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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. So, since 2011, I have spent the entire month of October every year reviewing a horror movie each day. I've changed formats many times over the years, and in the past few years, I've even been joined by my wife Solee, as well as the occasional guest. We've got text, drawings, video reviews, audio reviews... we got it all! Wanna check out our reviews? Look below, or use the menu to the left to dig deeper!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: ABCs of Death 10:37 PM -- Thu October 10, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: The producers of this movie chose 26 directors from all around the world (many different languages in here!), gave each of them a letter of the alphabet, and told them to come up with a word that starts with that letter and make a very very short horror movie based on the word, with no constraints. A complete lack of constraints ensues.

Scariness Type: You have 26 different stories here, but I think I can safely say there's a whole lot of gore, and I guess the other main thing is just trying to be as weird and shocking and taboo as possible. Not really jump scares or anything.

Rating: 1/5 Ducks.

Body Count: 48 people, 1 spider, and 1 completely unacceptable kitten.

Fun Fact: Zetsumetsu is extinction in Japanese! It's also utter insanity.

Best Moment: As much as I enjoyed "F is for Fart", I think the story for the letter V was the best. Because it was one of maybe two shorts in the movie that actually had a story. It was a sci-fi tale that in the course of its 5 minutes-or-so was able to build up a world with forced sterilization, and mutant psychic powers, and an underground movement, and a secret goverment program to eradicate the mutants. And tell a story in that world. Of course, the story didn't really have much of an ending, but I was still impressed.

Worst Moment: Several of the shorts made absolutely no sense at all. Some because they were being artsy, and others because they were trying to be as absurd as possible. So what is the worst moment? So hard to choose. The one I keep remembering is G is for Gravity. It was all first-person video, and here's the entire story: a guy pulls up to the beach, gets out his surfboard, loads up a bunch of bricks into a bag, and then he paddles out into the ocean and drops in and I guess dies because that's the end. Suicide, I guess. Just nothing to it at all, total waste of time.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Most of what this movie contained was absolutely nuts. It's not something you really suspend your disbelief for in the first place, it's more like the Spike & Mike animation festival (it even included a couple animated sequences!).

Horror Tropes: I don't know, but they probably used most of them in there somewhere.

My Take: I can't turn down a chance to watch an anthology horror movie! But you know what they should've done? Made this a TV series, give their 26 directors each half an hour (or do 2 per show, and give them 15 minutes). The 4-6 minutes each of these stories lasted really meant they couldn't do anything that even came close to a story. It was more like "isn't this weird?" or "here's a bad guy, now he kills this guy! Whoa!" Which is not interesting. It kept me watching, since there was something completely new every few minutes, but it really wasn't worth the time. And if there is anything that offends you, you'll find it in this movie. Really crazy stuff. Only a few of the stories were any good at all, and even those were pretty worthless just due to their length. All in all, not something you should see.

Missed Opportunity: Like I said, they should've made it a series so the stories could be a decent length.

The Lesson: Our alphabet has too many letters. Maybe go Hawaiian next time.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: 6 Souls 03:18 PM -- Fri October 11, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A psychologist is introduced to a patient with multiple personalities by her father who is also a psychologist. Even though it's her dad's job to fix the guy, she gets all up in that and tries to figure the guy out. Unfortunately, she discovers that his various personalities are those of murder victims. And people around her start dying too. Soul-sucking ensues.

Scariness Type: This movie doesn't try too hard to scare you. It's more that it's about scary and weird things that would be quite awful if they happened to you. It was listed as a "crime thriller" on Netflix, though I would call it a horror movie. A few too many ghostly murders for your standard crime genre.

Rating: 3.5/5 Inkblots.

Body Count: 12

Fun Fact: People hang assorted objects all over the place with string and wire. It's a standard decorating strategy, used by many different people. At least in this movie.

Best Moment: The crazy guy did a good job of being a different person in each of his personalities. The final personality in the climax was an especially difficult and potentially hilarious scene, and he did a good job of not making it seem ridiculous.

