The Babadook

babadookimage01{tentative release date: October 2014}

Holycrap, you guys. HOLYCRAP. I was not prepared for how awesome this Australian horror film would be. I mean, how scary can another spin on The Boogeyman actually be, right? The answer, though, is REALLY F’ING SCARY. The basics: grieving mom, out-of-control son, creepy book, unleashed creature, possession, and some really amazing imagery.

The Babadook is a non-stop ball of tension from beginning to end, the acting is freaking amazing, the creature F/X are great. I can’t even express how surprised I was by this movie, and how utterly terrified I was while watching it. Bonus: The Babadook pop-up book featured in the film is so goddamn cool! I hear the filmmakers are considering a kickstarter to produce it for real, and I am prepared to throw my money at them as soon as they do.

Lovely Molly

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Opening with a “found footage” sequence (expected by Director Eduardo Sanchez, one-half of the writing and directing team that brought us The Blair Witch Project) packed with intense emotion, Lovely Molly then backtracks to start at the beginning.

Scraping together money to start their new life together, young married couple Molly and Tim Reynolds move back into her parent’s home: a spooky out-in-the-middle of nowhere 18th century house that Molly will be spending a LOT of time alone in while her husband works long hour trucking across the country.

It isn’t long before Molly starts being terrorized by sounds of footsteps, slamming doors, and an eerily haunting singsong voice that she believes is her dead father. As Molly slips deeper into depression and despair, the details of her tortured childhood are slowly revealed: horrible physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her father that led her to retreat into heavy drug use and destructive behavior, which she is repeating again with an even faster—and scarier—descent.

And this is where I disagree with most of the reviews I’ve read about this movie that say, “it’s not scary”, because it’s actually fucking terrifying. The thing is, the most frightening thing about Lovely Molly isn’t the horror aspect of the story—it’s the past demons that Molly is facing that make you feel true terror.  (more…)

Grace

31 Horror Movies I Own #19: Grace

One of the most uncomfortable tales of terror I’ve ever seen on film, I fully recognize that Grace is not for everyone. Anyone who is a mom, for example, probably shouldn’t EVER see this.

Jordan Ladd plays Madeline Matheson, 8-months pregnant with an over-bearing mother-in-law who insists her decision to use a midwife instead of the hospital is a huge mistake. On the way home one night, Madeline and her husband are in a car accident that takes his life and the life of their unborn child, Grace…

…or maybe not. Initially appearing to be stillborn, Madeline soon finds out that Grace has “special needs”—including things like a bug trap to keep flies from nesting on her undead flesh, and lots and lots of protein in the form of human flesh and blood. (more…)

May

31 Horror Movies I Own #3: May

May stands out as one of my favorites because it’s so far from the typical horror-film plot that it’s wholly unlike anything else I’ve seen. It’s like a horror movie wrapped around a super-creepy psychological thriller, and the unique thing about May is May, herself.

Angela Bettis plays the title character, and even though she’s totally awkward, strange, and more than a little creepy, you find yourself rooting for her throughout the film. (more…)

Top 10 Horror Films of the Decade

So while I was making my regular Top 10 & decade list this year, I found I kept sticking horror films in it, and then decided they needed a home of their own, because 1) lists are fun, and 2) I need to update this blog sometime, right?

Feel free to argue, but here’s what I think really stood out in horror the last 10 years:

  1. The Orphanage {El Orfanato}
  2. 30 Days of Night
  3. [REC] & Quarantine (they’re almost identical)
  4. Battle Royale
  5. Audition {Oudishon}
  6. Frailty
  7. Jeepers Creepers
  8. 28 Days Later
  9. The Descent
  10. Drag Me to Hell

(Runner-ups: Grace, Ginger Snaps, and Session 9)

The Last House on the Left

“We’ve got to be willing to do ANYTHING”

The story is virtually identical, so anyone who’s seen Craven’s original The Last House on the Left pretty much knows what’s going to happen in the remake. For anyone who’s not seen it: it’s more of a “terror” film than a horror film, with the bulk of the gore predicated on revenge.

That said, at least the terror shown in the 1972 version is tainted a bit by being severely dated…this film, obviously, didn’t suffer from that. The torture and rape of Mari Collingwood seems so real, so devastating, that even *I* was traumatized. And that’s saying a lot.

All this traumatizing works well later on, when the Collingwoods realize their houseguests are the ones who’ve left their daughter for dead. While this version makes a point (at first) of the violence being strictly a means of survival, it does definitely reach a state of pure revenge.

The audience, dead silent during the scene in the woods where the criminals have their ‘party’ were shouting “hell yeah” and “get ‘em” while the parents went to town with knives, hammers and wine bottles on the perpetrators. Usually I would not embrace this kind of reaction, but I have to be honest: I was glad to experience it in this instance. As far as I’m concerned, any activity that pulled me out of the realism of the previous scenes and into fantasy land was welcome.

This one is definitely not for the faint of heart – and it has almost nothing to do with the gore involved.