All posts filed under: HORROR/THRILLER MOVIES

Hypnotized by white culture, ‘Get Out’ is about being awakened

One of the cool things about teaching a college introduction to mass communications class is that you get to discuss the history of media, including books, magazines, newspapers, television, radio, music and movies. We also look at current events that relate to all of these mediums, and this semester, we watched a couple of current movie trailers, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Get Out.”

Thrilling Thoughts About ‘Black Mirror’ and Real ‘American Horror’ Stories

By LaReeca Rucker Every now and then, I offer a list of some of the best horror/thriller movies, television shows and documentaries I’ve recently seen. Here they are: Black Mirror: I originally began watching “Black Mirror” a couple of years ago when the first season came to Netflix. At the time, I was a little embarrassed to share with others some of the content of this British science fiction series set in the near future with a technology/social media theme. Some of the subject matter in the first season has the potential to make viewers blush, including an episode in which the Prime Minster’s daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom. She will be murdered if the Prime Minster doesn’t perform an embarrassing act that will be recorded and shared on television and social media. So after watching it, I filed it away in my brain as interesting, but edgy until I started to see numerous articles written about “Black Mirror” recently in The New Yorker – which had already labeled the television series “A …

Scary movie suggestions for Halloween and beyond for thriller, horror fans

By LaReeca Rucker Halloween is over, but if you’re a fan of the thriller genre like I am, any day of the year is a good day for a cinematic thrill or scare. Each year, I usually compile a list of the best thrillers I’ve seen over the previous year. Here’s a list of some of the movies I’ve watched over the last couple of years that you might enjoy. The Hidden Face (2011) – One of the best thrillers I’ve seen in years, this Spanish film employs Edgar Allan Poe’s frightening device of live confinement. It’s also a cautionary tale about jealousy. In this film, an orchestra conductor deals with the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend, but has she really disappeared? I’m Not Scared (2003) – This film is my top pick. Forget the fact that it fits into the thriller/horror genre. This is one of the best movies of the decade. I’d even define it as a masterpiece that explores morality and human nature. In this Spanish film, a young boy accidentally discovers …

Longwood mansion in Natchez

Here I am on the front lawn of Longwood mansion, an antebellum home in Natchez that was never completed by its owners. Exterior shots of the home were also used as the Vampire King of Mississippi’s home on True Blood. I didn’t see any vampires while I was there, but it was an interesting place to visit. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Check your Netflix cue for ‘Rites of Spring,’ a horror film shot in Jackson

Check your Netflix selections, and you may run across a 2011 horror movie called “Rites of Spring” with a creepy, vintage-style poster image of a woman dangling from a rope in front of an old farm house and the tag line “Fear has a season.” Watch the first few seconds of it, and you’ll learn that the movie has a Mississippi connection. Google it, and you’ll see it was shot entirely in the Jackson metro area in 2010. After kidnapping a young girl from her wealthy parents in a ransom scheme, a group of villains soon discover that there’s something more frightening and horrible than them lurking about. And when their hideout in an abandoned school becomes inhabited by a chilling curse that resurfaces each spring, they lose grip of their plan. A “Rites of Spring” sequel is in the works, according to producer Wes Benton, who has owned the Mississippi-based production company Red Planet Entertainment with his brother, Bobby Benton, since 1980. The two grew up in Mississippi and decided to produce a film …

Will you give ‘Mama’ a chance? Director Guillermo del Toro says: ‘Come to ‘Mama,’ baby.’

I’ve never been really frightened by pale, gown-wearing, double-jointed ghostly figures who crawl out of televisions or demon-possessed characters who could probably land gigs as contortionists in Las Vegas reviews, but I’ll have to admit, as a horror/thriller movie fan, there is something about the “creepy kid genre” that I find disturbing. Jessica Chastain, who earned Oscar nominations for her work in “The Help” (set in Mississippi) and the new film “Zero Dark Thirty,” will soon have two films in theaters simultaneously when Guillermo del Toro’s “Mama” is released Jan. 18 – another movie with creepy kids. In it, Chastain plays a woman who finds herself caring for her significant other’s young nieces who were left alone to fend for themselves in the forest for five years after their parents died. But the movie asks the question: How alone were they? The trailer looks interesting, but also looks like it relies on those familiar spooky contortionist creatures who, thanks to special effects, speed up and jump out at you. (For an example of what I’m …

Is We Need to Talk About Kevin another prophetic work of fiction?