Worst Moment: See below. Really, I can't pull anything else out when that moment is blinding me with lack-of-science.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There's a security video which contains footage of a ghostly shadow hanging over somebody. When a guy who does audio engineering is examining the footage, he suddenly has an epiphany - "why, this looks like an audio waveform!" (the shadow itself). So he uses that very common piece of software we all have (I'm sure it comes with Windows, alongside Minesweeper), which extrapolates a 3D image of a waveform from video footage, rotates it and converts it into a normal audio waveform (while simultaneously completely changing it, I have no idea why), which he then plays, to discover it is the sound of somebody's voice. So... this visual phenomena was a 3D model of a sound in real space. In the right format. This is no suspension bridge, it's a suspension airship, and it's on fire. Oh the humanity.

Horror Tropes: Like all horror movies, this one wraps up at the end, but then has a sequel set-up moment where the danger isn't really gone. We always see that, but it really bugged me here, because in many movies, you get something like they bury the killer, walk away, and then a hand pops out of the grave. That's fine, gives us a little time before the next movie. In this movie, it was so immediate a threat (the evil ghost had jumped into the body of her daughter, who she was holding at the time) that the story really isn't done. It's not an ending at all, it's more like the midpoint of the final confrontation. And by the way, that is such a dumb trope. The story's done, you resolved it. Let it be done. If you want the killer to come back, then have his hand pop up at the beginning of the next movie!

My Take: Well, first of all, these are the most unethical psychologists I've ever seen. I'm not like an expert on the rules, but they were definitely not following any of them. But anyway, this was pretty enjoyable, and I liked where it was going, all up until the end. The way it wrapped up, and what all the rules of the magical stuff involved were, just didn't work. First of all, I don't think there were any logical rules - maybe I just wasn't quite following it, but it was kind of like "this guy had had his mouth stuffed with dirt, so uh... I guess he can touch other people and make them die from dirt coming out of their mouths!" It doesn't fit the lore that you actually learn during the movie, it's just kind of something related to it. So this is one of those movies where it seems like it's leading somewhere good, but it just sort of peters out and crumbles apart when exposed to the light of logic.

The Lesson: Don't eat dirt - you already know it tastes bad, but it can also keep your soul from getting back into your body! I mean, assuming it's not currently in your body. Your soul, that is. Dirt should not be in your body - see the beginning of this paragraph for details.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Resolution 05:33 PM -- Sat October 12, 2013  

This review contains NO spoilers. Nobody should be spoiled for Resolution. Just watch it.

Resolution earns a full 5/5 Meth Pipes, and the coveted Different Review Format Than Normal. You should absolutely see it. Be warned however that, while it doesn't have much violence or anything sexual or even anything particularly scary other than ideas, it has enough F-Bombs that if you bleeped them, you would be communicating in morse code. So be aware of that if you have concerns about language. This movie has more language than the Tower of Babel.

The plot of the movie, at least initially, is very simple: There's a guy who does nothing but smoke meth all day and think that a dog is helping him write a book about squirrels. Another guy who was his friend before he spiralled into drugs sets out to his remote cabin and chains him to the wall to force him to dry out for a week and see if he can convince him to go into rehab. Endless interruptions by incredibly weird people ensue.

It's entirely possible that this movie just caught me at the right moment or just happens to work for me personally, but I thought it was amazing. I was trapped at my wife's office for several hours (on the rare occasions that I leave my house, I usually ride into town with her, which means I'm stuck there as long as she is), so unlike at home where I seek constant distraction, I was glued to this screen with headphones in and nothing else to do for the entire movie, so I paid close attention the whole time. And I was rewarded for my effort with a truly unique experience.

This is one of those really strange meta-movies that's talking about more than what you see onscreen. Everything is operating on at least 2 levels. But if you put that part aside for a moment and just focus on what you're actually seeing, it's still great. The characters are all extremely quirky and interesting, and I hadn't really thought about that until this movie, but most movies have totally generic characters. This is the tough guy, this is the girl who lost her parents. In this movie, every character is totally off-the-wall, nothing you would ever expect, and it feels like there's a huge backstory behind each of them. There most likely isn't, but that's okay, their dialogue makes the movie entertaining, and that's before you even get to the plot. There are parts where I laughed out loud, even though kids were being tutored in the other room.

