Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)

Title: Dracula has Risen from the Grave (1968)

Director: Freddie Francis

Cast: Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barry Andrews


Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is the third entry in the Hammer Dracula films that star Christopher Lee as Dracula. It's the film that follows Dracula Prince of Darkness.

The innocent couple waiting to be put through hell!

The story picks up right where Prince of Darkness left off, with Dracula frozen in the icy mountains close to his castle. The towns people are still frightened of Dracula even though Dracula has been dead for quite some time now. A Monsignor comes to visit the town and realizes that the people in the town are all still living in fear of Dracula even though he was destroyed in the last film. The town is so frightened, that they no longer go to church because Draculass castle casts a shadow over it. Even the priest of the church has lost his faith! So the monsignor decides to go to Draculas castle and perform and exorcism to convince the towns people that Dracula is in fact gone forever, so they can continue with their lives and leave the shadow of Dracula buried in the past. Too bad that the faithless priest that comes along with him ends up falling down some rocks and spilling his blood all over Draculas corpse bringing Dracula back to life!

What makes this one special is its visuals. Freddie Francis is the director this time around, giving Terence Fisher a deserved break. You see, Fisher was supposed to direct this one, but he suffered a car accident that didnt allow him to do it. So in came Freddie Francis, if you ask me, a welcome addition to the Hammer roaster of directors. He did a commendable job taking over the reigns of the series. And its a welcomed change in my book because Freddie Francis brings these films to a new level by giving them a very distinctive visual flare. Freddie Francis was an experienced cinematographer before he became a director, as a result, the film has some incredible looking colors. Colors you wont see no any other Hammer Dracula film.

Christopher Lee dons the cape and fangs again as Count Dracula looking more menacing then ever. I dont think Dracula has ever looked more evil on any of the previous Dracula films. Theres something about Draculas eyes on this one, the look more demonic then usual.

Freddi Francis, conjures up some very interesting visuals on this film. Theres some scenes with Dracula running around the roofs of the small town that look amazingly atmospheric. Or the scenes with the monsignor performing the rites of exorcism in front of Dracs castle in the middle of a storm! Great stuff. Theres just something special about this one. For example, theres this moment in which Dracula gets a huge gigantic stake through his heart! It just has to be seen to be believed! Though it can stir up a few vampire enthusiast since Drac takes the stake out of his heart...its still a great scene visually speaking. To me its one of the most memorable moments on ANY Hammer film ever. And thanks to director Freddie Francis, Dracula has Risen from the Grave has a lot of such visually great moments.

Sadly, Dracula is not given any real reason for his actions. According to the movie, Dracula gets horribly upset because the priest put a big golden cross across his castles door. Therefore he must "get his revenge!" Too bad Dracula is never given any real motivation for his actions. He is just reduced to waiting for one of his servants to fetch him a victim....not to menacing. Sometimes it seems like Dracula is just there to "look scary", chase after the girls and throw pieces of furniture at the guys, which by the way is something that Hammers Dracula has done from the first film! Whenever someones coming at him the throws a candlestick or a chair to try and stop them! I always find that hilarious. Im thinking they could have made Dracula a better villain, given him better motivations and just made him a bit more menacing. Maybe when he says that he is going to get his revenge, his just referring to what was done to him in the two previous films, but that isnt made very clear. As it stands, it just looks like Dracula is just scary looking in this one. I mean even in some scenes when he visits Maria in her room...he kisses her, touches her, gropes her...but doesnt even bite her!

The movie does go into interesting territory by making its hero, a young man named Paul, an atheist. He doesnt believe in God yet he is the one that has to face Dracula. Also interesting is the fact that one of the priests turns into a lap dog of Satan. But dont they always in horror movies? Well anyhows, it seems that Paul, the faithless hero has to come up with some, in order to save the day. The film also stars Veronica Carlson as Maria. What a hottie. Another beautiful actress to add to the Hammer roster. Gotta give that to Hammer films, they allways had the most beautiful actresses. Here, Veronica Carlson plays the virginal family girl turned evil servant of the lord of the dead.

In spite of its shortcomings in the story department, the film still manages to be a cool Hammer flick. It has all the usual atributes of a Hammer flick, the babes, the fog, Christopher Lee, castles, and the such, but it has a Dracula that looks more evil and menacing then ever, even though he doesnt pose much of a threat. Hey, at least Lee gets some dialogue in this one wich I thought was kind of strange since he didnt even say a single word in Prince of Darkness. Yeah, apparently Hammer was trying to compensate for the little screen time that the count has in Prince of Darkness and actually gave old Count Dracula a few more lines, apparently they were decent enough for Christopher Lee to say them this time. Though he really doesnt say much anyways. Sadly, theres no Peter Cushing around, he doesnt return to this series of films until Dracula 1972 A.D., one of the worst of all the Hammer Dracula films!