I have always believed that science fiction writers are prophets and sometimes wonder if the same can be true of anyone who pens a fictional story. Perhaps they are connecting to the universe in some strange and mystical way that we can’t fully comprehend resulting in a vision of the future. Take for instance The China Syndrome. The film, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, tells the fictional story of a reporter and her crew who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant and witness an accident that narrowly avoids a nuclear meltdown. It was released by Columbia Pictures on March 16, 1979, just 12 days before the partial nuclear meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island. In one scene, a nuclear safety expert even says a meltdown could force an area “the size of Pennsylvania” to be evacuated. It also seems like Morgan Robertson was prophesizing in the 1898 novel Futility that tells the story of an “unsinkable ship” that hits an iceberg and meets its doom, but it would be 14 years before …

What’s your favorite scary movie?

It takes 25 years before a car can generally be deemed a classic. Perhaps the same rule applies to “classic” films. As a lifelong horror/thriller fan, there aren’t many from the genre I haven’t seen. Many have achieved classic status, like “Psycho” (1960), “The Birds” (1963), “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), “The Exorcist” (1973), “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974), “The Omen” (1976), “Halloween” (1978), “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979). Those 1980s Halloween movies, like the “The Shining” (1980), “The Poltergeist” (1982), “Friday the 13th” (1982), “Cujo” (1983), “Children of the Corn” (1984) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), have also passed the 25-year mark. “Silence of the Lambs” (1991) must wait four more years, and “Scream” (1996), a little longer. Here are a few horror/thriller movie suggestions for the holiday that may or may not be considered classics in the future, yet have the potential to give you a good scare this Halloween: • “In Their Skin” (2012): When a couple mourning the loss of their daughter returns to a family …

Would Norman Bates approve?

Last week, I went blonde for our office Halloween party. Today, I thought I’d delve a little darker into the Halloween spirit. This tree dress that I refashioned using an old shift dress from a thrift store and upholstery fabric from a craft store, seemed like a fitting Halloween ensemble, even though I wear it year-round because I like tree prints. I guess I’ll be wearing it tonight at the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Screen on the Green showing of Psycho. It sounded like a Halloween night event worth checking out. Update: A picture from the event: Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Year of the Living Dead

Perhaps you saw the gruesome footage on the local news of the zombie uprising that hit every corner of the city last weekend – from The Mississippi International Film Festival Zombie Ball to Ridgeland’s Cadavar Course 5K and Richland’s Zombie Mud Run. Take shelter! Zombies have finally made their way to the metro area! I first blogged about the popularity of zombies in 2008 after noticing that many Etsy sellers were using the motif in jewelry and for other handmade items. It seemed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. I also wrote about the expanding zombie genre of movies. Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in zombie-related events in America, particularly charity events like 5Ks, and because zombies have now made their way to Mississippi, we did a piece today called Year of the Living Dead. Check it out for a more in-depth pop culture analysis about why zombies have invaded our culture. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

‘Saw’ director brings ‘The Devil’s Carnival’ to Jackson

Whether you’re a horror fan or an opera fan, you may be interested in a new film that is showing across the U.S. and recently made a stop in Jackson. Darren Lynn Bousman, the director of “Saw II,” “Saw III” and “Saw IV,” and Terrance Zdunich, creator of “REPO! The Genetic Opera,” kicked off the tour for “The Devil’s Carnival” at Comic-Con. It was shown this week in Jackson at the Davis Planetarium at 201 E. Pascagoula St. “The Devil’s Carnival” is a musical-horror-fantasy series set in a theme park in hell, where Aesop’s Fables are reenacted (often through songs) in the lives of lost souls. It was inspired by a love of amusement park dark rides and subversive nursery rhymes. Think “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but set in hell. Bousman said he wanted to create something artful. “I was tired of just being the Saw guy,” he said. “I wanted to do something different. … ‘The Devil’s Carnival’ is about showing people that you don’t have to fit within a mold to be …

Kermit: A Mississippi icon

I’ve been a fan of Kermit the Frog for a long time. And because the new “Muppets” movie comes out this week, I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the Kermit things I own and point you toward other cool Kermit finds. The reason I have a soft spot in my heart for Kermit is because, of course, I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, and loved “The Muppet Show” and “Sesame Street.” (I’m sure many of you can relate.) But it’s also because Kermit is officially recognized as a Mississippian along with his creator Jim Henson. Leland, Miss., is known as “the birthplace of Kermit the Frog.” Deer Creek has even been recognized by community leaders as the spot where Kermit swam as a tadpole. Kermit was also the grand marshal of the St. Paddy’s Day parade in Jackson a couple of years ago. A giant Kermit balloon made its way down the street, and I wore a handcrafted Kermit shirt for the occasion that I may have to revive …