The plot, I won't spoil. But it's some weird paranormal stuff going on here, and it builds up until ... well, an ending I really enjoyed, and had some difficulty comprehending. I confess that afterwards I read some IMDB discussions and went "OH SNAP" to ones that helped me expand on what I was thinking, and that made me enjoy it even more. So this is definitely a thinker of a movie, and it's got things to say (I won't tell you about what, because you should be as unspoiled as possible), and at the same time it's fun to watch on a pure entertainment level. I actually liked the resolution of Resolution, not just the weird stuff but actually how the human story was resolved. Which in itself sort of breaks the rules of the movie, but I won't get into that. Just watch it.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Terror Tract 02:18 AM -- Mon October 14, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: John Ritter is a real estate agent showing people various houses, only he can't seem to resist detailing the gory details of how the previous owners died in each house. Anthology ensues!

Scariness Type: There are a bunch of jump scares, and some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Grannies.

Body Count: 13 people, 2 cats, 1 dog, a worm and a bird. At least half of the human deaths occur in the last minute of the movie, so that's exciting!

Fun Fact: Bryan Cranston (who's the star of the 2nd story in this anthology) played opposite the exact same monkey (the villain of the 2nd story) in an episode of Malcolm In The Middle.

Best Story: The third story is about a teenager who's been having psychic visions of a serial killer. He goes to a psychologist and is telling her about this (of course she doesn't believe him, and she's worried he's the killer). This segment had an interesting killer (the "Granny Killer" - he wears this old lady mask which is really creepy, way better than the stupid Scream mask. But he also says goofy things in a granny voice like "Why are you scared? It's only Granny!"), and a fun, if small, mystery. I'm not saying it was great, it was still cheesy and pretty lame, but it was the best one.

Worst Story: And for worst story, we have the first story - a woman is cheating on her husband, but he had found about it already, so he snuck back home early and was going to kill both her and her lover, but ends up killed himself. The rest of the story involves the difficulty of hiding the evidence of his death (because nobody in movies is ever willing to consider just telling the truth... he was trying to murder them, they wouldn't have gone to jail!), and of course the possibility of his vengeful spirit returning. It's pretty slow and very cheesy, and just oozes 80's Tales From The Crypt drama. It ends with one of those lame non-twists, the kind of thing that just amounts to "wasn't that weird?" because it doesn't mean anything or change anything.

The Other Story: The middle story is about Malcolm's dad battling an evil monkey that his daughter really likes and doesn't think is evil. It's very silly. It's fun, mainly because of Bryan Cranston's ability to look distraught and freak out about things. But it's very, very dumb.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This was all so silly and ridiculous. In the first story, there's a guy with no special training who holds his breath underwater effortlessly for at least 2 minutes, just calmly swimming around. I was feeling much more nervous than he was. The second story is one big pile of insanity, I can't really point to a specific element. The third story I find much easier to swallow, nothing was hugely wrong with it, I'd say. And the wrap-around story? Well, that was basically a cartoon. My disbelief remained firmly affixed to the floor for this entire movie, no suspension occurred.

Horror Tropes: The first story is just one giant trope, it's like it's straight out of one of those "101 Weird Spooky Tales!" books, right down to the wet footprints and creaking gate. The second story includes not one, but two, instances of placing your hand in blood without looking and then looking at your hand, and then looking to see what's so bloody and freaking out. The third story includes the classic "I have something for you!" while reaching into your jacket pocket and the other person takes you to be threatening to kill them. Just use your words, people, I'm always saying it.

My Take: This movie, released in 2000, should've been from about 1985. Every single thing about it screams 80's, to the point that I assume it was intended. They weren't just going for silly horror, they intended to create something that looked like it was from the 80's, and they succeeded beyond all reason (perhaps it's why they hired John Ritter, even). It's such a crazy throwback that I feel like there must be some kind of story behind the production, though I can't seem to find it. Overall, it's about what you'd expect - really silly lightweight horror with a Tales From The Crypt feel, so it's more half-intended comedy than it is horror. I had fun watching it, as I am guaranteed to with an anthology, although the stories did get progressively better from a rather uninteresting first story through to the pretty decent third story. The wrap-around story of the real estate agent showing houses was fun to watch, but really wasn't even a story. It did have an entertaining ending though!

Missed Opportunity: It's the opposite problem we found with ABCs of Death - if they had just jammed in one more story in this movie, then the existing stories could've been tightened up more and I think the result would've been something more fun.

