Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch chose to take the Halloween series in a direction audience’s weren’t ready to deal with but is never the less one of the great horror films of the 1980’s.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Produced by Halloween (1978) creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill, with Carpenter also providing the pulsing electronic scores, Halloween III: Season of the Witch took the Halloween series on a path inspired by E.C. horror comics of the 1950’s and horror anthology series such Night Gallery (1970-1973).  The idea was to have a series of films all taking place around Halloween and various spooky plots.  By 1982, however, for better or worse, the slasher genre had become fully embedded in the pop culture consciousness and could not, for the moment, be forgotten.  Striving to innovate in an already repetitive genre, like a fine wine Halloween III only gets better with age.

Perhaps the most imaginative entry in the Halloween cannon, Season of the Witch revolves around a series of Halloween masks made to brainwash children in connection to the Gaelic festival Samhain.  Doctor Daniel Challis, portrayed by horror legend Tom Adkins, is called in to care for a local shop owner, Harry Grimbridge, who later dies at the hospital in an apparent suicide.  After tracking down a series of leads concerning a mysterious Halloween mask Challis and Grimbridge’s daughter Ellie unearth an evil cabal surrounding the Silver Shamrock Novelty Company’s Halloween masks.  Of course, there is a rich, evil mastermind at the center of it all.

The style of the film is that of a classic thriller and is one of the more daring Halloween films in terms of extreme shots and editing techniques.  Of particular interest are the brainwashing Halloween mask commercials complete with proto-techno music and strobing television sets.

Choosing to skewer American Commercialism with deeply psychological scares instead simpler slasher fare.  The Halloween had still maintained a sense of dignity in the early 1980’s in comparison with films such as Friday the 13th (1980), Prom Night (1980), and Happy Birthday to Me (1981) by ignoring trends in the genre and instead choosing to simply tell a creepy story and to tell it well.  In the vein of Carpenter’s The Fog (1980) Halloween III revisits a time before gore fests when spooky houses and creepy businessmen were en vogue.  As producer Debra Hill stated in Fangoria Season of the Witch “was supposed to be a ‘pod’ movie, not a ‘knife’ movie.”  Hill hit the nail of the head as indeed Season of the Witch has much more in common with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) than with the original Halloween.

With an amazing John Carpenter score, a classically inspired plot and mind boggling scenes of horror, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a seminal film for fan of the Halloween series and for horror fans in general.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace
Stars: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O’Herlihy
Country: USA
Release Date: 22 October 1982 (USA)

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Bent Volume 1

Bent Volume 1 is a horror movie written and directed by the reputable Jason Santo. It is composed of three short, heartbreaking and touching stories of people confronted by different dilemmas associated with life.

The first story “Marisa” is about love, betrayal, and vengeance. The plot revolves around a woman who found out that she was cheated on by her boyfriend. Feeling betrayed and heartbroken, she took things on her own hands and gives the guy her own version of sweet revenge. What is unique about the film is the absence of character dialogues. Nothing is said but the scenes are carefully chosen showing a good flow of the story. It was well-portrayed and the emotions are very clear.

The second story was entitled, “Haunted”. From the title itself you can expect a suspense thriller film to be presented to you. It is about a group of gangsters or hired killers who were asked by their boss to kill his girlfriend’s new fling. They beat the guy up to death and even had the nerve to video tape it to present to their boss as an evidence for a job well done. They then brought the girl named Colette, their boss’ girlfriend inside a warehouse. They tied her up and knocked her out. Until for the next few minutes in the film, they realized that they are not all alone in the warehouse. There is something else with them. Something they can’t see but they can feel. It was also nicely done by the entire cast. The effects were good. Even if this is a low budget film, as you watch the movie you will soon forget that it actually was because of how the cast have shown real creativity and great cinematography skills in this film.

In the third story “His Life”, played by Roman Berman, we are moved by the dilemma that a man is facing in his life. From the day he was born, he knew that he is bound to die upon reaching the age of 25. Because of this, he left all his loved ones without anything said, even just a goodbye, to tour the world and discover its great wonders. It was obviously a very selfish act of him not even thinking that his family and even his girlfriend are dead worried about him while he was enjoying every single moment of it. But in the end when he went back home, he visited all the special people in his life that are dear to him, asking for forgiveness and understanding. This is how he showed his final goodbye to them. It was indeed a very touching, heartbreaking story that will leave anyone teary-eyed.

Bent Volume 1

Bent Volume 1

All three films were a job well done by Jason Santo and his casts which includes Cassie Ross, Gene Dante, Tom Howard, and Roman Berman. The quality of the film was superb considering the tight budget. The three-story compilation was a product of the right talented people combined with great amount of creativity and skills. In general, Bent volume 1 is a great movie worth watching as it has the right elements showcasing stories about love, life, and afterlife.