Turkey Day thriller menu

It’s been a while since I’ve written a column about some of the better horror/thrillers I’ve seen in the past year. I meant to get that out by Halloween, but maybe you can watch one on Turkey Day instead. Since I recently got an iPad and have been watching more movies via Netflix, I thought now would be a good time to add to that list. The Perfect Host (2010) – I gave this movie a shot because David Hyde Pierce, of Frazier fame, is a solid actor. I found a quirky, comedic thriller about a career criminal on a mission to help his ailing girlfriend who finds himself in a tricky situation when he discovers that his victim is psychologically deranged The Ward (2011) – Wes Craven, the man behind Freddy Kruger, tells a story that unfolds with a surprising conclusion. In it, we meet a girl who has just burned down an old farm house and is carted off to a mental ward where strange things are happening to the other girls who …

Black Swan and The Red Shoes

It’s Oscar night, and we’ll soon see if Black Swan wins the award for Best Picture. After reading several Black Swan reviews that referenced The Red Shoes (1948), I decided to watch the vintage film and compare the two that bear striking similarities, including creative visuals. The Red Shoes stars Moira Shearer as Vicky Page, a beautiful redhead that is selected as the featured dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes that is based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale about a pair of mystical ballet slippers. Vicky falls in love with and later marries the young composer, Julian Craster (Marius Goring), who has been charged with writing the score for the ballet. The central character is master manipulating ballet director, Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook). In an attempt to regain control of his ballerina, he forces her to choose between two great loves – her husband or dance. Vicky must decide between having a career or being an obedient wife. Her decision to dance, something she earlier equates with life, appears to …

Thriller Night?

As a lifelong fan of the thriller/horror genre, I am always on the lookout for new films that offer surprises. If you are too, here are a few I’ve seen over the past year or so that you might find interesting. Otis (2008) – Let me preface this description by saying this is a dark comedy. After a teenage cheerleader is captured and tortured by a psychopath named Otis, she escapes and tells her parents about the ordeal, and they vengefully decide to take matters into their own hands. Illeana Douglas was a perfect choice for the mom, and many will remember star Ashley Johnson, now grown, as the kid (Chrissy) inserted into Growing Pains to boost ratings during the show’s final years. I wonder if she’s still friends with Leonardo DiCaprio, also formerly of Growing Pains. Right at Your Door (2007) – This apocalyptic, indie tale is about chaos that ensues after a dirty bomb goes off in Los Angeles spreading toxins. Closure (2007) – X-Files fans may see Gillian Anderson in a new …

Brittany Murphy’s work

Brittany Murphy was a talented actress and someone who I thought would have a lengthy film career. She was also a great singer – a gift she hadn’t exhibited much in film with the exception of voiceover work done in “Happy Feet.” Murphy was good at comedy, good at drama, and I figured she’d eventually be big on Broadway, so her December 2009 death was shocking. The Hollywood Reporter published an article this week that seems to shed some light on what happened to Murphy or how it happened. Following her death, I watched four of her films and was impressed by three. The Dead Girl (2006) features a cast of great actors starring in vignettes that are all linked by Murphy’s character, a girl who ran away from home to escape abuse and leads an out-of-control life until it ends. The performances of all are great, but Murphy has always stood out when playing unhinged, psychologically lost and unpredictable characters, choices that remind me a lot of the bold work of Juliette Lewis. In …

Get Frozen

If you’re at home anticipating snow, sleet or icy roads and looking for a good movie to pass the time that is appropriately titled and themed, check out Frozen. Thriller fans will probably enjoy this tension-filled 2010 film written and directed by David Green that Netflix users have given three stars, a pretty high rating for films of the thriller/horror genre. Influenced by that rating, I decided to instantly watch it last night. Three young adults go to a New England ski lodge, and things are pretty uneventful until they are the last to leave. After begging the ski lift operator for a ride back down, he sends them on their way, but soon leaves abruptly to handle a paycheck issue, turning the lift over to a replacement who doesn’t understand that the three are still on it. When he shuts the lift down and closes shop, the trio becomes stuck mid-air in freezing temperatures. Thinking it could be a week before the ski resort reopens, they must decide to succumb to their fate or …