The Lesson: Make sure you inquire about the neighborhood when buying a house.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Silent Hill: Revelation 07:12 PM -- Mon October 14, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: This is the second Silent Hill movie. A girl moves to a new town, having moved very often to stay ahead of the law, who are pursuing her dad for murdering someone. What she doesn't know is that they're really trying to stay ahead of the evil cult from Silent Hill, who want her back in their town for some reason. They succeed, and she is in Silent Hill. Mass exposition ensues.

Scariness Type: There are jump scares to be found, and there is gore, but the main thing here is something I can really only call "horror". There are all kinds of monsters and scenes that are just wrong, like people with their entire face being a mouth, or lots of things with no eyes, and so on. They don't jump out at you, they don't really scare you, they just sort of horrify you - they are things that should not be.

Rating: 2/5 Contortionist Nurses.

Body Count: 7, although sometimes instead of dying, people became mannequins, or seemed to still be alive through awful torture that should've killed them and other oddities. If I counted everybody that should be dead (like the prisoners whose arms got chopped off at the elbow), the number would be much higher.

Fun Fact: Hair color is a reliable indicator of evilness. But watch out for completely white hair! It's the worst.

Best Moment: Probably the best thing was the attack of the Mannequin Spider. That thing was very creepy, in a good way.

Worst Moment: There isn't really a worst moment, more of a worst element to the whole thing: the plot is an absolute jumble. Nothing makes any sense at all, things just happen one after another until you get to the conclusion, which feels totally unearned and just as random as all that came before it. Because there is so much stuff in the plot, most of the movie is taken up by really bald exposition, people just rattling off information. And it's funny that despite the continuous stream of information, you still don't know what's going on (in a bad way).

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This whole movie felt like a sort of amusement park ride. I never felt like the main character was in any danger at all (and, according to what I could understand of the plot, I think rightly so - she may have been perfectly safe!), and that really sapped any drama from the various chase scenes. I'm not actually sure what made it seem so harmless, but it did. She just never seemed to be threatened, and it didn't help that she didn't seem very concerned either. I'd be more concerned with a bee in the room than these people are about giant murderous monsters charging at them. Also, the high school she attends is All Hallows High. Come on, dude. We deserve better.

Horror Tropes: Don't worry honey, it was all a dream... but wait, more horrible things are happening!! Oh wait, that was also a dream. I want to mock that idea more, because it is cliche and stupid, but I have definitely had dreams about waking up from dreams and thinking I really was awake until I finally woke up for real.

My Take: I've never played a Silent Hill game, or really any horror game for that matter. I have Alan Wake in my Steam Pile, I should fire it up sometime. Anyway, I'm not attached to the game series in the slightest, although it's always interested me, and the movies are the same way. I think I liked the first Silent Hill movie pretty well. When I saw there was a new Silent Hill movie on Netflix, I just had to see it. One thing I really love (which the first movie was full of, and this movie only hits a little bit) is the transition from nice normal world to twisted evil version. It looks really cool, and it's a fun device, a faster version of the "Thank heavens the sun finally came up!" element in some horror movies (most notably for me, The Blair Witch Project). But this movie really felt like a video game, with the triforce being pieced together and keys and bosses and just the general sense of non-danger. With all the magic trinkets and rules and tons of exposition, this movie actually felt a lot more like a fantasy film than horror. It was Alice In Wonderland, only more disturbing, if you can get more disturbing than that. My biggest problem with this all is how it wraps up way way too easily. I don't even understand the fight on the carousel, which was so important as to be the subject of a prophetic nightmare at the movie's start, yet when it comes to reality, it ends in a minute flat with zero repercussions, with the entire battle consisting of one hug. It's like a Care Bears movie. The whole thing missed any feeling of an epic quest. She just waltzes into this town, grabs her dad, and leaves. Simple as that.

Missed Opportunity: They missed the opportunity to include some peril! Anywhere! How about getting injured, or narrowly escaping something? How about not instantly solving every problem with zero effort? How about not being literally handed the magical trinket you need to win the game? Then again, I really question whether she needed it at all, it was pretty useless for something they made such a big deal of. Also, I've missed the opportunity to play this game series, I really should.

The Lesson: Monsters with giant swords won't hurt you, don't worry about it!

