Weirdo’ween

WEIRDO’WEEN #31: Trick ‘r Treat [2007]

weirdoween2015Well, it’s official: this review marks the finale weirdo’ween post for 2015! We’ve reviewed all sorts of movies over this past month, and even though I tried to look at films I haven’t talked about before; some obviously overlapped. Today though, our review is special, being one that I had in mind since I did the first review for weirdo’ween. It’s a movie that I consider the definitive Halloween movie, and I try and make a point of watching it every year. [although I can’t tonight because I have plans, plus I work] It’s an anthology film, with four stories interwoven into one big “super-story”. It has demon children, werewolves, and even the little spirit of Halloween himself. So let us move on to the one, the only: Trick ‘r Treat.

weirdo'ween-#31As I said, Trick ‘r Treat is a horror anthology which interweaves stories that all take place on Halloween night, kind of like genre classics as Creepshow and Tales From The Darkside. Our stories involve: a costumed couple who learn to respect tradition.. the hard way, a group of girls who head out into the woods for a “howling” good party, the school principal has a [literal] taste for blood, four kids attempt to play a “trick” on someone they know – only to end up becoming “treats”, and a grumpy old man gets a visit from a holiday visitor who has been looking to settle a decades-old grudge.

Like most anthology films, these stories are best watched when viewed on an empty mind. Without any context. The twists are less predictable than most horror films are these days; and half the fun is wondering just where – and how – the hell these characters are going to end up. Keep an eye open though, the one constant throughout the stories is a costumed, little guy named Sam, who appears to come off as the Spirit of Halloween, in order to remind people why they should take care in following the traditions set forth hundreds of years ago for All Hallows Eve. Trick ‘r Treat is filled with tradition, reminding the audience of just why we celebrate the Halloween in the first place. It manages to be effectively creepy and blood-soaked, yet it never goes over-the-top with gratuitous gore. It’s always “just enough”, which I love about it! There is also a very obvious helping of black comedy laced throughout the film, so if it feels like too much – which it really isn’t – there’s enough jokes to keep you laughing.

But, I think the most impressive aspect of this film is the filmmaker’s incredible attention that has been paid to detail. Every single shot of the film is beautifully framed and composed, coming off as looking more like a cryptic painting we’re meant to decipher, rather than a frame of film. The dark and broody look of Mr. Kreeg‘s dark house, the ghostly palette of the rock quarry, the incredible werewolf shape-shifting sequence around a roaring fire in the woods.. everything in this movie feels, and is gorgeous. The cinematography is so well put together, that it manages to make you feel like you’re a part of the celebration; and not just someone watching on. As someone who is as big a fan of the Halloween holiday, this was especially important, and it was done right! It’s been far too often when a film actually does take place on the holiday but ends up lacking the depth that is given to us here. and then there’s the cast of the movie..

For such a large ensemble cast, there isn’t any one performance that stands out above the rest – everyone here is perfect. From characters such as Anna Paquin‘s “virgin wolf” of her female group, to perhaps my favorite role of Mr. Kreeg, played really well by veteran character actor Brian Cox. His look was even inspired directly from another person known for horror, John Carpenter, and there are a couple of well-placed nods to his work that were fun, so long as you caught them. Also providing great support throughout the film is newcomer Quinn Lord who plays Sam, our little sack-headed fiend who “stiches” the film’s stories together.

But let’s face the real problem with this movie. It isn’t that it has too many jump scares, or that it’s a terrible film but something more meta: there was NO set distribution deal lined up when it was first released. Initially, it was set to be released in October 2007, then it was pushed to February 2008, then October 2008 and, then finally, placed on the shelf indefinitely. Eventually, in Canada anyway, it ended up being a direct-to-DVD release in October 2009, which I can only say that is disappointing for something this genuine to it’s genre. I mean, that’s two years after the movie was made.. But, I suppose that’s what the problem is; because this is a movie that goes to uncharted territory, the studios were probably clueless about how they were going to try and market it to the public. I mean, I guess I can understand some of their hesitation, [since a good majority of the film features children either killing or being killed] but knowing they waited two years after the movie was made to release it, makes me upset..especially because for the fans: that feels like it took itself an eternity.The bottom line is, I still don’t completely understand why Trick ‘r Treat didn’t get a theatrical release, and I probably never will, but even if it was a direct-to-DVD title, it deserves some much-deserved exposure. The only disappointment here is in the bonus features, where they’re almost none, but the film itself is good enough to make up for it. If only I wasn’t working tonight, I’d take advantage of today to watch it again on this Halloween night, with a Jack-o-lantern lit and bowl of candy at the ready – just in case.

So now I turn to you, what are your thoughts on Trick ‘r Treat? Have you seen the movie? If so, what were your thoughts; mindless Halloween film, or one of the greats? Let me know in a comment or two! As noted by the big “#31” at the top title, this is the last weirdo’ween post so be sure to check out the other reviews I wrote during this month! Also – for those in the know, the universe of Trick ‘r Treat recently expanded with the publication of the graphic novel Trick ‘r Treat: Days Of The Dead, and it was while discussing the book with the series creator that we learned some key details about the upcoming sequel: Trick ‘r Treat 2. Director Michael Dougherty was hesitant to offer too much information, but he did explain that a big part of his goal with the sequel is to dive further into the history of Halloween.

But, If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more in the future – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!

always check your candy!

So have an awesome Halloween everyone, be safe, be smart, and keep an eye out for Sam; he could be anywhere. I hope you enjoyed Weirdo’ween as much as I enjoyed writing it. As expected with this being the last review of this month, posts won’t be as frequent now, coming out every other day or so. Especially with work, I’m going to be caught up feeling slightly more busy, but that doesn’t mean I’m gone for good; just that I won’t be writing something every day. I’m not entirely sure when my next post will be, but hopefully it’ll be sooner than later; and it won’t be a review either – I’ve done enough of those for now 😉

STAY WEIRD, and as always:

THANKS FOR READING.

