Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Month Death Toll December 2008

First and foremost, I want to give a big thanks and shout out to all of you that are giving me comments on this site. I know I am not the greatest host sometimes, but I try to get back to your individual site and say what's up, or at the very least try and respond with something. I fail a lot though. I write for 8 blogs and have a full time job and work freelance at night, so I'm swamped with all sorts of things online and offline. I try my hardest to get good content in here and over think a lot of these movies, even if they are dumb sometimes. I have a few reviews coming up as we turn into the new year, but first we gotta count down how this month shaped up and of course, compile our list of overall reviews for easy access. Here are the reviews that I did this month:

Chopping Mall Review
Jack Frost Review
Santa's Slay Review
Silent Night Bloody Night Review
Holiday Horror News
Return to Sleepaway Camp Review
Christmas Evil Review
The Search for Christmas Horror
Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Review
Second Look: Silent Night Deadly Night

And here are All the reviews done to this point:
Chopping Mall Review
Jack Frost Review
Santa's Slay Review
Silent Night Bloody Night Review
Holiday Horror News
Return to Sleepaway Camp Review
Christmas Evil Review
The Search for Christmas Horror
Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Review
Second Look: Silent Night Deadly Night
Silver Bullet Review
Identity Review
The Last House on the Left Review
Constantine Review
Audition Review
The Fly Review
Primer Review
The Dead Zone Review
Ted Bundy Review
Rest Stop 2: Don't Look Back Review
Saw V Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Drive Thru Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge Review
Chaos (2005) Review
Saw IV Review
Joy Ride Review
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Review
The Prestige Review
Captivity Review
Ice Spiders Review
The Dead Next Door Review
Pumpkinhead Review
Child's Play Review
Silent Night, Deadly Night Review
Monkey Shines Review
The Devils Rejects Review
Wes Craven's Shocker Review
The Changeling Review
Vacancy Review
House of 1,000 Corpses Review
The Tattooist Review
Feast (1992) Review
Death Race Review
Lost Boys: The Tribe Review
Hard Candy Review
Mirrors Review
28 Days Later
Feast
28 Weeks Later
Night of the Demons Review
Midnight Skater Review
The Howling Review
Dee Snider's Strangeland Review
Vampires: Los Muertos Review
High Tension Review
Blood: The Last Vampire Review
The Relic Review
The Wizard of Gore Review
Wrong Turn 2
Hatchet
The Ruins
Blood Car
Videodrome
Masters of Horror: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Believers
Cabin Fever
Dolls
They Call Her One Eye
Inseminoid
The House on Sorority Row
Planet Terror
Rob Zombie's Halloween
Funny Games
Friday the 13th
Sleepaway Camp
Camp Slaughter
Feed
Wrestlemaniac
Population 436
The Faculty
The Omen IV: The Awakening
Otis
Ax' Em
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
The Curve
Lifeforce
P2
The Machine Girl

Thank you once again for making this site what it is, and thank you all who read it, comment on it and the very few (and I do mean few) that actually use the links to buy things horror related and then some. It really does help.

Happy new years from Scary Film Blog and Don Jorge (me). I will return in the New year with more horror goodness!

Looking for grindhouse, horror, or sci-fi films? Please check out our amazon astore featuring all things horror. Don't trust astore? Check out amazon.com, surprisingly they have more grindhouse,horror,and rare sci-fi than you may not have thought possible.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chopping Mall Review

Chopping Mall dvd

Unfortunately I didn’t get my copy of Silent Night Deadly Night 4 in the mail yet, and that’s what I get for paying for media mail, when I should’ve upgraded to something more expedited. Oh well. With only a couple of days left in the month of December, I’m going to throw in the towel on the whole holiday horror theme. I tried my best, but just didn’t do as much as I thought I would. However, to appease the crowds out there, enjoy this review of Chopping Mall. Yep…somewhat holiday themed…Chopping Mall!

Chopping Mall is one of my favorite movies from the 80’s. It combines a lot of elements that I love in regards to thrasher movies in general. The basic plot outline of this film is sub-standard. A bunch of mall employees want to stay after hours and have sex and fun in the stores. However, on this night the new security system has been unleashed, and this new system has gone rogue after a lightning strike. The kids now have to face the new robotic onslaught or get killed. What do you think will happen?

Here is a trailer for Chopping Mall:



Chopping mall has poor production value, teases some nudity, and really doesn’t do a whole lot to generate a great and promising story line. That’s right, the overall tone of this film is terrible, the pacing is somewhat generic, and the physics of robotics has been completely rewritten for this film to exist.

The actors are all no name stars, and none of them really remind me of anyone from other sources. This can either make or break a film and in this case they do an adequate job with the terrible one liners and interesting sequences. The women are from a different time. I swear that every time I see a movie like this the women are sexier than today’s supposed teenage love interests. Could it be that today we use actual teens bred for acting, and in the 80’s they used adult women to play teenage roles? Yeah, I thought so.

The main threat in this film is not just some random lunatic, it is a clan of robots. These robots use electricity to kill their enemies as well as lasers. These lasers really don’t do a whole lot unless they hit you in the head in which they cause it to explode! The best part of this movie has to be the deaths, including a head exploding in full view, the scene is so cool, that I have it here for you:



The movie is not possible in a lot of arenas. The kids are stupid too, thinking they can defeat a machine with ease because it’s a machine. They even go as far as trying to blow up the machines and then try to crush them with a falling elevator, all of which doesn’t really work too well. The only way to kill the machines was an elaborate plan involving, mirrors. Yeah, it isn’t elaborate or complicated. You even get the famous final girl scenario in this film, which is cool, but they had to bring back a nerd. Lame.

If there is a mall in America that acts like this one, we are all doomed. This mall is just easily laughable at the amount of security breaches that are not even related to the era of this film. Also, it appears that there were no smoke detectors in the mall because there’s a cigarette machine in clear view! Oh and not to mention the vents can easily fit three full grown women! This is laughable to say the least, and really stupid even for a horror film; sadly.