Theres a couple of interesting points about this movie, it was Hammer Studios most profitable film ever! And it was the first film to ever be rated by the Motion Picture Asociation of America (MPAA) way back in 1968, so now we know were it all began. The ending of this film connects directly to Taste the Blood of Dracula, the next film in the series. And I gotta hand it to Hammer for keeping the continuity going at least until the fourth film. Fun vampiric times for lovers of atmosphere.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dracula Has Risen From the GraveDraculas: 4 Film Favorites - Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)Dracula Has Risen From the Grave [VHS]

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Title: Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Director: Terence Fisher

Cast: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Francis Mathews and Charles Tingwell.


Horror of Dracula was the film that kicked off Hammer Films slate of Count Dracula films. Christopher Lee wanted more cash in order to involve himself in a sequel, Hammer didnt want to pay up, so Brides of Dracula was made without him. Thats a fine film on its own right, and you can read my review for Brides of Dracula to see what I thought of it. But, lets face it, it didnt have Christopher Lee playing Dracula! So, I guess Hammer Studios and Lee came to some sort of agreement because he finally returned to play Count Dracula in the film I'll be reviewing today, Dracula: Prince of Darkness the second Dracula Hammer film featuring Christopher Lee as the titular Prince of Darkness. Some consider this film to be the true sequel to Horror of Dracual. So, how was it?

Hammer Studios had a certain formula for making their Dracula flicks. Heres how it went: basically you take a couple who are on a trip to somewhere and suddenly either their their car breaks down, they run out of gas, or the night has caught them and they rather stay in some hotel on their way to where they are going. At some point in the evening, they end up in a nearby pub, to get warm, ask for directions or eat something. While on the pub, the town folk warn them not to go out into those woods at night. And dont even think about going up to that castle at the top of the hill! You'll stay away from it if you know whats good for ya! But the naive couple go anyway, fall under Count Draculas deceptive charms and end up as dinner for the ancient vampire.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness did not deviate from that formula. In fact it played it out to perfection! In this case its two couples who end up going into Dracula's castle even after the towns people warn them not to go. Dracula is resurrected by his servant Klove using the blood of one of the guests as a way to resucitate his master. Carnage and vampire mayhem follow. The storyline in this film isnt very original, wich to me is one of the down sides to this film. Basically you can sum this movie plot like this: Characters end up in Draculas castle, Dracula gets resurrected, Dracula feeds on the guests, more often then not, these guests end up being beautiful english ladies. The story is extremely simple and is certainly nothing new or groundbreaking, but since its so well produced and directed, it ends up being entertaining non the less.

On Prince of Darkness, Terence Fisher (one of Hammers finest directors) makes sure that we get what we expect. A spooky castle at the top of the hill, some heavy atmosphere and some poor helpless victims. Ill underline the fact that Fisher really did a good job in creating the perfectly eerie castle. The wind is hollowing 90% of the film, the shadows and cobwebs are everywhere, so we get an excellent spooky setting for this film. We are presented to Klove, Draculas servant on this film, Draculas personal lap dog, his helper, his ghoul. In fact, Klove is more on the film then Count Dracula himself! I saw him more of a threat then Dracula himself. Which is one of the downsides to this film, Dracula takes so long to finally appear!

The movie pays tribute in a few scenes to Bram Stokers original novel. Theres a scene with a character thats very similar to the "Renfield" character that likes to eat flies and serves "the master" always doing Dracs bidding in an attempt to get everlasting life himself. Also it has a scene in wich Barbara Shelley under Dracs hipnotic stare drinks blood from Draculas chest. I guess TerenceFisher and the writers of the film just wanted to give a little nod here to Bram Stokers original novel. A similar scene can also be found in Francis Ford Coppolas Bram Stokers Dracula, where Wynona Ryder sucks on Draculas bleeding chest.

One thing I did not like about this film. Even though it has excellent production values and direction, we hardly get to see Dracula in this film! We dont see anything of him until 50 minutes into the film! You get a bit desperate after a while, to the point where you ask yourself, is this really a Dracula film? Where is the old Count? When he finally does show up, he is on screen for something like 5 seconds and then disappears yet again! Come on! We came to see Dracula luring beautiful women to his castle and sucking them dry, not his servant doing all the dirty work! For some reason they chose to deny us of his evil presence. Im guessing this had something to do with Lee, who really didnt take pride in working on these films. In fact, Christopher Lee agreed to work on this film, but decided not to say a single line of dialog because he thought the script was so bad! As a result, the count doesnt speak a single word through out the whole film! Not one single sylable! I think it was really stupid of Lee to deny saying his lines, after all, he agreed later on in his career to say some really bad lines in future Dracula movies like Dracula 1972 A.D. and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. But whatever, I guess he was a big shot during the early days of Hammer Studios and could give ultimatums such as this one. I can see Lee saying "Im not saying a single line of your stupid dialog! Take your stinking script and shove it up your ass!"

