Tag Archives: spooky

Pant-Soiling Scenes #25: The Conjuring 2

While a maniac with a blade scares me not, I’m still - in my late 30s – easily creeped out by the supernatural. A creaky floorboard here, a door that opens itself there… Goosebump central.

So when I went to see The Conjuring 2 last night with my buddy Kevin, my expectations of a watered-down sequel were kicked in the balls by some really quite frightening scenes.

The 70s London setting was relative, a memory of childhood growing up around similar patterns, colours, attitudes, dreary weather, school uniforms, crap appliances, and everybody in the country with the slightest interest in the spooky knows the Enfield Poltergeist story (see also Ghostwatch).

The nun was horrible, but the old man spectre was far eerier, as he purred “this is my house,” or appeared in TV set reflections in the middle of the day.

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Why though, didn’t they just burn that skanky ass chair? The freakin’ bloke died in it!!!

Pant-Soiling Scenes #24: The Woman in Black

The 1989 one, not the ten-jump-scares-a-minute Daniel Radcliffe-is-a-father!? remake.

Anyway, back in ’89, The Woman only appeared maybe three or four times throughout the whole film, just for a few seconds each.

This is the eeriest of her appearances, when our hero feels a pain in his shoulder and makes an about turn and sees…

the-woman-in-black-original

*shudder*

The simplicity of it out-creeps both the 2012 film and its sequel combined. But still can’t touch the stage play, which I can’t recommend enough, even if you, like me, ‘don’t do theater’.

Pant-Soiling Scenes #23: JEEPERS CREEPERS II

The fiendish devil-bug thing in Jeepers Creepers isn’t hugely scary, but he’s still capable of playing ones spine like a xylophone from time to time in his couple of screen outings.

The first film keeps schtum about revealing he’s a winged-critter until the very end, giving him more to do in the 2003 sequel, which has him after the occupants of a stranded school bus on the doom-mongering East 9 highway.

Having started the film by ‘napping a little kid from a cornfield, Mr Creeper later offs the adults driving a victorious basketball team home, and then begins to choose which of the squad have organs he wants.

This results in one of the few good scenes in a pretty draggy movie. The Creeper somehow has the teenagers lined up while he chooses whether or not he wants their stuff. When the last kid is left, his eyes go all big and scary as he’s located the walking organ-donation bank he likes the most.

Actor Jonathan Breck, hanging upside down for the scene, executes his unnerving stare perfectly and, when I watched the film last week, it still creeps me out.

Let’s hope that third movie is on course before another 23 years elapse. And look, the 23rd pant-soiling scene! Now THAT’S creepy.

A brief overview of FrightFest

So, I went to London’s 14th FrightFest 5-day horror love-in at Leicester Square – albeit for two days rather than the entire thing – and saw eight movies. Before we get down to reviewing the three titles that fit in well with Vegan Voorhees’ missive, for anyone interested in the other stuff I saw, here’s a quick overview of what I thought…

THE DEAD 2: INDIA

3 Stars

When people gawk in asking me WHY I don’t watch The Walking Dead, it’s because zombie films leave me on a downer, regardless of how good they are. If there’s no hope of survival, it’s time to pop the anti-depressants.

I haven’t seen The Dead but it didn’t seem necessary for this film, which pits American windfarm-engineer Jim Millson against an army of toddling undead, while he and a ten-year-old orphan try to make it to Mumbai to save his pregnant girlfriend.

The on-location filming is excellent and photography well above par, but I can’t judge how it compares to other examples in a genre I tend to avoid.

CURSE OF CHUCKY

3 Stars

Don Mancini and Fiona Dourif introduced (and took Q&A) on this sixth tale of Chucky’s homicidal lunacy – plus we all got Chucky masks! He gets himself sent to wheelchair-bound Nica (Dourif) and her depressed mother, who mysteriously dies later that night.

Nica’s sister comes to stay with her husband, daughter, and au pair, and brings along Father Frank, and little Alice adopts the dolls as her own. Nica soon becomes suspicious of the ever-moving doll, who poisons, electrocutes, axes, and stabs those in the house one by one. Things end with some surprise cameos by cast members past, the best of which comes at the end of the credits.

