A woman drives up to a riverbank and dumps a body of a woman in the river. Later Doctor Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) identifies the body of as his daughter Christiane Génessier (Édith Scob).
Christiane was in a terrible car accident which left her face disfigured. Doctor Génessier says that Christiane was depressed and commited suicide.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Eyes Without A Face”
American diplomat Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) and his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) are expecting their first child while in Rome. It’s a dark and stormy night and Robert is given some very bad news. Father Spiletto (Martin Benson) tells Robert that his son was born stillborn. The good father tells Robert that another baby was born this night and the mother passed away and they can substitute this baby for his and his wife need never know that her baby died. Robert agrees.
Soon Robert is made the American ambassador to Britain and he moves Katherine and Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens) to England. Strange things start to happen around Damien. A large black dog appears. At his birthday party his nanny hangs herself in front of everyone. The new nanny, Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw), is even creepier. A priest, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), appears and tries to warn the family about Damien.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Omen”
The Carter family are on vacation and are travelling from Ohio to California. Along for the trip is Big Bob Carter (Russ Grieve), his wife Ethel (Virginia Vincent), their children Bobby and Brenda (Robert Houston, Susan Lanier), the oldest daughter Lynne (Dee Wallace), her husband Doug (Martin Speer) and their baby Katy.
The Carter’s are travelling by car – a station wagon with a trailer pulled behind. While passing through Nevada Big Bob wants to take a short cut through some dirt roads. Stopping at a gas station owned by an old timer named Fred (John Steadman) Big Bob asks directions. Fred warns them not to take the dirt road.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Hills Have Eyes”
It’s 1945 and Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) has just hired three new servants for her house out in the country. Grace lives there with her two children Anne and Nicholas (Alakina Mann, James Bentley). The children have a rare disease which makes them extremely sensitive to light. The new servants, Mrs. Bertha Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), gardener Edmund Tuttle (Eric Sykes), and a mute girl named Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) claim to have worked at the house years earlier. Grace shows them the ground rules.
Grace’s husband is away for the war and Grace is starting to fear that there may be “others” in the house with them.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Others”
Most of Earth’s human and animal population have been wiped out by mysterious blind aliens that hunt by sound. The Abbott family have been trying to survive. While on a scavenging trip to a town, Lee Abbott (John Krasinski, who also directs), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their children deaf Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and the youngest Beau (Cade Woodward) looks for supplies in a store.
The family all communicate using sign language so the creatures aren’t alerted to their presence. Beau finds an electronic toy which Leon their e tells him is too noisy and won’t let him bring. As everyone leaves Regan hands the toy back to Beau who puts the batteries back in it. On their walk back Beau turns on the toy with horrifying results.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: A Quiet Place”
Colombian cinema is having a moment. Not only the local industry has an auteur in its hands –Ciro Guerra, director of Embrace of the Serpent and Birds of Passage— a second one has emerged fully formed from Sundance Labs: Alejandro Landes.
In Monos, Landes zeroes in on a group of teenagers recruited by the local revolutionary army to protect an American woman (Julianne Nicholson, August: Osage County) they keep hostage. The rebels expect a handsome paycheck in exchange for the prisoner, so her wellbeing is a priority.
Things start going south almost immediately when the expected source of protein –a cow– succumbs under a hail of bullets. With little supervision or boundaries, the squad crumbles under the weight of responsibilities, power plays and a warped understanding of discipline. The fact they’re armed to the teeth makes their volatility lethal.
Monos doesn’t take the traditional route of the child-soldier subgenre. Each character is more than their circumstances; the atmosphere is oppressive, but there are laughs to be had and beauty to be taken in (the jungle setting amplifies the drama tenfold). Nicholson is superb as the sullen, scared hostage, same as Moises Arias (The Kings of Summer) as Bigfoot, an ambitious foot soldier who craves power but doesn’t understand the concept of leadership.
The film unfolds swiftly as the Monos squad has no notion of teamwork and breaks down at every corner. That said, I would have liked to spend more time with the teens: Each one seems to carry a story worth telling. Still, the one we actually get is worth the price of admission. Three and a half dogs.
Monos is now playing at Studio 7 in Regina.
The Creed family have just moved from Chicago to the sleepy little town of Ludlow, Maine. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) has taken a job as a doctor at the University of Maine. He has moved to Ludlow with his wife Rachel (Denise Crosby) and their two young children Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes).
Louis meets his neighbour Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) who shows the family a creepy pet cemetery (where the kids have misspelled it sematary) that is behind their houses in the woods. Rachel is not impressed with the trip to the cemetery worried that Ellie might be traumatized by it. Jud also warns the family about the highway that their houses are on and the speeding trucks that frequent it.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Pet Sematary”
In 2000 an American military doctor (Scott Wilson) orders the illegal dumping of hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde into the sewer system in Seoul, South Korea and into the Han River. Soon there are reports of a creature lurking in the river.
In 2006 Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) works in his father’s, Hee-bong (Byun Hee-bong) snack bar by the river. Gang-du is a little slow and is always messing up. He and his daughter Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung) live with his father. Gang-du’s sister, Nam-joo (Bae Doona), is champion archer and his brother, Nam-il (Park Hae-il) is a college graduate and former political activist.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Host”
Welcome to Bly House, a lovely little estate out in the country. The perfect place to raise two children. The Uncle (Michael Redgrave) has been forced to take responsibility for his niece and nephew after their parents were killed. He has zero interest in raising them and has hired a new governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr).
Miss Giddens is taken total charge and care of the children who have been without a governess for over a year when the last one, Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop), died suddenly. Miles (Martin Stephens) is away at boarding school but Flora (Pamela Franklin) has been in the care of the housekeeper Mrs. Grose (Megs Jenkins).