And yet another sad aspect of this film was that there is no Peter Cushing anywhere to be seen. No Professor Van Helsing playing Draculas antagonist. Instead we get a character called Professor Zandor. In this film he takes Professor Van Helsings place with all his vampire knowledge.

In conclusion, the film deprives us of what we want most of: Dracula himself. Its not very original in the story department because it was following a formula that for some reason just didnt care about telling a very interesting story. But as far as visuals, great sets and spooky atmosphere go this ones a keeper. No matter how simple the story is, the production is great, Hammer didnt need a mind blowing script to do a good horror film. And even though Lee is seen briefly in this film, whenever he is on, its still awesome, so I recommend this movie even though there are better Dracula films on Hammers resume.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Dracula Prince of Darkness (2 Disc Set)Dracula: Prince of Darkness (Ws) [VHS]Dracula Prince of Darkness/The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Title: The Dunwich Horror (1970)

Director: Daniel Haller

Stars: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell


I'll start this review by saying that Ive read quite a few of H.P. Lovecraft's stories and that I love them. A lot of them are about otherwordly creatures who used to dominate earth once upon a time and now they are looking for a way back in, to conquer and dominate the earth once again. Essentially, this movie plays with these Lovecraftian themes, only thing is that it does it with a distinctively cheesy Roger Corman b-movie feel to it. Was the film any good? Did it pay respects to the H.P. Lovecraft short story that inspired it?

Well first lets start out with the story, wich was about this guy called Wilbur Whateley, who is very interested in 'The Necronomicon' a.k.a. The Book of the Dead. He has a downright voracious appetite for it! He needs to read it because this book explains how to bring "the Old Ones" here to earth. He goes to the Miskatonic University (which actually has one of the few copies of the book) and ask for it, to inspect it closer and read a few of the passages that let him know what he has to do to bring "the Old Ones" back. While there he meets (and enchants) Nancy Wagner a young girl to wich he is strangely attracted to. He basically plays a jedi mind trick on her and manages to convince her to go with him to his old mansion in the town of Dunwhich. You know, for the weekend. Soon after that, he decides he will use her to perform a ritual wich will bring "The Old Ones" back to earth and therefore bring upon the destruction of the human race!

The Dunwich Horror has this really weird aura to it. Its got a weird feeling of unease and a lot of that has to the with Dean Stockwells eerie and quirky performance as Wilbur Whateley. He is so quiet and mild mannered yet you get the feeling that he has some dark purpose to his get the feeling that something is not quite right with this guy. Theres something in that look that he gives that is unnerving. Then of course this being a movie based on an HP Lovecraft story that "weird feeling" feels just right. Like many of Lovecrafts stories this movie has that feeling of going into the unknown, of discovering an otherwordly thing that has existed for eons yet we know nothing about. Of knowledge of the universe that could drive you MAD!

One of the best things about this movie is its art direction and its ligthing. As we all know, these are two very important aspects of any good horror movie. The ligthing sets the mood, and in this movie we get dark corridors, filled with shadows and mysterious rooms. The interior of the mansion itself is pretty effective. Lots of old books, statues ancient runes. Love that about the movie! Theres this really eerie scene where we get to see the mansion from its exterior and the house is creeking and making all these weird sounds, and everything looks rotted and ugly, this type of thing just makes everything all the more spookier. What I liked about it as well is that the film was shot near the Ocean, which is perfect for any film of Lovecraftian nature. Remember, Lovecraft was sometimes about ancient creatures coming out of the ocean, like in Stuart Gordons Dagon, another excellent Lovecraftian film.

This movie is vaguely similar to H.P. Lovecraft's original tale. Lovecraft's original story concerns a small town in the middle of nowhere. In that story, the people of a small town out in the sticks are freaked out because something appears to be living in the nearby woods, something alive, something that smells bad, something that burns the woods to a crisp! What is it? Many people think it could be the offspring of that weird Whateley family! Thing is, that the film is very different in tone, and changes many situations around, so do not expect a faithful adaptation of the book. Simply expect a film that was inspired by it. Something that exists within Lovecrafts universe. Characters end up talking about the Necronomicon, The Miskatonic University and "The Old Ones" so lovers of Lovecraft should feel quite at home with this movie even though its not really a faithful adaptation of the story its inspired by.