Why Chopping Mall is scary: Movies like Chopping Mall seemed to have proliferated in the 1980’s. The cover alone is hilarious are is reminiscent to the art style of a lot of different horror movies out there. The picture reminds me of artwork for Sleepaway Camp, Dead Alive, Fright Night, Salem's Lot, and many others that I won’t name at this moment. It seemed like the best way to get these movies rented were to just have a cartoon comic drawing on the front. The marketing departments at these companies were probably aiming them straight at kids, kids like me. (I was young in the eighties, sorry)

The horror of this picture is not so much with the movie itself but the ideas that are being spread within it. It seems like the robotic uprising is a sore spot in science fiction. In the United States you can not mention autonomous robots without getting someone worried about them becoming self aware and attacking anything that resembles a human being. This really makes for a lackluster robotics department and you know what? The rest of the world isn’t like that at all. Just look at certain robotics from Asia and even South America, they are light years ahead of anything coming out of M.I.T right now. It’s sad to think that every time you see a robot trying to help humans it automatically wants to start killing them. This is scary to me because if another country preys on our fear of robotic uprisings they can create a fleet of robots to fight the wars against us. Oh great, now I’m the one perpetuating fear. It’s scary to think that this great country we live in is so afraid of any advancement in robotics, and even the “roomba” is scary to some people, because if it becomes more self aware it will kill us all! Don’t believe me? Check out popular films that feature robotic uprisings like The Terminator, I Robot, Westworld, Red Planet, Death machine, and Exterminator City among other movies with this example of plot twisting.

If you’re not convinced that I’m right in regards to the stupidity and scary notion that a robotic uprising is just not going to happen, then consider step two in regards to why Chopping Mall is scary. Chopping Mall presents a very stupidbunch of teenagers and/or young adults. The people in this movie are complete morons. They start to shoot at the robots and see that bullets have no effect on them, yet they keep trying to hit the robots with as much fire power as they can get their hands on. It’s stupid to think that these humans are that dumb.

You know what would happen if I was trapped in the mall in the 1980’s? I would find a store that I can lock the door in and would just wait. I wouldn’t move until morning, I would go to sleep. If I saw the robots coming, I would go into the vent that was big enough for three women, and I would just hide out until the place opened up in the morning. That’s it. This movie shouldn’t be 90 minutes long it should be ten minutes long and feature me.

Alright, the real deal with Chopping Mall is that it’s a guilty pleasure. Sure it’s horrible, sure it doesn’t make sense at times, but it’s still worth watching, owning and laughing along. The cover is awesome and the 1980’s delivered yet another laughable piece of horror pie.

Here’s a bonus for you guys, since I’ve been flaking a little bit, here are posters from the 1980’s featuring some great artwork for you to enjoy.

Deadly Games

Children of the Corn

The Burning

Scanners

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Friday, December 26, 2008

A Real Santa Claus Killer

Santa Claus Killer

Today’s post is kind of grim in many ways, largely because we’re not really dealing with fictional characters from Horror movies anymore. Yesterday (12/25) a gunman dressed in a Santa Suit killed 8 people and set a house on fire. That’s right, a real Santa Claus killer. This is really going to mire the on going debate on whether or not a Killer Santa Claus movie is worthwhile in regards to creativity and horror movies.

I’m not sure if this is going to force anyone to really take things seriously or if this is just another blemish on the case of a holiday that esteems shopping and commercialism beyond any good will that you could imagine.

The Real Santa Claus killer is now headline news, far above the news of cultural demise in Mexico, Argentina, or any other latin American country that is in shambles.

I posted a little video about Silent Night Deadly Night getting trashed by Siskel & Ebert on the release of the film, but never did I ever equate Santa Claus or a killer dressed as Santa Claus to be a real life problem in society. That is, until yesterday when people were murdered by a crazed mad man.

I wanted to shed light on this for two reasons.

Silent Night Deadly Night 2

1) As a horror movie fan and advocate of taking a closer look at the world around us, I want to say that although the majority of the atrocities discussed in this blog are not real there is still evil in the world and we shouldn’t think that horror films can never become real life. I AM NOT saying that horror movies contributed to this case, or that it helps criminals or causes motives. I’m saying that horror movies shouldn’t be sterilized into a super hero fictional world that can never and doesn’t happen ever.

2) My second point hinges on the first. With that stated, if you’re a parent or are going to have kids tell your kids about these movies in light of fiction and reality. These movies are great visual stories, but they are also warnings in many cases and if you’re going to let your kid see these things, explain to them in terms they understand different points. Why not? My dad taught me that these things are real in the sense that the world has a lot of bad people, and that the movies themselves should not scare me, but real life is certainly a lot worse.

I know, I’m really trying hard to reach this story and put it in this blog somehow, but come on, it’s an interesting scenario of sorts. But it really hits home to me to see a real life story of a Santa suit killer. I know, life imitates art, and even if I’m the only one trying to connect the dots, I think it’s weird to me that this movie that I saw as a kid is coming back to haunt me in real life. Odd, really odd.

I know, I'm reaching really far, but I didn't have a review qued cause of the holiday.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jack Frost Review

Jack Frost dvd

Jack Frost is a 1996 horror film with an interesting holiday twist. The movie is laughable on a lot of levels, but there are some seriously creepy moments that still make this one a holiday treat, even if you have to reach very far in your depths of understanding to like it. It’s a hard film to like, simply because it’s so outlandish at times, and while Jack Frost isn’t going to win any major awards, it’s still part of the Holiday Horror theme we’re going for this winter.

Jack Frost starts off simple enough, a killer is being transported in a special truck a week before Christmas. The truck gets into a terrible accident and genetic or radioactive material hits Jack (our villain) and he melts, melts into snow! Jack turns into a snowman and vows revenge on the Sheriff that captured him.