Director: Jason Santo
Cast: Cassie Ross, Gene Dante, Tom Howard, Roman Berman
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 2004

Night of the Living Dead

Night Of The Living Dead is a hooror movie directed by the legendary director George A. Romero. Night Of The Living Dead revolves around the rising of the dead to hunt for fresh meat. It was assumed that the terror all started when the dead were hit by a radiation caused by a fallen satellite which causes a dead man walking and rising, hungry for warm, human flesh.

The main plot of the movie started when two siblings went to a rural cemetery to visit their father’s grave. This graveyard is located in a remote area at the city of Pennsylvania.

While Barbara, the sister, played by Judith O’Dea, was saying her heartfelt prayer, her brother contested and tried to argue about the concept of God and the church. While they are discussing, a forceful zombie grabbed Barbara and attacked her.

Her brother rushed to defend and save her. He was then bitten by the zombie and was eventually killed. Frightened, Barbara hurriedly jumped to their car as she was being chased by not just one, but a lot of zombies.

She tried to look for help and arrives at a local farm house nearby. There was no one around and no means of communication is available as the phone was disconnected. She stayed there for shelter until Ben, played by Duane Jones, the hero in the film, arrives at the old house.

She now has company but at first, she was even more scared of him than the zombies parading outside. Later a few more refugees from the terror joined them in the house. It includes Harry Cooper, played by Karl Hardman, his daughter Karen played by Kyra Schon, and his wife Helen played by Marilyn Eastman, and two more people.

The movie did not only show chaos between the living and the dead, the people and the zombies, it also showed chaos between people themselves. People versus people. It happens in real life therefore it is a good point to emphasize.

In the house, as the characters were all strangers to each other to begin with, except for the family of Cooper, all of them were struggling to survive not just the zombies but each other as well. Trust is the main factor as in times like these where it is a matter of life and death, you cannot really trust the motives of all the others and you cannot really pinpoint who is the real hero or if there is actually one.

All of them are arguing about each other’s own issues and fighting over which strategy to use to fight the terrifying zombies. One mistake in their strategies means putting someone’s life at risk.

Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead

The film was very well portrayed by each of the characters in the story. The ending also offers a very touching and unexpected twist. In general, the Night of the Living Dead is still one of the best and most liked zombie movies ever made. No wonder it has grown popular even through the years. It is definitely worthy of praise. It is classic and unbeatably terrifying.

Director: George A. Romero
Cast: A.C. McDonald, Bill Cardille, Charles Craig
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 1968
Award: National Film Preservation Board

Lighthouse


The plot concerns the running aground and wrecking of a convict ship on the rocks surrounding said lighthouse. A mixed bag of convicts and guards survive and struggle to the shore, one of which is the insane Leo Rook who helped to sink the ship in the first place and who now needs to kill every single one of them to make sure that his past is never discovered and he can run free. Since he has a collection of severed heads, the crew are unsurprisingly not keen on this. Spader, the leader of the survivors and his team pitch up in the lighthouse and use that as their base which is under siege from the demented killer.

This British thriller has a great cast, as well as James Purefroy as Spader, it features Rachel Shelley, Don Warrington and Paul Brooke, all fine actors in their own right who work well together in this ensemble piece. Don’t get me wrong, this is a straightforward slasher flick as Rook goes on his inevitable orgy of death and destruction and the intermittent flashing of the lighthouse helps to build a tremendous sense of suspense and atmosphere. The lighting should be singled out for special praise incidentally, as sometimes it’s simply beautiful, almost evoking echoes of German Expressionism. Though made on a low budget with arts Council funding, the film really makes the best use of what it has and the production values often transcend their origins.

On the downside, the characters are a little one dimensional, falling easily into cliché but they are well enough written and performed to still make us care when they are gruesomely dispatched. The dialogue is also lacking that spark which would set the film as another notch above the more usual slasher fare and it does seem occasionally as if the writer lost the plot slightly but the set pieces more than make up for any minor deficiencies and the whole film hangs together well, cracking along at a good pace and never becoming boring.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

The score has a great retro quality to it that suits the movie really well and the cinematography is nicely understated and gritty, lending a realism to the situation. However it’s most worth watching for the performance of Charles Adamson who really gets his teeth into the role of the mad killer Rook and gives a performance that will have you riveted to every scene he is in. Definitely one to watch.

