February 2010

One Missed Call (Contains Spoilers)

This movie seemed so over-the-top I didn't expect to be scary. But what do you know, it scared me when I least expected it. Creepy horror flicks, mutter, mutter. The move in question is One Missed Call, the Japanese horror from 2004. And yea, they did remake a Hollywood version of this one although I am not sure how it fared. Since I am not big on remakes I will ignore that one.

Alright, once you hear the story, you'll know what I mean. The overall plot is a rehashing of the story from Ring. However, instead of a cursed video tape, this one contains a dangerous phone message. Which is preceded by a cutesy ring tone. Come on, that's too funny to be scary! And just like in Ring, folks who receive this call die in horrible ways.

A (Canadian) Black Christmas

It seems that a great deal of credit has been bestowed upon Black Christmas, a 1974 Canadian horror film which was subsequently been remade in 2006. Just by dint of the fact that the feature was recast anew 30 some odd years after its filming points to the influence that Black Christmas exudes. Kinda.

Coming so early in the ‘70s the film, directed by Bob Clark, was able to establish some tropes that would be played out again and again in the horror genre. It might seem as if some folks grant the film a bit too much deference, though, seeing as a few of these supposed innovations come off as a bit hackneyed – even during the first half of the ‘70s.

A De Ossorio Horror: The Ghost Galleon (1974)

Amando de Ossorio was busy guy during the first half of the ‘70s. He was involved in a franchise of horror flicks that made use of the Templar legend. And if you’re not too familiar with said legend, it goes something like this:

Greedy knights, at one time tied to the Catholic Church become so powerful that the cohort threatens the power structure in Rome. As a result of this, the Templars – who resided in various locales over the expanse of Europe – are exterminated in a single, premeditated swoop. The only problem, as it turns out, is the fact that the since the knights were in cahoots with the devil, they didn’t die properly. Over the ensuing centuries, in inexplicably disparate places, the Templars return to murder some buxom women.

Against the Dark

What can you expect from a zombie/vampire movie with the tagline: “He lives by the sword. They will die by it”? Not much apparently. Not even if Steven Seagal was the guy bashing up the bad guys. Especially not then. This 2009 direct-to-DVD movie falls into the 'not even good for a laugh' category.

It's so bad that I can sum up the movie in just one sentence – Vampire hunters Steven Seagal and co. rescues survivors and clears an about-to-be-bombed building in a time of zombie apocalypse. There! It's the usual zombie/vampire takes over world story except this time the good guys (no wait, two guys) use swords to kill them.

The story is bizarre to say the least. So you have the army blasting away buildings that the creatures hide out in, right? This is how they wipe out the bloodsucking flesh-eaters.

Sleepaway Camp is Accidental Camp

The 1983 Sleepaway Camp, written, directed and produced by Robert Hiltzik, is as tied to the period of time that it was released, if not more so, than a number of other films.

Beginning with an explanation of Angela and her cousin Ricky’s living situation, the death of the girl’s father is explained. A boating accident took his life with a very young Angela there in the water watching. There’s not another flashback until much later in the film, but the homosexual embrace that it displays effectively explains Angela’s reticence at forging a physical relationship with a boy - kinda. Either way, she’s a troubled pre-teen girl. At least she has Ricky to protect her as the two are sent off to, yes, sleepaway camp.

The Old Dark House

How sad that I miss the cheesy bad horror flicks I have been subjecting myself to! Well, I thought The Old Dark House would be just like the good old times when I laugh at the awful monster outfits and cringe at the over-the-top acting. Boy, I was in for a surprise. This particular movie exceed my expectations and I am so thrilled with it that I am considering getting it for my horror movie collection. I wish more psychological horror flicks were like this one.

The Old Dark House is not your usual 'monster in the attic that wolfs down people' sort of tale. Rather, it falls into the creepy house filled with creepier people category. You know, the type of story where a place looks scarier by the minute as you find out more about it.

Ginger Snaps: A Teen Werewolf Dramedy

When one thinks of werewolf movies, Lon Chaney probably springs to mind – or maybe even Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. But there are literally scores of films that have appropriated the age old tale of transformation. It’d be hard to round ‘em all up, but there’s probably no need seeing as the vast majority of these films are middle of the road fair that won’t do to take up you hour and a half.

Mario Bava: The Mask of Satan or Black Sunday

The horror genre’s a difficult thing to figure. It’s at once ridiculous due to the backing stories and plots that are needed to bolster any sort of ethereal stuff that occurs in a film, but it can also be artfully put together. Countless problems abound with such a confluence of high art and genre schlock, but in that is something that retains such a draw to viewers that it’s difficult to properly understand.

Mario Bava is generally cited as one of the most visually influential directors of the genre. And that’s how it should be. Subsequent to having a go at a career in fine art, but finding it lacking on the monetary side of things, Bava began working alongside his father who was, at the time, one of the more highly regarded folks working with special effects.


Once in a while you come across a horror flick that leaves you feeling fluffy-happy and nostalgic. And, as I recently discovered, Waxwork falls rather snugly into this category. Released in the 1980s, this cheesy horror-comedy was directed by Anthony Hickox, a movie-maker who is well-known for his sense of humor. Definitely worth adding to the cheesy horror collection.

The movie itself is rather simple and keeps to the 80s style of horror movies. You know, the concept of featuring a group of teens with their own weird little personalities who end up trapped/attacked/conned by a supernatural entity. In this case, the teens end up touring a waxwork exhibition that showcased a whole bunch of creepy fictional figures who, incidentally, were engaged in equally creepy torture tactics.