Ah……The Conjuring Universe. It might not be as cool or hip as the Marvel Universe – but it’s still a thing. I dug the first two entries of The Conjuring. Did not dig Annabelle, but I have an unmistakable love for Annabelle: Creation. And so now in the world of horror spin-offs, we have The Nun aka Valak – who first terrified us in The Conjuring 2 and now gets the spotlight for her first movie focusing solely on the Valak character. So is she just as terrifying here as she was in The Conjuring 2? Ummm. No. Let us pray…….
I’m going to do something different with this review. I’m not going to get into the specifics of the storyline (dark shadows, creepy nuns, bad jump scares….rinse, repeat) – I’m going to rant about how they fucked this up so badly. You have a creeeeeepy character in Valak (god bless actress Bonnie Aarons for doing her best with what she was given here) and you choose to focus more on an exorcised kid and other nuns not named Valak. Adding insult to injury, Valak gets a terrible backstory involving Jesus’ blood (and an equally terrible ‘Holy shit’ joke) and the biggest sin: she’s barely given any screen time until almost the end of the movie (with a part in the middle involving Taissa Farmiga running from Valak being the effective exception).
Everything that should be spooky, creepy, frightening is stripped away here and dumbed down with non-effective jump scares. There are multiple moments in The Nun when you think a scene is going to pay off, and then as soon as it should………we cut to another scene and never revisit the previous. Oy. See, but here’s the thing – The Nun made over 50 million at the box office this weekend. So, I would imagine that a sequel will be on the way (after another Conjuring movie, and an Annabelle one, and another spin-off for The Crooked Man). You see…..money talks. And unfortunately at times (if not all of the time), that’s what matters to the studio. The Nun and the Valak character in general deserved way better than this. Perhaps the real creepiness of the character will be resurrected in the inevitable sequel. But until then…….Jesus wept.
If I’m every talking about ‘guilty pleasure’ horror films, there’s no way that I won’t bring up the blood-soaked bonkers flick from 1983, The Deadly Spawn. I still remember seeing this movie on a Saturday afternoon on regular TV when I was about 10……completely unedited, which blew my little adolescent mind (when I said blood-soaked earlier btw, I wasn’t kidding). Aside from the red stuff, the creature fx done by John Dods were actually top notch – considering the film’s overall lower budget feel. And now, there is a Kickstarter going on where you can pick up some newly sculpted figures that pay homage to Dods’ earlier work from The Deadly Spawn!
This project, started by Justin Ishmael, will feature a variety of options to choose from as far as what your pleasure is. James Groman (of Madballs fame) is sculpting the new tiny versions of The Deadly Spawn creatures, and you can get them either painted or unpainted. The goal is $20k, to be reached by September 27th. Right now, it’s at about $13k, so…..looking good! You can get plenty of more details HERE and place an order for your figure too! And if you haven’t seen The Deadly Spawn……what the hell are you waiting for???
Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator! Oh – look at the determination in his bulging eyes. Don’t fret. You can break him. Just don’t break any pencils out of frustration. Stay focused. Think about the fact that Bride of Re-Animator is a pretty good sequel. Wait. What are you doing?!? Don’t look away! Oh – I see. Barbara Crampton just walked into your field of vision while not wearing a bra. Dammit, Herbert West! You win this round!! Now you have nothing left to do but go get a job at a sideshow.
Sometimes I like to just gaze upon poster art for 80’s horror movies. And a lot of times, that poster art is better than the actual movie. So, let’s see……I wonder if the 1983 movie Mausoleum is all poster art and ‘no bite’, as far as the actual movie goes. I’ll get to the latter in a minute, as I recently re-visited Mausoleum on Amazon Prime. But first……the poster!
Well damn. Isn’t she a beauty. The ‘dripping blood’ font in the title….the predictable, but clever tagline (Centuries of evil have just awakened)….and the rather cool looking skeleton gripping the mausoleum. All signs point to the poster art being better than the movie! But seriously folks – how fun were the 80’s when it came to horror?
Speaking of fun – did you know that none other than Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son (LaWanda Page) is in this movie??? Oh – and her scene is soooooo Aunt Esther. But anyway – like I said, I recently watched Mausoleum again and……it stinks. But in a good 80’s horror stinky way. Like some aged cheese. The poster art still gives me a horror boner, but if you have time and want a good time – seek out Mausoleum and embrace the 80’s madness!
Oh, Puppet Master franchise……how I love and loathe you all at the same time. I can remember renting the first in your series in 1989 from my local Mom & Pop video store. It was a devious and delicious surprise that introduced me to some of my now favorite tiny little terrors: Blade, Pinhead, and Tunneler to name a few. And I kind of developed a crush on Leech Woman. Don’t judge. But anyway, for me – the franchise took a steep nosedive when the sequels starting getting lazily churned out by Full Moon Features. A few new snazzy puppets were introduced along the way (Torch, Six-Shooter) – but overall the sequels were consistently a snoozefest. But now…..could the Puppet Master franchise be reborn??
Enter into the ring, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich!! I will admit – when I first heard about this new sequel, I lazily rolled my eyes. Then I saw that S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl In Cell Block 99) wrote it, and my interest began to sway the other way. Early word started to roll in that this movie pushed the boundaries as far as gore and ‘tastefulness’, not just in regards to the Puppet Master franchise – but for horror movies in general. And because of that, my interest started swaying even more! Then……the ‘red band’ trailer just recently dropped. Check it out below, now!