The premise lends itself well to a Marvel Comics Origin story, not a traditional horror film. The movie tries to take itself seriously, especially with the paranoia of the victims, moments before they are going to be killed by the snow man. The victims are killed in a variety of funny ways, and the mood reflects that, making this film more funny than scary, and that’s nothing new to the theme at hand.

As I thought more about this film, the more the movie really broke down for me. Yes, this is a horror film, and yes it’s a slasher film, but I don’t believe that anything about this film was meant to be taken seriously at all. The kills in this film are all done in a hilarious manner, the camera angles are sloppy, and the one liners are stupid to say the least.

Jack Frost

Jack Frost can be scary for kids, but in regards to horror films it’s on the low end of the horror spectrum. I don’t mind horror comedy, and I give a lot of films a fair chance, but this is in the bin of sci-fi original television movies as a terrible example of what could an interesting premise. The whole Jack Frost story might lend itself well to a comic book, where you can exaggerate all the drawings, but this film doesn’t really work.

For instance, the snow man kills in doors where you presume that the temperature is hot. Wouldn’t the snow man melt? Furthermore, he even puts on a scarf midway through the film, once again you must consider the melting factor. The melting factor aside, this film really tries to mix comedy and seriousness, but fails on a lot of levels.

The third act really tries to pick things up as the towns people try to fight back and really give it a go, as they all realize what’s going on, and throw away their disbelief long enough to fight off the unlikely monster. They trap the snowman in a jailhouse, fill it with flammable aerosol material, then shoot a bullet into the gas soaked place, causing a huge explosion! But does it kill him forever? Watch the film, it’s the best part of the film, if you can make it that far.
I have one major complaint. The movie teases you with what will be a sex scene, and it doesn’t happen. Then the film teases you with full frontal nudity! The gratuitous full bare breasts are coming! But nope, even in a full bath tub, with no clothes on, we see nothing but arms and legs, no boobs, no nothing. This is a staple of horror! The scene ends with a hilarious kill that makes no sense at all, and we’ll just leave it at that. Oh well.

I found that the revenge plot of this film is an interesting take, but a killer snow man? No not the Abominable Snowman which is more of a Sasquatch-like entity, we’re talking about a man made of snow, or a snow-man made of the spirit of a dead man. Whatever the case is, Jack Frost is a terrible romp through serial killing, slasher film. I’m sorry I saw this one, as it makes Santa’s Slay look like The Godfather. As a comedy this film is great, as a made for television sci-fi movie it works well too, as a major studio or even straight to dvd horror movie attempt, it falls flat and secures a place in my horror movie hall of shame. It’s worth watching for the hilarity, and nothing more. So take Jack Frost with a grain of salt, and enjoy comedy horror at its best, but don’t expect a whole lot. It does answer the inconsistencies aforementioned in this review, although not exactly in the greatest format, but oh well. It is what it is.

Bonus commentary: The movie spawned a sequel. Jack Frost 2! Another ill fated movie with a serious problem in the credibility factor. Also, in 1998 a movie called “Jack Frost” was made where a man turns into a snowman and befriends a small boy, creating a real comedy after the idea of a man turning into a snow man. That film starred Michael Keaton, of all people, and was one of the worst comedic films of 1998. So maybe there’s something to the snow man thing, but if you’re really into the mythos of a “snow man” maybe consider watching “Abominable” a much better take on the idea of the Abominable Snow man, eve if it is a rip off of a Hitchcock Film.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa's Slay Review

Santa's Slay

Former WCW Champion Bill Goldberg plays a killer Santa who’s back to kill the naughty. It’s awesome, and not meant to be scrutinized as a serious film, but it is a throwback to the 80’s slasher formula that many other movies really miss. Santa’s Slay is a great holiday horror film, and many people never even see it, such a shame.

The movie is about a couple of teens who uncover a mysterious story, told by one’s grandpa. Back a thousand years ago Santa Claus bet against an Angel with the loser being enslaved for a thousand years. Claus, in this story is the son of the devil, and plots to kill people once a year, and loses in this game, but 1000 years later (The present) he’s back in action to slay the naughty and anyone who stands in his way. So in the Township of Hell two brave teens must try to stop a killer Santa from destroying anyone and everyone he deems naughty.

Here’s a trailer for Santa’s Slay:



The film is done nicely. The movie’s cameras and director plays a great role in pushing this movie to its limits. The picture is nice, and the overall quality is great. While this is a straight to dvd and/or made for television film it really is top notch. It is higher quality than a lot of other films that I’ve seen go straight to dvd. The angles, the effects, the make up, and all things movie related are right on point and look great for this type of film.

The death’s are well made and awesome. We’re talking about serial slaying with all sorts of Christmas and Holiday related toys and gadgets. The only thing missing is a Festivus pole, but then again, one might argue that the electricity in the strip club is a throwback to that idea from Seinfeld.

Goldberg’s one liners are great. They are all related to the Holiday’s and they are all on point in a raspy, scary voice. I’m a little bit of a fan since I was a wcw fan circa 1999 when Bill Goldberg was a major wrestling star. This movie goes out of its way to be halfway serious, until the final act, where everything is dismantled and this movie becomes another joke of a horror plot.

killer santa

Why Santa’s Slay is scary: Taking the story of Santa Claus and making it a serial killing parable isn’t new. However, throwing the traditional into a scary and supernatural story is not bad. We all believe in something or nothing, and it all has to do with some sort of entity. Here we see the entity manifested in Biblical proportions, with the main characters being angels and/or the son of Satan. This is not too farfetched. Consider Mormonism for a moment. Mormonism has a belief that Jesus is the brother of Satan, that’s right, they are brothers, and millions upon millions of people believe that to be true. So the idea that Satan’s son could be Santa Claus can’t be too far off of an idea to spoof or borrow.

Consider also that the Fat Red Santa mythos wasn’t even invented until the 19th century sometime, by an artist rendering. It was also then more commercialized by the Coca Cola company and away we go to modern Santa Claus. This creates an interesting scenario of belief that makes some of the points in this movie sort of scary. What if it was all true?

