Scary Movie Night: Tucker and Dale Versus Evil

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Hello there all my good and happy Minions. I trust you’ve all been plotting some mischief lately. Good. Well, when it comes to movies, I’m not always first to the party. My cinematic jaunts are generally reserved for superheroes and my Netflix is so jammed up with kid stuff we had to create a separate profile to search for anything else.

Recently I was stricken by plague and had an afternoon to catch up on some god old scary movies. One of them was Tucker and Dale Versus Evil. Continue reading

Maleficent

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When I was a kid my little sister watched Sleeping Beauty on infinite repeat. She had a way of getting hooked on a movie and just running it over and over until you were sure the tape would wear out. Because of this, I am very familiar with the story and to be honest, Maleficent has always been one of my favorite Disney villains. I had heard that they made her the good guy somehow in the new live-action movie and I have to say I was a bit grumpy going in to it. I don’t like it when they do the “untold story” on established characters or change them to fit some new role. That’s just not cool.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. In this film, she starts out good but is horribly and violently betrayed and disfigured by her supposed ‘true love.’ When she goes dark afterward, you really feel for her. They did make a few changes to the Sleeping Beauty story that’s going to leave a lot of kids confused when the animated film’s Blu-Ray gets released later this year. And thought I dislike changes like this, they weren’t too bad except for the fact that Aurora is only asleep for about half an hour. Nobody even knew she was asleep at all and her nap was certainly not long enough to become the ‘legendary’ Sleeping Beauty. That’s a head-scratcher.

I’ve always liked Angelina Jolie, though I can’t say I’ve liked very many of her movies. She’s a really good actress who chooses bad movies to be in. Maleficent, however, seems like the role she was born to play. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

Quick disclaimer though for those of you with young ones. Despite being rated PG, Maleficent is pretty dark and scary at times. I would definitely be careful unless you want lots of nightmares. This one has them.

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

The difficulties of being a horror fan with little kids living in the house…

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Hello there Minions, I trust you are unwell. Tonight I have to discuss something that’s near and dear to my heart: my kids. Specifically, how much I love them and will do anything for them, including being willing to forego my beloved Walking Dead and instead endure endless hours of Curious George.

Spawn of Scarydad doesn’t handle scary stuff very well. The problem is that she wants to watch scary stuff because she knows that I love it, but I can tell that it bothers her. After the Doctor Who episode a few weeks ago, I’ve learned to keep pretty close watch over what comes out of the propaganda machine.  It’s been more than a month and she STILL talks about the scary man-pig on Doctor Who and how when she grows up she can watch it but not yet.

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“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.

Scary Movie Night: Red Dawn

movie_10518I was seven years old when Red Dawn came out. At the time I was too young to watch scary movies and wouldn’t have even if I’d been allowed to because my overactive imagination would torture me constantly. For whatever reason, war movies were acceptable and I saw many of them. Delta Force, Rambo, Missing in Action 1 and 2… They were all played in heavy rotation at my house. And I realize that three of the four films I used as examples are Chuck Norris films. Being a kid in the 80’s was awesome.

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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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Things they do in movies that drive me nuts

You ever been watching a movie and everything is running along just fine until suddenly one of the characters is faced with an earth-shattering revelation about life, the universe, and everything, and then their reaction is just… wrong? 

Or, say your suspension of disbelief is firmly in place and your mind is happily wandering through a fantastical wonderland but then suddenly midi-chlorians?

There are limits to our ability to go along with a story. Strangely enough, those limits are pretty far out there when the writer properly sets up the rules for the universe he puts the characters into. I don’t need to believe in magic to enjoy the Harry Potter series. All I need to believe is that magic is legit in Harry’s world and everything’s fair game.

But when the writer screws up it really bugs me. Here are a few of the most common things they do in movies and TV shows that drive me nuts.

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Unnatural Cravings: Top 5 Fictional Cannibals

Hello Minions.

Tonight we have a gruesome guest post by our friend London McGuire. Please welcome London to the Coven.

Unnatural Cravings: Top 5 Fictional Cannibals

           Looking for something to satiate your hunger for truly horrifying entertainment?  Need new characters to spice up your usual fare of axe-murderers and zombies?  From traditional horror to sci-fi and even musicals, these culinary criminals provide some of the most frightening (and disgusting) moments in television and movie history.  While there are many other fictional cannibals worthy of your attention, these five are the prime cuts based on their deliciously evil crimes, popularity and overall creepiness.

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