Sold. Sold. Sold. I’m so sold, that I’ll be going to the LA premiere on August 14th – so stay tuned for my review. I can pretty much already tell this is in my wheelhouse. Gore, gore, gore? Check. Things I probably shouldn’t be laughing at that could send me to hell? Check. Thomas Lennon is in this for some reason? Check. For those who can’t go to the LA premiere, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich will be hitting select theaters and VOD on August 17th. Killer puppet lovers of the world unite!!!
‘Tis the season for horror and Halloween-themed conventions! And one of my favorites to frequent out here in the Los Angeles area is the ScareLA convention in downtown LA. Going into it’s sixth year now, ScareLA combines everything horror + a full Halloween-time experience. But this year……it’s going to get darker. Literally.
It’s been announced that ScareLA will immediately set all attendees into near darkness throughout the entire convention, giving those who are lucky enough to go a fully immersive Halloween-style experience! Being called ‘Descend Into Darkness‘, the convention will be a first of it’s kind, not only being darkly lit throughout – but also featuring a ‘theme park feel’ as well…..including full-sized haunts, experiences, and rides. Spooooooooky and amazing!!
Now, if you can’t get to the LA area on the weekend of August 25th + 26th – then follow my Instagram story to stay connected to all of the ghostly goings-ons that will be happening (shameless plug). If you do want to attend ScareLA in person though, then head on over to their site HERE and snatch up those tickets and get more info. And while you’re there, use promo code INSTAMONSTER to get a discount on your tickets! Word to the wise, this event gets PACKED – so get there early if you are going! Happy Summerween, everybody!!!
Who doesn’t love dogs?? They’re cute. Loyal. And they can leap through doors and kill you if they’re inhabited by an otherworldly parasite. Alright! Welcome to one of my favorite 80’s horror movies (and sometimes criminally slept on)……a little movie called The Hidden that came out in 1987 (I was only 11-years-old…..yikes).
This movie, was on repeat for me back then. And not just for Claudia Christian and her leather boots. The plot was interesting (a bit of a knockoff of The Thing, but with it’s own flair), the performances were top-notch (Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri killed it), and the practical effects were a step forward for that time. But we’re here to talk dogs! And there’s a scene in the movie where an adorable canine becomes a murderous (but still kinda adorable) canine. Kudos to the dog trainer on this one! Watch below as this little guy goes ‘leaps and bounds’ above anything else to get what he wants.
Quick! Name me 3 things that you need for a successful horror movie scene! (elevator/Jeopardy music starts playing) Well, if you said: A pool, neon lights, and the song ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler – then you win something! But – I’m guessing nobody said those things, so my prize money should be safe. Now – if you’ve seen the latest and only sequel to 2008’s home invasion flick The Strangers, aptly titled The Strangers: Prey At Night, then you know about the pool scene. Easily the best scene in the movie, according this guy writing this post, it was pretty much 5 minutes of horror moviemaking perfection. A bit of a bold statement? Yes. Probably. But fuck it, I love it. Watch below and we’ll discuss afterwards. SPOILER ALERT BTW: Somebody dies.
C’mon now, you can’t tell me that the scene you just watched didn’t give you a bit of a horror boner. Now, the rest of the movie? Not very horror boner worthy. I dug it overall, but without the pool scene – I’m walking out super limp. Ok, this is getting uncomfortable now. But anyway, the choreography for the fight scene between The Man in the Mask (Damian Maffei) and Luke (Lewis Pullman) both in and out of the pool was extremely on point. And the soundtrack of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ playing in the background was 80’s vibe perfection (gotta love how the synthy score kicks at the end of the scene btw), enhancing the moment even more. So kudos to The Strangers: Prey At Night for giving us a great scene in a not-so-great movie! Oh – and RIP Pinup Girl.
One of the better horror remakes to come out in recent years according to this horror aficionado, was The Evil Dead remake from 2013 (just titled Evil Dead now). And here we have longtime metal/horror group Mushroomhead releasing a brand new video for their song ‘We Are The Truth‘ from the album ‘The Righteous & The Butterfly‘ that pays homage to that very remake/reboot – complete with the cabin in the woods, Necronomicon, and blood being vomited profusely from a mouth. Let’s all not make another peep and check it out below:
Give me a moment, please. Ok. Can someone please tell me who that sexy-ass possessed demonic female singer was? Oh – it was Jackie LaPonza from the group Unsaid Fate? Got it. Moving on…….so the video had some amazing visuals going on and faithful re-creations to some of the key moments from Evil Dead. Points for that. Now, Mushroomhead has been around since the mid-90’s and are obviously no stranger to anything horror (given their image is completely horror-based) – so if you’re a fan of this video and of the band in general, they are releasing a brand new DVD on August 17th titled Volume III. Check it out and check out Mushroomhead on their upcoming headlining tour The Summer Of Screams!
Is there anything creepier than a 7’7″ giant man slowly stalking you while walking through a doorway that clearly isn’t built for his height? Ok, maybe you can think of some creepier things – but for me, one of the horror movie scenes that genuinely gives me the creeps every time I see it is when the giant man makes his appearance in the 2014 film It Follows.
Before I get into the clip, I just want to say that I feel that It Follows is one of the best horror films in the last 10 years. I realize it’s one of those movies that divides the horror audience – but for me it had more than a few true creepy moments, a great soundtrack/score, fairly original storyline, and this giant guy I’m about to show you. The music cue that accompanies his entrance deserves it’s own praise btw.
Huge (pun intended) props to actor Mike Lanier for bringing the full-on creepiness, without having to try that hard, with that grandiose entrance. Sadly, he passed away a few months ago – but his memory will live on through this scene alone. So – thank you, Mike Lanier and It Follows for effectively giving me the creeps! Now don’t even get me started on the pissing naked woman in the kitchen. Shudder……