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WEIRDO’WEEN #30: Paranormal Activity [2007]

weirdoween2015Call it following the norm, or doing what I expect people to want to read, but surprisingly – I’m not exactly a large fan of the movie franchise we’re covering today. Don’t get me wrong, the first one [which is the one that will be reviewed today] was really well done for what it was. But like so many other movies – it got a ton of sequels..one of which just came out! Yes, it’s true. I’m hardly a fan of these movies. but, I do enjoy the first film in the series: it’s a genuinely creepy film that managed to capture the fear of so many with such a tiny budget of $15,000. [and then making $77,873!] So as our second-last weirdo’ween review, let’s take a look at movie, known as Paranormal Activity.

weirdo'ween-#30Everyone, I mean Everyone has heard of these films. They’re insanely popular among the found footage crowd for being “revolutionary” in horror. While I’m not a huge fan of them, I remember the first night I saw the first one. It was with my family, and it was completely black in the living room. We watched it because my sister had claimed to have seen it at a friend’s house. It wasn’t until the ending that she screamed, stating it wasn’t the ending she remembered! [apparently there were three different endings to this movie] If that isn’t enough to scare you away, I don’t know what will.

Our story follows a young couple, Katie and Micah, who move into a new home, while Micah records their life on his video camera. [which starts to feel old really quick] After a strange event in the middle of the night, Katie admits to Micah that when she was a child, she had experienced a ghostly presence in her room. She claims to have sensed its evil and now worries that it possibly has followed her to their new place. Of course, Micah is skeptical, so to be sure, he sets up his camera in their bedroom to record any overnight activity. After a few days of almost nothing, they see their bedroom door move on the camera, proving how clear it is that there is a presence in their house. And it’s only about to get worse; much worse is yet to come..

our “lovely” couple of the hour.

The heart that was put into this film lies in the realism of the performances of really only two actors. The two who portray the couple are convincing and natural, so you feel as if you are watching an actual home video. Thankfully, they do not follow the usual “shaky-cam movie” model of acting in which the performances often try so hard to be “real” that they are usually over-done and therefore come off as a cheap acted thought of what the actor assumes would be somebody else’s reaction to that same scenario. But Paranormal is different, we believe as an audience, that these characters are more true to themselves, and the decisions they make and the things they say to one another feel like true expressions of how these people would feel if they had been placed in the same situation. This is awesome because then, instead of feeling like you are watching actors in a movie portraying someone else, you feel as if are watching two actual people in an actual haunted house. It feels real, because it’s not forced. You can recognize that everything they say and do as an actual reaction, one you could probably imagine yourself giving in response to what’s happening at that exact moment. This gives an extremely uneasy atmosphere which you feel like you can’t escape, because in this world; you feel like you are in it.

The other important thing to mention is the downright agonizing, yet wonderful use of suspense and the imagination of one’s mind. It’s clear to see that the Director didn’t assume that his audience is a thoughtless group of horror fans, who rely on cheap scares and loud noises deafening you to get the reaction of fear. Instead, he uses the concept of imagining what’s going to happen is far more terrifying than seeing what’s happening! The movie does a great job at forcing us to constantly think about what we just experienced, giving you just a few inches, and leaves your imagination to finish the mile. It even leaves you wondering if you just saw something, where if you blink, you will miss something. Subliminal shocks are hidden everywhere within the film, making not only are your senses attacked, but your psyche is also terrorized. One particular instance, viewing a completely empty room in dead silence for 30 seconds [or more] will feel like one of the most horrifying scenes in the entire film..and nothing happens. If you think about it – an empty, and silent room does not seem scary at all, but that’s what makes it so clever: something that simple, so familiar, can scare you down to your deepest core; and as the film continues, the haunting [naturally] gets worse. So is the movie worth it? I mean, this first film was really well done; especially for such a small budget, and only two actors. It’s creepy, and it’s definitely not something everyone will appreciate. Unfortunately, this was the only “good” one, as the sequels were all but ‘alright’ [though Paranormal Activity 3 did touch on the haunting of Katie when she was a kid! Kind of like a pre-sequel?] Paranormal Activity should be a message to Hollywood that originality is still what the people want in the movie industry. We, as horror fans, have grown [quickly] tired of having our favorite classic movies butchered and pointlessly remade more than a dozen times. Directors and producers shouldn’t deserve the revenue coming from these remakes, especially if all they’re doing is just upping the violence and sexual nature of old horror movies and calling it “a grittier version”. [I’m looking at you A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010!] It legitimately makes me happy, at least to some degree, knowing that tension based horror movies still have the chance to make it big. Especially on such a small budget, like this movie did. Seriously, well done for only $15,000! That’s impressive if I ever heard it.

So here we are, at the second last review of weirdo’ween. Be sure to join me for the finale tomorrow, when I review my all time favorite Halloween movie: Trick ‘r Treat. Have you been enjoying the reviews this past Month? Which was your favorite? Why? Let me know in a comment or two! After tomorrow’s review, posts probably won’t be as frequent [every two days give or take] but that doesn’t mean reviews are gone for good! It just will go back to also being horror news, and Friday Fun Facts, etc.

If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I review the final weirdo’ween movie review – so be sure to STAY TUNED! It’s gonna be a good one!

wait…this isn’t the right castle!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #29: The Wicker Man [2006]

weirdoween2015For the third last review for this year’s weirdo’ween, I wanted to write something special: a review of a movie that’s so damn bad, it’s great..like really enjoyable. It’s a movie that I’ve never talked about on here, and it’s one that almost everyone has heard of. It’s not good at building suspense, it’s not well pieced together, but it does feature our lord and savior himself: Nicolas Cage!

Surprisingly, I actually really enjoy this movie, though probably not for the reasons I should.. I think the main reason is because of how laughably bad it is. It has nearly no reference to the original, the acting isn’t that great, and it tries to be something it’s not – scary. So let’s put on our wicker masks, and start screaming at CGI bees, because today: we talk about the one, the only; The Wicker Man remake!

weirdo'ween-#29While recovering from a accident while on the road, an officer by the name of Edward Malus receives a letter from his former fiancée Willow, who left him a few years ago without any sort of explanation, telling that her daughter Rowan has gone missing. This event has lead Edward to travel to the distant and private island of Summerisle, where Willow now lives among a community that plants fruits all the time. As he continues his investigation with the hostile and unhelpful dwellers, Edward comes to the conclusion that the locals must be pagans, as proven by their practicing of old rituals to try and improve their harvest, and Rowan, who turns out to also be his daughter, is probably alive and being prepared to be sacrificed – y’know, for reasons.