Director: Simon Hunter
Cast: James Purefoy, Rachel Shelley, Christopher Adamson, Paul Brooke, Don Warrington, Christopher Dunne, Bob Goody, Pat Kelman
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 2000

Girlfriends

Girlfriends is a 65 minute film of full thrill, suspense, and crime starring Nina Angeloff and Lori Scarlett. The plot is centered on this young attractive couple of two lesbians named Pearle and Wanda.

They make a living by killing men who pick them up on the streets to supposedly get a few hours of pure excitement and pleasure. These two lesbians get the money of these men and manage to ran off. This has been their modus operandi, which somehow helped them survive their financial needs.

This movie is well done with good quality despite of its lack of financial resources and very low budget. It still manages to pull things off by good acting, substantial dialogues, and a very good script. Both Nina and Lori, the main casts are effective on their portrayal of the characters.

This will surely scare off men who will watch this movie reminding them to never again mess with the ladies. Guys should be careful now before picking some attractive and hot sexy chicks on the streets. You do not know what they are capable of doing.

The video quality is also good with great editing. The volume of sounds are just enough with proper timing to the scenes. The scenes were almost natural, not at all trying hard acting. The camera angles are also impressive.

The film was actually very simple but its story is very realistic as it talks about the financial situation of some unfortunate people who needs to display themselves on the streets and go with different men in one night. It talks about how money and life’s misfortunes can tempt anyone to commit crime and even murder. It talks about young love that may be experienced by some teens today. It talks about lesbianism, which is still a strong and critical issue nowadays. It talks about life’s realities in general and not just plain horror movie with crazily made-up phantom coming from nowhere with an obvious purpose to scare, not to mention annoy the audience.

Girlfriends somehow manage to stand out from the rest of the independent low-budget horror films. It is naturally entertaining, thrilling with a dash of humor that was very well injected to it with the right timing. It is funny as well with great graphics and impressive special effects. The ending is also unexpected and surprising.

The movie was successful in captivating the audience from start until the end. It is engaging making the audience follow through the scenes. It is nice to watch and worthy of praise and recognition. It was generally a good film which is a product of creative directors and a good screenplay, great script combined with the right talents.

Girlfriends

Girlfriends

This movie is highly recommended especially for independent film fans and followers. This is much better compared to other low-budget independent films that are comparable to trash and junks. This is good quality with real acting.

Director: Wayne Alan Harold, Mark Steven Bosko
Cast: Nina Angeloff, Lori Scarlett
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 1993

Fears of the Dark

The producer of the Horror Movie, Fears of the Dark, summed it up like this:

Spiders’ legs brushing against naked skin… Unexplainable noises heard at night in a dark bedroom… A big empty house where you feel a presence… A hypodermic needle getting closer and closer… A dead thing trapped in a bottle of formaldehyde… A huge growling dog, baring its teeth and staring… So many scary moments we have experienced at some point in our lives – like the craftsmen of this journey straight to the land of fear. Six of the worlds hottest graphic artists and cartoonists have breathed life into their nightmares, bleeding away colour only to retain the starkness of light and the pitch black of shadows. Their intertwined stories make up an unprecedented epic where phobias, disgust and nightmares come to life and reveal Fear at its most naked and intense…

Bringing together the work of graphic artists Blutch, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Jerry Kramski, Lorenzo Mattoti, Richard McGuire, Michel Pirus, and Romain Slocombe this is obviously a fantastically visual treat for the eyes as well as being genuinely scary.

Fears of the Dark

Fears of the Dark

Charles Burns contributes a story of an isolated and shy college student who is seduced by a woman who seems to somehow be the offspring of a giant praying mantis.

This is perhaps the creepiest of the lot, having definite echoes of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and is well served by the beautiful yet sparse illustrations used to depict the nightmare scenario. Another story takes on the Anime themes of schoolgirls and syringes and sexual provocation, mixing in a ghost story and a wildly imaginative and incredibly disturbing looking creature.

There’s a great somewhat Saul Bass ((legendary film graphic designer who created memorable title sequences for Hitchcock) piece and a more straightforward though no less artistically satisfying and emotionally chilling story of a man with a team of ferocious dogs who attacks a little boy. What doesn’t really work is the annoying voice over in-between the animated segments where a woman reels off a list of things she wants to avoid becoming.

It’s a French language film with subtitles but the beauty is in the imagery rather than the words. If you like art house animation, you’ll love this movie, and if you just want a good horror, you can’t do better.