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Collection 05:43 PM -- Tue October 15, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Some kids go to a rave, in which 90% of the partiers are mowed down by a giant death shredder, and then the main character (one of said kids, but not one of the ones that is shredded) is kidnapped by "The Collector", a serial killer who apparently slaughters large numbers of people and takes one from each attack back to his secret lair. In the process, for reasons I'm not super clear on, one of his previous victims is set free. Some commando type guys hire/force the previous victim to lead them to The Collector's lair, because they are hired to rescue the main character. Incidentally, the previous victim guy is also a main character, I don't know which one is more main of a character. Traps ensue!

Scariness Type: There's gore a-plenty, jump scares a-few, and a serial killer's creepy house of deadly traps and grotesque 'sculptures' made of human body parts stitched together in incorrect ways. That guy's a weirdo.

Rating: 4/5 Bear Traps.

Body Count: 86 at least, plus 2 dogs. See, it's really hard to count, since in the first 5 minutes of the movie, at least 60 people die as the ravegoers meet a giant lawnmower thing, and then there's also a crusher room and a series of slicer-upper traps. It's pretty brutal!

Fun Fact: That rave looked like it was taking place in Zion!

Best Moment: These movie killers are always so specific about what they do. In this movie, you have a guy whose thing is laying ridiculously elaborate traps (which is fun!). But something I really liked was that when things really turned against him - a swat team was getting ready to beat down the door, and his victims were escaping - he didn't mess around. He picked up a machine gun and 2 big german shepherds (well, he didn't pick them up, but he told them to come with him from wherever they were kept) and just stormed into the room and tried to gun down all the goodguys before things got any worse. Now that's real life. Sure, you want to stick with your gimmick, but when the fan is being struck with waste products, you pull out everything you've got to just get through it and move on to the next genius trap extravaganza.

Worst Moment: I didn't really enjoy the arm-breaking scene...

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Nothing about this movie was remotely believable, it was just fun instead. But two things really made me say "that did not happen that way!" One was when the villain had some gasoline on him, was laying on the ground next to a bunch of cans of gasoline, and the hero (male edition in this case - remember, we have two to choose from) drops a lit cloth on him, and he goes up in a massive blaze... He then later is just mysteriously missing from that spot next time they look. He got away, apparently completely unscarred. Totally insane. The other thing wasn't really one thing, it was just that all the characters in this movie were resourceful to a degree that would make MacGyver jealous. For the villain, that was his gimmick - he made impossibly elaborate traps, fine. But all the goodguys were nearly as brilliant as him, ranging from memorizing the path to his house based on the turns that got him there (and carving marks into his own arm to track it) to re-breaking your own broken arm so you can bend it better. Yeesh, that was a rough scene.

Horror Tropes: I didn't write this down, so I can't verify it, but you just know we had a blood drip from above scene. There had to be. Of course there was also the killer disappearing when you think he's dead (see above as to why that was ridiculous), and a nice case of Extra-Crazy Stockholm Syndrome.

My Take: This movie was tons of fun, and I totally enjoyed it. I hear it's the sequel to The Collector, which I'd be happy to see too. Now, let's be clear - I had a lot of fun with this movie, but it is not by any means a good movie. It's stupid. Soooo stupid. But that's okay, it was fun and silly and my brain was checked at the door. I forgot to get a number with it, but they were able to find it in there and return it to me afterwards. It was like an entire movie of "Well, Mr. Bond, I'll leave you here to die in my elaborate mechanism while I go demand more millions from the U.N.! I'm sure you'll be dead when I return! I don't need security cameras, that's fine, I trust you to die." again and again.

Missed Opportunity: More traps! We could've had more!

The Lesson: Watch your step. Just watch your step.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Apollo 18 06:00 PM -- Wed October 16, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Although Apollo 17 was officially the last manned mission to the moon, it turns out there was actually an Apollo 18 mission. It was top secret because they were deploying some kind of missile detector or something to beat the Russians with. Then everyone involved was horribly killed, so probably best kept secret. Until, that is, the enterprising makers of this movie "uncovered" the footage in 2000something and shared it with us all! So brave. Found footage ensues.

Scariness Type: Little bit o' jump scares, little bit o' gore, mainly your usual found-footage tricks: waiting and watching, wondering what's going to be in the corner.

Rating: 2.5/5 Moon Rocks.

Body Count: 5

Best Moment: All the astronaut business in general was extremely realistic feeling, and I'm fairly certain they mixed in actual NASA footage, and they did such a good job that the real stuff looks just like the fake stuff. At least in the early going. Once they're actually on the moon, it gradually gets more and more movie-ish and feeling less real. Especially when the CGI monsters show up.