What if? We deal in a world of what ifs. I know that it’s not a popular thing to believe, but consider the fact that many people in the world are waiting for economic collapse and are storing up food and supplies. Consider the millions of people that believe in God, and are waiting for the second coming of Christ. Consider even fringe beliefs of sorts, like the Ethiopian Orthodox church. They believe that they have the original Ark of the Covenant. That’s right, there are a lot of what ifs that people believe and are personally attached to, and that’s why this film is kind of scary at times. It pulls a quick punch in the direction of Santa, which is popularized once a year, and spins it on its axis into an evil association, which creates quite the contrived and impersonal setting for this horror movie.

This film is scary on the notions of a what if scenario. It can be argued that all movies in the horror genre are scary in the, what if, argument that I’m creating in this article. However, this one is meant to be tongue and cheek at times, and I can’t really see another way to explain why this movie could be scary. Most people won’t find this movie to scary as it deals a lot with the supernatural as a counterbalance to serial killings, but you might also argue that the vigilante justice that Santa is giving out in this film is not too unlike previous horror movie efforts such as “Christmas Evil” and “Silent Night Deadly Night”, but in the realms of horror it stands out on its overall pledge to keep things just below the radar in terms of horror. Sure it has horror elements, and sure it really hinges on a little supernatural belief, but if you strip away the nonsense, you get an enjoyable horror film with a lot of comedic moments and some silly deaths.

Santa’s Slay is the best movie I’ve seen in terms of Holiday Horror. There are a lot of bad movies out there, and this one is not one of them. It’s light, it’s funny, and if you allow yourself to ask a few what if questions, you’re in for a good holiday horror time. It’s not really meant to be treated as a nightmare, but it has enough of umph to get you through the yuletide mess we call holidays. Santa’s Slay is a harmless, yet powerful horror film, and I liked it a lot more than some other Holiday themed films, so I suggest a viewing of Santa’s Slay. If not a s a whole, then for the great opening sequences featuring some SNL alumni, some classic actors, and one hot former sitcom star….trust me. Santa’s Slay, if nothing else, is funny, and that’s kind of cool for a horror film.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Silent Night Bloody Night Review

Silent Night Bloody Night

About ten years prior to the film Silent Night Deadly Night, a low budget Christmas themed film came out entitled Silent Night Bloody Night. The film was rated R, and starred a lot of friends of one reclusive and weird artist Andy Warhol. I’m going to try and do my best here, to review this lesser known movie.

The movie is about an escaped mad man who is now killing people at a mansion. There is also a subplot of who will take ownership of an abandoned insane asylum, and as things start to heat up within the main characters, a mad man kills without warning.

This movie is very difficult to watch. This movie sucks, I had such a hard time with this movie that I almost turned it off. I give a lot of movie a fair chance, and though I sat through this steamy pile of horror film, I couldn’t find a lot of saving graces.

The sound sucks on this film. The foley is terrible, the voices are sometimes muted and overdubbed, and the kill scenes are done with such a stupid lazy effort, it makes me hate horror. The only backdrop to Christmas found in this film is through the films score which features Christmas carol’s. We also see Christmas lights hung on the exterior of the mansion that we are at.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the film really solves nothing, and then gives the audience a sepia toned flash back to finish off the plot and then tie up loose ends, it doesn’t do anything and really frustrates me as a horror movie fan. This film is terrible.

The saving grace to Silent Night Bloody Night has to be the make up effects. The make up is well done and you see a lot of good overall “zombie” and “death” effects. I liked that a lot, and thought it really carried the film a little, when the acting and overall story was convoluted.

Here is a trailer for Silent Night Bloody Night:



1974 is not a good excuse for such a bad movie both in style and delivery. The films of 1974 were not terrible and showed a lot of promise. Consider the year in film that year, we had: Young Frankenstein, The Longest Yard, Blazing Saddles, The Godfather Part 2, Gone in 60 Seconds, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, The Street Fighter, Vampyres, Way of the Dragon, and of course The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The year did not reflect such poorly done film making, and while this is a low budget film, there’s no excuse for such terrible plotting and pacing, and terrible lighting. Maybe this film was meant for the art house, as Warhol might have had influence on its style. However, this film is horrible and I do not recommend it at all.

While consider the scary parts of this film, I decided not to go too much into a psychological analysis. This film is so hard to watch that the notions set forth by the film, and its intentions are lost on me. I don’t want to do it too much justice, because it really was not a good movie and while I have seen some terrible films, this one takes a whole new standard. Silent Night Deadly Night is a terrible, terrible, Christmas horror movie. As far as holiday films are concerned, I would much rather recommend Silent Night Deadly Night as the go to Christmas horror movie.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Horror News

I’m back again, but due to two weeks of company at my house, I wasn’t able to sneak away too often to watch holiday horror films. I tried unsuccessfully to watch a few but I did manage to get some news sent my way about holiday horror that you’re going to enjoy how awesome these things are.

Halloween 2 Poster

First and foremost, Rob Zombie (House of 1,000 Corpses, Halloween) has confirmed that he’s going to be directing a direct sequel to his Halloween reboot, and will continue the storyline from the moments after the last one ended! That’s right, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is coming out sooner than later. I like his work, despite the differences, and am looking forward to this one.

