Number 3 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : When a 12-year-old girl is possessed by a supernatural entity, her mother seeks the help of a priest to save her : Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel, The Exorcist came out in 1973 from filmmaker William Friedkin who also directed The French Connection & Sorcerer amongst others : I don’t think there’s ever been another horror movie about possession that’s even come close to scaring me half as much as The Exorcist still does, the way Friedkin slowly tells us the story of Chris MacNeil an actress and her 12yr old daughter Regan entwined with Father Karras who’s struggling with the loss of faith & loss of a loved one is not only compelling, but adds so much depth to the film and it’s characters, so by the time the possession truly takes hold of Regan and her bed starts rocking, head starts spinning and the vomit starts flowing the fear factor has already set in, your pulse is racing, your breathing has become shallower & you start burying your head in your hands in an attempt to hide from this devilish force of intimidation : I revisited The Exorcist two days ago and apart from the shocking possession scenes that include Regan violently masturbating with a crucifix, spider crawling down the stairs, forcing her mother between her legs & her head spinning 360 degrees there are also so many terrific sub-moments, I really loved the excavation scenes, the sound, color and imagery is so haunting during this beautifully shot opening to the movie, watching the broken Karras visit his mother in the hospital is emotionally draining, the subliminal hidden image of the demon shown during a scene with Ellen Burstyn really caught me off guard again and the scene with Lee J. Cobb’s brilliant Lieutenant is questioning Chris at her home is captivating, “can I have your autograph” really was a lighter moment : Jack Nitzsche’s score flows through the film better than most in it’s genre, it’s haunting and memorable and adds greatly to the films atmosphere and considering it’s low budget the film really come through with it’s creepy special effects that haven’t aged one bit : I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better performance by Ellen Burstyn the way she portrays being the helpless mother is phenomenal, Jason Miller is the embodiment of a broken priest and considering his limited screen time previous to this film was outstanding, Max von Sydow plays the elderly, tired yet commited Father Merrin wonderfully well but it’s Linda Blair as Regan who you will remember when think about this film, her vulgar, unpleasent display whilst being possessed by the devil is something to behold : The Exorcist is not for the faint hearted, it’s an unforgettable, multi layered horror movie that contains one of the most horrific final acts in cinematic history ★★★★★
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 bunch of friends hire a medium to hold a séance via Zoom during lock down but get much more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong when an evil spirit starts invading their homes : HOST is directed by Rob Savage and filmed during this years coronavirus pandemic : As a rule I’m not social media friendly and have never used the likes of Zoom so I had low expectations going in but HOST really rattled my cage : The movie has a short runtime (just under the hour) but it’s very atmospheric and at times I was chewing on my finger nails (the attic scene and Haley being dragged across the room really freaked me the frack out), you keep hearing noises, looking for things in the shadows and the silence at times is deafening : but for me the movies real haunt is those crazy good ladies above who really do capture the essence of being played with by some supernatural entity, their facial expressions keep the whole shit real and create moments of complete and utter dread especially throughout the second half of the movie when all goes pete tong : So if you scare easy & suffer from any pre-existing heart conditions then please avoid HOST BUT if you love being scared and fancy watching something that may keep you up at night then this horror gem is worth the watch – PS… don’t forget to take a shot everytime someone mentions the word astral-plane ★★★★
