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Fright Fest 2019: The Video Dead (1987)

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Directed By: Robert Scott (Ratdog)

Starring: Roxanna Augesen, Rocky Duvall, and Sam David McClelland

Released By: Interstate 5 Productions and Embassy Home Entertainment

Release Year: 1987

Review by: Andy Taylor

Synopsis: “A family takes delivery of a new television set, unaware that it is the gateway by which killer zombies enter the world” -IMDb.

A movie about the living dead coming out of someone’s television is a movie that screams for a good tagline, and there’s so many that could have been picked. Do you know what they used? “The living dead are here, and they’re lusting for blood…yours.” That’s so bad. I would have used something that focused more on the television instead, something like “Didn’t your parents tell you television was bad for your health…” or “Don’t get too close to this T.V., it bites” but no, they just had to make it about the zombies. I can understand them wanting to focus on the walking dead, but the problem is their chosen tagline implies that the zombies actually want blood, and that’s not really the case. Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019:The Faculty (1998)

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Directed By: Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado)

Starring: Jordana Brewster (Fast and the Furious Series), Clea DuVall (Carnivale, Identity), Louis Harris (Dead Like Me, Severance), Josh Harnett (30 Days of Night, Bunraku), Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog, The Lazarus Project), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings, Sin City) Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, From Dusk Till Dawn 2), Famke Janssen (X-Men, GoldenEye), Piper Laurie (Carrie, Twin Peaks), Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers, Jumanji), Daniel Von Bargen (Lord of Illusion, Super Troopers), Jon Stewart (Former Daily Show Host), and Selma Hayek (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn)

Written By; David Wechter (Penn & Teller’s Bullshit), Bruce Kimmel, and Kevin Williamson (Scream Film Series, Cursed)

Release Year: 1998

Review by: Andy Taylor Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: LIFE (2017)

[ STARTS WITH A SPOILER AND NEVER LOOKS BACK *THE CROWD REJOICES* ] 

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Have you ever seen that episode of Cowboy Bebop in which Spike leaves a lobster in the Bebop’s backup refrigerator for a super long time, birthing a small, amorphous creature that hunts the crew of bounty hunters (or “cowboys” in the show, shucks howdy!), spearing them with something from its body that knocks them out and incapacitates them? Yeah, this movie is like an expensive, pretty, gorier, and over-serious version of that. I have a feeling I’m not the first to make this comparison, but either way it fits. Something about the way the creature is handled and how it moves and hides and the camerawork when it’s near.

It could also be said that the Cowboy Bebop episode I’m referring to is itself an homage to Alien (ha! I’m only two paragraphs in and I found a way to bring up Alien—my obsession is nearing its final, truest form….), which itself was a transcendent evolution of earlier Sci-Fi/Horror film tropes and themes. So, at this point, all SF/H films (especially those set in a ship in space, on other planets, etc.) could be said to lead back to Alien as being a major influence. Or at least the general framework and approach set up by that film. And as I’ve said before in earlier ramblings and quoting others, the biomech humanoid creature in Alien that hunts the crew could just as easily be a vampire in a castle or Dracula specifically on his trip to London on the Demeter (as I quoted Valaquen of the Strange Shapes Alien franchise blog stating earlier in my Planet of the Vampires review), when boiled down to asymmetrical survival horror by an unknowable creature. Everything old is new again. Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

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Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Written by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken

Starring: John Goodman, Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr

A Review-ish by Feind Gottes

The Gist: After a car accident Michelle is rescued by Howard and taken to his bunker. When she regains consciousness Howard informs her that aliens have attacked Earth poisoning the air outside so the bunker is the only safe place. Eventually she meets Emmet also taking up shelter in Howard’s bunker and learn that inside the bunker is just as scary as outside. 