Second, here’s an awesome video clip from two idiots that got paid to review films! These guys are complete morons and stupid. I can’t believe the comments that are said, and how Roger Ebert ends this segment. It shows how stupid movie critics are when reviewing horror films. Here’s the clip:



Silent NIght Deadly Night 4

Finally, I have my grubby hands on Silent Night Deadly Night 4: Initiation. Well, it hasn’t come in the mail yet, and ordering it this late in December is going to be a dumb move, but I’m hoping to cap off the Holiday Horror month with a review of that epic movie. It’s a vhs tape, but hey, I collect them. I have been a fan of the first 2 films for so long that it’s time for me to finally see the rest of the 5 part series. Here’s a trailer for Silent Night Deadly Night 4: Initiation:



That’s it, a little news post to hold you guys over, I’m sorry that there’s no review today. I will have one on Friday of a holiday classic, well sci-fi holiday movie review, I’m tired. If you’re feeling generous, check out my amazon links or a link from the “text links” in the sidebar and up above, and help me keep trying to view the most obscure holiday and regular horror movies.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Return to Sleepaway Camp Review

Return to Sleepaway Camp

Taking a break from the holiday horror films for a moment, I took the time to watch this film that no one really seems to be giving any credit. In fact a lot of people hate this film and I’ve listened to some podcasts where the producers refuse to watch this one. You know what? They’re wrong and if you don’t give this movie a shot, you’re not a real horror fan either, because you are completely missing something interesting and relevant to the Sleepaway Camp series. So I now present for your reading consideration, Return To Sleepaway Camp.

The film quality is straight to dvd, however, the shots are very good and at times I swear that this film is from the 1980’s because it has a certain flair to it. It’s really a good an interesting tone, it feels new but the shots are old. It actually parallels the original film in a lot of ways and if you are keen to noticing the original film in this series, than you’re going to see a complete update to the original in such a clear way.

The gore levels are elevated, and you see the kill and the result. In the first film we only saw the initial kill and the results, never really over doing the gore levels to anything overall crazy. The sequels were way more graphic sexually and violent. This film was just too close to the original in a lot of aspects and then I realized that the original writer and director and also some of the major cast members that were in the first film are in this film too! That’s right, we get a lot of the original cast reprising their roles in an updated version of this cult classic.

The movie follows a kid that is being picked on like crazy. As the story unfolds we see the campers punishing this kid much worse and worse, eventually a revenge is seen and all fingers point to the victim. Meanwhile our original counselor “Ronnie” thinks that Angela is back and after a visit to the original camper “Ricky” the audience starts to point fingers all sorts of different directions. We get a shocking turn of events, although some might be quick to say that they knew it all along.

Here's a trailer for Return to Sleepaway Camp:



Return to sleepaway camp

Why Return to Sleepaway Camp is scary:

The original film shocked people with it’s incredible ending, and creepy factors that pushed the film into cult status. This film really doesn’t do the same, however it is is a gift to the original fans. This movie follows the same tone and presence, the performances are similar and the death scenes are updated to current standards. There is even cgi effects shown in this one, but the scary portions of the film are still there.

There are two different scary tones in this film that people miss each time. The first is that teenagers are very cruel and they seem to never learn. The teens treat one camper so terribly, that when the victim reacts by being mean back they go to near blows creating a deeper emotional wound that won’t be easy to get over. Anyone who’s been bullied before will be quick to understand the protagonists plight in this film, as he is misunderstood and reacts to the bullying in the same way that anyone would, with desperation and ill fated schemes. It’s sad that the counselors and authority at the camp don’t do much more than verbally warn the campers to stop picking on the kid. Man, if I had a kid and he was getting treated like the kid getting bullied, I would be mad at the authorities for not stopping it.

The second scary notion is that the various deaths to the campers doesn’t shut down the camp at all. They keep going, and the only major authority around is the sheriff! Seriously? In the movie they know about the original killings and for whatever reasons they don’t shut things down they just keep going and more and more bad things happen.

If you strip the deeper meanings and obvious scary notions of this film, you then realize that if you’re away from home and your friends and/or fellow campers are getting killed in horrific deaths and you haven’t been sent home or are still at the camp, then you are going to be pissing your pants. Consider for a moment that in the original films the campers didn’t know that others were killed, yet in this one they know, everyone knows and everyone has their pick to who’s behind the slayings.

Admittedly it’s tough to get scared by these things, however the death sequences are scarier than you might think. Each individual is scared to death and then killed by a sneaky killer. The deaths are also very scarring. For instance, one of the better scares is throwing a cook into a deep fryer head first! And unlike the original, these sequences are horrific and ridiculous.

Sure, I’m waxing poetic on this film because I’m a huge fan of the original. However, the original had major flaws, including a real life baseball game with multiple innings in the middle of the film. We also had a lot of set up before that final reveal in the end of that film, and overall the tone and film quality was terrible. This film, although updated, is definitely fitting in the style and sequence of the original film and is actually enjoyable. I’d even dare to say that it’s on par with the original and one of my favorite films that went straight to dvd this year. Return to Sleepaway Camp is a highly recommended horror film for those of you that loved the original. I liked it a lot, and you probably will too.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Evil Review

Christmas Evil

The time has come for another Christmas horror movie review, and while I have been kind of waiting a little longer than usual before unleashing all my reviews, I have to say that it’s a lot better than when I used to issue reviews on a daily basis. Today I have for your reading pleasure or displeasure, Christmas Evil, a movie that came out in the early 80’s and was written and directed by Lewis Jackson. Jackson apparently didn’t do a whole lot more than this film, most likely because this would’ve ruined his career.

Christmas Evil is now widely available on dvd, but it hasn’t come without some controversy. Much like “Silent Night Deadly Night” this film deals a controversial blow to the Christmas mythos by having your main antagonist be a Santa Claus character. The plot surrounds a man with a very scary obsession with Santa Claus. We start off in 1947 with two kids seeing Santa come down and deliver presents, but as one kid is skeptical he rushes down for one more look, only to find Santa rubbing his mom’s leg and this shakes his core to a place where he now lives alone and can’t handle society’s pressures.

Completely obsessed with Santa Claus, our main character Harry has a life of voyeurism and crippling odd behavior. He begins to embody the idea of Santa Claus , now in the present day, as he runs a toy factory and is struggling to deal with the hypocrisies of his neighbors and their children. This is presented in a very creepy sequence of events that unfold, and you can genuinely feel tension and good overall direction as the camera moves in a very smooth manner through the explanation of Harry’s story.

The movie derails in the third act and in the final act completely destroys all credibility of being a good horror film, and you are left with a lot of questions, no answers, and an abrupt end to horror film, if you can call it that.