In many ways, this film feels a lot like The Wickerman, Silent Hill or Rosemarys Baby. The kind of movie were you know something werid is going on, but your not quite sure what it is. Thats the vibe I got when I saw Wilbur pulling his dirty tricks on Nancy, slowly luring her into his world. Same deal with all these other movies about weird cults, at first the bad guys charm you and pull you in, then they pull out their claws and you end up on the sacrificial altar. Thats the vibe with this movie, movies like that always get under my skin.

Then theres "The Old Ones", the creatures that are trying to come into our world and take over. Theres this build up in the film, all this talk about these creatures that impregnated Wilbur...and Wilbur might actually be one of them, so kind of get restless to see the damned things. Well, the creature finally appears in the film, unfortunately, this is where I was completely dissapointed with the film because the monster is a cheap cop out. All we see is the monsters point ov view, which consists of a bunch of psychodelic colors flashing on the screen. Its ultimate purpose is to not let you get a good look at the cheap ass monster they made for this movie. They dont really let you get a good look at the damn thing, and as we all know that is the sign to look for when a film is ashamed to show its creature. When the make up effects guy couldnt come up with something that would look decent on screen, they try not to show it too much. Kind of like those Predaliens in Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.

But ultimately, this is not a bad film! What saves it is Dean Stockwells performance! Its so over the top and spaced out, that it keeps you glued to the screen. And when he dons those ceremonial garments and is getting ready to sacrifice the virgin in an altar to the Old Ones, I was a satasfied Lovecraft fan. I was just so damn dissapointed with that cop out on the creature, otherwise, the film is great. It has great atmosphere and a cool story going for it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Black Orpheus (1959)

Title: Black Orpheus (1959)

Director: Marcel Camus


Every once in a while a movie that I’d never even heard of comes along and completely blows me away, like a beautiful surprise from the movie gods. I love it when this happens because it reminds me, no matter how many movies you’ve seen through your life, there will always be something new, different and beautiful out there that you haven’t seen. Its for moments like these that movie buffs live for. I recently had one such experience with the film Black Orpheus.

The movie is the story of Orpheus, a young Brazilian bus driver who is about to get married to his fiancé, Mira. Problem is Orpheus isn’t truly head over heals in love with Mira and he isn’t really looking forward to the day when he will marry her. So much so, that she is the one who puts up the money to buy her own wedding ring! Marriage days looms like a dark cloud in the life of Orpheus until the day when Eurydice comes along. They instantly fall in love, and Orpheus can do nothing but think of her. At the same time, death is following Eurydice around, trying to take her for himself. Will Eurydice escape the clutches of death? Will Orpheus rescue her and finally unite with the true love in his life?

This film is based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus, the play originally entitled Orfeu da Conçeicão was written by Vinicius de Moraes. Director Marcel Camus updated the story and placed in a modern setting, taking place in a favela in Brazil, and the whole film happens during a Carnaval! The Carnaval aspect of the film is what really brings it to life! This movie reminded me a lot of Federico Fellini’s Amarcord, or La Dolce Vita, where at some point characters are brimming with life and joy and happiness, everyone is talking, the city is making noise, people are laughing, dancing, talking, eating. Well, director Marcel Camus did the same thing here in Black Orpheus because the characters in the film seem to always be dancing their way from plot point to plot point.
If a character is talking, they will do it with a smile on their faces. And when they finish talking and are going to go away somewhere, they go jumping up and down in dance! It’s a film that’s filled with kinetic energy and life. A huge part of this comes from the wonderful soundtrack which includes music from Luis Bonfa and Antonio Jobim. The music in this film is almost non stop, because the whole film takes place during a constant never ending carnival. But that Bossa Nova, it makes you want fall in love. I ended up dancing across my living room with my girlfriend after seeing this one, so I gotta tell you, the films happy joyus carnival atmosphere is infectious.
Apart from the music, the fact that the film was shot entirely in Brazil is one of its most beautiful aspects. Camus really wanted to make Brazil and its beautiful vistas seem magical, in accordance with the fantastical elements of the story he is trying to tell. You see, the film is kind of like a fantasy, with the mythical figure of death following Eurydice around. We all know death isnt a pyshical being (unless you believe the Grimm Reaper is real) but in this film it follows Eurydice around. There are many symbolical visual queues in this film, for example in one moment we get Orpheus going down a dark dark set of stairs which end in a room lit with red lights, extremely symbolic of Orpheus going down to hell. So you have to be looking out for symbolic visual queues like those.
At the same time, the film has symbolisms towards themes of love, life and death. It speaks about how there is a true love out there for us, and when we find it, we must do everything in our power to protect it, which is what Orpheus is constantly doing, protecting Eurydice from the claws of death, which in this film comes in the form of a man dressed in black, following Eurydice around. At the same time it speaks about how life continues through children, because in the film there’s these two kids who really admire Orpheus and his guitar playing. They imitate him, want to be him, so much so that they take his guitar and try and play like him, trying to make the sun come up with the guitar music.
Though the film is a tragedy, because its based on one, it actually manages to end on a happy note, an uplifting happy feel letting us know that life is circular and continues long after death has taken us away from this planet. I highly recommend you check this movie out, its beautiful, filled with life, music, love…it will make you feel like packing your bags and moving to Brazil right after you finish watching it!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Film Connoisseurs Halloween Movie Choices!

