to peel your head from your neck like an orange, a mysterious girl at the scene of a crime, some vicious hungry looking dogs & a bunch of club management ready to spill blood for their leader – Saulnier weaves these characters almost Tarantino-esque in & out of his picture with great style, you just never know whats coming next – Overall: GREEN ROOM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it – it’s an unpleasent suspenseful and at times dark humoured little gem that nails you to seat and makes you beg for more runtime at its conclusion ★★★★½
Once a year Universal Studios in Orlando gets transformed into an exciting, ghoulish Halloween event, one that uniquely allows its victims to get up close & personal with their deepest desires & darkest fears – I mean where else would you get the chance to walk through 9 different houses, each one crafted to scare the life out of you, some even designed to replicate your horror movie nightmares? You will even get so walk through scare zones, each jam packed with a different menace, streets shrouded in fog, monsters of yesteryear roaming freely and psychotic chainsaw wielding maniacs chasing you down if you dare look in their direction – this year HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS celebrates its 25th year, it’s bigger, better and more elaborate and if your a fan of the horror genre and want an evening or two of demented but delicious fun then please visit, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen – it’s an exhausting, Adrenalin fueled ride that will have you screaming at every turn !!
Below I have included some snaps of my Top 3 Girl & Boy scare actors, they all contributed so much to the nights I spent at the event, their mannerisms, makeup, costumes and sheer scare factor deserves a big thank you and my applause for such a great job !!
After visiting this years event on many separate occasions I have listed below My Top 9 Houses
Here’s a couple more snaps of my time at Halloween Horror Nights
In 1975 on June 20th the world of film was introduced to JAWS – based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, this film was the first summer blockbuster – JAWS broke numerous box office records, won 3 Oscars and made it NOT safe to go into the water – Steven Spielberg’s movie is still regarded by many including myself as his best achievement behind the camera – even today 40 years after it’s release JAWS holds up well as a cinematic triumph, it still scares the daylights out of me, it’s acting by the main trio of actors is top notch and it’s simple yet terrifying John Williams score sends my body into a quivering goose bump sort of mess – so congrats Steven Spielberg and all involved in making JAWS one of the Best Movies I have seen in the last 40yrs !