Summersisle, as it turns out, is a female-dominated place, and has conceived itself as nothing but a haven for women and refugees from the Salem witch trials. Here, the matriarchs observe the Olde ways, and the few male that are on the island are more or less there for breeding purposes..otherwise, they’re useless to these women. Another important thing to note is that Summersisle‘s main export is honey – a symbolic and literal headache for Edward, considering he’s allergic to bees. “Beekeepers!” cries Edward. “They seem to be everywhere on this island!” Well, spoiler alert: that’s probably because Summersisle‘s main export is honey.. Did I mention the dialog in the movie is just as terrible?

he may as well tell the Pagan folk that he FOUND that badge, not that it’s his..

As he continues making his inconclusive conclusions, Edward overhears a group of these Pagans talking about an oncoming “Mayday ritual” known as “time of death and rebirth.” It’s then he learns that the previous year’s crop failed; nearly dies from bee stings – in the best possible scene – wears a bear suit and punches a woman, and eventually comes to the overbearing conclusion [which admittedly, couldn’t be more obvious if the locals had tattooed a timetable of events on the back of his hands] that Rowan has been planned to be burnt alive in a Pagan rite, all to make sure that this time, they have a bountiful harvest. He also meets the Queen Bee of the group: Sister Summersisle, who seems to have her own plans for him involving the title’s Wicker Man: all while stating “The drone must die.” I’m gonna go out on a whim and say she probably means Cage.. I mean Edward.

To make matters worse [if that’s even possible] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie filled with so many plot holes. I found myself constantly asking questions like: Why did they kill the pilot that brought Edward to the island if they wanted him brought to the island? Why does Malus come across the beehives so easily when they were in plain sight and he knew he was allergic? Why were four dream sequences important? Where were they keeping Rowan throughout the movie up until they found her? How come Malus didn’t ask about why that woman was covered from head to toe in bees? Is the movie seriously not going to address anything? It’s…very confusing, and it’s unfortunate. Because it makes The Wicker Man go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. A lot of times, these scenes got really stupid really fast. For instance, Edward walks into a classroom and pleasantly says “Wow. School’s changed since I was a kid.” How does the teacher react? She screams – as in literally screams – at him stating: “Why are you frightening my students?!” Wait. Hold on, I’m sorry.. why exactly was what he said considered “frightening?” Did I miss something? Where did that come from?

I do love this scene though. 10/10

So let’s recap: Nicolas Cage‘s fate was sealed the very moment he set foot on Summersisle island. The lies and half-truths he was told by the women while searching for the little girl were an elaborate “presentation” that had no necessary meaning. If you think about it, the Pagan women could have easily just tied him up [or even drugged him, they did have plants that they obviously knew about!] and proceeded with their plans WITHOUT such an elaborate show off-y presentation.

To end this abomination of a film – even if it is “so bad, it’s good” – let’s look at the DVD/Blu Ray version of the film. look at the move’s cover itself: [here] See that little girl with evil eyes? Based on her “evil look”, she should have a central role in the film, right? Far from it. You don’t even see her character until the end of the film – and she has no evil eyes! [or dialog] The only “evil thing” she does is start a bonfire with a torch. So scary.

Secondly, the DVD claims to have an “unrated” version of the film along with the theatrical version. Usually, when “unrated versions” of movies are released, it implies there should be more violence, or gore in the case of horror movies than what was shown in the ordinary version; but not The Wicker Man. Both versions are exactly the same with three exceptions:


#1] The unrated version shows Cage having his legs broken at the kneecaps using a trick that appears to be stolen from the Misery. In Misery though, the ankles were broken, not the kneecaps. Certainly, this is nothing to be “unrated” about.

#2] In the unrated version, we see Cage have a cage-like mask put over his head, with angry bees poured into the mask. [like the GIF above!] No blood or gore though, just bees. In his face. Again, this scene has nothing to make it “unrated”.

#3] Finally, the unrated version of The Wicker Man has a scene that was cut out of the theatrical version, where we see the last scene showing two of the island “sisters” going to the mainland to find new “recruits” for their sacrifice ritual. Maybe it’s just me, but cutting out a scene that implied sexual situation from a film makes it less likely to be considered “unrated.”


Unfortunately, The Wicker Man is more laughable than it is scary. As I said above, I enjoy it for this reason, it’s just unfortunate that it became something it’s really not. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it, but when it first came out a lot of people weren’t impressed by it. It’s strange, it’s not scary, but with Nicolas Cage as a main character, it becomes a classic “so bad, it’s good” film. He’s really the only reason to watch it.. So if you like that kind of film, I guess I recommend it.. just don’t go in expecting something to land on The Criterion Collection – I don’t even want to imagine that. Even the trailer is bad, check it out below!

Considering how bad this movie was, If you have want to help out, and have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #30! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

God, this movie is just so great! 10/10

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #28: Suspiria [1977]

weirdoween2015As we near the end of weirdo’ween, I figured it was time to talk about a certain movie that I actually had a difficult time finding on DVD, until a friend of mine ordered it for me from the video store where he work[ed]. [He actually writes sci-fi, video games, and comic book reviews; as well as personal posts. read his stuff! He doesn’t post as often anymore though, sadly] It’s a colorful movie about a girl [named Suzy] who moves to a fancy ballet academy to learn all sorts of new dance moves [I mean, that’s what a ballet school is for, right?] only to gradually realize that the school is nothing but a front for something far more evil and supernatural; where a series of grisly murders have – and are – taking place in the academy’s very walls. When it was released on DVD, back in 2002, it was actually nominated for best Classic Film Release, but unfortunately didn’t win.. Which is unfortunate, because this film can only be described as: a masterpiece. It’s colorful, the music by Goblin is mesmerizing, and the atmosphere will draw you in. Well, friends; let’s go to school at the Ballet Academy and uncover the truth behind the murders in: Suspiria!

weirdo'ween-#28Given its cult status in the movie-making world, [partially due to the extreme uses of colors] the colors in Suspiria gives it an artful feeling that makes the movie beautiful to experience. Director Argento uses different shades of blues, greens, reds, and yellows each in their own unique way to show us different emotions. Using the old technicolor technique that was used in 1950s films such as Alice In Wonderland, gives this movie a magical, and fairy tale like appearance.

