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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: 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: 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


Fright Fest 2019: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, et. al.

Released: May 1968

Article “Analysis of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ written by: Mawr Gorshin. Originally published on MawrGorshin.com.

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction movie produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by him and Arthur C. Clarke. The film is often said to be based on Clarke’s short story, “The Sentinel,” but this is a gross oversimplification, as only a small moment in the film parallels the story, and even that part is radically rewritten. The actual literary equivalent of the film is the novel credited only to Clarke, but cowritten by Kubrick. Continue Reading


Fright Fest 2019: Hellraiser (1987) & Hellbound (1988)

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Hellraiser: 1987

Written and Directed by: Clive Barker

Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Doug Bradley, et. al.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II: 1988

Directed by: Tony Randel

Written by: Peter Atkins/Story by Clive Barker

Starring: Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde, Nicholas Vince, et. al.

Review by: D. S. Ullery

You’ll notice I’ve opted to combine my analysis of the first two films in the long running Hellraiser series into one long piece, as opposed to separating them into two articles. No, I’m not being lazy (well, maybe a little). This is actually a conscientious decision, arising from my opinion that the first two chapters of the saga inspired by Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart are so inexorably intertwined they essentially function as two halves of the same, epic film. I’ve opted to approach my review accordingly.  Continue Reading…if you dare!


Fright Fest 2019: UZUMAKI (2000)

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Director: Higuchinsky

Writers: Junji Ito, Kengo Kaji

Starring: Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, et. al.

Release date: February 2000

Review by:  Kim McDonald

Synopsis: “The inhabitants of a small Japanese town become increasingly obsessed with and tormented by spirals” -IMDb.

I find the idea of being driven by compulsive thoughts particularly disturbing. Horror Manga writer, Junji Ito has based a great deal of his work around compulsion. Higuchinsky’s film, UZUMAKI, is based on Ito’s manga of the same name.  It tells the story of Kirie (Eriko Hitsume) and her boyfriend Suichi (Fhi Fan) as they try to figure out the weird obsession with spirals tormenting everyone in their small town.  Continue Reading


Paranormal & Supernatural in Review: It Follows (2014)

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Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, and Bailey Spry.

Written & Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

Synopsis: After a sexual encounter, a young woman learns that she is being pursued by a supernatural entity.

Review by: Joshua Macmillan

One of the most discussed films of the past decade is It Follows. A low-budget independent feature that took the Cannes Film Festival by storm. After it’s premier, the film had everyone talking and from the word of mouth alone, my interest was piqued. I do want to say now though that the film is WAY over-hyped. Not in a bad way or anything, I feel like the reputation of the film may hurt it as the film ages, much like the aging of The Exorcist has unfortunately lessened the horrific impact that the film initially had on its audiences. This film isn’t The Exorcist, nor is it anything we have really seen before. Continue Reading