Big update here, and again I apologize for not updating it daily and throwing this week long list of movies on you, but it's been hard to find time to write up these mini reviews and I don't want to just update a list on here so... SPAWNINGBLUE'S 2011 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE WATCHING Bold = first time viewing. Rating out of 10. October 1 Terror in the Aisles (1984) 6/10 Black Demons (1991) 5.5/10 2 Leprechaun 2 (1994) 6/10 Halloween...The Happy Haunting of America (1997) 7/10 Halloween...The Happy Haunting of America 10th Anniversary Edition (2007) 6/10 The Troll Hunter (2010) 8/10 House of the Damned (1963) 6.5/10 3 The Other (1972) 6.5/10 Stake Land (2010) 8.5/10 4 Torso (1973) 7.5/10 Superstition (1982) 7.5/10 5 Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) 6.5/10 Halloween 2 (2009) 5.5/10 6 Doom Asylum (1987) 6.5/10 Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983) 6/10 Home Improvement S:2 - Haunting of Taylor House (1992) 7.5/10 7 Ginger Snaps (2000) 7/10 Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004) 6/10 A Haunting S:1 - The Lake Club Horror (2005) 6.5/10 8 Home Improvement S:3 - Crazy for You (1993) 8.5/10 Ginger Snaps 3: The Beginning (2004) 6.5/10 My Name Is Bruce (2007) 7.5/10 9 The Simpsons S:2 - Treehouse of Horror (1990) 6/10 Dracula (1931) 7/10 13 Ghosts (1960) 7.5/10 Roseanne S:2 - Boo! (1989) 9/10 Roseanne S:3 - Trick or Treat (1990) 7/10 Roseanne S:4 - Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down (1991) 7.5/10 Roseanne S:5 - Halloween IV (1992) 7/10 A Haunting S:1 - The Haunting of Summerwind (2005) 7/10 A Haunting S:1 - Hell House (2005) 5.5/10 The Simpsons S:3 - Treehouse of Horror II (1991) 7/10 The Simpsons S:4 - Treehouse of Horror III (1992) 8/10 Home Improvement S:6 - I Was A Teenage Taylor (1996) 7.5/10 10 Blood Sisters (1987) 6.5/10 Psycho (1960) 9/10 The Masque of the Red Death (1964) 6/10 Scars of Dracula (1970) 5.5/10 The Simpsons S:5 - Treehouse of Horror IV (1993) 8.5/10 11 I Spit on Your Grave (2010) 6.5/10 Night of the Demons 3 (1997) 6.5/10 12 The Premature Burial (1962) 7/10 Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) 6.5/10 Haunted Histories Collection - The Haunted History of Halloween (1997) 8/10 13 Eden Lake (2008) 6.5/10 Murder Party (2007) 8/10 14 Misery (1990) 8/10 Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) 8/10 15 Simpsons S:6 - Treehouse of Horror V (1994) 8.5/10 The Phantom of the Opera (2004) 6.5/10 Two Evil Eyes (1990) 7.5/10 16 Home Improvement S:7 - A Night to Dismember (1997) 6.5/10 The Thing (2011) 7/10 The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen) (1973) 9/10 17 The Exorcist 3 (1990) 8.5/10 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) 6.5/10 18 Home Improvement S:8 - Bewitched (1998) 8/10 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) 6/10 Hellgate (1989) 3/10 19 Cujo (1983) 7.5/10 Cornered (2009) 5.5/10 20 Frankenstein (1931) 7/10 The Wolf Man (1941) 7.5/10 Witchfinder General (1968) 7/10 Simpsons S:7 - Treehouse of Horror VI (1995) 7.5/10 21 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) 6.5/10 Werewolf of London (1935) 5.5/10 22 Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) 8/10 The Blair Witch Project (1999) 8/10 23 Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988) 6.5/10 Critters (1986) 7.5/10 Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) 7.5/10 24 The Last Exorcism (2010) 7.5/10 The Fourth Kind (2009) 6.5/10 Movie Total = 52 TV Episode/ Documentary Total = 22 Simpsons S:6 - Treehouse of Horror V (1994) - This just might be my favourite Simpson's Halloween special. The first short called "The Shinning", wouldn't want to get sued, is a great parody of the Kubrick film where Homer goes crazy and tries to kill his family due to the removal of TV and beer from the hotel. The second story isn't really horror related but is still a lot of fun. Titled "Time and Punishment", this story again revolves around Homer after he creates a time machine out of their toaster. Of course being the nitwit that he is, he manages to screw up the future thanks to his mucking around in the past. My favourtie alternate time line is when Flanders is the supreme ruler of the world. The last story is really good as well, called "Nightmare Cafeteria" it is about the school teachers needing a solution for all the kids in detention. Their answer, by eating them. This is one of the few episodes where every story was a real hit. The Phantom of the Opera (2004) - I have a couple adaptations of this story that I want to watch so I thought I would start with a faithful version before I get into some of the crazier ones like Argento's rat controlling Phantom, or The Phantom of the Paradise. I saw the live play of this when I was a kid but I didn't remember too much of the story, and from the movie there really isn't much to it. Some of the acting and singing in this wasn't that great, mind you I am not really a fan of musicals so take that into consideration. That being said, any time the Phantom brought his presence on the screen and the music kicked in it was very powerful! Can't get that catchy main theme out of my head now. Two Evil Eyes (1990) - I really enjoyed this movie the first time I watched it, and not much has really changed. This movie consists of two tales based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The first is Directed by George Romero and is called "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" and the second one is Directed by Dario Argento titled "The Black Cat". I still prefer the first tale over the second one, maybe because I am a cat lover so it's hard watching Harvey Keitel torturing the cat. The first story stars Adrienne Barbeau as the wife of a dying millionaire who hypnotizes her husband so he can sign his fortune over to her in his