In the first 20 minutes of screen time, Dario Argento builds up suspense and tension in a way that is usually reserved for the climax of a film. We’re shown the main character and the story of the entire film are built up in a really well played out sort of way. When we see Suzy [our main character] inside a taxi cab, it gives a feeling of claustrophobia and dread. Dread, that you know is only the beginning. The images and music played in the opening moments add a high level of suspense, adding to the film’s pounding intensity.

The double murder sequence is one of the most bloody scenes in modern horror films. [which the DVD boasts] It’s a scene that still keeps its shock value after all this time. This single scene makes any murder scene in a teen horror film today look tame; though, that’s not difficult to achieve. The murder of the first victim is extremely violent, is done in first perspective and yet; it feels like it’s stylishly filmed. Feeling like an almost art piece. The tagline to the movie reads, “The Only Thing More Terrifying Than The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92.” and while I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean, it seems that they are implying the end is boring compared to the rest of the film. Actually, the whole movie is great!: some parts are slower, and there is a lot of character development, but this is not a bad thing.

Speaking of the murder scenes – as you can tell during the movie – the Director wanted to make them feel so intense, that the horror wouldn’t let up. It’s clear that he wanted to create scenes of fear that would be carried by visuals and ear pounding music. On doing these murder scenes, Argento has said “Fear is a 370 degree centigrade body temperature. With Suspiria I wanted 400 degrees.” The death sequences are one of the main reasons this film has such a special place within the genre.  The first girl being dragged through a window, stabbed repeatedly, and then hung after she was already dead..and for quite some time, too! In the most simplistic of terms, Suspiria is a story about witches, but you’d probably be having trouble to tell, and to find the imagery that comes to mind when you hear the word “witch.” There are no pointy hats, broom riding, black cauldrons, or even stake burnings in this movie, instead we’re given a more modern take on the popular archetypes of one of Halloween’s favorite characters; such as magic, and evil looking [and acting] women.

Overall, Suspiria stands out among the best of its form for it’s intensity of the experience of watching – and hearing – it. From beginning to end, this is a nightmarish, hallucinatory world filled with grotesque murders, a blaring score and beautiful and artistic imagery. It’s a true horror film and a huge achievement in cinema. It was way ahead of it’s time, proving that it’s deserving of all the praise and love you hear people giving it..So if you haven’t experienced it, you deserve, and owe, it to yourself. Though it might be harder and harder to find these days, as I said above – I had to ask a friend to order it for me. Though, maybe I’m just really bad at finding cult horror films on home video.

By the way, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #29! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

this STILL creeps me out..

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #27: Frankenweenie [2012]

weirdoween2015Growing up, I had a dog that I can safely say I considered my best friend. He was there for me in the hardest of times, and he was always excited to see me. His name was Lucky and he was someone who was always part of everything I did. That’s like young Victor in today’s movie review: which follows Victor‘s pet dog Sparky [who stars in Victor‘s home-made movies] after he is suddenly hit by a car. As a fan of monster films, Victor decides the best bet is to bring him back to life, in the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked Sparky wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of the neighbors, Victor has to convince them that despite his appearance, Sparky is still the good loyal friend he’s always been. This movie has a lot of heart, and as a fan of Tim Burton, I was really happy when I saw it in theaters back in 2012! It’s a tad bit depressing though, so take that with a grain of salt. This, is Frankenweenie.

weirdo'ween-#27Before this one was released, I am actually a huge fan of the original 1984 short film of the same title, so naturally, news of a feature length feature was very exciting to me. When you watch this “version”, it’s obvious from both Frankenweenies that director Tim Burton holds this story very close to his heart. The obvious assumption is that young Victor Frankenstein has much in common with the Burton‘s childhood experiences.. being as both claim to be social misfits who find joy in less than popular ways; such as science, sci-fi/monster films and film making.

The story begins simply enough, Victor – a socially awkward boy – whose only ‘real’ friend is his loyal dog Sparky, quickly connects with his new science teacher, Mr. Rzykroski. [who you can tell is based off the late, and wonderful, Vincent Price] Sadly, Victor‘s parents try to get him more engaged with others his age, which leads to a tragic accident that ends with the death of Sparky[that..got depressing really quick!] Like anyone, Victor is heart-broken but fear not! He takes the lessons he learned in Rzykroski‘s science class, as well as his scientific mind, to make a contraption to “spark Sparky” thanks to a lightning storm outside. Soon enough, Sparky is back! But, of course, being as they’re in a small town; the secret gets out and school Science Fair takes on quite a competitive nature – I mean, this kid just brought his dog back from the dead! That’s pretty damn impressive!

I absolutely love this shot!

What makes this movie so great is that Burton treats the film as an homage to old monster, horror and sci-fi films – and it’s obvious too! We get nods to Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, [who’s even voiced by the late, Christopher Lee!] Godzilla, Bride Of Frankenstein, Gremlins, and Jurassic Park. And those are the ones I noticed! But this movie is just – so much more. Mr. Rzykroski gives a speech to the local townspeople explaining the situation, and though it is straight to the point, it’s lost on these fine folks. The importance of science and accepting the differences of others is all mentioned in one of the greatest ways, but best of all: it’s not in a preachy way!

