All posts filed under: HORROR/THRILLER MOVIES

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. Advertisements

The M-Files: Mississippi UFOs

When we asked readers if they had ever seen an unidentified flying object, we received many responses, and a number were from individuals who wanted to remain anonymous, fearing they would face ridicule if they came forward with their unexplained sighting. One of the interesting things about these folks is that they all seemed like credible, well-respected professionals, who thought telling their story would damage their credibility, like the radio reporter who saw a mysterious light in the Gautier sky a few years ago. It moved rapidly — faster than anything she’d ever seen — then suddenly stopped and remained still a minute and a half before darting back across the sky in the same direction from which it came. Another man wrote to say that, in September of 1973, he was living in Germany on an Air Force base with other military personnel when he and about 10 to 20 others who were outside on their balconies spotted a large triangular object that moved from the southern horizon to the northern horizon in about …

Zombie fashion?

I recently blogged about the current popularity of zombie movies. While looking at trend sites today, I ran across this odd little item that seems to fit the subject. Etsy.com seller RW2Gallery crafts Night Life Zombie belt buckles. Zombie fashion? I think I’ve just found Vogue’s next photo spread. 🙂 I also have to wonder if the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” plays some part in this trend. The artist, Robert W. Walker of Ohio, says his surrealism art reflects his way of life – “to live loud regardless of what the emperor appears to be wearing.” Walker says, “Art is the freedom that the product imitates; it’s the hunger that war promises is on the way. Creation is a prerequisite for life, and that force is in our hands.” To learn more about Walker, visit his site. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Zombies and America

In the last few years, I’ve noticed a horror film trend. Zombie movies seem to have their own sub-genre now, and its content has become extensive in the last few years. I recently watched a 2006 remake of George A. Romero’s classic “Day of the Dead,” and started to wonder why zombie movies are so popular these days. Some of the titles that have been released in the last few years include “28 Days Later” and its sequel “28 Weeks Later,” the “Dawn of the Dead” remake and “I Am Legend,” to name a few. Here’s only a few that have been released since 2001: Biohazardous, 2001; Children of the Living Dead, 2001; Beyond Re-Animator, 2003; Blood of the Beast, 2003; Corpses are Forever, 2003; Bad Friend, 2004; Bone Sickness, 2004; Choking Hazard, 2004; Corpses, 2004; Dead and Breakfast, 2004; All Souls Day, 2005; Boy Eats Girl, 2005; After Sundown, 2006; City of Rott, 2006; Awakening, 2006; Awaken the Dead, 2007; Beneath the Surface, 2007; Brain Blockers, 2007; Days of Darkness, 2007; Dance of the …

‘The Orphanage’ haunts

Horror movies are usually hit or miss, particularly those that involve ghosts and haunted houses, but “The Orphange” (2007) succeeds in spooking its audience. As I’ve said before, for some reason, horror movies set in England or foreign countries just seem more realistic and frightening than modern American films. I think it’s because American horror films today are heavily dependent on computer-generated imagery. For instance, I recently watched “I am Legend” and thought the scenes with the infected humans and animals would have been much more terrifying if they had not been computer-generated. This is what made “28 Days Later,” a film with a similar storyline, so much scarier. “The Orphanage” is a Spanish film. I am not fluent in Spanish and generally don’t like subtitled films, but horror movies are the exception because you can generally tell what’s happening without having to constantly rely on the translation. You won’t see any CGI in “The Orphanage.” The realistic look and feel of the film is one thing that makes it so haunting. The cast was …

Bugs, of the horror movie variety: viruses, CGI locusts and Ashley Judd

Over the weekend, I got a chance to watch a few films that I was tempted to see in the theater, but didn’t. Two gave me the creeps. The third was a waste of time. 28 Weeks Later: Most sequels aren’t any good because they are money-making devices that capitalize on the success of the original film by repackaging its contents and offering nothing new. With “28 Weeks Later,” you know what’s going to happen, but the concept continues to be disturbing and, therefore, works. Horror films about infectious diseases are some of the most frightening to me. Two earlier movies that come to mind are the 1985 film “Warning Sign,” about a deadly bacteria outbreak in a laboratory; and “Cujo,” the 1983 Stephen King tale of a rabies-infected St. Bernard that becomes a real-life monster to woman and her son trapped in a car. The original film, “28 Days Later,” is about an infection that spreads throughout England, rapidly transforming everyone exposed into raging cannibals. The plot sounds a little over the top, but …

Film review: ‘Children of Men’

For some reason, science fiction movies and stories set in England just seem a little more creepy. Maybe it’s because Europe is across the pond, and Americans just aren’t as familiar with it. Sometimes sci-fi movies set in the U.S. seem a little over the top and unbelievable, but I’m somehow able to buy that a virus can wipe out most of London and turn the remaining survivors into the walking dead. That is the plot of “28 Days Later,” one of the creepiest sci-fi/horror films in years, and “Children of Men,” another recently released sci-fi film set in England that depicts a dystopian futuristic society, shares similarities. In the future, the world becomes a very violent place, and for some reason that’s never clearly explained, women are no longer able to have children. The last child was born 18 years ago, but something miraculous has happened. A woman has become pregnant, and Clive Owen is willing to risk his life to help her and the baby survive. It’s a film you’ll probably have to …