Well, you know how everybody always suggests the same old batch of movies to watch on Halloween night? Flip through any list on the net, from any major newspaper or film magazine and they will most likely recommend the same batch of films: The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, Night of the Living Dead…and I’m fine with those movies. Actually, I love those movies and do consider them to be classics and awesome horror films on their own. But there’s so many other horror movies out there to watch on Halloween! Fun stuff! Gory stuff! Spooky old fashion horror films that will make you feel like you’re celebrating Halloween Night! The greatest night of the year! And you just know you have to watch a movie on Halloween night…it kind of goes with the whole holiday. So anyhow here’s some movies I’ve gathered for you guys. These are movies you can throw in you’re DVD player to spook and tantalize the guests at your Halloween Party!

And hey, if you want more horror movies then the ones you see on this post, just look through the archives, Ive got a couple of other good ones there as well! So anyway, here they are in no particular order:

The Old Dark House (1932)

Director: James Whale


This old school horror film is about a group of travelers who are forced to shack up in a spooky old house when a wild storm doesn’t allow them to continue driving. What waits for them inside of this spooky old house is The Femm Family, your basic weirdo family and their mysterious mute butler. What I love about this movie is that it was directed by the great James Whale, who also directed the must watch horror classics Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. This movie is loaded with tons of atmosphere and old school spookiness, and if you pay attention, you can have some fun with the dialog as well. Also, this film was remade by famed b-movie director/producer William Castle in 1963, only he turned it into a comedy!

Trick R’ Treat (2009)

Director: Michael Dougherty


This movie was tailor made to be watched on Halloween night, with your hollowed pumpkins lighting the room, while eating your Halloween treats. Basically, the film takes place during Halloween night, and it tells four different tales, all the tales are connected. The film is brimming with Halloween atmosphere. Lots of full moons, Pumpkins, trick or treaters, dried trees, werewolves, a murderous high school principal, ghost kids, you name it, its here. Fun movie. Perfect for this season. Be sure and watch the little animated short film entitled ' Seasons Greetings' that is included in the dvd extras, that little short is oozing Halloween atmosphere every step of the way!

Brides of Dracula (1960)

Director: Terence Fisher


Well, this one is perfect for Halloween because it just so damn eerie. Basically, one of Dracula’s disciples has decided to continue his legacy and is striking terror all over town. Thankfully, Van Helsing is still around, ready to go into action! Movie is extremely gothic, has many memorable moments in it, and is all around, a spooky movie with excellent production values. Its one of Hammer Studios best films! Directed by one of Hammer Films best directors, the great Terence Fisher.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Director: James Whale


I actually enjoy this film way more then the iconic first film. They are both good, its just that this one has a little more coolness to it. So many memorable moments on this one, but best thing I love about it? The sympathy I feel for the creature. This is the one Frankenstein film that makes you feel something for the creature. It’s a film about dealing with loneliness, isolation and being misunderstood. But aside from that? Well, it’s a bigger production then the first, the sets are bigger, the art direction is fantastic! This is a masterpiece every film buff should watch! A perfect Halloween movie filled with cemeteries, burnt windmills and a monster looking to be accepted and understood.