The voice work is fantastic thanks to the likes of Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, and Martin Landau; just to name a few. [that’s right, one of Burton‘s greatest films, has no hints of Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter! Blasphemy, I know!] The style and textures that are visible in the film are beyond extraordinary! Seeing the shadows and lighting effects provide an atmosphere that adds just enough creepiness, but not to the point of ever feeling like it’s overdone.. The details involved with each of the characters is remarkable for a film that’s entirely stop-motion animation. If that doesn’t get your attention, how many movies have you seen recently that include a cat-bat, sea monkeys, and a giant turtle that echoes the idea of Gamera? I didn’t think so! The suburban setting of New Holland is almost identical to the neighborhood seen in Burton‘s Edward Scissorhands, another of my favorites, just without the colors, obviously.

As you can probably tell, I love this movie. It’s an excellent choice of entertainment for both adults and children alike. But the problem is, being in black and white, has meant a heavy lack of interest from today’s kids. It has some dark humor to it, but the PG rating, and Disney name means you should probably not expect anything too heavy. Either way, this is Tim Burton at his very finest.. and without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, this makes it even better! [and I’m a fair sized fan of both of them!] Also, with Danny Elfman‘s score perfectly complimenting the story and characters, it adds to the quirkiness that is Frankenweenie. It’s something that needs to be seen to believe. It’s crazy, it’s fun, and it’s adorable. Though, as I said, by the films end: it feels somewhat depressing. Especially having to see Victor move on from the loss of his best friend.

So please, check out Frankenweenie. It’s arguably one of my favorite Tim Burton films, and the stylizing is beyond beautiful. It’s got a great message to it, and with many hints to other horror films; how could you say no? Now I ask you: what do you think of Frankenweenie? Is it a family friendly film that everyone should see at least once? Or is it far too depressing? Let me know your thoughts in a comment or two! Also, if you enjoyed this review, I actually wrote about a popular theory that’s been passing through the internet lately, that claims Frankenweenie is part of a trilogy! [but is it?] Be sure to read that, over here!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #28! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #26: Drag Me To Hell [2009]

weirdoween2015Having been preoccupied with a little thing called the Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi didn’t really get a chance to relive his days of horror, did he? Yes, the trilogy of Spider-Man movies were a lot of fun, but we all love Raimi for his original trilogy – the horror series known to the world as The Evil Dead. It wasn’t until 2009, that we got classic Raimi back with a fun house of a ride surrounding a demonic gypsy curse. It’s no Deadite, but I could accept it. I was curious, and almost felt like I needed to know what this movie was going to be, because almost every review I saw online, was negative, and talked about how bad it was.. I was planning on seeing this movie and taking it with a grain of salt, because I was worried why such negativity surrounded a movie. I planned on finding out; and that movie, was Drag Me To Hell!

weirdo'ween-#26Now, maybe I’m just a big fan of Raimi‘s, but from the intense opening scene to the shocking finale, Sam Raimi gave us a movie that feels like he’s finally returning to the horror genre with vigor and spark! Starring Alison Lohman in the leading role, [Ellen Page was originally cast as the lead but dropped out of the project early in production] Drag Me To Hell feels like it’s much more than your average, predictable horror popcorn flick. Even if it’s not. It’s filled with twists and turns and, like any good ride, a satisfying conclusion to keep you happy by the end of the credits. Also, about the PG-13 rating? Don’t even worry about it! One thing that helped was the story telling, to the point where you hardly notice it’s rating because of how immersed you become in the story.

The movie follows Christine, a loan officer at a bank with a boyfriend who absolutely cares for her and her well being. Christine ends up being considered for a promotion at work, so – like anyone else – decides that she should jump at the opportunity! [I mean, who wouldn’t?] We meet our “villain”, when she comes across an old gypsy woman [who has one of my favorite movie names: Mrs. Ganush] who requests a third extension on her house. Her boss tells her it’s a tough decision, but that it’s her call if she’ll grant the extension. In an act of showing her boss that she isn’t afraid to take risks, Christine refuses the woman’s payment. Unfortunately, this leaves Mrs. Ganush absolutely infuriated, to the point where this woman stalks Christine to her car after work and puts a supernatural curse on her, one which she claims gives her only three days to overcome before the spirits from below will come, and drag her soul to hell.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie is how well it’s made technically. It had all sorts of interesting shots and the real work of a someone who knows horror. Having both written and directed the film, Sam Raimi more than proves his worth to the genre, despite disappearing from the horror scene, since Army Of Darkness. In ways, Drag Me To Hell felt like a sort of revival of what people with think of PG-13 horror movies. It’s one of the more intense films to come from the Raimi brothers, despite the PG-13 rating which is why I think most people tagged it as garbage without a second thought. Unfortunate, really.

As a whole, the movie is full of its shocks, and the less you know about it, the better. I could go on for hours about the movie and spoil everything, but that would ruin some of its ‘magic’. Which is certainly not to say that it is lost after a first viewing, just that it’s an experience unlike any other going into this movie watching virtually no clips and reading very little about it. It becomes a truly rewarding experience for the viewer.

Mrs. Ganush is one of the best villains though, as she provides plenty of jumps. Lorna Raver, who plays Ganush, infuses the role with an enthusiasm that is rarely seen in big-screen baddies. She has more personality than some other horror villains I can think of.. Clay – Christine‘s boyfriend – provides a much-needed balance between the overly goofy and the horrific, and helps make the film’s heroine, Christine, all the more believable. Clay was played by Justin Long and despite the nature of his role, I really liked him in this movie. He made the sincerity of his character feel “real”. Lohman had a lot resting on her shoulders with this movie, and she totally pulled it off! She plays the terrified, but headstrong and determined female lead really well, to the point where you feel her pain. She proves her worth over and over again in this movie. She totally has a career ahead of her, even if we don’t see it yet.

Overall, I wouldn’t call this movie terrifying, but it is extremely enjoyable! It has horror, it has gore, and it’s very over the top; like the old Evil Dead days. It’s something that people discredited too quickly, and that’s unfortunate – because it’s not as terrible as everyone likes to claim. So watch Drag Me To Hell, you won’t be disappointed..unless you have really high expectations. It does feel over the top, and strange at times; but that’s all what Raimi is known for – you really have to like this kind of style to truly appreciate this film for what it is!