There are some great one liners in the film, my favorite being when Harry asks his neighbor’s kids what they want from Christmas and one kid yells “A lifetime subscription to Penthouse magazine!”, which makes Harry go nuts yet again. Classic, just classic.

Christmas Evil

Why Christmas Evil is Scary: Christmas Evil is not necessarily scary on the surface. However, put in its proper time in history, you might find some scary notions in the film. Take for instance Harry’s complete crippling of sexuality. He didn’t even see full blown sex between Santa and his mom, he saw his father dressed as santa rubbing a leg. Sure 1947 was a year of repression in a lot of ways, but to cripple your sense of being for the rest of your life? I’m not sure if I can get behind that notion, but for the sake of argument, let us consider this part of the film. It is scary to think that someone could be completely crippled psychologically by such a pseudo sexual trauma. The idea of a pure and wholesome Santa Claus is not something that you would have considered in 1947 nor even 1980, but to completely cripple the psyche of your main character? That’s where I think this movie really starts to defy logic, but I don’t deny that it is scary on that level.

The second scary notion happens in the serial killings that are processed by Harry. Harry does them in such a harsh manner, but immediately gets scared at his own realization. He also seems to break in and drop off presents to people without any noise, and without any sort of awareness to common sense. This particular notion is amplified in his killing of his coworker, as he crawls in through a window, unlocked and easily accessible, and just comes right in. Given the year and the location, I do not see how this is plausible, but I do find it scary that the scene and sequence could be used as a metaphor for evil in general. Sometimes evil notions and situations (including people) sneak up on you so easily and before you know it, you’re dead. Consider my review of “The Believers” in regards to the idea of cults and misinformation. We as consumers and horror movie fans are not always rational in our viewing of these films. While we often times look for inconsistencies, or stupidity and/or entertainment in these films, we miss the obvious metaphorical and what I presume unintentional pearls of subversion that are found.

We give our trust to doctors, government, church, family, and strangers on a daily basis. Here is a paranoia trip that really sets out to confuse the audience. Is Harry wrong? Is he really the protagonist? The film treats Harry like Frankenstein, being chased by a mob of vigilante’s who are dead set on killing the killer Claus for his somewhat justifiable crimes. We then are treated to the biggest “WTF” moments in movie history, and I won’t spoil it, but it left me shaking my head in disbelief.

Christmas Evil is not the scariest of entries in holiday horror, but it serves up a very good character study. It seems like it was going somewhere good, building tension through Harry’s obsession and crippling childhood experiences, but it really tries to jump the shark in the second half before rerouting to a unforgiveable parody of Frankenstein. Christmas Evil is not recommended viewing, unless you absolutely must see a holiday horror film.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Search for Christmas Horror

Hallway

I’ve been racking my brain trying to find the most Christmas themed horror films as possible. I’ve narrowed it down to 18 Christmas based horror films. That’s right, there are only roughly 18 true Christmas horror films. Every horror movie blogger out there is trying to do reviews on Christmas movies, and most of them are doing the obvious ones, and of course so am I. However, a whole month of Christmas horror? That just can’t happen.

As a horror movie writer, I’m running into a wall of sorts. I can’t find more than 18 dvd’s and vhs that are explicitly Christmas related horror. Plus, everyone I talk to seems to think that the Christmas horror theme is a played out and overdone concept, which is wrong! It’s not overdone. You know what’s overdone? Dracula (vampire) movies; there are hundreds of thousands of vampire movies and even just Dracula movies. In fact, if you wrote on a board what you know about Vampires compared to topics such as “The President of the United States”, “God” or even “Christmas” you’d be surprised to see that the Vampire side is massive in comparison to all three of those things combined! So those that say that the Christmas (killer santa included) horror theme is overdone or overblown, you’re not correct in saying so. If that were a true statement, there would be more than 18 movies based on Christmas terror. I even let a couple of films slide (Ie Gremlins), and even allow some others into the category based on my own experiences (Chopping Mall), but overall, this is a genre that has not been explored nearly enough in comparison to far other topics. I mean, it’s not the least known horror genre, like the killer 800 number (976 Evil and it’s ill fated sequel, both courtesy of Robert Englund)

Still not convinced?

Here’s genre’s with more horror movies than the Christmas horror genre:

Vampire Movies, examples:

Dracula
John Carpenters: Vampires
Fright Night
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
Fearless Vampire Killers
The Hunger

Werewolf Movies, examples:

Wolf
The Howling
American Werewolf in London
Teen Wolf (I’m kidding)

Slasher Movies, examples:

Slumber Party Massacre
Scream
Child’s Play
April Fool’s Day
My Bloody Valentine
Terror Train

You’re starting to get the point, seriously, the Christmas horror genre is seriously lacking heavy hitters and flooded marketing schemes. There are just not THAT many, so next time you think that this genre is overblown, overdone, or over rated, you need to reconsider the other genres of horror that truly deserve that title.

As for me and the search for Christmas horror movies, I’m having a harder time finding all these movies than it’s worth. Does that mean I’m not going to review more holiday horror movies as I promised? No. I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve, including at least 10 of the 18 movies that I can find, and that’s not including the movies that feature whole series. That’s right, I’m giving you guys a good amount of holiday horror, however, I am not going to be hitting up a lot of sequels, mainly the Silent Night Deadly Night sequels, which stretches to 5 movies, and I won’t be reviewing the horror movie “Elves” which I can’t seem to find on dvd and don’t really want to try my luck at ebay and/or hunt it down via a used vhs store. All this to say that I wish there were more scary holiday movies.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Review

Silent Night Deadly Night 2

In 1987 a sequel was put out entitled “Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2” and fans of the first film flocked to see it. Well, maybe not in theaters, but definitely on home video. I know I did, and boy were most people upset with this one. I personally credit this film to one of my earliest visions of sex on film as I was hitting puberty when I managed to get an old vhs copy of this film, and well, the rest is history.