Funny games, creepy kids, lost rooms and Chinatown

It’s been a while since I reviewed some of the Netflix movies I’ve watched, so I thought I’d talk about a few memorable films I’ve seen in the past couple of years. (This is just a rental rundown and not the ones I’ve instantly viewed. I plan to revisit those later.) Funny Games – After reading a review about this 2007 German remake a few years ago, I decided to check it out. “Funny Games” is a must-see psychological thriller, thoroughly tense and unsettling. While vacationing, Anna (Naomi Watts) and George (Tim Roth) are visited by two young men whose genteel, “Eddie Haskell” demeanor soon fades, revealing the depth of their insanity. Actors Michael Pitt, of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” who is frequently cast as “the intellectual psycho,” (i.e. 2002’s “Murder By Numbers”) and Brady Corbet hold the family hostage, playing tormenting mind games. Joshua – This 2007 “creepy kid” thriller is about an 8-year-old genius named Joshua (Jacob Kogan) who begins misbehaving after the birth of his baby sister. When his parents (Sam Rockwell and …

Movie review: Eden Lake

If you’re a horror/thriller movie fan like myself who is always looking for a good heart-pumping, jaw-dropping scare, you may want to check out Eden Lake. This week, I Yahooed “best horror films of 2008 and 2009” and saw it repeatedly mentioned by reviewers. Some gushed, calling it “one of the best of the decade.” Luckily, someone had put it on YouTube, so I viewed it there. Written and directed by James Watkins, this 2008 British film is about Jenny (Kelly Reilly), a soft spoken nursery school teacher who goes on a weekend getaway to Eden Lake with her boyfriend, Steve, (Michael Fassbender), a cute guy who seems a tad impulsive. While there, they encounter a group of young trouble-making morons who interrupt the couple’s peaceful outing by playing loud music on a boombox. (I guess a boombox was necessary because the scene wouldn’t have worked if everyone had been quietly plugged into their individual iPods, but boomboxes are ancient artifacts from the 1900s that can only be found in museums these days!) Refusing to …

The vampire trend

I asked a few public relations companies if their clients had any vampire-related products or merchandise that were created as a result of the current popularity of vampires – Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc. – and here’s what they came up with. Some sent items that they felt vampire fans would like. 1. A leather jacket from the Hurley collection. 2. A fanged pacifier found online. 3. Therapy Systems sells these eye shadow cases for $19 called Evening Twilight. 4. MicheleBaratta.com will be sending some of her jewelry to the set of The Vampire Diaries with hopes that it will be featured on the show. The Unchained Cross necklaces sell for $59 each.   5. Lolita offers these vampire shot glasses. 6. ForYourParty.com recently launched a Vampire Collection of coasters and cocktail napkins. Each product can be customized with your personal message, monogram, name, date, and more. The ForYourParty Vampire Collection Cocktail Napkins retail for $25 for 50 and Round Coasters for $33 for 50. 7. Loveandluckshop.com recently introduced a vampire card for …

Film review – District 9

For the first 30 minutes, I wondered if District 9 was a failed drama that had become an unintended comedy. The trailer’s tone seemed serious, but the crustacean-shaped aliens that loved to dig through trash and devour cans of cat food were comical. I soon realized the initial presentation was by design. And when the film switches from the viewpoint of the documentary filmmakers to that of the creatures and we begin to read their subtitled thoughts, we then empathize and understand that our initial judgments were unfounded. District 9 is a film about the prejudices we sometimes have for the foreign and unfamiliar and how those false judgments often lead to injustice and inhumanity. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Zombie Love?

Proof that the zombie trend continues, check out this $25 Zombie Love shirt by Etsy.com seller Pinuppixie, who is based in Arlington, Texas. One of my friends pointed out that it’s appropriate for Halloween or Valentine’s Day. A quick Etsy search also revealed a zombie bride and groom wedding cake topper, a laptop bag featuring a zombie scene, “Zombies are people too” pins, zombie hands and feet pendants and zombie greeting cards. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Zombies strike again

While searching Etsy.com to see what new Mississippi artists and craftsmen have joined the community, I ran across The Boneyard BOOtique. I have written about the popularity of zombies in the DIY craft community, so I wasn’t surprised when I found these hand-sculpted zombie dolls and pendants by a Sandersville, Miss., artist. Not sure they’re my style, but there’s probably someone out there who would proudly wear one. And if you don’t believe zombies are trendy, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Chronicle Books offers this version of the classic tale with added scenes. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.