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #27! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #25: Sinister [2012]

weirdoween2015In today’s review, we talk about a movie that I remember putting off seeing because it was another haunting film, not to mention it was done by the same people as all the other haunting movies that had come out recently! I told myself that it was going to be generic, and boring. I groaned, but hey, it’s a horror film. Finally, Stephanie and I watched it, and was it not what either of us expected. at all. I was genuinely, and positively surprised.

Without reading the title can you tell what movie I’m talking about? Let me give you a hint: it involves some killer 8mm tapes, and a family who move into a house where a family was murdered. Nothing? Okay, one more hint: a family of five get hung from a tree outside the family home in the very first scene. No? Okay, fine. Today, ladies and gents, we’re talking about none other than Sinister – a movie that even Robert Ebert somewhat enjoyed..and that’s saying something!

weirdo'ween-#25Sinister follows Ellison, a true crime novelist who is looking to publish a new bestseller novel more than ten years after the release of his first hit book, “Kentucky Blood“. Ellison moves his family [his wife and two young kids] into a house that was once the scene of a horrible crime that left a mother, father, and two children dead, with a third child missing! Upon moving in, Ellison finds a box of super 8 films in the attic. On these tapes are the murders of the family who previously lived in his house and four other murders dating back as far as 1966! I mean, talk about a welcoming gift! It seems that the only connection between the murders is a symbol found in all the videos. With his marriage slowly deteriorating and his children’s behavior becoming increasingly strange, Ellison is feels determined to connect the dots and possibly even solve the string of gruesome murders.. Who knows? Plot for a new book, perhaps?

Anyone who is familiar with the popular ‘scary maze game’ online knows how this kind of thing works: even if you know what is going to happen, you will most likely be scared in the moments leading up to the ‘big scare’. You aren’t scared of what is on the screen, but you’re more likely scared of what is about to be. As expected, this is what we could consider the difference between surprising elements and legitimate horror. If the moments leading up to a jump scare are suspenseful, the actual scare is considered “worth it”. Too many horror movies nowadays have worthwhile jump scares. The thing is though, Sinister is not one of those movies. Sure, it has it’s fair share of jump scares, but after the initial shock and fear you feel, you don’t feel better. It’s as if the scares stick with you [in your mind] and you will go back to being just as tense as you were before the scare. It’s use of fear is really well done, and deserves to be recognized as such. It’s a really tense feeling film – and I love it for that reason!

One of my favorite ways Sinister differs from most modern horror movies is that it actually focuses on it’s plot. Scott Derrickson, the Director, spends just as much time focusing on plot development as he does on scaring us, this is something people need to pick up on. Many modern horror films rely on loud noises to almost make it feel like it’s laughing at you, saying “I’m scary cause you jumped!” but is it? Since the characters are more developed and have more depth in Sinister, we can relate to them that much easier. It almost feels like it’s more of a drama film about family relations than it is a horror movie. We learn so much about each individual, that when something is going to happen to them; or actually does..we feel bad, we grow attached to this characters.

Then you get the actual “behind the scenes” stuff. The technical team on this movie really didnt’ miss a beat. The top-notch effects are always key in a film like this, but the common flaw, especially in the horror genre, falls when people end up overdoing it. CGI and post-production “magic” can certainly advance the narrative when it’s needed, but in this film, old school camera effects, which were done while shooting, enhance the believability of the action; as it’s happening!

Cinematographer Chris Norr used a ton of stationary shots and what felt like Hitchcock‘s slow camera pans, to allow the audience to sense the protagonist’s growing paranoia. The occasional subjective POV angle, where the character looks at the camera, effectively makes us, as the viewer, feel like we’re actually  in the scene. It’s a great effect, and added to the fearful feelings of being scared.

also, the main villain – Buhguul – is creepy. I know I didn’t mention much about him, but just know he’s scary, okay? okay.

So check Sinister out if you – like me – ignored it, figuring it’d be a typical horror film. Because in all truthfulness, it’s really not. It’s something more: it’s genuinely terrifying, with each 8mm tape showing us something more and more scary as the film progresses. I’ve read a lot of complaints about the films end, which I guess I get, but come on guys..I feel like that’s what they were going for. I didn’t end up seeing Sinister 2, so maybe that’s where the ending of this film gets explained better? [if you know, let me know in a comment or two!]

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #26! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

[and just cause he can, Buugul comes for one final scare at the end of the film! Thanks, pal]

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #24: The Omen [1976]

weirdoween2015

Let’s revert back to movies that everyone knows, shall we? Last night, as I was looking for black pants for work at Giant Tiger[for you that aren’t in Canada, it’s a discount store that sells a bit of anything and everything] I came across a familiar title on DVD. What’s better, is it was a steelbook cover of the film, and it was only $10. Naturally, I felt compelled so I picked it up.

When I got home, I opened the shrink wrap – to check the disks inside, since Giant Tiger generally sells pre watched DVDs – and they were pristine. I was so excited to have found, not only a movie, but The Omen in Steelbook format! [click here to see what my copy looks like!]

weirdo'ween-#24The Omen is a strange sort of film: it’s been remade a few times, it’s had two sequels, [which show Damien as he grows from child – to teenager – to adult] and it’s been considered one of the scariest films ever made; ranking up with The Exorcist. I mean, this movie has one hell of a reputation attached to it!

Let’s play around that last comment: that the movie has a reputation. This movie is one that plays with your mind, and I don’t mean for the extreme violence! I mean it’s real scary, and that’s because of what you don’t see on screen.. From the grey overcast that are seen overhead in the skies of London and the empty stillness of the great Pereford mansion where the destined to be doomed Thorn family lives, to the deep and hollow underground ancient excavation site; the film is really effective at capturing the viewer’s interest and ends up drawing them into a world that is on the verge of what can only be described as the ultimate disaster – the birth of The Anti-Christ.

in His defense, Damien didn’t ASK to be the Anti-Christ. He just kind of ended up being it.. [am I defending the wrong person again?]