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Director: Terence Fisher


This is the traditional Dracula story, told by Hammer Studios. Of course they changed a few things around, but it’s all there, Jonathan Harker, Lucy, Dracula, Dr. Van Helsing. Movie Oozes atmosphere 100% I love those moments with vampire Lucy walking around the cemetery and the creepy woods while holding a little girl that she wants to feed on by the hand! The movie is filled with spooky moments like this one, and it’s truly creepy! The music enhances the experience. Terence Fisher made sure every moment is spooky, so you’ll love watching this one with your lights turned down! Christopher Lee as the vampire is intimidating, and Cushing’s Van Helsing is ready to kick his ass with his vampire knowledge.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton


You know when Halloween time comes and everyone is asking for that “perfect Halloween movie” to watch on that special night? Look no further! This is it! Tim Burton has always been known for making gothic ' halloweenish'  films, but I have to admit that to me this is the one! Everything about it is spooky and stylish and creepy! I would love to live in this town! So dreadful! Fog everywhere, haunted forests, ghosts, witches, treason, jealousy, and all those bad traits us humans are famous for. It’s got it all. Johnny Depp plays the scary cat detective Ichabod Crane. Another excellent performance from the always great Johnny Depp. Christina Ricci looks angelical in this one. And Miranda Richardson is pure concentrated evil! Highly recommend this one.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Director: Kenny Ortega


Three witches were burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials! Apparently, these were real witches and not part of all those innocent women that were burned during the real life witch trials that occurred thanks to the Inquisition. So anyways, these three witches have been cursed for 300 years! And when a little kid lights a special candle, the witches are brought back to life! Now, these three witches are looking to steal the life away from trick or treaters! I love this movie, it has all the things that make an awesome Halloween movie. It has Bette Middler playing the head witch, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy play the other two witches that make up the trio. There’s zombies, magic, black cats that talk and magic candles! Highly recommended to show to your kids on Halloween night. If you have any.

Fright Night (1985)

Director: Tom Holland


Charlie Brewster’s new neighbor is a vampire! And nobody believes him! What’s a guy to do? Well, if you are Charlie Brewster, you go up to your favorite T.V. horror host and ask him to use his knowledge of horror films to kill your vampire neighbor! This is an awesome 1980’s vampire movie! It’s got so many cool special effects! We get a truly awesome werewolf transformation, we get demonic looking vampires, spooky houses, vampire best friends and girl friends….and a memorable battle between good an evil. One of the best vampire movies from the 80s, along with The Lost Boys and Near Dark.

I always wondered how they did this awesome effect!

Poltergeist I (1982) 
Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
Poltergeist III (1988)

Directors: Tobe Hooper, Brian Gibson and Gary Sherman respectively


All three of these movies are awesome Halloween movies, the supernatural element is given so much life in these films! But at heart, all three films are about family unity and keeping everyone together, not letting the evil get to you. I always find it kind of curious that the villain in these films is actually a religious fanatic’s ghost trying to get little Caroline to take "him into the light! But what keeps this family together is their love, I always liked that about these films. But what I also love are the special effects! The ghost still hold up against modern day fx, these ghost were old school, done with out one drop of CGI! Part III goes even further and decided not to use any special visual effects, and instead the director chose to do all his fx on camera, and practically, so that makes part III special as well. I love that scene in which Papa Freeling barfs up that tequila worm! Love it when that hole to the other side appears in Carol Annes closet! Love it when Robbie Freeling is attacked by his bracers! Plus, you can’t go wrong with Craig T. Nelson’s awesomely funny dialog!

Evil Dead I and II

Director: Sam Raimi


So what can I say that hasn’t been said about these two movies? For those of you who haven’t had your Evil Dead experience yet, go get these two movies, turn of your lights, hold on to your bibles and watch this Evil movie! It’s filled with demon conjuring books, forests that come to life, demon possessions, decapitations, cellar dwelling zombies, laughing furniture, evil mirrors, evil chopped off hands…just rent it and experience the damn thing. You’ll thank me later.

Night of the Creeps (1986)

Director: Fred Dekker


Finally we get to complete our horror collections! I’m so excited that this film is finally out on DVD! Why is this movie so cool you may ask? Well, its got everything you could ever wish for in a horror movie: evil alien scientists, alien slugs, zombies, murderous psychopaths, college fraternity parties, cryogenically frozen dead bodies...need I go on? It has a college nerd and his girlfriend trying to stop an army of alien slugs that brings back the dead! Pretty soon, its one nerd vs. mountains of alien slugs and zombies! How can you go wrong with that? This movie rocks and those of you who haven’t had a chance to see it yet, run to your favorite movie store and buy this sucker! It’s a hidden gem from the 80s that is fast paced and fun to watch!

Phantasm II

Director: Don Coscarelli


Phantasm II is the biggest budgeted of all the Phantasm films, so in many ways, its one of the coolest of all the four Phantasm films. At least in my book. You don’t need to have seen the first film to understand this one because this one does a pretty good job of explaining all the rules of this universe. The Tall Man and his spheres never looked better! This one has gorier effects, more spheres! The whole series has a surreal dream like aura to it. You’ll feel like you are having a nightmare! I love this series of films because it has lots of horror elements! The tall man steals corpses from graves! His base of operations is inside of a mausoleum! He takes dead people and turns them into slave dwarfs! Highly recommend this one for a fun Halloween night!