Unlike many of the films that I review on this site, this one is really hard to review on the normal course of my reviews. I can’t really say that this film is all that great, and it’s hard to pin down whether or not it is legitimately scary, so I’m going to give it my best shot, but this is NOT my best work, nor is it the greatest horror movie ever made. Trust me…this thing is a stinker in most cases.
This film picks up where the original leaves off. Ricky is our main character and he is in a mental institute and is recounting all the events that happened in the previous film. This takes up most of the first half of the film, and we see things done in flashback format using the exact same footage that we saw in the first film! That’s right, the producers and director were so lazy that they simply played the older movie with a new voice over track in spots, and didn’t doctor it up at all, they just let it play. This made a grand majority of horror movie fans upset, and most didn’t get passed this.

If you managed to navigate your way to the second half of this film we start to see Ricky getting better and even finds himself a girlfriend, and in one of the most tame sex scene’s I have ever scene, the two seem to be headed towards long term bliss. This portion of the film is done terribly, and you barely believe that this film is a horror movie at all. Ricky and his girlfriend Jennifer stroll through a city and things get really bad, but at the same time the greatest piece of movie history for me happens.

Ricky is confronted by Jennifer’s ex boyfriend named “Chip” and he’s an over the top rich looking dude, and he delivers a line to the effect that he “banged Jennifer’s brains out” in the back of his car. I’m not sure why this line and its verbage and delivery gets me all riled up, but for whatever reasons it is engraved in me and man…I just love it. I know, it’s a bit weird, but I just do, it’s one of my greatest cinematic lines of all time. Those words enrage Ricky and we get to the best part of this film, the killing! Ricky shoves a jumper cable end into Chip’s mouth and BOOOM! He then proceeds to start firing away in one of the most comical sequences of serial murder in movie history. There hasn’t been a greater sequence of serial slashing in any other film, and this film nails comedy and precision with every bit of gorey stupidity that you can muster up for a christmas horror film.

He then proceeds to try and hunt down Mother Superior back at his old orphanage, where his brother was gunned down as Santa Claus. He finds her, and man oh man things get ugly. Eventually the movie goes into clich√© when cops gun down Ricky, but not before the camera shows you that he’s still moving and then we go to credits!

Is Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Scary?
Not really. The majority of the film suffers from terrible editing, and the use of original film footage from the first film really makes the first half sink like an anchor in the ocean. The second half of the film is mired by the sexual tension of Jennifer and Ricky’s relationship that is really plain and pale considering that this film is rated R. The best part of this film is almost satire in its effect and really hard to get scared at.

The only thing that I would be scared about in regards to this film is the fact that there are people in this world with deeply repressed memories and severe mental problems. These problems are often dormant for a long time and literally pop up out of nowhere and result in a maniacal turn of events. So in that regard yes this film can be scary, but overall it’s not really that good, and as a holiday film, it’s hard to match the good parts that made the first film worth owning and watching. Silent Night Deadly Night 2 is the weakest of the five part series, and is a terrible excuse for a sequel, seriously terrible. If you were lucky enough to pick up this film when it came packaged with the first, I salute you, it's now out of print and rightfully so, this thing is a stinker.

As a bonus, here is the best part of the film for you guys...



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Friday, December 5, 2008

Second Look: Silent Night Deadly Night

We previously took a second look at the movie “The Believers”, this time we are going to take a second look at the movie Silent Night Deadly Night as a part of our on going December 08 theme of “Holiday Horror”. So without further ado, here is a second look at Silent Night Deadly Night.

Silent Night Deadly Night

Silent Night Deadly Night has a simple story, it is the story of a young boy who is so traumatized by Santa Claus that it triggers him to kill and keep killing anyone that is naughty. The film starts off with a serious bang, we are exposed to a rape and double homicide. But let me rewind a little more. Initially the movie starts off with a visit to granpa, a family goes to see grandpa, and he is completely still and doesn’t talk. However, when the parents leave our main character Billy alone, grandpa wakes up and warns him that Santa Claus punishes the naughty. This scene is quite the disturbing one, and formulates an excellent example of how creepy old people can be.

The film quality is not that great. If you saw the original vhs transfer, as I did when I was a kid, this movie is really dark and grainy. The scenes are terribly edited, terribly shot, and considerably low budget. The budget was estimated at 750,000 and that is not a whole lot of money for a theatrical film, even if the year was 1984. The movie was a huge hit at video stores, and the rentals made this film a cult classic. I remember the oversized box with the awesome cover art was something really cool and made me want to rent it, and my dad being the cool guy that he was let me rent it! The initial transfer of this film is just terrible, and if you have seen the dvd you don’t know what I mean.

The dvd release updated the transfer and really made a great quality update. The movie was remastered digitally and brightened with great results. However, the dvd makers decided to leave some of the original footage unmastered and vhs quality, and you can really see a difference, it’s probably the biggest difference in film quality that I’ve ever seen from a remaster.

Silent Night Deadly Night Screen2

Why Silent Night Deadly Night is scary:

Here we go, this is what you’ve been waiting for right? This film scares the crap out of a lot people, and upon its release it was banned out right. Just like many other horror films from this era, we get a minor hitch hiker warning with a man dressed as Santa Claus on the side of the road waving down our main characters. The movie shows a graphic rape and double homicide towards the beginning of the film. The rape isn’t as harsh as “Irreversible” or “Mysterious Skin” but it’s a tough one to watch considering the 1984 release date. However, the killer, dressed as Santa Claus slices a throat and kills Billy’s dad. Billy and his little brother escape harm, but this Santa Claus has really done some damage. This is really scary, and a main reason why you should never pick up a hitchhiker or even stop on the side of the road to pick anyone up that looks suspicious. I’m sorry, this is just scary and somewhat realistic in its portrayal. The meaning well family stops to help a stranded Santa Claus only to get ruthlessly killed and right in front of their kids.
The true villain hasn’t even manifested itself yet, it’s really Billy but first he must go through some better times. With his parents dead, he and his brother are placed in an orphanage where he has some problems every christmas with the idea of Santa Claus. A hilarious scene happens when he draws a picture of Santa and his sleigh completely bloodied and battered. Another great scene is a little out of place but features Billy peaking through a key hole at a couple having sex. Mother Superior (the head nun) finds him looking, orders him to his room and then whips the living hell out of the young couple! Great sequence, and then after all that, Billy gets whipped mercilessly for being naught! Holy crap, if this were going down today in full public knowledge, this orphanage would be shut down, because parents in the U.S and abroad are no longer in charge half of the time of the discipline of their children at all. My parents spanked me with a leather belt when I did something wrong, so I did my best not to screw up, and it worked! I’m not condoning abuse, I’m just making light of the fact that today, parents are push overs.