The Masters of Horror

I’ve been watching Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes, series that originally aired on TNT last summer featuring one-hour adaptations of King’s short stories. Like many of the movies based on King’s writing, the series seems to lack the extra edge needed to be truly frightening and impactful. So far, “The End of the Whole Mess,” a vignette about a man whose genius brother devises a scientific plan to cure the world of war and watches it backfire – ironically catalyzing the apocalypse, was one of the better episodes. “Autopsy Room Four,” which is similar to an “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode I saw in the 1980s, was also worth watching, particularly if you’re interested in seeing Richard Thomas, a.k.a. John Boy of “The “Waltons,” in a completely different light. I’m not really frightened by horror movies that revolve around the concept of animism, so I didn’t really think “The Road Virus Heads North” was very interesting. It’s about a writer named Richard Kinnell (Tom Berenger), who purchases a painting that once belonged to a young man …

These dolls might just send Stephen King over the edge

Have you ever looked at a porcelain doll sitting on a shelf and gotten a really creepy feeling about it? There are a number of horror films based on the idea. The whole “Chucky” series is about an doll that wreaks havoc, and creepy dolls are a Stephen King recurring theme. In “The Poltergiest,” a King-written screenplay, a little boy afraid of the clown that sits at the foot of his bed is later dragged under the bed by the doll. King wrote an “X-Files” episode about an evil doll, and one of the vignettes in his “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” series that originally aired last year on TNT was about a man (William Hurt) tormented by toys. A company of little green Army men battle him to his death. That’s why I think if someone bought Stephen King, (who obviously has major issues with dolls), one of the Strange Dolls I ran across online today and mailed it to him, it might just send him over the edge. The Web site says Strange Dolls aren’t …

Film Review: ‘Don’t Look Now’ should be heeded by viewers

If I had watched this “psychic thriller” in 1973, (which would have been difficult since I was born in 1974) I probably would have found it eerie and disturbing, but 30 years later, it just doesn’t have much impact. It’s about a couple, John and Laura Baxter, whose young daughter drowns in a pond at their home. They later go to Venice, where Laura (Julie Christie) meets a psychic who tells her she has seen her daughter and that she is happy. John (Donald Sutherland) also begins to see someone resembling the daughter running around the city, so he follows her, which proves to be a very bad decision. The movie begins interesting, then becomes boring until the end. It seems like it might have a surprising dramatic climax, but ultimately has a rather random conclusion. The film reminds me a bit of a postmodern novel structured with parallel imagery foreshadowing the second half of the book. It is visually interesting, and if you’ve been to Venice, you might be interested in the photography for …

Was Hannibal Lecter just being artistic?

Today, I read a story about New York artist Marco Evaristti, who recently invited some friends over to his apartment and served them 48 meatballs cooked with fat that had been liposucked from his body last year. He says the purpose of this latest “artistic” endeavor was to make people contemplate whether or not it is OK to eat human flesh. I think the fact that mad cow disease, which is thought to have originated in cows who were being fed other cows, is a pretty good indication that cannibalism in any form is probably not the best idea. And if that isn’t evidence enough, “Silence of the Lambs” should be. Let’s pretend for a minute that this is a question worth asking and not a juvenile “Marilyn Mansion” shock tactic to make oneself seem insanely genius, when you are just insane. I appreciate intellectually provocative ideas, but I’m not sure an idea worthy of a B-grade horror movie qualifies. If this is an extreme demonstration designed to make the public question whether or not …

DVD review: ‘Population 436’ – Stop it, Jeremy!

Would someone please prevent Jeremy Sisto from starring in any more bad, low budget horror films? Who is Jeremy Sisto, you might ask? He’s a really good actor, who has made several bad movie choices in the last few years, and after watching “Population 436,” I’m convinced he needs guidance. The movie is about a census-taker who visits a small town to record the population and discovers that the figure never changes. The town is basically a giant roach motel. You can check in, but the only way you can check out is if you kick the bucket. A balance has to be maintained at all times, otherwise a curse, or prophecy, or (something) causes (something) to happen. The something is never really explained. The film description initially sounded unique and intriguing, but the movie is really a conglomeration of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” “The Stepford Wives” and “The Village.” The result is boring, predictable and a waste of Jeremy Sisto’s talents. Sisto got his film start as a teenager in 1991’s “Grand …

Film review: Don’t rent ‘Chaos’

I have watched horror movies all my life. As a kid, I sat in the grocery store when my mother was shopping and thumbed through the pages of Cosmopolitan, Mad Magazine and Fangoria – a horror film industry publication that often featured the work of master makeup artist Rick Baker. Baker created a lot of gory things for practically every scary movie made, and a lot of it was disturbing, but his style was much more honorable than that featured in the awful movie I watched 30 minutes of Monday night. Do not rent “Chaos.” About 10 minutes into the movie, I thought I was watching a remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 film “The Last House on the Left.” Then, 30 minutes into the film, I had to turn it off. Yes, there is at least one horror movie in existence that is even too disturbing for me. Most horror films have some merit, even if they are dumb. But this one is so valueless that the producers decided to add a note at the …