Worst Moment: Something I really didn't like in this movie is that they took the fun part of found footage - watching the corners of the screen, trying to spot the horrible lurking thing - and removed the game from it. Several times during the movie, they artificially zoom the shot and even put a highlighting circle around the scary thing you're supposed to see in the otherwise empty shot. Ostensibly, this is realistic - this is a 'documentary' and the makers want you to catch that stuff, they're trying to inform the public. But in reality, this is a horror movie, and that's just a total joy-killer.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: One thing I really couldn't figure out was why these guys were carrying flashbulbs to illuminate dark craters instead of a perfectly ordinary flashlight. Maybe it's some technical thing related to actual space travel, but what I really think is that they did it for the classic found footage trick of seeing a pitch-black room in just a series of flashes of light, and waiting for the one flash that's going to reveal the big scare.

Horror Tropes: Blood drip from above! Whoo! Then there's stumbling around in the dark until you encounter a dead body and screaming and running (Dead people can't actually move, relax). And while it's not really horror tropes in general, this movie was full of found-footage convention - setting up motion-sensing cameras (not that useful on a non-horror-movie moon) and then going to bed for the night, demanding that you keep filming when you never would, making sure your camera is pointed the right way, and all that. It was like transposing the rules of found-footage horror onto the moon.

My Take: I was hooked at first. This is, by orders of magnitude, the most expensive found footage movie I've ever seen. Huge sets (they're on the moon!), spaceship interiors and exteriors, a lunar rover, all kinds of things. Things that would be nothing special in a normal movie, but found footage usually costs like $20 to make because they just go out in the woods or in somebody's house and film whatever's there. It also has real actors in it (the main astronaut is a guy from the show Alphas), which is kind of funny for found footage, but I actually appreciated the nod to the audience - "Look, we both know this isn't actually real, so we're not gonna hire no-names just to try to pretend." And just the style and appearance and sound of all of it really seems like legitimate NASA footage from the era. I even think they filmed some space stuff in zero-G (not in space, mind you, but on an airplane). That could be trickery, but it looked right. So where did this great mockumentary go wrong? With the monsters. They weren't scary, and there just wasn't much suspense about them, they were kinda just right there. The astronauts didn't know that, but we sure did! Especially since the filmmakers zoomed in on them for us. I think they had a ton of potential here to make something amazing, if they had just come up with a more spooky threat. The whole space psychosis angle which was caused by the monsters was a lot more interesting of a threat than the monsters themselves. They practically had a "Here's Johnny!" moment. It might have been a better movie to just have an astronaut go crazy for perfectly normal reasons, and I don't even like "guy goes crazy" movies (I want supernatural stuff!).

Missed Opportunity: What this movie needed was... well, any monster other than little rock spiders. The monsters were a total let-down and not at all scary. Give me moonghosts! Space Ghosts?

The Lesson: We should fund NASA! Pure science and space exploration leads to all the incredible advances we need in every other area. Let's GO TO MARS!!! But the moon first. Come on, is there any reason we don't have a functioning moon colony right now? It's sickening.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Unrest 09:28 PM -- Thu October 17, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A new batch of cadavers arrive at a medical school for doctors to chop up for some good old-fashioned learnin'. Unfortunately, one of the cadavers was... oh, I don't know, some weird issue involving an Aztec curse happened, so people start dying. Bonus cadavers ensue!

Scariness Type: It actually got kinda creepy, in the standard sort of "lights flickering and going out, things on the other side of a wall are thumping and scratching" type of way. There are also crazy homicidal and suicidal people, and there's a fairly healthy dose of gore.

Rating: 2/5 Formaldehyde Tanks.

Body Count: 5ish, plus four pre-deceased people for medical research.

Fun Fact: The Aztec empire was very large, but it was in Central America... thousands of miles from Brazil.

Best Moment: Well, it's not amazing or anything, but there's a scene where a guy who's been driven crazy is sitting at a desk, holding a homemade shiv in one hand hidden under the desk, and he's telling the guard watching him to come closer so he can give him something. It's very tense, and it does not end up with the guard being stabbed, strangely enough. That was a well-done bit.