The Gate (1987)

Director: Tibor Takacs


Without them knowing it, a pair of best friends do everything that is necessary to open up a gate to hell! Soon, little demons start appearing all over the house, everyone starts having these messed up dreams and hallucinations because the door to hell has been opened! Could Satan himself be scheduled for an appearance? I love this movie because (just like the Phantasm films) it has such a surreal vibe to it, it all feels like one big nightmare. In this movie you’ll find séances, levitations, heavy metal records being played backwards, zombies, little demons, melting phones, dead dogs, and gigantic demons from hell! The effects in this movie are fun to watch and inventive. It stars a very young Stephen Dorff. Recently this movie was re-released into the world by the guys at Lionsgate, don’t miss it!

Halloween III Season of the Witch (1982)

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace


I don’t think there’s a better film to watch on Halloween. An evil Warlock is looking to kill all the children of the world on Halloween night! He plans on hypnotizing them all to the TV screen on Halloween night and melting their faces away! Will Tom Atkins be able stop this crazy warlock who uses the power of Stonehenge achieve his goals? A lot of people don't like this one because it has nothing to do with Michael Myers, the psycho killer that appears in all the other films in the Halloween franchise, but you know what? So what!  This one aint got Michael Myers in it, but its one hell of a Halloween movie! It’s even got evil cyborg robots in it for crying out loud! Just watch it and make believe it doesn't belong to the whole Halloween franchise, you'll have a blast! 

The Beyond (1981)

Director: Lucio Fulci


This one comes to us from Italian Horror Maestro Lucio Fulci. The Beyond is all about one of the seven gates of hell which as fate would have it have just slammed opened! A woman has just inherited a hotel, what she doesn’t know is that beneath it lies one of the seven gates of hell! What this means of course is that zombies and demons are now roaming the earth! Can the door be closed? This one is one of Fulci’s best films ever, it oozes with tremendous amounts of atmosphere and gore. You will see some sick gore on this movie, the likes of which you will never see in an American film! Wanna see what blowing off the head of a 12 year old girl with a shot gun looks like? Look no further! Highly recommend it if you want to shock your friends and leave them with their jaws dropped on the floor!

Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A. Romero


I love anthology movies because of their fast pace and their ability to get to the point and give you a quick jolt! Creepshow is an excellent anthology film that was directed by George Romero and written by Stephen King for the sole purpose of paying homage to the Tales from the Crypt/Vault of Horror comics they used to read as kids. And they did it well! Five jolting tales of terror and the macabre! A fun film to watch on Halloween night, the stories are about vengeful zombies, long forgotten monsters hidden underneath the staircase of a university, an alien life form that will turn you into a walking moss man and a story about a rich old man that hates bacteria, roaches and dirt…yet in the end he gets more then he deserves! Fun times!

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Director: John Harrison


A little boy has just been kidnapped by a witch who lives in the suburbs! She is about to cook him so her witch friends can eat him up when they come over later in the night. So the little boy, in a move of desperation begins to read some horror stories to the witch, from a book of horror stories that a past victim left on the dungeon he is being held prisoner in. The rest of the movie is composed of the stories the kid is reading to the witch. One is about a nerdy college student who uses a magical parchment to resurrect a Mummy, one is about a gargoyle that falls in love with a human, and another is about a cat who avenges the death of all his brother and sister cats who had been killed in experimentation for a new drug. Get this: Tom Savini has been quoted as saying that this movie was really going to be Creepshow 3! But, since the Tales from the Darkside show was so popular they decided to name it after the show. It stars the likes of Julianne Moore, Christian Slater and even Steve Buscemi! 

Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Director: Freddie Francis


This film is based on the old EC Comics Tales from the Crypt series, just like the HBO show that lasted seven seasons. Only thing is, this movie came before that famous show! On this film we get five strangers who don’t remember how they got to this spooky cave like dungeon. But while there, they meet this strange individual who knows all about them and how they got there. They each tell the last thing they remember, and so, our stories begin to unfold. On this film we get five different stories! This film was directed by Freddie Francis who at one point worked with Hammer Studios making some memorable horror films! This movie is best known for its episode called “…And All Through the House” about a murderous loony who dresses up like Santa Clause on Christmas Eve, it was later remade by Robert Zemeckis for the HBO Show and aired as the first episode of the series! But also, this film has an excellent story (my favorite of the bunch) about a bunch of blind people who decide to go up against the new dictator like director of their home for the blind, a ver spooky and eerie story not to be missed. 