The movie revolves around our little devil, who goes by the name of Damien Thorn, who is born into the world of politics and wealth and is the darling child of Robert and Katherine. It’s when mysterious accidents [and the overall feeling of dread] begin to shadow their lives, the horrifying truth of Damien‘s untimely birth is uncovered millions of miles away.. in a grave in a Pagan Cemetery found in Italy.

Gregory Peck gives a damn good performance as ambitious politician Robert Thorn: a man who slowly discovers that his fate is linked to an ancient biblical prophecy. When he finally starts to figure out what’s really happening, he discovers what can only be described as a grand design that’s unfolding under the unwatching eyes of the world.. to make it worse, his “perfect family” are at the center of it all! His search for truth is one of my absolute favorites in film, as we see him going to the farthest reaches of the globe, begging for the answers before it’s too late; and ending with an exciting face-off between himself and the Devil, himself.

Lee Remick is beautiful as his tragic wife. The rest of the cast – Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock, David Warner as the photographer Keith Jennings, and Leo McKern as the archaeologist Bugenhagen; they’re all so good at helping the movie ‘feel’ its dark and moody atmosphere. The Omen has a few more disturbing moments that shock us, rather than that of disgust, but the film is loaded with memorable scenes! It’s the ‘feeling’ you get in the pit of your stomach that the film gives you; it’s what makes this movie unique. With the performances of the actors, the creepy music score, and the inevitable feeling of doom that is slowly creeping into the world all because of the birth of one child, make this movie one of the truest horror films ever made. Like a few other movies I’ve reviewed lately – this movie succeeds in making you realize that sometimes it’s the knowing that something is going to happen that is more scary, than actually seeing it happen.

When we do see violence on screen, it’s choreographed almost perfectly, each one being more compelling than the one before it. From a Priest being impaled by a church spire, to a reporter being decapitated by a pane of glass. These events all build to the overwhelming finale. By the end of the film, we see a little boy: clearly Damien, holding the hand of the President Of The United States, turning around and smiling at his father’s funeral – For a movie about the Devil’s son; that to me is the definitive ending. Making this movie go from amazingly well written, to downright terrifying.

So if you haven’t seen The Omen, I highly recommend it. [it’s almost a horror rite of passage!] The important thing to remember though, is that it’s from the 70s, which means it might feel dated in it’s acting/script. But with a cast as great as this one, you forget when this came out, and you feel sheer terror as Damien becomes nothing more than the Anti-Christ! But maybe you’re not a fan of horror movies that involve demon-children. Maybe you have a choice for a different movie review? If so, read on!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #25! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #23: Bloody Knuckles [2014]

weirdoween2015I sure hope you’re all excited because for today’s review, I’m writing something special: something that isn’t released until October 27th, 2015! This means, it’s a film I received in the mail, and it’s not just a horror movie – it’s a horror comedy[and not a boring, generic one either!] I watched it yesterday, and I can hereby say it’s crude, dirty, inappropriate, and down right hilarious! [fun for the whole family?] It makes fun of contemporary issues involving freedom of speech, has a romantic sub-plot that isn’t boring, and some very special effects. Oh! and it’s also a Canadian film, so that earns it points in it’s own right! This movie, is none other than Bloody Knuckles!

Bloody Knuckles follows Travis, an underground comic book artist who happens to enjoy drawing anything, and everything; that could be considered obscene. But, when one of his comics insults a Chinatown crime boss, a gangster punishes Travis by sawing his his drawing hand clean off – leaving him with nothing but a stump. Naturally,  this leaves Travis to retreat into a life of alcoholism, and it seems that he’s given up on drawing comics. After all, the last thing he needs is his other hand cut off! But suddenly, his hand returns from the grave..and wants vengeance! Although I had heard nothing about this movie prior – not even the trailer! – but after watching it in full; I was really glad to receive this one – because it’s quality entertainment! I know what you’re thinking: a cut off hand, running around and causing havoc.. sounds a lot like a certain other horror movie, doesn’t it? Something like..Idle Hands? While some aspects may seem similar, Bloody Knuckles stands as it’s own film, and it’s one hell of a ride!

weirdo'ween-#23First of all, it goes without saying that this film delivers a strong moral to each and every one of it’s viewers: don’t draw an underground comic about a Chinese crime lord or you’ll get your hand severed with a portable band saw! [as if this wasn’t already obvious] It’s an easy enough thing to learn, since that’s the lesson learned by our ‘hero’, Travis, when the latest issue of his indie comic – titled Vulgar Invasionscatches the eye of a Mr. Leonard Fong: a ruthless businessman and the head of a violent street gang. There’s a ton of nods back to older 80s horror, such as the over the top acting and the excessive blood spilling. However, the most 80s thing about this movie is the gang members, who look awesome while being decked out in tank tops, dragon bandannas, and other “hood” attire. If you look carefully enough, one of them even wears chain-mail! It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it’s so awesome to see in action!

It all starts when Fong doesn’t like what he sees in Travis’ comic. Naturally, like every other crime boss you can think of, Fong has him abducted and responds in kind by sawing his his drawing hand off – as a “warning.” The severed hand is then thrown into the nearby sewer and Travis is left physically – and emotionally – crippled. He turns to malt liquor [a lot of it] for comfort. After one particularly drunken night out on the town, after getting kicked out of his local bar, his lost hand returns to try and persuade Travis to get revenge on Fong and continue work on the comic series together that they started so long ago. With a somewhat crude mind of its own, Travis’ undead hand is both a friend and an enemy, who seems to always have the best intentions in mind ..maybe.