Film review: ‘An American Haunting’

Intrigued by the idea that someone had made a horror film about Tennessee’s Bell witch, a story I’m vaguely familiar with since I lived near Tennessee most of my life, I rented this film hoping to learn more about the story. The movie is one of the few horror films I’ve seen that examines the idea of being tormented and possessed from a psychological standpoint. It tells the story of Betsy Bell, a young Tennessee teenager in the early 1800s, who is one day happy, energetic and flirtatious, and the next, a miserable, exhausted person, who tells her teacher she’s having trouble sleeping. Problems arise when a terrifying entity enters her room at night and begins to torment her. The Bell family is led by mom, Sissy Spacek, and dad, Donald Sutherland. Spacek, who’s generally a heavy sleeper, awakens one night, hearing noises on the floors above. When she investigates, she’s startled by her husband in the hallway, who tells her he’s convinced the noises are the work of a neighbor he wronged in a …

Film Review: ‘Rest Stop’ – Are road trip films more popular in wartime?

Anyone who has ever been on a road trip and had to pull into a gas station or rest stop knows how disgustingly horrifying they can sometimes be. And if experiencing the neglected filth and stench of a dirty sink or toilet isn’t terrifying enough, now there’s a horror movie based entirely on the idea. When two rebellious young people run away from home and head to Los Angeles, they make the mistake of pulling into a rest stop that has been a serial killer’s trap for decades. For a B-grade horror film with only one well-known actor playing a minor part, the movie, reminiscent of “Hostel,” is pretty effective. Jaimie Alexander, the lead actress, convincingly plays Nicole, a runaway exerting her independence until she becomes trapped by a maniacal murderer and must fight to stay alive. And Joey Lawrence, of “Blossom,” “Gimme a Break” and “Dancing with the Stars” fame, has a small role as a dumb police officer who ultimately meets his doom. The scenes in which the people are actually using the …

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I hadn’t seen this movie since the 1980s when I watched it on television with my Halloween-loving cousin, Pam. It was a little too much for me to handle then, so I left Pam’s house early without finishing it and ran quickly home to my mama. Last night, the movie was on FUSE, and it wasn’t as terrifying as I remembered as a kid, but I’m sure it still has the potential to scare the leggings off anyone who hasn’t seen as many horror films as I have. I recently read a review about “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” that contrasts the 1974 version and the “Chainsaw” film released a couple of years ago. The reviewer argued that one element missing from the remake is Vietnam. Apparently, the director had the Vietnam war in mind when he shaped the original film, and the murder and mayhem within it supposedly symbolizes the terror and insanity of Vietnam. I also read a short piece today about Ed Gein, the man who inspired the character Leatherface. I hadn’t realized …

Film Review: Suspiria 1977

This 1977 horror film is a great movie for interior designers who want to better understand elaborate ’70s decor, but it didn’t turn out to be a great scary movie choice for Halloween night. “Suspiria” has a few creepy moments, and if you find witches frightening, you might enjoy it. I, however, am not afraid of witches and didn’t think the movie lived up to “classic” status. That said, the cinematography is impressive. Visually speaking, I’ve never seen anything like it. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

‘Classic’ horror list gets longer

A car is generally deemed a “classic” when at least 25 years or one human generation has passed since its production. The same rule likely applies to “classic” films. As a lifelong horror movie fan, there aren’t many films of the genre I haven’t seen. Some from the 1960s and ’70s 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). Following the same guidelines established for cars, “The Shining” (1980) can now technically be considered a classic. It’s been 26 years since its release. And perhaps it won’t be long until we honor the following horror films with that adjective. The word classic may soon apply to “The Poltergeist” (1982), “Friday the 13th” (1982), “Cujo” (1983), “Children of the Corn” (1984) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984). “Silence of the Lambs” (1991) and “Scream” (1996) must wait a little longer. Here are a few horror/thriller movies that …

Film Review: Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Persona’

I rented this 1967 film because I’ve read several articles about other films that reference it. Since I recently watched David Lynch’s surreal, open-ended “Mullholland Drive,” I thought I would give “Persona” a chance. The two films are similar because they are both about the confusing psychological relationship of two women. “Persona” is about a nurse and her patient and how their personalities begin to merge. If I hadn’t already seen some of Roman Polanski’s 1960s films, it might have impressed me more, but I think I’ve been somewhat desensitized by “Repulsion,” another psychological exploration of the female mind. It’s raw film that succeeds in getting under your skin to read a part of your mind that most films never explore. It seems experimental like other European films from the 1960s or before, with photographic elements similar to Dali’s 1929 “Un Chien Andalou” in the beginning. I guess our world was once filled with very progressive, edgy, intellectual filmmakers, but has since regressed. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. …