will. Unfortunately he dies while hypnotized and gets trapped in a sort of limbo as dark souls try to use his body to get into the real world. This is a little slow paced but entertaining and creepy throughout. I love near the end when you see the souls entering the mans' bedroom and appearing in flashes with the storm. The second tale is one that has been adapted many times where a man kills his girlfriend only to realize the black cat that has been haunting him is trapped inside the walls with her. I should add that Tom Savini did the effects for both stories and they are quite good. Home Improvement S:7 - A Night to Dismember (1997) - This Home Improvement is a little less Halloween centric then the others, but it is still decent. This time around Mark is filming a horror movie, which worries his family as the story is about an outcast son who wants to murder his family and they think it is actually about him. Although it's missing the fun pranks that makes the yearly specials stand out, it was still funny and worth watching. The Thing (2011) - I think everyone should be able to enjoy this prequel as long as you can separate it from Carpenter's masterpiece. First lets get everything out of the way, the excellent score is gone, the characters aren't as interesting, Carpenter's supreme Direction is missing, the effects don't even compare, and most importantly the tension is for the most part no where to be found. That being said, it's still better then most of the tripe that hits theaters these days. Just know going in that this is a faster and more action packed movie. The alien doesn't stay hidden as a replicate for very long, it is constantly showing it's disgusting form throughout, even chasing people several times through the halls. It's a bit of a shame, but this is a different film, a Thing for modern audiences I guess. I'm sure fans of the 50s film felt the same way when they watched Carpenter's take. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is pretty good in this though, even if she is no Kurt Russell. She has become the new genre woman, and it was nice to see her playing an intelligent and strong woman instead of the weak practically nude women found in most horror films these days as well. It sounds like I didn't like the film, so again I must say that I did enjoy it, it's just good to set expectations low compared to Carpenter's film or you will come away disappointed. The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen) (1973) - I don't really have a preference when it comes to which version of this film to watch. I decided to go with the new cut of the film just because I remember liking some of the extra scenes and if it's a film I really like, so more of it is a good thing. I will admit that the spider walk scene does slightly stand out though, I think it would work a lot better with out all of the blood spewing from her mouth. Anyway, I'm not going to go over the plot of this film as I'm sure everyone has seen it I will just say that although this film doesn't really frighten me like it does others, I still love watching it. There's something about it's slow moving pace and the sense of dread that develops with it, the great acting and character development, the quality direction, and creepy soundtrack, that you just have to stop and appreciate it. It's really too bad they don't make movies like this anymore, and it makes the classics such as this all the more important. The Exorcist 3 (1990) - I was just planning on watching the first movie since I picked it up on Blu Ray, and the two versions of the prequel since I have never seen them, but I had to throw this one into the mix just because I it is so damn good (The second film is better left forgotten). Overall it's not quite at the quality level of the first film, but the Direction, acting and script are all very well done in their own right. I am a huge fan of George C. Scott and he is very good in this, taking over the role of Kinderman from Lee. J Cobb. This movie is more about the return of the zodiac killer and his ritual crimes then it is an exorcism although one does forcefully come into play near the end. The movie has a very creepy tone throughout, and includes a few jump scares that work very well. I'm sure most that have the scene in the hospital will agree that it is one of the best jump scares of all time. Unfortunately there are a few times where the film does go a little over the top, the end being the main culprit which I believe was studio imposed, so until the rumored Director's cut sees the light of day this is the best we got. Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) - This was a decent movie, not up to the standards of the first and third movies, but still not at the bottom with the second either. It is just okay. Renny Harlin directs this version of the prequel and keeps it moving at a decent pace with lots of scares and gore. Some of the CGI is awful, and the story felt like it was all over the place. That being said, Stellan Skarsgård does an amazing performance as Father Merrin and is alone worth watching this for. This was a hard movie to make I'm sure, how do you do a prequel to one of the best horror movies of all time, and still make it scary for modern audiences who have seen so much since the original film was made? I can't say that they succeeded, but I applaud their effort none the less. Then again, I don't know if I will be going back to this film like I do the first and third of the series. Home Improvement S:8 - Bewitched (1998) - This is the final Halloween episode of the series and is up there with the best of them. In this episode Tim is once again is at the butt of another prank, this time they have him believing that Wilson's girlfriend is a witch who has murdered him, and thanks to some fake cops have him believing that he is their main suspect. Like most of the specials from this show this one is a lot of fun. Tim also wears my favourite costume from the series, dressing as the flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz. This leads to a lot of hilarious moments including one where he tries to fit through a doorway with his wings. This episode was even the inspiration for my costume last year as the flying monkey. Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) - This was the original version of the prequel shot by Paul Schrader. The studio felt that this version wasn't scary enough or horror enough for modern audiences so they hired Renny Harlin to re shoot his own version with new plot points and actors. I hate to admit it, and I know I'm in the minority here but I almost agree with them. I will say this, this is the better made film, and its story is structurally better. That being said, just because it is the better made film, doesn't mean it is the more entertaining of the two. This movie has next to no horror or frightening moments until the very end, and at that point it just feels out of place with the rest of the film. Stellan Skarsgård is still the highlight of this version, but it is still harmed by the terrible CGI and still does not live up to the first film that it is the prequel to. Again, I applaud the Director for what he set out to do, and think the message is better contrived in this film, but when I want to watch a horror film I will not choose this version. For that matter, I'm not sure how much replay this version will have or if I'll ever be in the mood to watch it again. Hellgate (1989) - I'm not going to bother writing up a paragraph on this film and how insanely dumb it is. There are some movies like Troll 2 or The Pit (Which is on the other side of this disc) which are so bad they are good. This much is unfortunately just really really bad and boring, it is crap and I recommend no one waste their time with this awful movie. Cujo (1983) - I have been really enjoying a lot of the King adaptations that I have been watching lately. Maybe I have just been lucky with my pickings, but along with Misery this film was really good. For the first half not much really happens, but it is not boring. It does a great job setting up the characters and you really grow to like them faults and all, so when they get themselves in the crisis where they are trapped in a car with a rabid St. Bernard on the loose outside, you are with them and their danger, and don't want to see anything happen to this family. Although the premise is almost ridiculous, the Director does a great job making it all believable, and makes the St. Bernard as scary as any other monster out there in horror land. Cornered (2009) - I had heard good things about this low budget slasher, and although Guttenberg was listed as one of the stars I thought I would go with the word of mouth and give it a shot. Well, although it is not bad, it isn't very memorable either, and doesn't do much to stand out from any other slasher made in the past 30 years. The acting was okay but I didn't find myself liking any of the characters or caring if anything happens to them. A bad slasher can be somewhat saved if the kills are good though, and unfortunately probably due to its low budget this film doesn't really have any stand out kills. The one thing I will give the film though is I do think the idea behind the film was quite good, and if they made a sequel with better actors, more likable characters, and most importantly more interesting kills I would probably give it an hour and a half of my time. Frankenstein (1931) - After delving into Dracula, I was probably most excited to watch this film from the Universal monster movie stable. I don't know if it lived up to my expectations, but it was very enjoyable. Karloff was a great monster, although I think Lugosi's Dracula was the better performance. The story moved along at a nice pace though, and when the monster is born it becomes very interesting. I don't know if my expectations hurt the experience though, as I didn't expect Frankenstein to become the hero in teh story. I always thought he was up their in the castle defending the monster. I guess that's the problem with watching a film 80 years too late. I really want to see Bride of Frankenstein as I have heard from some that it is even better then the original, although I can't seem to find the Legacy set cheap anywhere. The Wolf Man (1941) - I have to admit I am surprised to find how much I liked this film, and it is probably my favourite of the Universal monster movies so far. This movie was great at moving the story along and fitting in as much as they could in just over an hour of time. They really make you feel sympathy for the Wolf Man and his destined finale. The romance is also kept entertaining and charming. The Wolf Man has a great look and the film feels the most modern of the lot. It doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes the unbelievability of it all work that much more. I have to admit I have so far slightly enjoyed the Hammer monster series over the Universal versions, but the Wolf Man is one that Universal definitely wins over Hammer. Witchfinder General (1968) - This is a very dark and morbid movie, especially when you take into context the time it was made. It's really strange seeing Vincent Price play such a hateful character, and not his charming, always winking at the camera self. In this he plays a witchfinder, who travels to various towns and decides whether the victims are witches or not. He gets paid a pretty penny for each witch he finds, so obviously everyone that he can accuse of being a witch he does. I guess some of this is somewhat factual in that there were women tortured and killed during the witch trials, something I'm sure the church would like to