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Innocents”
Based on the novel by Ira Levin and directed by Bryan Forbes, this dark science-fiction horror film has inspired parodies, two made for TV sequels and a bad remake in 2004.
Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) and her husband Walter (Peter Masterson) along with their two children move from New York to the little suburb of Stepford. Joanna is an independent woman who wants to be a photographer and finds the town a little unsettling. All the men belong to the Men’s Association and all the women just want to look pretty and do housework.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Stepford Wives”
Director William Castle loved his gimmicks as much as he loved scaring audiences. For his 1960 movie 13 Ghosts he came up Illusion-O glasses. These glasses contained a blue filter and a red filter. If you wanted to see all the ghosts in the film, you looked through the red filter. If you were too scared to watch the ghosts, you could look through the blue filter and you wouldn’t see the ghosts.
Donald Woods starred as Cyrus Zorba, who finds out that his uncle Dr. Plato Zorba (Roy Jenson) has died and left his house to him. Cyrus brings his family to the new home. His wife Hilda (Rosemary DeCamp), daughter Medea (Jo Morrow) and son Buck (Charles Herbert). The house comes with a creepy maid named Elaine (Margaret Hamilton) oh and twelve ghosts.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: 13 Ghosts”
While House of 1000 Corpses didn’t blow people away when it was finally released it has grown a cult following. For the sequel Rob Zombie decided to make a more of a hard boiled western-like thriller and tone down the cheesy over the topness of the first film.
The movie picks up where the last left off but Zombie decides to omit the whole last act with Dr. Satan and just focus on the Firefly family. Sheriff John Quincey Wydell (William Forsythe), whose brother was killed in the last movie is out for revenge against the Fireflys. The cops are closing in on the family and their farmhouse. A vicious stand-off ensues and Rufus is killed and Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is taken into custody while Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) escape. They decide to meet up with Baby’s father Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig).
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Devil’s Rejects”
For this year’s 31 Days of Horror it feels like it’s time for some good old family fun. Or is that family horror. Either way this year’s focus is on families.
First up is Rob Zombie’s Firefly family House of 1000 Corpses.
A group of young folk (Erin Daniels, Chris Hardwick, Rainn Wilson and Jennifer Jostyn) are travelling across America looking for weird roadside attractions. It’s 1977 and Halloween is just around the corner. They come across Captain Spaulding’s (the late Sid Haig) “The Museum of Monsters & Madmen”. On the tour Captain Spaulding tells them about the legend of Dr. Satan and how he was hanged on tree just close by. This entices the group to go looking for the tree.
Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: House Of 1000 Corpses”
As much as I enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, the treatment of the film as a triumph of representation gave me pause. Sure, an all-Asian cast in a Hollywood production is something to celebrate, but the characters are obscenely wealthy and the audience-surrogate is well on her way to become a one-percenter. In short, they are hard to relate.
The infinitely more modest The Farewell is more successful at bring the Asian-American experience to the big screen. Not only that, it transcends culture clash shenanigans to depict the very real melancholy that accompanies immigrants through their entire lives. Trust me, I know.
There is a connecting vessel between Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell: Awkwafina. The rapper-turned-actor who played Constance Wu’s best friend in CRA delivers a compelling dramatic performance as Billi, a burnt-out millennial with more debts than prospects. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Farewell Gets to the Heart of Being Asian-American”
At a time when streaming video is the dominant format for home video its awesome to see companies like Shout Factory, Kino, Criterion, Arrow and more putting out older awesome movies in high definition on Blu-ray.
If the big studios have zero interest in maintaining their library of films at least these companies will pick up the slack.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Leopard Man”
Dennis O’Keefe is Joe Sullivan,a crook who is serving time for a robbery. He meets with Ann Martin (Marsha Hunt) in prison. Ann is Joe’s legal case worker and she wants him to reform. Joe has another visitor, Pat Regan (Claire Trevor), Joe’s girlfriend. She tells Joe that he’s being broken of prison that night.
Joe is prison because he’s taken the fall for his boss Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr). Rick though doesn’t want to share the $50,000 from the robbery and has now orchestrated the jail break hopping that Joe gets killed.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Raw Deal”
Anthony Mann directed this film noir about two undercover treasury agents trying bust up a counterfeiting ring.
Dennis O’Keefe and Alfred Ryder star as two treasury agents who are assigned to go undercover and try and infiltrate a counterfeiting gang. They start in Detroit where they join local crime boss Carlo Vantucci’s gang. From there they get wind of big player named The Schemer who works out of Los Angeles. O’Keefe goes to L.A. while Ryder stays in Detroit.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: T-Men”
Ida Lupino started her career in 1930s as an actress but by the 1950s she changed gears and became a director. She became the first woman to direct a film noir with 1953 The Hitch-Hiker.
Loosely based on the true story of convicted serial killer Billy Cook, this tense thriller follows two men on a fishing trip who make the mistake of picking up a hitchhiker.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Hitch-Hiker”
Robert Ryan is brutal cop who beats his suspects and finds himself in trouble with his superiors.
After ignoring a warning from his boss Ryan beats another suspect for information. The suspect threatens to sue the department and Ryan’s boss has had enough. He sends Ryan up North to help in the investigation of a murdered girl.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: On Dangerous Ground”
There have been many adaptations of Jules Verne’s classic novel L’Île mystérieuse aka The Mysterious Island. The novel was originally a kind of sequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways.
The original story had to do with five Americans fleeing the American Civil War and crashing on a mysterious island. They survive thanks to a mysterious benefactor and along the why meet one of the characters from In Search of the Castaways and fight off pirates before meeting their benefactor who turns out to be Captain Nemo who survived the end of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and has spent his old age on the island.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Mysterious Island”