I’ve never loved the Child’s Play series but it’s always been consistent and enjoyable enough, though the appearance of one particular character baffled me. As this entry is going straight to DVD, the budget is clearly lower, almost entirely set in one house, but Chucky looks neat and there’s some great one-liners: “It’s a doll – what’s the worst that could happen?” being the one that got the best reaction in the cinema. Full review to follow soon.

YOU’RE NEXT

4 Stars

A family reunion for a 35th wedding anniversary is crashed by a trio of weapon-toting loons in masks, who spear, slash, stab, and hack the kin to death.

The draw of this pacey home invasion-cum-slasher flick is that the attackers didn’t count on the girlfriend of one of the family sons having grown up at a survivalist camp in the middle of the Australian outback and has no qualms about fighting back with more ferocity than imaginable.

The gung-ho actions of the final girl got rapturous applause as she defeated the assailants one by one, using everything from a meat-mallet to a blender! Despite the free one-sheets we got, I can’t see this doing very well at the box office, but it deserves to.

THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT

4 Stars

An unexpected gem, freakin’ RENNY HARLIN directed this found-footage flick, which follows five American students (at least two of whom are played by British actors, who introduced the film) on a Blair Witch Project-style gambit to a Russian mountain where, in 1959, nine professional hikers were found dead in very bizarre circumstances. True story!

Things aren’t quite right. There are footprints in the snow in the morning, strange sounds, a severed tongue, and things just go from bad to worse.

Found footage films aren’t always particularly involving but I really liked this one, subtle by Harlin’s standards – barely an explosion in sight. The ending requires a healthy dose of disbelief to appreciate the threads that are being drawn together.

THE CONJURING

4 Stars

This wasn’t actually playing but as we didn’t fancy any of the three films available after Dyatlov Pass, we defected to another cinema down the road to finally see this.

Likelihood is you know all about it, so I’ll just say films about hauntings are the only ones that really give me the chills, Insidious being a prime example, and this did not disappoint.

Though the scariest aspect by far was the trailer for the fucking One Direction movie tacked on to the beginning because, y’know, “all trailers are relevant to the main feature…” Guh? Can only pray that the One Direction film is a slasher movie.

HATCHET III

1 Stars

The dud of the festival – what I saw of it – was the third and final entry in the never very good Hatchet franchise, which sees Danielle Harris’ Marybeth left in the slammer and blamed for the murders by Sheriff Zach Galligan; his ex-wife Caroline Williams (Stretch from Texas Chainsaw 2) claims she knows how to defeat Victor Crowley once and for all – as it appears that Marybeth’s annihilation of him was futile.

Paramedics, cops, and a SWAT team head back to the swamp and find themselves done in by the invincible Crowley.

Adam Green (who introduced it) handed the director’s reigns over the BJ McDonnell, but there’s virtually fuck all to work with except Kane Hodder killing stupid amounts of stupid people, most of whom arrogantly assume they can finish him off.

More horror cameos crop up, though they’re less interesting than the first two outings. Can only hope that this finale really IS the finale.

HAUNTER

3.5 Stars

If Groundhog Day turned spooky, this would be it. Abigail Breslin is a girl on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Everyday. She and her Mom, Dad, and squeaky-voiced little brother are stuck in a perpetual ghost loop, living out the final day of their lives in 1985. But only Lisa is aware of it.

The more she investigates her situation, the more she uncovers about what happened in the house before they ever lived there, attracting the unwanted attention of the serial killer who also haunts the place in a parallel timeline, and he’s able to convince the living to commit murders from beyond the grave.

While not quite as clever as it thinks it is and not nearly eerie enough, Haunter is a good movie, though the kind you only ever need to see the once.

V/H/S/2

3.5 Stars

I caught the first V/H/S at FrightFest last year but didn’t like it at all, though it did feature a meta-slasher episode, which was kinda fun. Fortunately, this follow up is exponentially better, featuring four shorts that are draped around a couple of investigators who break into a house to look for a missing college kid.

The first video follows a man with a sort of bionic eye after an ocular injury. Trouble with super-eye is that is shows him the spirits of the dead around him. And the more he interacts with them, the more damage they can do to him.