Check it out, Peter Cushing in zombie make-up!

Night of the Demons (1988)

Director: Kevin Tenney


Yet another excellent film to have a fun Halloween night! It’s got all the necessary ingredients! A haunted House! Horny Teenagers! Demons! And Heavy Metal! This is the quintessential 80s horror movie! A bunch of kids decide to go to a local “haunted house” to have some fun on Halloween night. Little do they know that Angela, the girl who invites them is in cahoots with demons! This movie is a very low budget effort, but it’s got imaginative effects, and Linnea Quigley slips a lipstick into her nipple. Don’t worry, that last sentence will make perfect sense once you watch the movie.

Title: Demons

Director: Lamber Bava


Come on, what’s scarier then demons on Halloween night? Nothing! So this movie has a cool premise. It’s about this new movie that is getting premiered and only the select few with the special ticket get to go and see it! Kind of like the Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka, but for a horror film. What they don’t know is that the film is so evil that it releases Demons onto the movie theater and soon, the audience becomes possessed by demons and start killing each other in truly grizzly ways. This movie is Italian, so you can expect the gore and the mayhem to get really really crazy! It’s really out there. Throats get ripped apart, eyes get ripped out…you name it, you’ll see it here. This is for those of you who want to gross out your guests during Halloween.

The Fog (1980)

Director: John Carpenter


This is an old fashion spooky ghost story directed by non other then John Carpenter. It’s about a strange fog that suddenly takes over the town of Antonio Bay. What they don’t know is that this isn’t just any old fog! This Fog brings something old and menacing and vengeful along with it! This movie is recommended for those who want to have a spooky, quiet, terror filled night with your friends. It’s got a hell of an ending!

The Blob (1988)

Director: Chuck Russell


This one is about a strange blob that falls on earth by way of a meteor. The blobby mess is hungry for humans! And it grows! The more humans it eats, the bigger The Blob gets! Its up to the town rebel/misfit without a clue and the local cheerleader to stop this alien creature from eating everyone in their town and possibly…the world! Ive always loved this movie because the special effects are awesome! It’s a very entertaining film, with tons of gross out make up effects!

House of a 1000 Corpses (2003)

Director: Rob Zombie


This movie marks the beginning of Rob Zombies directorial career, and boy what a way to start! This film tells the tale of the Firefly family. Basically, they are a bunch of loony’s who love to torture and kill strangers who fall into their house like flies on a spider web. They are fucked in the head, and they will take you down to the deepest levels of hell! This story gets crazier and crazier as the movie goes along…till by the end, its full blown madness! It’s Rob Zombies homage to Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Director: Mel Brooks


So if you want to have a bit of comedy in your Halloween night, this is the way to go. Story is about Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of one Victor Von Frankenstein, who use to experiment with the dead! So essentially, Frederick inherits his granddads castle and decides to move there. Once he gets there, the mad scientist bug bites him and he decides to try and duplicate his grandfather’s experiments of resurrecting the dead! Pretty soon, there’s a monster rampaging the streets of the town and its up to Frederick, Igor and Inga to stop the creature. So what makes this one work so well is the comedy in it. The cast is pitch perfect! Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein was the most inspired piece of casting I’ve ever seen! Wilder has an ability for going coo coo on screen, and trust me, on this one he is in full crazy mode! Marty Feldman as Igor is HILARIOUS! And Peter Boyle as the creature is one of the best Frankenstein’s Monster to ever grace the silver screen. This movie is not only considered one of the funniest movies of all time by many critics around the world, it is also an excellent Frankenstein film. Filled with spooky castles at the top of the hill, thunderstorms…and a deadly creature roaming the cold streets! Quite possibly Mel Brooks masterpiece.

Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)

Directors: Gilbert Adler and Ernest R. Dickenson


This one is about this magical key that demons from hell are after because this key holds within it the blood of the one and only Jesus Christ! Its also one of the seven keys that can open up the gates of hell and let the demons take over earth! And whoever drinks from it becomes a Demon Knight, sworn to fight and defend the earth from the evil demons from hell. This movie is one fun ride, if you don’t want your Halloween Party to get boring, pop this one in, it’s a non stop thrill ride of make up effects, gore, action, and demons! It also has an excellent cast which includes Billy Zane, William Sandler, Jada Pinket, and Thomas Haden Church. Fun times all the way!

So anyhow, theres my choice of cool films to watch this Halloween. I chose these films cause they are spooky, fun and amusing. Hope you enjoy at least one of these during your Halloween night!


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