Worst Moment: There was a part that was supposed to make me feel this way, but it succeeded, which was unpleasant: this girl (who wasn't a med student) asked her fiance (who was) to take her in to see the cadavers. He was reluctant, but she talked him into it. Then she freaked out when the body settled, ran out of the room and immediately started berating him violently for having 'forced' her to go in there. I was so mad at her, and thought she was the dumbest person on Earth. Which is what you're supposed to feel, but really, can anybody be that ignorant of the immediate past? It was way over the top.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Two of the characters end up (fairly ridiculously) taking a dive into a tank that I believe is filled with formaldehyde... SUCH a bad idea! And yet the worst thing that happens is one bobs up and goes "Augh, it got in my eyes!" but he was fine. He even ended up drowning in it to the point of needing resuscitation, and was fixed just as easily as if he'd drowned in water. Now, I'm no scientist, but I think formaldehyde is signficantly worse for you than water.

Horror Tropes: Blood drip YAYYYYY!! I think that should be a requirement in all horror movies. There's a ton more tropes in this movie, but not ones I can really point out... it just all felt the same as all other horror movies with scenes of lights flickering out, and pulling back a shower curtain with a pool of blood under it, all that stuff.

My Take: One kind of interesting thing about this movie is that there is never a monster/ghost of any sort. Stuff just kind of happens, and that's it. Most of it is mental even, people being driven crazy rather than anything actually happening (although there are some breaking bulbs and that sort of thing, but not a lot of stuff flying off shelves). I kind of liked that because the corpse kept seeming like it was going to get up, but it never did anything at all... that you could see! What I didn't like was the movie. It was just pretty dumb, with a really unspecific and illogical threat. You could've made a very good movie with this premise - a person corrupted by some evil power is dead, their body is cut open by doctors and their spirit gets mad at this intrusion (or the evil in them is released by the physical act of cutting), and starts killing everyone involved. They just didn't succeed. Everything was very vague and nonsensical, and not really that interesting, and plot holes plot holes plot holes.

The Lesson: At the beginning of the movie, a guy presents the lesson for you right in the dialogue: "You know that box you can check to donate your body to science? Don't."

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Last Will And Testament of Rosalind Leigh 11:35 PM -- Fri October 18, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: This old woman dies, and her antique collector son, who was estranged from her for most of his life, returns home to either move in or sell the house. What he discovers there is a really messed-up house full of crazy stuff, which it turns out is just about every antique he ever sold. She had bought them all, which is nice and all, but weird. Nothing ensues.

Scariness Type: There are a few jump scares, but this is all about dark, gothic mood and an oppressive dread hanging over it all.

Rating: 2/5 Gollums.

Body Count: One. The guy's mom!

Fun Fact: Other than voices over the phone or through a door, and one shot of two people seen through a window at a distance, and a brief videotape of a bunch of people, this movie contains only one person. Well, and a couple shots of the mom who is dead.

Best Moment: This movie contained the first scene this month to truly scare me (I'm pretty sure ghosts inside a house is all that works for me, at this point): things all around the house are rattling and thumping, and he runs and crouches in a corner, wishing it would all go away like a kid would. He calls his therapist/ex-girlfriend (the relationship is never quite made clear...) and she tells him to just close his eyes and meditate. Things stomp closer and closer as he sits with his eyes closed...

Worst Moment: The dumbest thing in this movie is...

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: the magical space computer! When the guy thinks he sees a monster outside the house, he calls up the alarm company that apparently runs security cameras at his house. He ends up talking to a computer, which somehow patches through security footage onto his laptop, and then talks to him about it as it shows him. This computer recognizes the image on the screen and says it's an animal, but it doesn't know what kind. Was this movie set 40 years in the future? What on earth is this random super space technology doing in this haunted house movie?!

Horror Tropes: A lot of things go bump in the night in this movie! But sadly, blood never drips from above. This is actually a very original movie, other than a lot of the usual ghost things with doors slamming and noises in other rooms.

My Take: As I just said, this movie is quite original. I've never seen anything quite like it. Unfortunately, it's also very boring for about the first two-thirds, and the remaining third has a very cheesy CGI monster in it. And finally, it's all wrapped up with the twist (spoiler!) being that everything that happened didn't actually happen - it was all something the ghost of the old woman was imagining. So it just leaves you feeling cheated. I don't know, I can't hate too much, it was kind of powerful and moving, with some symbolic business, but at the same time there's all the things I just said. So it's not a complete failure. I guess the thing is this: if you still find yourself interested after the first 10 minutes of the movie which literally feature no human beings (other than a voice-over), just empty rooms being slowly panned across, then I think you're all set to enjoy the movie. But I don't think you'll be too sad if you skip out on it either.