One of the cool concepts this movie plays around with is the idea that when the undead hand first arrives, it makes it way to communicating with Travis through a Text-To-Speak program on the computer. It makes it seem quirky, and almost unexpected. But, I guess if you’re a sentient hand; [kind of like The Addams Family‘s Thing] you have to find ways to “talk”. The humor in the movie feels like it’s a finely tuned blend of absurd, gross, and surprisingly clever; though at times the film does try to be too inappropriate. For example, there’s a character that’s like who looks like Lord Humungus’ homosexual brother – though I feel like that was intentional. [the character in this movie goes by the name of Homo Dynamous: see the similarities yet?] But, aside from the gory and funny aspects, Bloody Knuckles has a story to tell and it tells it well. Travis’ relationship with his stepbrother is genuinely endearing, and his blossoming romance with Amy, a young journalist doing a story on his comic is just plain adorable! [let’s be honest though, Amy – is pretty damn hot]

In the end, Bloody Knuckles is a really fun film to watch. I’m so thankful to Artsploitation Films for sending me a copy on Bluray, and I’m hoping to see more from the Director, especially being a Canadian myself! It’s a crude, gory, and enjoyable movie to watch with friends, or even to laugh at on your own. It’s definitely not for everyone [some of those jokes will offend someone] but if you can handle racist jokes that result in someone’s hand being chopped off; you’re in for a special treat this Halloween!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #24! – So STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #22: The Amityville Horror [1979]

weirdoween2015Because nothing is scarier than a film that claims to be based on a true story, right? When it comes to marriage, newlyweds generally move into a large house, raise a family, and live happily ever after..right? But what happens when the house you bought had a group of mass murder happen inside? Or what if there were spirits of the dead who still remained inside, wanting you out? That’s what happened to George and Kathy Lutz [and their three children] when they move into the colonial house on the river’s edge seemed ideal: quaint, spacious and amazingly affordable. They had hoped this amazing home would become their dream, only for everything to end up in terror!

As if this movie isn’t already terrifying enough – I mean, I used to hate it for how scared I’d get – Stephanie and I actually watched a documentary on the house itself earlier last month, and everything I knew about the story went from scary to fear. Although there has been multiple versions of this film/story told; today, we’re going to talk about The Amityville Horror:

weirdo'ween-#22Everyone knows the legend about that house in Amityville, New York – the Dutch Colonial on 112 Ocean Avenue. The movie version of the story begins in 1974, when Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdered his family inside the family house, shooting them all in their sleep. Not even a year later, George and Kathy Lutz bought the house and moved in with their three children and the family dog. Even though they were aware of the tragedy that occurred in the home, George had made plans to fix it up and start a new life with his family, especially after their recent marriage. After all, “houses don’t have memories”..right? But then, things went wrong – Horribly wrong. After only living there for 28 days, the family left the house and fled Amityville, never to turn back.

Of course, the story was first a book, Jay Anson had written a retelling of what happened inside during the month that the Lutz family lived there; and his novel was a bestseller. Because of this, there are several different variations on what happened during those 28 days, even with George and Kathy Lutz themselves. So, for those of you who already know the story, you’ll notice that it’s hard to distinguish what is and isn’t true facts. Some of you may not even believe it at all – assuming it’s a senseless cash-grab. However, I am one of those people that has started to believe in this account of a haunted house, after watching rather intelligent interviews with the Lutz family and paranormal investigators on scene; especially in that documentary I saw a month ago, But that’s besides the point. What matters most about The Amityville Horror is how it translates itself as a horror movie.

For starters, the setting in the movie means everything. The movie itself was filmed in New Jersey, and not actually filmed in Amityville, but the house chosen is particularly creepy to look at, especially during scenes that take place at night. Those two windows on the top floor start to become characters of their own. They stare out aimlessly into the night, giving the viewer this horrible feeling that they’re being watched.. at all times. There is also enough ghost-like activity [Paranormal Activity? No. we’re not going that route!] going on to keep you interested in what’s going to happen next. Just don’t expect the evil inside to start right away. In fact, it builds slowly, creating this wonderful sense of dread..It’s as if you know it’s going to happen, but you can’t tell when. You truly have to appreciate a good build-up without that much special effects to appreciate what the movie is trying to accomplish, and it works surprisingly well! When it finally picks up – more on this later – the film brings restless terror with great piles of blood caused by the curse and the usual ghastly situations that come with a movie about a haunted house.

I really appreciate the creepy atmosphere that finds itself present in many scenes. The use of dark lighting in the house along with the music felt like it was effective and certainly made me fear the house. On top of that, the house that was used looks just like the real house in Amityville. I really enjoy knowing that the filmmakers really put the very most effort into the Lutz family’s claims onto the big screen – making it as realistic as possible: the walls dripped with ooze,  ‘Jody‘ was often mentioned and briefly seen, George woke up at 3:00 AM all the time, the flies were appearing seemingly at random, and supernatural voices were heard. It was great to see them make a film adaptation that was accurate to the claimed events, especially in such a well done manner!

And then there is the things I didn’t like in the movie..


Firstly, the acting feels wooden. Margot Kidder and James Brolin aren’t what one would call very good actors, and what’s worse is that their chemistry is quite ineffective. Unfortunately, this is proved by the fact that some of the dialogue for the George and Kathy Lutz [as characters] feels kind of cheesy and therefore; laughable [“You make me feel like a kid in the back seat of a car.” I mean, what?! who says that?] It doesn’t help the fact that these two are supposed to be the main characters, it’s really off putting and it just draws your interest towards waiting to see something creepy to happen in the house even more. Which brings me to my next issue. [I did like Rod Steiger‘s performance as The Priest, though!]

The film moves rather slowly, especially in around the middle mark. The film wastes a lot of time on [not so interesting] drama sequences, and sometimes forgets that it is supposed to be a haunted house movie. Seeing this newly married couple argue makes sense, [what couple doesn’t argue?] it’s just that it isn’t why I’m watching this particular film. Also, the editing came off as amateur as it gets, almost to the point of hilarity! These are arguably the most important flaws, because they’re the ones that should be done right – except they aren’t.

Overall, The Amityville Horror is a slow-burner for sure. Unfortunately, what we get in the end is barely worth the 28 days of build-up [or in our case, 2 hours] While you’re watching, your common sense tells you that leaving the house a few weeks earlier would have probably been the smartest move, but I guess you just can’t walk away from a “killer” deal, right? For a movie that used to scare me, it isn’t nearly as terrifying as I remember it. Sure, it’s an effective film, but being as it’s trying [and sometimes failing] to be a haunted house film, most people will probably just watch the next Paranormal Activity film for cheap scares, instead.

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #23! – So STAY TUNED!

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