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Horror

Film Review: The Whisperer in Darkness

The Whisperer in Darkness

'The Whisperer in Darkness' tells the tale of folklorist and professor, Albert Wilmarth, who is skeptical of tall tales detailing strange creatures living in the deep hills of rural Vermont. After losing a public debate with Charles Forte (colorful editor of The Fortean Times, a journal devoted to bizarre theories and cryptozoological investigations) Wilmarth decides to investigate the stories by visiting a colleague who lives in the Vermont backcountry.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: In The Mouth of Madness

In the Mouth of Madness Poster

Of the various Lovecraft-themed horror films, probably the film with the biggest budget so far has been 'In The Mouth of Madness', which, while not taken from any particular story of H.P. Lovecraft, it is rife with his influences. Let's see, it has madness, the main character gets sent to an insane asylum, evil books, equally evil authors, slimy, black-tentacled abominations lurking outside the papery-thin veneer we call 'reality', New England, communities that worship, eh, 'alternative' deities, and the apocalypse.

Director John Carpenter tackles Lovecraft, and Cthulhu Be Praised, it actually works.

Movie Rating: 
10

Film Review: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Horror, Comedy, Dark Humor

A group of preppy college students go on a Spring Break camping trip in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Meanwhile two good 'ol boys named Tucker and Dale are going to a cabin they purchased to fix it up in the same vicinity. Unfortunately for Tucker and Dale, they are attacked by the preppy kids in this comedy horror satire from director Eli Craig (Sally Fields' son).

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Poster

A young girl is sent to live with her father and his girlfriend in a spooky New England mansion. She discovers that the mansion is host to a colony of supernatural creatures that want something from her. A tight little thriller starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and introducing Bailee Madison as the beleaguered little girl. Reminiscent of The Haunting and other classic haunted house films, director Troy Nixey (with a little help from Guillermo del Toro) creates a spooky thriller that delivers the chills.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: Priest

Priest Poster

In an alternate reality Earth humans have battled vampires since the beginning of time. Humans, driven to the brink of extinction created a group of vampire-killing warriors called 'Priests' who eventually vanquished the vampires to Indian-like reservations. The wars between the two races has left the Earth a devastated wasteland. What remains of humanity lives on a dystopic mega-city ruled by the Church. The monsignors of the Church have disbanded the Priests and tried (unsuccessfully) to reintegrate them into society. Each Priest is marked with a telltale crucifix tattoo, and they're treated like Vietnam vets. That is, poorly. One priest (named 'Priest' -- played by Paul Bettany) forsakes his oath when he is forbidden from investigating the disapperance of his niece by a resurgent vampire threat.

Movie Rating: 
5

Film Review: Night of the Creeps

Night of the Creeps

Combine alien parasites with zombies, a tough-as-nails cop, sorority girls, and numerous sci-fi homages and you end up with Writer/Director Fred Dekker's masterpiece. When two college roommates decide to rush a fraternity they are tasked with finding a corpse and dumping it onto another fraternity's front steps.

What they find is a cryogenically frozen corpse infested with slugs from outer space. Upon a second reading, that needs some unpacking. The corpse isn't from outer space, the slugs are from space. Well, they're an alien race's bio-weapon. Admittedly, it's complicated. But what matters most is that the corpse reanimates while the boys carry it out of the lab. They panic and run, dropping the corpse, and all hell breaks loose when the slugs start leaping into people's mouths, turning them into zombies.

Night of the Creeps is another favorite of mine from when I was younger. It only just recently found it's way onto DVD perhaps a year or two ago. There's just something about this movie that works -- as strange as it is.

Movie Rating: 
9

Film Review: The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu

Reviewing any film that attempts to bring H.P. Lovecraft's work to the big screen usually has this reviewer standing inside a protective pentagram and loading up on amulets to protect me from some serious bad movie mojo. For definitive proof, I offer up for sacrifice The Dunwich Horror. May an eldritch demon from out of time and space rend that celluloid nightmare forever and ever. Amen.

Even movies that are not explicit recreations of a Lovecraft story and merely aspire to have 'Lovecraftian' elements (monsters with tentacles, insanity-provoking encounters, etc.) usually fail spectacularly. Some filmmakers have successfully incorporated Lovecraftian elements (In the Mouth of Madness and the Hellboy franchise, in addition to ReAnimator and From Beyond) but they are surprisingly rare and require that the producers take some serious artistic license. In The Call of Cthulhu Lovecraft fans will finally find some relief -- a faithful telling of an HPL story that works.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: Lord of Illusions

Lord of Illusions

Scott Bakula is New York private investigator Harry D'Amour. Harry's problem is that no matter how mundane a case he tackles, they always curve towards the dark side, again and again.

While investigating a routine case in Los Angeles he stumbles upon the members of a dead cult. He finds a palm reader mortally wounded by the cult members, and he sets D'Amour on the trail, which leads to Dorothea (Famke Janssen), the wife of famed stage illusionist Phillip Swann (Kevin J. O'Connor). She  hires Harry to track down the cult members who she believes are trying to kill her husband.

Predictably, Dorothea only tells Harry as much about the cult as she thinks he needs to know, and Harry's investigations lead him to discover that among stage magicians, Dorothea's husband is universally loathed, despite the fame and fortune his incredible shows have generated. It seems the other magicians (no, illusionists) believe that what Swann does on stage is 'tainted' -- by real magic.

Movie Rating: 
8

Film Review: Bad Moon

Bad Moon

A better-than-average werewolf flick about a man who, after being attacked by a werewolf in Africa and contracting lycanthropy, journeys home to America to spend time with his older sister in the hopes that 'love' can cure his noctural transformations. What makes Bad Moon stand out is that the hero of the film is not a person at all.

Movie Rating: 
7

Film Review: Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Set in a small town in the deep south, Dark Night of the Scarecrow tells the tale of Bubba, a 35-year-old mentally retarded man who is unjustly accused of murdering a young girl. Disguised as a scarecrow he hides in a cornfield, only to be hunted down and shot. When his murderers learn that the girl was not murdered, but was in fact saved by Bubba, they are killed by a mysterious scarecrow.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow, released on television back in 1981, has withstood the test of time because it never relied on special effects, getting by with a compelling storyline. It's got to be one of the best made-for-TV frightfests ever made. Director Frank De Felitta brings the south to life in all its humid, spooky, primal glory -- a place where supernatural forces move behind the scenes; where justice can be denied, but not forever.

Movie Rating: 
8

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