31 Days Of Horror: The Plague Of Zombies

A small town in England in 1800s is beset by a plague that devastating the residents of the town.

Local doctor Peter Tompson (Brook Williams) writes to his mentor Sir James Forbes (André Morell) for help. Forbes arrives with his daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare). Tompson and Forbes go to exhume some of the recently deceased to find out more about the disease only to find the coffins empty.

Soon zombies are discovered around an old mine near the estate of Squire Clive Hamilton (John Carson). The squire it turns out has spent time in Haiti.

This Hammer Horror from director John Gilling is a really good chiller.

31 Days Of Horror: [Rec]

A television crew are following an emergency fire department for their show. The department gets a call to an apartment complex.

Reporter Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her film crew follow the fire fighters to the apartment where an old woman has been reported to be in distress. When they arrive the woman attacks the fire fighters.

They try to take the injured man outside only to find that the building has been sealed and everyone inside has been quarantined.

Soon a man from the health department comes in to look at the apartment residents. He says that a strain of rabies has infected the residents. Soon more people are infected and attacking everyone.

This Spanish horror film is very scary and intense. It spawned three sequels and an American remake but this is the best one.

31 Days Of Horror: Pontypool

Shock rock dj Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) runs into a strange woman who keeps chanting the word blood on his way into work.

Once at work news breaks that a riot has broken out and several people are dead. While covering it they lose contact with the reporter on the scene.

They receive a transmission in French informing them to remain indoors, not to use terms of endearment, rhetorical discourse, or the English language and not to translate the message.

They find out that the town is under quarantine. It seems that there is a virus in the English language that infects people and makes them spread it through language. They also get violent and start biting/eating each other.

Soon a group of infected people are attacking the radio station.

Based on the novel Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess this excellent intense horror film does a different spin on the zombie/virus infection genre.

31 Days Of Horror: The Last Man On Earth

A virus has broken out across the Earth. People infected with it die and a turned into undead vampire like creatures.

Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the last human alive. He lives alone in a fortifed house and spends his days killing vampires and burning their bodies.

Morgan is immune against the virus but he is incredibly lonely. One day a dog appears but runs away from him. Later it appears wounded, infected by the virus. Morgan kills the dog with a stake and buries it.

Morgan sees a woman and convinces her to return to his place with him. She informs him that she belongs to a group of people who use a vaccine to control the virus. Morgan doesn’t trust her.

Based on Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend this first adaptation is the most faithful and Matheson himself wrote the screenplay but he removed his name from the film when he became dissatisfied with the movie.

31 Days Of Horror: It Comes At Night

A virus has ravished the world. Paul (Joel Edgerton) his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) all live in their house in the woods. They have rules to protect themselves from the virus and other people.

They capture a man trying to break into the house. After tying him up outside overnight to make sure he doesn’t have the virus they find out that the man, Will (Christopher Abbott) has a wife and son and he was looking for water for them.

Sarah suggests letting Will and his family live with them. Paul goes over the rules. The front door always stays locked and only Paul and Sarah have a key. And no one goes out at night.

One day Travis’ dog runs off into the woods. Travis thinks he hears something out in the woods. One night Travis gets up and finds the front door unlocked and open. Travis’ dog returns sick the virus. They kill and burn it. Then Travis reveals that the door was open.

This is a pretty cool low key thriller. Director Trey Edward Shults crafts a quietly intense film where there are no monsters, just people and the unknown.

31 Days Of Horror: The Howling

It’s pretty clear zombies have a viral disease that spreads through bites. Yesterday’s Dawn of the Dead demonstrated that. Depending on what vampire movie you are watching, vampire bites are either infectious or part of a process that also includes drinking a vampire’s blood. Either way, again, a viral infection. But what about werewolves?

Everyone knows that being bitten by a werewolf creates new werewolves but there are some films, like An American Werewolf in London, were the attack is more about transferring a curse than spreading an infection. In the 1981 Joe Dante-directed The Howling, it’s clear werewolfism is a viral infection caused by bites.

Reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) has been receiving phone calls from serial killer Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo) and has agreed to meet him. The police have Karen wired and have officers trying to track her. They lose her and the transmitter signal keeps cutting out. Karen meets Eddie in a porno shop where he terrifies her. The police save her by shooting Eddie.

Karen has amnesia from the event as well as severe trauma. Her doctor, Dr. George Waggner (Patrick Macnee) suggests Karen and her husband Bill (Christopher Stone) spend a couple of weeks at his country retreat that he calls the Colony. There they meet many odd characters.

Meanwhile, Karen’s co-worker Terri (Belinda Balaski) continues investigating Eddie. She finds that he was obsessed with werewolves which leads her to investigate the legends of werewolves.

Back at the Colony Karen keeps hearing wolves at night and things seem off. Bill is attacked by a wolf and bitten. Without revealing the ending, Karen and Terri soon find out the Colony’s terrifying secret and source of Karen’s trauma.

