Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn

31 Days of Horror, 4 days in, and I’m Stephen King’ing it up with Children of the Corn (1984). I bet all y’all are expecting me to say that is another dud, but NOPE! As dated as it is, I am still genuinely scared by this movie because it combines two of the things I am most afraid of: a remote country location and a bunch of off-the-rails religious zealots, murdering people in the name of the Lord — only in this case, the lord is known as “he who walks behind the rows.” *shiver*

Poor Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicki (Linda Hamilton). They’re just driving through Nebraska on the way to Seattle (!!!) so they can start a new life together, when they accidentally hit a boy and then end up in Gatlin trying to find help. Unfortunately, the creepy, mostly deserted small town is ruled by a gang of children who believe that they have to sacrifice anyone over 18 in order to make the crops grow. Or something. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, because the lead preacher kid, Issac, is fucking terrifying, as is his red-headed second in command, Malachai. No I mean it. I had nightmares about both of these kids for YEARS. Years. (more…)

Bereavement Vs. Chained

Creepiest scarecrow, EVER. Nice job, Bereavement.

Moving on from the Craven madness, here are #16 and 17 of my 31 Days of Horror Films (which I may or may not have to extend into November): Bereavement and Chained. 

I picked up a few new’ish horror released lately at my favorite video store: Chained, which is Jennifer Lynch’s latest, and Bereavement, which I didn’t know is a prequel to Malevolence (as yet unseen by me).

Both have a similar premise: a serial killer kidnaps a boy and tries to teach him how to be a serial killer; however, while Bereavement kicks some serious splatter ass, Chained has so many problems I don’t even know where to begin. (more…)

A Whisper to a Scream (Quadrilogy)

This is kind of cheating (again. I know. I KNOW), since I’ve written about both Scream and Scream 4 before, but I wanted to cover all the Wes Craven films I’ve seen, so I decided to talk about all the Scream movies again.

My theory (and I don’t know if it’s right, because I haven’t read this anywhere) is that Craven hated how Nightmare 2-6 turned out, and decided he wasn’t going to let anyone else direct the Scream films, so he took charge of all of them. And he didn’t do a terrible job, but he did make some mistakes.

The first Scream was AMAZING. I was literally on the edge of my seat, chewing nervously on my fingernails and squirming around uncomfortably for the entire film. The opening scene with Drew Barrymore as Casey is fucking brilliant, and I love it with all my heart—enough that my blo0d-soaked Casey costume has been a go-to for several Halloween parties.

Scream is the perfect marriage of Craven and Screenwriter Kevin Williamson; they both compliment each other perfectly here, and leave very little to pick at, except of course, “death by garage door”, which I have always, and will always call bullshit on. But the rest of the film is so strong, I can let it slide.

The best thing about Scream is that it made horror films fun for me again, after getting burnt out on carbon-copy slasher flicks. The script does an apt job at throwing suspicion on EVERYBODY, so you’re not sure who the killer is until it’s revealed.

And YES, I do still think it’s scary, even though I watch it at least once a year.
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A Nightmare on Elm Street & Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

 

I’ve written a few times before about Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, why it’s so important to me, and why I love it so. But, I’m gonna go ahead and tell you again, and then cover New Nightmare too.

 A Nightmare on Elm Street was made in 1984, and I hear teenagers now say all the time that it’s stupid and not scary. And I want to punch them in their stupid mouths. (Just kidding! Kinda).

Look, I understand. The 80s were an amazingly awful time for fashion and hair, and everybody looks horrible and dated. And there is such a flood of gory, scary movies now that there’s no way a dude with knives on his fingers that haunts your nightmares is going to creep you out. But I still think it’s brilliant.

There is so much to love here—the creation of the glove at the beginning, the splatteriffic death of Tina in front of her boyfriend, Rod; “Screw your pass!”, the origin of Freddy (before that ridiculous “son of a 100 maniacs” crap in part 3), the fountain of blood that erupts from Glen’s bed, “I’m your boyfriend now!”, and Nancy totally kicking some serious ass when she’s done with Krueger killing all her friends. (more…)

A Wes Craven Retrospective: The Last House on The Left

This year I thought it would be fun to focus on a few horror directors, so I’m staring with Wes Craven. I’m most familiar with his 80s films, which I saw over and over and over and over—even though I knew some of them were completely terrible. But since I’m a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street from way back, I have seen most of his catalog.*

Starting with The Last House on the Left (1972), which I tracked down sometime in the mid-80s after I’d (FINALLY) seen Elm Street—mostly due to all the “banned” talk around it, and the promise of some pretty unbearable graphic violence.

The thing about Craven’s debut is that it’s TERRIBLY dated, and because of that, people watching it now are going to have a really hard time taking it seriously. Poor film quality, some not-so-great acting, and some really strange music choices all make it more awful than good, but it’s still entertaining if you can look past all the ridiculous 70s clothes, hair, makeup, and lingo. Ohmygod, the lingo.

SPOILERS AHEAD (more…)

My Soul to Take: Wes Craven’s worst movie?

I didn’t think Wes Craven could make a movie worse than Cursed, but I was sadly mistaken.

My Soul To Take is horrible, horrible, horrible. It’s like he took a bunch of horror movie moments and mashed them all together, but in the most boring way possible, with some of the worst actors ever cast. Not one decent scare or original thought in the entire movie, including the origin of the serial killer, or his “legend” that lives on…and don’t even get me started about that tacked-on ending.

Sorry, Wes. I can’t recommend this thing to anybody. I’m even surprised I made it all the way to the end.

Scream 4

It’s day 15 of 31 Days of Horror – and I finally sat down to watch Scream 4. I’m not gonna lie, I’d kind of been dreading it. For me, the Scream franchise is hit or miss.

The original Scream was a big hit. I remember feeling exhilarated and terrified in the theater. And even though it has one of the most ridiculous horror movies deaths ever, I still loved every second of it. I had no idea who the killer was, and I ❤ the crap outta that end reveal, plus of course, video geek Randy and all the clever horror movie references.

Scream 2 was mostly a miss. The opening scene, while it has its cheeseball moments, is pretty fantastic. What could be a more perfect way to murder someone than to attack them in a theater full of Stab fans, who are just going to think that another ghostface-costumed theater-goer repeatedly stabbing someone else is part of the show? Brilliant, right? And the Sarah Michelle Gellar scene? Love.  (more…)

Funny Games 2.0

I just finished watching the 2007 remake of Funny Games, which is apparently a shot-for-shot faithful retelling of the original foreign film – which makes sense, because it’s done by the same director (wait, what?). It’s probably been about 10 years since I’ve seen the first one, and I remember liking it – but what I didn’t remember is that it at times breaks the fourth wall, and employs one really super dumb use of it.

SPOILERS COMING IN 3…2…1 (more…)