Next is a cycle-helmet-cam shot zombie tale, gory and funny, following a poor forest biker who’s bitten, turns, and them lollops about trying to eat people.

The third section is an Indonesian documentary on a cult leader, who allows a film crew into the compound, which soon reveals itself to have a sinister endgame…

Lastly, annoying teenagers with cellphones mess around when their parents go away for the weekend and find themselves attacked by long-limbed aliens, that make a lot of noise, coloured smoke, and abduct the kids. It’s a difficult one to gauge with given the ever-shaking cameras and that the cute little dog who wears the camera for much of it is cruelly killed off. The kids can die, but not the dog.

Murder! Mystery! and the Italian bra-shortage of 1981

FEAR

3.5 Stars  1981/97m

A.k.a. Murder Obsession (DVD); Murder Syndrome; The Wailing (UK video)

Director/Writer: Riccardo Freda / Writers: Antonio Cesare Corti, Simon Mizrahi & Fabio Piccioni / Cast: Stefano Patrizi, Anita Strindberg, Silivia Dionisio, John Richardson, Henri Garcia, Martine Brochard, Laura Gemser.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “After you were sent away [SPOILER] developed an interest in black magic. It was by this means, coupled with my psychic power, that [SPOILER] was able to induce you to [SPOILER SPOILER].”


The clock strikes giallo in this colorful black-glove mystery from gothic horror fixture Riccardo Freda, sometime mentor of Mario Bava.

Going under the usual phone-directory of alternate titles around the globe, Fear is an unusual and amusing slice of Italian cheese, in which actor Michael (Patrizi) visits his mother at her secluded country home with some industry friends in tow for a weekend “away from the smog” et cetera.

Much Psycho-ness abounds as the neo-incestual relationship between mother and son is apparent and Michael quite candidly tells his friends that he killed his father years before. He also begins ignoring Agnetha-esque girlfriend Debora, who has the longest dream sequence EVER, involving a spider with fingers.

About the only time her boobs stayed put

About the only time her boobs stayed put

Then soon after, the usual black-gloved loon starts doing away with the outsiders; gutting one, chainsawing another, axing a third.

Who is it? And why are the doing it? And who is it? Fear sort of collapses like a souffle as it pounds towards the bizarre ending, all black magic, cursed symbols, psychic abilities n’ such, but there’s a solid slasher movie opus lurking below the surface, and a killer with a rather standard motive.

Full of trademark zooms to suspicious expressions, a score that sounds like the composer had a seizure at the piano, bats on strings, boobs falling out of clothes at the slightest movement, and more than a few unintentional laughs from the dubbing and some of the cheapo effects on display, not least the axe in the head for one fellow. Did you know that when chopped in the noggin, the eyes actually disappear inside the skull!?

fear-axing123a

I mock, but I actually enjoyed Fear. It’s stacked with all manner of 70s/80s European fodder and Freda actually mixes the (then) new slasher craze with his gothic leanings quite well: Debora runs through the woods in a vicious downpour as lightning encroaches, and the house has a stone castle-like ambience, power that won’t stay on for long, and shitloads of candles everywhere.

Far and away the most intriguing thing about the film though, is Oliver. Oliver is mother’s butler/handyman/whatever. He takes in luggage, prepares supper, strikes a Five Star pose when about to be photographed and is the subject of nearly all of the zoom-red-herring moments. He appears at windows, stops for smell-the-fart moments when scrubbing the floor, walks in trances through the woods… What is he hiding? I’m not telling, but for now, behold the many stares of Oliver…

manystaresofoliver2

Despite all this super-fun, Fear seems largely unknown. A few websites I would bet on finding information about it came up blank and it’s almost as if it lay forgotten at the bottom of some VHS well throughout the 90s and 00s until it was dug up and bunged on DVD.

While not a must for fans, this is a whole lot better than a lot of Euro horror from the early 80s, with a little less sleaze to proceedings (despite the full frontal nudity and recurring “wardrobe malfunction” gag) and directed with substantial competence and flair by a bloke who was already in his 70s.

Blurbs-of-interest: Both Richardson and Brochard were in 1975’s Eyeball.

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