I love this movie. It’s fun and the effects still hold up well. There was a lot of potential for the many sequels that followed but sadly they are all pretty bad.

31 Days Of Horror: Dawn Of The Dead

Remakes are seldom as good as the original. But that said there are several films that are better or at least as good.

Zack Snyder’s remake isn’t as good as the George Romero’s original. But it’s a good film, probably Snyder’s best. I think a hit of has to do with the fact that it’s not a comic book movie and the fact that James Gunn wrote the screenplay.

Sarah Polley is a nurse who goes home after a long shift. Her and her husband are awoken but a neighbour’s daughter. The girl isn’t acting normally and attacks Polley’s husband biting his neck. The husband dies and comes back as a zombie. Polley flees. The city erupts in chaos.

She eventually runs into a police officer (Ving Rhames) and they run into another group of survivors. They take refuge in a shopping mall.

Soon more survivors show up looking for refuge. Outside the hoard of zombies grows bigger and bigger.

31 Days Of Horror: The Satanic Rites Of Dracula

The last of the Hammer Horror Dracula films features a very interesting plot. Picking up where the last movie, Dracula A.D. 1972, which brought Dracula into the modern times.

British secret service have been monitoring a house out in the country. A Satanic Cult has set shop there and even more disturbing several prominent members of society appear to be members. A member of parliament, a secret service officer, a general and a famous scientist.

A secret agent escapes from the house but dies of his wounds. The agent manges to tell his superiors about the members.

To avoid trouble with the suspected members, the secret service enlist Scotland Yard’s Inspector Murray (Michael Coles).

Murray brings Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and his granddaughter Jessica Van Helsing (Joanna Lumley) onto the case. Meanwhile the cult kidnap a secret service secretary revealing that the cult is run by Dracula (Christopher Lee). Dracula bites the secretary turning her into a vampire.

The Van Helsings and Murray break into the house and find the vampire secretary who they kill. Vam Helsing meets with the scientist and discover that he has been working on a new bubonic plague. This leads him to a businessman named D.D. Denham who is really Dracula.

Dracula plans to release the plague and wipe out humanity.

Hammer films had been huge for a decade but the series was getting pretty weak. Lee hated the deviations from the original source material and this was his last Dracula Hammer film.

31 Days Of Horror: Seoul Station

A prequel to the 2016 Korean horror movie Train to Busan, this animated movie takes place a couple of days befoee Train to Busan.

Director Yeon Sang-ho was an animation director and Train to Busan (2016) was his first live action movie. He also directed Seoul Station which was also released in 2016.

Hye-sun is a former prostitute whose current boyfriend is trying to get to go back to hooking. Hye-sun has fight and runs away.

Meanwhile a homeless person has been bitten and slowly dies on the street as everyone ignores him. The homeless person becomes a zombie and starts infecting the other homeless that live in Seoul Station.

A man claiming to be Hye-sun’s arrives and forced her boyfriend to help look for her. Hye-sun finds herself running from the growing zombie outbreak.

This is a really good prequel to Train to Busan and animation is excellent.

31 Days Of Horror: The Crazies

George A. Romero’s 1973 horror film is set in small town Evans City, Pennsylvania. A local farmer suddenly goes crazy, murdering his wife and burns down his house. Firefighter David (Will McMillan) arrives on scene with firefighter buddy Clank (Harold Wayne Jones) and sees the farmer raving hysterically as he’s arrested and taken away.

Soon the army shows up in town and commandeer’s the local doctor’s office. David’s nurse girlfriend Judy (Lane Carroll) lets David that something is up. It seems that an army plane has crashed on the outskirts of the town and it was carrying an experimental virus which has now gotten into the town’s water supply. Soon more people are acting more violent and start killing each other. The army quarantines the town and blocks of all the roads going in and out.

David, Judy and Clank along with a teenager and her father try to break the quarantine and leave the town. Chaos is breaking loose and things keep getting worse.

Romero keeps the tension up and the movie is really good. There was a remake a few years ago but it doesn’t come close to the original. 

31 Days Of Horror: Rabid

October is here already and that means that it’s time for another 31 Days of Horror! This year’s theme is well……….pandemic/epidemic horror movies which is the really the theme of this entire year.

To start things off we are starting with some good old fashioned Canadian horror by director David Cronenberg.

Released in 1977 and set in rural Quebec and Montreal, Rose (Marilyn Chambers) and her boyfriend Hart (Frank Moore) are involved in a motorcycle accident out in the countryside. Hart suffers from a broken arm and some bruises but Rose is pinned under the bike while it burns suffering severe burns to her chest.

Fortunately there is a private plastic surgery clinic near the accident and Dr. Dan Keloid (Howard RyshFrankcomes to the rescue and saves Rose with an experimental surgery using morphogenetically neutral grafts. Rose survives but is in a coma for a month. Hart is released from the hospital and goes home to Montreal.