My Review-ish: For those who aren’t aware 10 Cloverfield Lane is a sequel to JJ Abrams cult classic Cloverfield (2008). However, it isn’t the sort of sequel anyone is used to seeing. It’s more of a sister film or companion film rather than an actual sequel. This is a concept I think is pretty damn cool. Also, since I’m not really a fan of Cloverfield I’m happy this sequel is a completely different type of film. Where Cloverfield is basically a found-footage type of film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a full on psychological thriller and one of the best ever at that. Now I have a couple issues with this movie that I’ll get to at the end but for now let’s concentrate on the positives.  Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: Annihilation (2018)

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Directed by: Alex Garland

Adapted for the Screen by: Alex Garland, based on the novel by: Jeff VanderMeer

Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac and Tessa Thompson

Released: February 2018 (USA)

A Review-ish by: Feind Gottes

The Gist: A biologist’s husband returns one year after leaving on a Top Secret mission but is not the same man who left. Government officials take the couple into custody where the biologist learns of a mysterious zone her husband was sent to explore and returned as the sole survivor. In order to find out what happened to her husband the biologist enters the zone with a team of her own where no one knows what they will find.  Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: Phantasm (1979)

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Directed by: Don Coscarelli

Written by: Don Coscarelli

Starring: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thronbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, and Angus Scrimm, et. al.

Released: March 1979

Review by:  Thomas S. Flowers

Synopsis: “A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him” -IMDb.

When thinking about cosmic horror one begins to formulate a list of criteria on how to judge what exactly is “cosmic horror.” Immediately the name H.P. Lovecraft will surface. In fact, most of how we understand “cosmic horror” is from his collected works. The emphasis typically negates shock horror or gore horror in favor for fear of the unknown. The phenomena we are confronted with goes beyond our comprehension. The word cosmic here then implies that the confrontation in the story extends beyond our narrow human understanding and stretches into a “cosmic significance,” that is, otherworldly. Phantasm (1979), while categorized as more of a fantasy horror, actually represents aspects one would find in a traditional cosmic horror tale, such as an antagonist that could only be describes as simply otherworldly, a story driven by madness, a nightmarish dreamscape, and of course, most importantly, fear of the unknown. Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: The Void (2017)

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Directed by: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Written by: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, et. al.

Released: April 2017

Review by: Jeffery X. Martin

Synopsis: “Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures” -IMDb.

Close your eyes for a moment. It’s okay. Trust me on this. Just shut your eyes. Now, envision tentacles. I know. Weird, right? But for a few seconds, allow yourself to think about tentacles.  Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: They Live (1988)

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Starring: Roddy Piper, Meg Foster, Keith David, Peter Jason, and Larry Franco

Written By: John Carpenter (as Frank Armitage)

Directed By: John Carpenter

Review by: Joshua Macmillan

Synopsis: Nada, a wanderer without any meaning in his life discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of LA, he begins to notice that all media and governments are comprised of aliens intending on keeping all of the population subdued so they can dominate the world. 

When I sat down to watch They Live for this review, it was the first time I was actually taking the time to see this film. I of course had heard of it, and had been told numerous times that I needed to check it out. I am a huge John Carpenter fan, mostly due to Halloween, The Thing, and Christine. Those were the films from Carpenter that I grew up on. This one has been on my “to be watched” list for quite a long time and thanks to Machine Mean, I finally forced myself to sit down and watch it. Unfortunately, it really did feel like a chore to sit through this film.  Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: DOOM (2005)

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Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writers: Dave Callaham, Wesley Strick, et. al.

Starring: Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, et al.

Released: October 2005

Review by:  Jonny Numb (aka Jon Weidler)

“Didn’t you just greenlight another movie based on a VIDEOGAME?!” – Cecil B. Demented

The bane of PC/videogame adaptations – outside of the creative stigma that puts most critics on the offensive from the start – can be attributed to one simple fact: you’re taking an active medium and stripping away a level of engagement that adds to the visceral experience of playing. And when you think about it that way, it really makes the adaptation feel like an exercise in futility, no matter how high the budget or how skilled the crew. Why bother? Continue Reading


Fright Fest 2019: Prince of Darkness (1987)

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Directed by: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Alice Cooper (as Street Schizo), et. al.

Released: Oct. 1987

Article: “Pre Biotic Fluid Mutants: John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness” by JG Clay.

Its almost that ‘most wonderful time of the year’’, folks. No, no the commercially driven saccharine drenched credit indebted mutant known as Christmas. I am referring to a day which is special to me on one count and also to horror fans on two counts. I’m talking about Halloween of course, the day when 46 years ago, I made my debut appearance in this cosmic play we call ‘life’, a day celebrated by people of a darker nature and, last but by no means least, the night that John Carpenter brought Michael Myers home. Continue Reading