Joe a trucker who’s pretty down on his luck meets a mother who can contact spirits whilst suffocating – NICOLAS CAGE is the most charasmatic, entertaining actor out there, he loves dipping his toes in the odd blockbuster but equally the guy loves to star in low budget thrillers that pay the bills, keeps him busy and helps young interesting filmmakers get their films seen by a bigger audience – the latest of these is Maria Pulera’s BETWEEN WORLDS a rather Lynch-esque thriller that’s weird yet engaging and has elements of the supernatural and is strangely erotic whilst showcasing the infamous Cage meltdown that’s still bloody great to watch – I loved the film’s story and little homages to Twin Peaks & David Lynch in general and it’s cast including the exciting German actress Franka Potente & the sexy Aussie Penelope Mitchell give exciting performances alongside the outrageous and at times out of control Nicolas Cage – Overall Between Worlds is certainly worth a watch, especially if like me you love the genre, the trashy at times low budget feel and of course CAGE who in my eye’s is always worth 90mins of ones time ★★★½
ATERRADOS aka: TERRIFIED: Demian Rugna
Ariel Chavarria, Maximiliano Ghione & Noberto Gonzalo
“When strange events occur in a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, a doctor specializing in the paranormal, her colleague, and an ex police officer decide to investigate further” It’s a rarity these days with Hollywood remaking, rebooting anything and everything that you come across a slice of original horror that makes your skin crawl, your palms sweat and your heart race so fast you feel like it’s gonna explode – Demian’s camera work, his use of light and the slow lingering photography are just perfect in building the atmosphere, the bathroom scene is one of the most disturbing horror moments in the last few years and the young boy at the dining table is chilling to say the least – so if your a fan of the paranormal or horror in general and are looking for something to creep you out this witching season then take a look at Demian Rugna’s ATERRADOS it’s a quick paced latin america horror movie that will make you jump out of your skin, lock all the doors and check beneath the bed before turning in – Demian Rugna has crafted something special and downright scary right here ★★★★
Since 2004 film maker James Wan has impressed & scared the holy moly out of me, in the horror genre he’s been a revelation, a breath of fresh air and dare I say the best horror director in the last ten years, a modern genius, dark and twisted yet alarmingly smart – he has this uncanny knack of getting it right, he knows his audience & how to tap into their fears, his haunting camerawork, clever use of casting and his usual heart stopping soundtracks add to the overall tension & creepiness of his narrative, I have not seen this consistently in the horror arena since Carpenter ruled the screens in the late 70’s early 80’s – his films including that devilishly fun & violent Saw, the twisted underrated Dead Silence, both scary ass Insidious movies and 2013’s spine tingling The Conjuring gave me nightmares for weeks after – so upon visiting the big screen for his latest offering expectations were already high, not only was this a new James Wan horror movie but this was a sequel and as any movie fans know creating that same vibe, that same intensity of any original movie is a hard task to get right but James Wan is better than your average film maker, his horror’s are uncomplicated, low budget but most importantly they will scare you in spades and guess what? THE CONJURING 2 is certainly no different, it’s Wan at his delicious, frightening best, a nail biting pillow hiding feast of supernatural horror at times reminiscent of the classics of yesteryear such as The Exorcist and maybe just maybe this will go down as one of the Best Horror Movie Sequels of all time – Once more at the heart of a James Wan feature, almost like a muse is the brilliant Patrick Wilson his chemistry with Vera Farmiga is a pleasure to watch, at times it’s like watching Tracy & Hepburn bounce off each other, their energy infectious, their acting sublime and their roles of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were just made for them two actors to play – there are too many good bits in this movie that scare and are downright creepy, from “The Crooked Man” to the “Nun”, to that “ghostly flooded basement” and that scary ass “Rocking Chair” all of which will make you look for that light switch but for me the opening scenes where Farmiga’s character Lorraine witnesses the Amityville Murders via a seance is as good as any of them, it’s heart thumping, spine tingling cinema, your glued to your seat, in the dark as you watch the camera pan from room to room, the echo of the gun going off as each of the murders are committed, the cinematography is spectacular yet completely terrifying – Overall: The Conjuring 2 is some scary ride, if your a fan of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night then James Wan’s latest will help raise your heart beat to a new level – also take note of this name Madison Wolfe one day soon she will be a huge star – Brilliant !!