Rose wakes up screaming and a nearby patient comes to help her. The patient can’t remember what happened but his arm is wounded and his one side is numb and the wound won’t stop bleeding. Dr. Keloid sends him to the Montreal General Hospital.

Rose seems fine. But the procedure has altered her. She can’t survive on food. In her armpit she has developed a stinger that stabs her victims and drains their blood, which Rose needs to survive. The victim meanwhile can’t remember the attack and soon after they start becoming violent, foam at the mouth and need to bite someone. The victim soon dies after. And the bite spreads the virus creating more foam raging people.

Soon there are several more victims and a “rabies” outbreak is sweeping across Montreal and martial law is declared. Hart is trying to find Rose and Rose has no idea of the terrifying infection that she has unleashed.

The movie was one of the highest grossing Canadian movies at the time and it gave Marilyn Chamber her first mainstream role.

31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Psycho

Marion Crane (Vivian Leigh) is in love with Sam Loomis (John Gavin) but Sam won’t marry Marion because of his debts. Marion works in Phoenix Arizona for a real estate company. Just before the weekend a client puts a $40,000 deposit on a property. Marion is tasked with depositing the money at the bank. She decides to steal the money.

Marion leaves town and starts to drive to Fairvale, California where Sam lives. Along the way she arouses the suspicion of a police officer who catches her sleeping in her car. She trades her car in for another and continues on her journey. It’s dark and rainy and she decides to stop at the Bates Motel.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Shining

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a job to be caretaker at the Overlook Hotel which is isolated in the mountains and cut off on the main roads for the winter months. Jack is recovering alcoholic and struggling writer. He hopes the peace and quiet will help him write. The previous caretaker snapped and murdered his family. The hotel management assume it was from the isolation.

Jack brings his family along to stay at the hotel. Jack’s wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are happy to come along although Danny has a psychic power/imaginary friend that he calls Tony who warns him that bad things are going to happen.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Autopsy Of Jane Doe

Police find a bizarre crime scene with several people dead and the body of an unknown woman at the scene. One of the cops thinks that the victims were trying to get out of the house.

Tommy and Austin Tilden (Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch) are father and son morticians. The two work out of the old family house. Austin has a date with his girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond). The sheriff brings in the body of the woman and asks that they try and identify cause of death before the morning. Austin postpones his date to help his dad.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Babadook

If it’s in a word. Or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of … The Babadook

Amelia Vanek (Essie Davis) has been raising her son Sam (Noah Wiseman) by herself after her husband was killed in a car accident before their son was born. Sam has been acting out lately and he has been making weapons to fight a monster.

Sam takes one of his weapons to school and Amelia is called in. The teachers believe that Sam has serious mental problems. Later Sam gets Amelia to read him a bedtime popup book called Mr. Babadook. The book is terrifying and Amelia wonders where Sam got it. Sam tells her on the bookshelf.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Us

While on vacation in 1986 in Santa Cruz, young Adelaide Thomas wanders away from her father and into a funhouse. Inside the funhouse is a hall of mirrors where Adelaide is attacked by her doppelganger. When her family finds her Adelaide is unable to speak.

Present day Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) is now happily married to Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and they have two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). The family has decided to have a vacation in Santa Cruz in the old family homestead. Adelaide is anxious about going back.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns), her paraplegic brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) and their friends, Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail) and Pam (Teri McMinn) are out traveling across Texas when they decide to visit the old family homestead. They pass by a cemetery where it has been discovered that several graves have been desecrated.

They pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who creeps them out and cuts Franklin before running off. They stop at a gas station but the owner (Jim Siedow) informs them that he’s out of gas. They head to the homestead hoping to get gasoline on the way back. Once they reach the homestead they look around. Kirk and Pam find a neighouring house and decide to see if anyone is home and willing to sell them gas.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Poltergeist

One of the great things about buying a brand new house rather than an older home is that there is less chance for ghosts to be in your home. Nobody has had a chance to die or be murdered and haunt the place.

Steven and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams) live in lovely new neighbourhood in Orange County, California with their children Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne (Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins and Heather O’Rourke).

Steven is a real estate agent who works for the company that has built the homes in this community. Everything is fine. One night during a storm something seems to have come through the static on the TV. Then strange things begin to happen.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Hereditary

Annie Graham (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and their children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) attend the funeral of Annie’s mother Ellen. Annie had a very difficult relationship with her mother and is having a hard time dealing with her death.

Annie is a miniature model artist and decides to go to a grief support group to help her deal with her mother’s death. Charlie is a strange 13 year old and was close to her grandmother. Steve receives word that Ellen’s grave has been desecrated.
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31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Conjuring

Director James Wan had been directing horror movies for quite a few years when he made this movie, the start of his Conjuring universe of movies. Wan had previously directed such movies as Saw and Insidious.

The is very loosely based on real life paranormal investigates Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The movie opens with a very awesome cold opening about a possessed doll named Annabelle. The story very creepy and very well executed.
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