The second scary part of this film deals with the psychology of repressed memories. Billy grows up to be a model citizen, and he gets a job at a toy store and he’s really good at what he does. There is a great musical montage to explain all this, and he really does excel in this new found job. He even starts to like one of the women working at the toy store and things start to look good for our hero. However, when Santa Claus is absent, and Billy has to be him for the day, his repressed childhood horror sparks a notion in his head and he completely goes crazy. He then goes on a killing spree, first killing his coworkers and then rampaging through the town all night killing anyone that he deems naughty. This of course leads us to question morality, as the story has only people that are doing bad things getting killed and not just your random presumed innocent person. The death sequences are gorey, and are straight forward, not a lot of fighting takes place, the villain here (Billy) is ruthless and robotic.

Lastly, the worst part of this film is the fact that it spits in the face of law enforcement and religion with one easy swoop of events. Mother superior doesn’t fear Billy, and the police don’t really believe that Billy is the killer. However, things really get bad when Billy shows up at the orphanage and….well….I’m not going to give you the ending, but it goes down!

Silent Night Deadly Night Cover

Silent Night Deadly Night is a scary film, but it also is offensive in a lot of ways. It really is a character study, behind all the glorified sequences of death. The movie really throws the christmas tale upside down and makes you wonder about the Santa Claus mythos, especially considering that in every mall across America some hack is playing the beloved character. This movie really pisses on the whole notion of Christmas and an immaculate Santa Claus by shoving murder and mayhem down your throat, and you know what? It’s one of the better examples of exploitation and horror that came out of the 1980’s, and rightfully so. Silent Night Deadly Night spawned 4 sequels, but none of them came even close to topping the pace, and/or story that this film set up. It’s not going to win awards, but there’s a lot of creepiness to this film, and if you allow yourself to enjoy it a little before just pawning it off as another slasher, you will find that this movie was way ahead of its time, and it’s a shame that no one really saw it in theaters, since it got banned outright. But now we get a good remastered version, and a directors cut to satiate the holiday killing spree. Check out my original review of Silent Night Deadly Night here, and keep coming back for more Holiday Mayhem all this month.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Horror Month



This month, considering there is so much focus on Christmas, I’m going to be reviewing holiday terror from now until the end of the month! That’s right, this month, for the rest of the month each movie will be a holiday horror movie, and yes, it is clich√© of sorts.

I thought about it, and wasn’t going to do this, but considering that this site has never had a holiday horror month, and it is the first year of reviewing, I might as well give it a shot. So starting with my next update which will be a second look, I’m going to be talking about why the movies are scary, or why they are not, and we’ll all enjoy a good holiday season.

Sorry that the updates aren’t as hard hitting these past few days, I’m currently recovering from vacation and haven’t had time to settle back into the routine. However, Friday I’ll have a new post that will jump start this Holiday Horror month.

If you're feeling generous, go to our online store and get stuff. We get a few cents...and I do mean cents.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Monthly Death Toll: November Edition

scary toy

Alright, so the last month wasn't the most prolific time for this blog. I've been writing a little lengthier and trying to aim for about 3 posts a week so that people have time to digest some of the outlandish things I'm writing. Here is how it all went down in November, and the total of films rises too. Not too bad eh? This December I'm cooking up something, and I'll reveal that on Wednesday, for now relish the past.

Silver Bullet Review
Identity Review
The Last House on the Left Review
Constantine Review
Audition Review
The Fly Review
Primer Review
The Dead Zone Review

All the reviews done to this point:
Silver Bullet Review
Identity Review
The Last House on the Left Review
Constantine Review
Audition Review
The Fly Review
Primer Review
The Dead Zone Review
Ted Bundy Review
Rest Stop 2: Don't Look Back Review
Saw V Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Drive Thru Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge Review
Chaos (2005) Review
Saw IV Review
Joy Ride Review
Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Review
The Prestige Review
Captivity Review
Ice Spiders Review
The Dead Next Door Review
Pumpkinhead Review
Child's Play Review
Silent Night, Deadly Night Review
Monkey Shines Review
The Devils Rejects Review
Wes Craven's Shocker Review
The Changeling Review
Vacancy Review
House of 1,000 Corpses Review
The Tattooist Review
Feast (1992) Review
Death Race Review
Lost Boys: The Tribe Review
Hard Candy Review
Mirrors Review
28 Days Later
Feast
28 Weeks Later
Night of the Demons Review
Midnight Skater Review
The Howling Review
Dee Snider's Strangeland Review
Vampires: Los Muertos Review
High Tension Review
Blood: The Last Vampire Review
The Relic Review
The Wizard of Gore Review
Wrong Turn 2
Hatchet
The Ruins
Blood Car
Videodrome
Masters of Horror: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Believers
Cabin Fever
Dolls
They Call Her One Eye
Inseminoid
The House on Sorority Row
Planet Terror
Rob Zombie's Halloween
Funny Games
Friday the 13th
Sleepaway Camp
Camp Slaughter
Feed
Wrestlemaniac
Population 436
The Faculty
The Omen IV: The Awakening
Otis
Ax' Em
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
The Curve
Lifeforce
P2
The Machine Girl

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