Missed Opportunity: Where was Doctor Who to save everybody from this house jam-packed with weeping angels?!

The Lesson: Call your mother, she worries.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Pumpkinhead 10:13 PM -- Sat October 19, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A group of obnoxious teens heads, as usual, to a remote cabin for partying purposes. Along the way they take a rather odd stop to zoom around on motorbikes for a minute. In the process, they accidentally run over a young boy, killing him. His dad doesn't take the news well for some reason, and finds an old witch in the woods to summon a vengeance demon to slaughter them all. Like you do. Vengeance ensues.

Scariness Type: Oddly enough, this is pretty much a slasher movie, like Friday The 13th, where a guy with a machete runs around chopping people up. The subtle difference is that the guy is a giant alien monster instead, and uses claws in place of machetes.

Rating: 3/5 Stickman Necklaces.

Body Count: 7

Fun Fact: The father who ends up connected with the monster is Bishop, the crazy android from the Alien movies. The monster is a near-exact copy of the alien from the Alien movies. Another odd Bishop note: he (the actor who played him) actually bought the gold coins that he pays the witch with, at various pawn shops and stuff around town. He also used his own gun and some other wardrobe elements. Way to support the team!

Best Moment: I don't know... the final showdown was pretty interesting, I suppose.

Worst Moment: Dare I call this the worst moment? It made me laugh... they used an orchestra sting to turn a friendly dog jumping into a guy's lap into a jump scare. It was stupid.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There's really only two things I can point to here that bugged me, and they're more a matter of degree than just something crazy: The "evil teenager" was just too evil. They do that in a lot of movies it seems, but come on, the guy is locking his friends up in a broom closet and cutting phone lines just to make sure they don't call an ambulance for a dying kid? And secondly, I know it's possible to stumble and end up impaled on a pitchfork, I just don't think it's a likely enough occurrence that the coincidence of that happening amidst all this monster excitement is particularly believable.

Horror Tropes: Is it a trope to have a big H.R. Giger alien? It's been done in other horror movies, I know that! We also had "boy chases his dog into certain doom" (usually in front of a truck, in front of a motorcycle this time), "dead monster reaches out and grabs you to reveal its non-dead status", "cowering in the closet and the monster roars at you rather than just tearing you apart" (monsters hate closets, despite what children think), and probably a lot of others. It was a lot more enjoyable to see a huge alien doing the teenager-stalking instead of some boring guy in a mask, but he still made sure to follow all the rules.

My Take: I saw this movie decades ago, probably not when it came out, but a few years later on VHS. And at least once or twice more. I have very strong memories of saying "It's gotta run its course!" to my friends. Somehow we were attached to that phrase. Which is sad because on this viewing, I barely noticed when it went past. It doesn't sound very interesting at all. There was another line we also quoted, but I forget what it was - it's from the scene where the hog-feed-hauling boy is standing next to Bishop's pickup talking to him. But, nostalgia aside, I was surprised to find this movie isn't that bad. It feels very short, but in a good way: stuff is always happening and it just moves right along. And the people in it are not as ridiculous as your usual slasher movie... well, the people of this little backwoods town aren't. The teenagers that are ostensibly the main characters (Bishop is the real main character) are the one-dimensional machete-fodder you've come to expect. There's a fun concept in the movie, where Bishop and the Alien are magically linked because it was awoken with his blood, but I think that could've worked better in a movie where the linked person didn't actually want to sacrifice himself, so the heroes would have to evade the unkillable monster while tracking him down. In this movie, everybody's pretty much aiming for the same final confrontation and it all just wraps right up neat as you please. Anyway, for 80's horror, this is downright decent.

Missed Opportunity: I think the director - since he was Stan Winston, monster-maker extraordinaire - was way too happy to show the alien (oh sorry, I mean demon) clearly. We could've done with a lot more suspense and not-seeing of it. The creature effects were actually really good, but no movie monster is going to really come off that great when you just lay it out in full light.

The Lesson: Don't run over kids. I think the lesson is very clear this time, it demonstrates the consequences in great detail.

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