forget, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch. I think the torture scenes in this were harder to take then in something like Hostel or Saw. Maybe because the victims here were innocent women instead of annoying teens who had it coming. This movie becomes a revenge tale halfway through with a soldier seeking vengeance on Price and his partner after they basically rape his fiancee and murder her uncle, blaming him to be a witch. By the end you have no clue how it is all going to end, you just know you really despise Price's character and want to see harm come his way. The film was very well made, but it's dark nature means it's a film you have to be in the right mood for. Simpsons S:7 - Treehouse of Horror VI (1995) - This episode is probably one of the more famous due to the computer animated final short. It all starts off with "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" which is a decent episode about all the giant ads and billboards around the city coming to life after Homer steals the donut from the Lard Lad statue. The second story is one of my favourites in the whole series called "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace", which is pretty much a Nightmare on Elm Street parody with Groundskeeper Willie playing the part of Freddy. The has the right amount of horror and laughs, which is usually when the stories work the best for me. Over the years they have slowly lost a lot of the horror elements, and have become more about parodying whatever movies was famous that year instead of a horror classic. "Homer³" is the final tale and one of the most popular due to the fact that it was all done with computer animation. It's not really a big deal now, and actually makes this episode more dated then the others, but at the time I remember this being huge. Back then there wasn't a CG movie every month and I don't think there were any computer animated shows. Either way, the laughs are what make this a stand out episode. In this one Homer finds himself trapped in another dimension after hiding behind a bookshelf before Patty and Selma come over. It may not be horror related but it is a good one. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) - I was curious how they would not only bring back the Wolf Man after the ending of the first film, but also manage to fit Frankenstein's monster into the mix. Well colour me surprised because they actually manged to do it pretty well. It all starts out with the Wolf Man being resurrected after some grave robbers allow moonlight to hit his corpse. After escaping from a hospital, he finds himself with the gypsy from the first film who tells him of a Doctor that may be able to cure him from his curse. Of course the Doctor she is referring to is none other then Dr. Frankenstein, and after the monster is freed from his frozen grave all hell breaks loose! There wasn't too much substance to this film, but it was a lot of fun. I'm glad to see that they actually had a story to tell instead of just having the Wolf Man and Frankenstein battle for no reason. I also must add that after praising Lugosi for his Dracula performance, I was a little let down by his monster here. This is one time where Karloff is the winner as Lugosi's monster just seems off for some reason. Lon Chaney is once again great as the Wolf Man though. Werewolf of London (1935) - This was an okay werewolf story but doesn't compare to Chaney's Wolf Man. It is a rather unique twist on the werewolf mythos, this time the main character, Dr. Glendon, is bit by a werewolf in the snowy mountains. And the original werewolf doesn't die, but instead there are two roaming the city of London. There also is a moon flower that temporarily resides the wolf effects for one full moon. I thought the performances in this film weren't the best, and Dr. Glendon was a bit of a dick before he even became the werewolf. The real stands out were the two drunk landlords who rent a room to Dr. Glendon. They had a quite a few very humorous moments, and they broke up the seriousness of the rest of the film. This movie wasn't bad or anything but after just watching Chaney's Wolf Man it was a definite step down. Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) - I always try to watch this companion piece before I watch The Blair Witch Project. It's a great set up to the story and history behind the Blair Witch as well as the students who go missing. I first watched this before I saw the film and when I still wasn't sure whether it was all real or not. It was pretty frightening at the time and got me excited for the film. Well now that it has all been proven to be a hoax, and Blair Witch has become a horror classic I am happy to report that this special still works. It's not quite as creepy anymore but if the film still works for you then so shall this special. The highlight is definitely the history of the witch as well as the child murderer who blames it all on the thoughts that the witch put in his head. Even though you know it's all fake it still manages to get under your skin. The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Even though this film made a ridiculous amount of money I still feel it is very underrated. It seems like once everyone found out the history and film was all made up it got a lot of hate fueled toward it. Even now with the boom in found footage films, you hear very few talk about the one that started it all. Well I still love this film and it still manages to frighten me at parts even though I know it is all staged. I guess its simple premise allows you to step into the shoes of any of the students there, and put yourself in the tent with them. I still think it is probably the best found footage out there, although the first Paranormal Activity comes close. I think this one has shows more of an effort was put into the making of it, and of course it was the first of it's kind which is all the more impressive. It's almost too bad that this never became a series, then again when looking at the Paranormal Activity series maybe it's a good thing that it was a one off. It makes the ambiguousness of it all all the more satisfying. And yes, I know there was a sequel but that was a different beast in itself, but I did like it as well. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988) - This film is pretty much an hour and a half of boob jokes, and you know what, I'm fine with that. It is total cheese, bad jokes, bad acting, a story that is all over the place, but for some reason when it is all mixed together it just works. Elvira is a terrible actress, but her spunk makes up for it. This movie is a fish out of water tale with Elvira inheriting a house in a proper little church town. Her low cut dress with her breasts busting out is definitely not something the town is used to seeing and of course they all want her to leave, except for a few who have come to enjoy her city charm. So half of the movie is about the town trying to get her out, the other half revolves around her Uncle who happens to be in the dark arts and wants a spell-book that she unknowingly inherited along with the house. There are some decent effects on display and like I mentioned before it is all done tongue in cheek. Not all of the jokes work, some due to Elvira's delivery, but there are a few good ones here and there that you can't help but smile throughout. Critters (1986) - I always took myself as a Ghoulies fan so I never bothered to check out the Critters series. Well I am glad I finally did as this film was a ton of fun! The critters look and move great thanks to the quality special effects on display. They are mean little guys and can go from scary one minute to humorous the next. I like the idea of the alien bounty hunters as well who can morph into anyone they want. One of them decides to base his guise on an 80s hairband rock singer. From the trailers they were what gave me second thoughts about the film, but for some reason they work in this film and it wouldn't seem right without them. I guess when you have such a ridiculous set up why not go all out? Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) - The Critters are back, and this time the whole town is under attack during Easter celebration. It's up to the boy from the first movie who is all grown up now to destroy the critters. He has some help though from the retired Sheriff, his friend who has now become a bounty hunter, and the two aliens from the first film. This film was just as good as the first, and instead of mostly taking place on a farm house the critters have branched out. This one really reminded me of Gremlins in the way the creatures act and the humour that comes with them as they terrorize the townspeople. There's a cool scene where the critters form into a huge ball and roll over people devouring them and leaving them as skeletons. There's also a great transformation scene where one of the bounty hunters bases their form on a playboy bunny fold out poster, staple and all. If you like Ghoulies or Gremlins, check these films out. I might even enjoy these more then the Ghoulies series now as the first Ghoulies film doesn't really work for me anymore. The Last Exorcism (2010) - I really enjoyed most of this movie. I liked the setup and the priest character was a very real and likable character. That being said, it isn't really a horror film for most of its running time. The movie is about a priest who has lost his faith, and after he reads about a death during an exorcism he sets out along with a camera crew to prove them to be phony so they will cease to be done. He even brings with him an exorcism in a suitcase kit to show how the effects are created which I thought was a nice touch. Most people seem to stick with the film until the ending, but you know what I thought that was the best part. Yes it is way out of left field and it doesn't really gel with the rest of the film, but I thought it was great and without it it wouldn't be much of a horror film and would be more of a character study. The movie kept me on the edge for most of its running time, but it wasn't as terrifying as I expected it to be. I don't think it compares to the greats, The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, but it doesn't sit at the bottom either. It sits somewhere in the middle which isn't a bad thing I guess. I guess I just expected a little more from it, preferably some more scares. The Fourth Kind (2009) - This film was okay, although it sits near the bottom of the found footage films for me. I don't want to give too much away, but yes, this film involves alien abductions and the toll it has on a psychiatrist and her family. I think this film was really meant to work with the belief that it was all real. I guess most found footage films are, but in this case I think without it it isn't very effective and it needed the allusion that it was all based on fact, as not much really happens and the scares are few and far between. It never really shows anything either other then a few quick cuts. I also don't know how effective showing the fake real footage next to the reenactment footage was, sometimes they were repetitious and I thought it was rather pointless and annoying. I wonder if it would have worked better if they chose one or the other, although I will admit the ship over the house was very effective. Oh, and the actress playing the main character during the so called real footage was pretty terrible and gave away that it was all a ruse, if you didn't already know. It sounds like I disliked this film, and I didn't, but it had so much potential as usually abduction movies really creep me out, so I was saddened to see this one didn't.