Original Name: Peur[s] du noir
Director: Blutch,Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire
Cast: Gil Alma, Aure Atika, Fancois Creton, Guillaume Depardieu, Sarah-Laure Estragnat, Nicolas Feroumont, Nicole Garcia
Language: French
Subtitles: English
Nominations: Motion Picture Sound Editors
Country: France
Year: 2007

Links

Fears Of The Dark Movie Review on Horror Movies.
Watch Fears Of The Dark Online
Fears Of The Dark on Wiki

Witchmaster General


This is director Jim Haggerty’s fourth film and for this he decided to cast the lead singer of the LA Guns, Phil Lewis. What could be seen as simply a piece of stunt casting proved to be a wise choice as Lewis is actually surprisingly good in his role. Her plays Dr Phineas Gorgon (would you trust a doctor with a name like that? No, me neither) who has some bizarre and reasonably evil ways of solving his patents’ problems. Vic Martino stars as the detective assigned to make either head or tail out of Gorgon’s weird doings.

If it sounds like the plotline of a Hammer film, I wouldn’t be surprised, this movie definitely has that sort of feel about it and is much the better for it. The storyline become quite engrossing as the film progresses, never letting the tension slip for a second, although some of the production values do rather spoil this effect. There’s an awful lot of female nudity going on as well (not that I have anything against that) but at times it does seem to be there just for effect and becomes comical rather than sexy. However, knowing that he has only limited resources, Director Haggerty wisely focuses on telling the story and in this he is very successful.

Though Phil Lewis is extremely effective as the mad Doctor, really getting into the role inn a way that makes you fear for his sanity, some of the other performers are pretty dire, undermining the script with performances that leave you feeling unconvinced and unmoved and all the porn players (surely that’s what they are, don’t tell me they’re actresses) have clearly not been cast for their thespian skills. Still, this is what you expect from Haggarty and so I suppose he’s only delivering to his audience. As it were.

Witchmaster General

Witchmaster General

It’s a patchy piece of work at best in the final analysis, a good script brought down by some truly dreadful acting and some often dodgy production values, but having a good script to begin with is a lot better than many low budget films ever manage. This is definitely worth a try if only because the film makers also thought it so. Whether they succeeded or failed is up to the individual to decide.

Country: USA
Year: 2009
Director: Jim Haggerty
Cast: Phil Lewis,Suzi Lorraine,Colleen Marie,Bud Stafford,Charlie Parshley,Vic Martino
Language: English

The Last House on the Left

The Last House on the Left should probably only be seen by people with a strong stomach—even today, after audiences have been exposed to films like the Saw series. However, despite mixed opinions, it is not your ordinary exploitation film, or, rather, it is a smarter-than-average example of the genre.

The film stars Sandra Peabody as a teenage girl named Mari, and Lucy Grantham as her friend, Phyllis. The two girls are kidnapped, raped, tortured, and eventually killed by an escaped convict named Krug (David Hess) and his gang. Presented with the opportunity for revenge, Mari’s parents (played by Richard Towers and Cynthia Carr) take it upon themselves to punish and kill the criminals themselves.

Wes Craven could have made a typical exploitation film, and for many reasons, The Last House on the Left does fit into that genre. However, several touches place it several cuts above the rest. For instance, there is the portrayal of the characters played by Peabody and Grantham. They could have been written as shallow ditzes, but the story allows them to display courage, strength, and even heroism—particularly in the case of Phyllis. These characters are not at all cardboard cutouts, which makes the depiction of their brutalization all the more appalling.

The Last House on the Left

The Last House on the Left

We should also discuss the revenge carried out by the parents. A key point here is that the parents do not just simply ensure they have evidence, call the police, and let justice take its course. They themselves become the punishers. This implies all sorts of fascinating, disturbing ideas about justice, authority, and personal vengeance. Perhaps this film riffs on situations wherein we lose our trust in authorities that cannot protect us and our loved ones from horrible dangers. Also, while we may believe in legal justice in the abstract, we might not find its proceedings satisfying if they are used to punish the victimization of someone we love. If your son/daughter has been brutally raped and murdered, you might be disappointed to see the culprits “only” jailed or humanely executed. Rather, you might want to use your own hands to make them suffer just as your loved one did. This movie’s plot plays on this understandable but disturbing desire.

We have discussed the film’s ideas about revenge. Now, what about the portrayal of the avengers themselves, i.e. the parents? The revenge of the parents is cathartic (both for the characters and the viewer), but in a way, it is also disturbing to see how these regular, decent people can be driven to just as much violence and cruelty as the insane criminals who are the villains. In other words, what really separates the good and everyday from the evil and bizarre?

The film ends before we can get any sort of satisfactory answer, no matter how crude and exploitative, to that question. This, besides the still-shocking torture and gore, explains the reason why the film continues to elicit such strong reactions, even almost forty years after it was made and released.

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Year : 1972
Director : Wes Craven
Writer : Wes Craven
Starring: David Hess, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr, Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham
Country: United States
Running time: 84 min, but can vary due to cuts (censorship!)
Genre: Horror