John Schneider’s Andersen Bench

Your friendly neighborhood Scarydad was invited to prescreen and review the upcoming movie from filmmaker John Schneider.

Yes, that John Schneider. He makes horror films now. But that’s not all. He owns the studio, writes the scripts, and directs the films. And he’s about to release one that’s pretty damn good.

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Scarydad Review: Chatter (2015)

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Recently I was approached by John over at Weird Review to pre-screen and review an upcoming independent horror movie. Of course I said yes and last night I sat and watched Chatter. Continue reading

Scarydad Review: The Babadook

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I’d read a few reviews of this much revered movie and couldn’t wait to see it. Unfortunately, my scary movie time is relegated to sick days home from work these days.

“Daddy, is that a grown-up show?”

Yes, Dear. Yes it is.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Hello there Minions, I hope all is well. I wanted to drop in tonight and let you know that I somehow managed to see X-Men over the weekend and it was pretty spectacular. I’ve discussed before how it’s a bit difficult to be a horror fan with a Bride and two offspring who cannot be exposed to it lest they tremble and weep. X-Men is not a horror movie, but it is full of costumes and neat stuff you could dress up for for Halloween, so it counts. Continue reading

V/H/S & V/H/S/2

vhs-bannerGood evening Minions, I hope you are well. Tonight we discuss the films VHS and VHS 2. I know they’ve been out for a while but I’ve only just gotten around to seeing the second one and when I saw the first one, reviews for the second one were flying around because it had just come out. So, taken together, I’ll give my impression of these two films at the same time. Continue reading

“Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” (1965)

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“A more exact translation would be terror. An unfortunate misnomer, for I am the mildest of men.”

– Dr. Schreck

Only fans of Horror Cinema might know Amicus Productions. Founded by Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg, their first two films were “It’s Trad, Dad!” (1962) and “Just for Fun (1963), both musicals. These two weren’t the flicks that this film production company would be renowned for. I was referring to their horror anthologies.

In 1945, Ealing Studios released “Dead of Night”, starring Mervyn Johns and Michael Redgrave. Walter Craig (Johns) came to a country house party, where he had been tranced. It was the assembled guests, whom he had seen in his dream. This prompted five of the guests to talk about supernatural events that they experienced, attempting to test Craig’s foresight. This flick, directed by Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, and Robert Hamer, featured five different stories, linked by Craig’s dream. Horror films were banned in Great Britain during World War II, but these four filmmakers relied on uncanny scenarios. This would inspired Amicus to produce their own kind of horror anthology, only to refine what Ealing did.

In 1965, “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors”, which would be the first of the series, was shown. It featured Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, who became famous for playing Count Dracula and Professor Van Helsing respectively. Unlike the horror flicks of Hammer Film Productions, these flicks don’t rely on Gothic-inspired production design to elicit fear.

“Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors” would mislead some moviegoers, as this was Dr. Schreck’s term for his tarot cards. He looked like the Grim Reaper upon his arrival in the train station, which his fellow rail passengers didn’t notice. They were Jim Dawson, an architect, Bill Rogers, who came from a holiday, Biff Bailey, jazz musician, Franklyn Marsh, art critic, and Bob Carroll, doctor. These fellows were curious about the cards, prompting Dr. Schreck to tell about their future – and told their stories, accurately,
based from the cards they chose.

Jim visited his former home in an unnamed Scottish isle, unaware of a secret lying underneath the house. Bill, on the other hand, find it hard to leave his house, covered by vine, which had homicidal tendencies. Biff had a gig in the West Indies, where he witnessed a local voodoo ceremony. The music inspired him, such that he copied the melody in a jazz composition he created after his return home. Franklyn’s devastating wit made him a main attraction in art galleries, until he met his match. Last but not the least, Dr. Bob Carroll returned to America with his new French bride. It must have been a whirlwind romance, as he don’t have a clue on where she came from.

Subotsky’s screenplay was no different than Hammer’s feature on vampire (or werewolf, for that matter.) A discerning viewer would overlook Alan Hume’s cinematography, which had a spellbinding effect. It made me believed that something sinister was about to take place. Cushing, in the titular role, looked like a villain from a Grimms’ fairy tale. He was sweet yet dangerous, perfect for the part.

My favourite segment was “The Disembodied Hand”, about that body part that came to life, seeking revenge for a wrongdoing. It seemed absurd whenever I thought long and hard about it, until it dawned on me that this what made Horror Cinema tick. This could be said for the other segments, as well for the succeeding flicks in the series, namely “Torture Garden” (1967), “The House That Dripped Blood” (1970), “Asylum” (1972), “Tales from the
Crypt” (1972), “The Vault of Horror” (1973), “From Beyond the Grave” (1974), and “The Monster Club” (1980). (“Tales That Witness Madness” and “The Uncanny” were part of the anthology, but both were not by Amicus.)

“Dr. Terror’s House of Terror” could have been made ambiguous, like Jack Clayton’s “The Innocents”, the result of which would have been a haunting picture. But the unsettling setting and Lee and Cushing made it up. In other words, it was frightening enough to scare anyone.

Simon Huddart studied Film and Literature, had a stint in a UK essay writing company, and did some freelance jobs in writing and proofreading. He would like to pursue a graduate degree next year. Check out his blog and Google+ account.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

This post is sponsored by Grammarly. I use the plagiarism checker at Grammarly.com because the original is always better than the remake. 

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Hello there Minions, tonight we will be discussing The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. I was inspired to read the adventures of Ichabod Crane and that cranially-challenged Hessian because of recent features by Boys and Ghouls and Autodidact in the Attic on their blogs.

The Headless Horseman has always fascinated me and I’ve been familiar with the story since I was a very small boy. And because if this I had always assumed, somehow, that I had read the original story by Irving. After reading Victoria’s blog post, however, I realized that there was a possibility that I hadn’t. That, instead, I had simply let all the different TV and storybook versions become an amalgam of story that eventually coalesced in my mind.

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Scarydad and Autodidact in the Attic review The Conjuring

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Today I’m talking about The Conjuring with Victoria from Autodidact in the Attic. I really liked it. Victoria said, “Meh.”

In the first of what I hope will be many point/counterpoint reviews, we’re going to see who’s right. I’ll go first:

SCARYDAD:

For my reviews, I typically don’t care about the writer or director or the pedigree of the film. I don’t really even care about the actors. For me there’s one question above all others: Is it scary?

Scary doesn’t need to be qualified, either. Scary is scary. Therefore, it’s all subjective. What scares me might not scare you. What’s generally the case, however, is that what scares everybody else does not scare me.

So, why was The Conjuring so scary?

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Scarydad Review: The Dark by Lemony Snicket

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Tonight we will be discussing The Dark by Lemony Snicket, but we will be doing it a little differently from the typical review format. This review comes in the form of a story…

A few days ago Spawn of Scarydad and I found ourselves wandering the aisles of a large bookstore. This particular bookseller also carries toys and games and the children’s section has a table with some little toy trains that Spawn loves to play with.

As she played with the trains I wandered around looking at books until The Dark caught my eye. I sat down on a footstool and began to read. Continue reading

Reel Scary: How The Conjuring Raises the Bar for American Horror

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Good afternoon Minions!

Today we have another guest post from our good friend London McGuire! Enjoy!

After watching a great deal of horror movies over the years, my standards for a truly frightening film have been raised considerably. It becomes second nature to dismiss all of Hollywood’s attempts in the genre as meaningless reboots and blood-drenched farces. Perhaps that is why it seems impossible not to take notice of the few films which tell an original story worth hearing, that utilize the best elements of classic horror and are actually scary.

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