When the Master of Horror Stephen King calls the film “gorgeous and just fucking terrifying” you know Guillermo del Toro’s latest gothic horror CRIMSON PEAK is going to be something very special – first of what a great cast Mia Wasikowska who was recently blowing us all away with her performances in Only Lovers Left Alive and Map to the Stars, Charlie Hunnam the star of Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, the gorgeous Jessica Chastain who’s roles in Zero Dark Thirty and A Most Violent Year were remarkable and last but least the superb Tom Hiddleston who also starred in Only Lovers Left Alive with Mia and rocked playing the villain Loki in Thor & The Avengers – I for one can’t wait for this beauty, take a look at the posters below
Oculus (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Mike Flanagan – Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Kate Siegel, Annalise Basso & Rory Cochrane – Synopsis: Growing up 10yr old Tim and his 13yr old sister Kaylie were inserprable that was until Tim was sent to a psychiatric hospital for the supposed murder of their parents – Kaylie always suspected that an antique mirror haunted by a supernatural entity was responsible for these hideous crimes & spent the time her brother was locked away researching & documenting the lives and deaths of everyone who came in contact with it – upon Tim’s release from the hospital 11yrs later Kaylie sets out to prove her brothers innocence & destroy this supernatural force forever – Verdict: The film is based upon a short by Flanagan that was released in 2006 titled Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan – using flashbacks Oculus entwines two parallel stories that center around the Russell family in the past & present, this is cleverly used by Flanagan helping develop the structure of the story and adding to it’s creepiness – rather than the mundane, uninspired found footage format or the blood & gore from the general run of the mill slasher flick Flanagan injects a dose of horror reminiscent in style of James Wan, that’s almost a throwback in style to the 70s and 80s, with some fabulous character building, interesting camera angles and a film brought to life by a group of very talented young actors including Battle Star’s Katee Sackhoff, Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan and the talented Maleficent star Brenton Thwaites who all turn in excellent performances -made for just under $5 Million Oculus is a gem of a ghost story – yes at times the movie get’s a little lost in it’s illusions & hallucinations and forgets to scare but Overall: there’s enough to this movie to keep you rooted to your chair and have you avoiding mirrors at your home for days after….
From director Mike Flanagan comes the new supernatural movie OCULUS following a woman who attempts to exonerate her brother who has been convicted of murder by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon – a haunted antique mirror – the movie stars Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff – take a look at this pretty creepy teaser trailer….
Oculus – US (11th April) – UK (N/A) – Australia (N/A)
Since I started collecting movies back around the age of fifteen (1986) I became fascinated by the Horror Genre, I loved watching the Hammer House of Horror films and started watching Hardcore Horror (well it was back then) from the likes of Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero these guys for me were the bees knees, the majority of their films have aged will and still terrify to this day – looking around at the modern crop of filmmakers I wonder how many of them truly stand out and make you white with fright or scare you enough to keep the lights on at bedtime? In recent years too many of the Horror Past Masters have turned to mediocre material to ignite their horror spark and have failed miserably – Wes Craven the guy who brought us Freddy Krueger in the early 80’s and who in 1996 re-invented the horror genre with his slasher flick SCREAM is one such example, his recent films Cursed, Red Eye, My Soul to Take and Scream 4 have been average at best and sadly the same can be said about Argento and Carpenter their movies in the late 70s and 80s are some of the best of the genre but in recent years it’s been a downhill slide – so WHO amongst the modern filmmakers are impressing in the scare department?
Over the last ten years my horror taste-buds have being actively looking for new exciting talent, filmmakers that can scare me, turn me on and elevate my heart rate to the point of explosion – during this period I have come up with 6 exciting movie directors, each with their own unique style and approach to the horror genre and each one of them at some point have managed to scare the bejesus out of me – from Left-Right and in no particular order we have JAMES WAN (Saw, Insidious & The Conjuring) I’m sure you will agree this guys creepy ass dolls are enough to scare anyone half to death, his imagination and camera work makes the hairs on the back of your next stand up – up next is ROB ZOMBIE (Devils Rejects, House of a 1000 corpses & The Lords of Salem) Zombie delivers hard hitting violent horror movies, if your squeamish & easily upset then don’t watch – onto one of my favorites, South Korean KIM JEE-WOON (Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil) these two films terrified me on so many different levels – next up MARCUS DUNSTAN (The Collector & The Collection) a surprise maybe but this guy is still only 38 and the two movies he’s directed have been blood curdling fun – next on the list NEIL MARSHALL (Dog Soldiers & The Descent) another modern filmmaker who’s violent & brutal horror will terrify and at the end of each you will have to retrieve your heart from your mouth – and lastly to SCOTT DERRICKSON (Sinister & The Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson is a talented writer but an even better horror director – his 2012 horror Sinister is one of the best Supernatural movies in recent years….
Whether or not in twenty years time we will be talking about any of these filmmakers in the same light as Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero is debatable but with the old guard starting to fade a new chapter in the movie world of terror has begun….