Friday, January 9, 2015

Civilian 2014 Wrap-Up and Year-End Stats!

Back again!

Having addressed the horror genre in the previous entry (hey, this is HORROR 101 after all), it’s now time to give the civilian flicks their moment in the sun. As before, all titles listed were encountered for the first time from January 1 to December 31, 2014 (i.e. no repeat viewings were eligible), with top picks denoted with an asterisk. (*)


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dr. AC's 2014 Horror Wrap-up Extravaganza!

Friends and fiends, it’s that time of year again!

First off, I’m going to come right out and say it: 2014 was not my favorite year for horror. Not only do I feel that the quality of the films themselves was lacking, but my enthusiasm for them was the lowest it’s been in recent memory. Whether the former had anything to do with the latter remains open to debate, but I felt like I spent a lot of time writing about movies that didn’t rock my world, with the majority of them being “assignments” as opposed to efforts I was genuinely passionate about. The bright lights occasionally shone through, but I found myself returning to known quantities (i.e. my personal video library) to restore my mood as the thrill of the hunt for new frights often left me cold.

"What do you mean we have to watch the special features for Return to Nuke 'em High now?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fool's Views (12/22 – 12/31)

And ... that’s it, folks!

We’ll be coming at you with the “Best of 2014” wrap-up soon, but it was a jam-packed 10-day finish with more hits than misses. Special thanks to the SAG nominations, the Chicago Public Library, the holiday season, and my pal Tery’s cinematic pirating finesse.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fool's Views (12/16 – 12/21)

AC after nine Hellraiser movies....

Back again!

This week was relatively quiet, right up until I headed up to Oshkosh to hang out with the gang and bear witness to my first “Franchise Marathon,” a long-standing tradition of amigos John Pata, Eric Egan, and Ashley MerCleod who have endured such epic series as The Amityville Horror, The Howling, Leprechaun, Children of the Corn, Saw, Final Destination, and so on, all in one sitting. This time around, well, let’s just say it involved a certain puzzle box…

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back!


DOLLS (1987) Blu-ray Review

Dolls (1987) d. Stuart Gordon (USA)

“They Walk. They Talk. They Kill.” Following the success of Re-Animator, Gordon’s second directorial feature shot for Full Moon (though released a year after From Beyond due to the extensive post-production special effects work) was this dark fairy tale of murderous children’s playthings combined with the “motley crew of rain-drenched travelers taking refuge in old dark house” horror staple. While her parents (Carolyn Purdy-Jones, Ian Patrick Williams) are portrayed as over-the-top unfeeling monsters, little Judy (Carrie Lorraine) provides one of the few sympathetic turns as the plucky youngster who appeals to the kindly, mysterious dollmakers (Guy Rolfe and Hillary Mason) who reside therein.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fool's Views (12/1 – 12/14)

'Tis the season, suckers....

Hello, my friends!

The first two weeks of the last month of the year were bountiful, with Blu-ray screeners, holiday favorites, a healthy assist from the Chicago Public Library in the civilian department, and another Round of Redford. There were a few clunkers in the mix, but overall I’d say it was an enjoyable spread.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Monday, December 22, 2014

THE DARK HALF (1993) Blu-ray Review

The Dark Half (1993) d. George A. Romero (USA)

Aspiring writer Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) has reached a certain level of fame and success cranking out hard-nosed genre novels under the pen name of George Stark. But now Beaumont thirsts for “respectability,” something that eludes his popular but critically dismissed alter ego, and believes his latest effort will provide just that. At the same time, an erstwhile fan (Robert Joy) discovers the link between Beaumont and Stark and threatens to expose the secret unless some monetary compensation is forthcoming. With the support of his loving wife (Amy Madigan) and publishers (Rutanya Alda, Tom Mardirosian), Thad decides to publicly put Stark to rest, even staging a fake burial for the papers. However, the decision sparks a series of increasingly violent murders of the author’s intimates and associates, all implicating Thad. The evidence proves particularly damning since the killer claims to be none other than George Stark, who shares an uncanny resemblance – right down to his fingerprints – to you-know-who.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fool's Views (11/1 – 11/30)


Howdy folks!

Only watched 20 films during the entire month of November, 11 of which were consumed over the course of two separate days over at Kitley’s Krypt. First, there was the relatively impromptu Pete Walker film festival (due to Jon’s upcoming Evilspeak article), followed a mere six days later by the epic annual gobblerfest known as Turkey Day. Come to think of it, another four of the remaining nine movies were seen in a single day, having taken myself to the multiplex. Of the remaining five, two were classic Spielberg comfort food watched with the femalien and one was Another Robert Redford Movie, leaving only Monkey Shines (reviewed for Shout! Factory) and Now You See Me (watched while killing time during a platelet donation that preceded – and almost pre-empted – the Walker-thon). No, there’s no real method to the madness, but I do leave a pretty solid paper trail.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Friday, December 19, 2014

THE DEVICE (2014) DVD review

The Device (2014) d. Jeremy Berg (USA)

Movies about extraterrestrial visitors never seem to go out of style, and Seattle-based quadruple threat (writer, producer, director, cinematographer) Berg delivers a pleasantly lo-fi effort that elicits favorable comparisons to The X-Files in terms of claustrophobia, conspiracy, and out-of-the-kit creature effects.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) / THE VAULT OF HORROR (1973) Blu-ray Review

The anthology film has been making a comeback over the past few years, with offerings like ABCs of Death, V/H/S and its sequels, The Theatre Bizarre, and the just-announced Tales of Halloween. The short form appears to be back in vogue, which sits just fine with this monster kid; I loved Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, etc. because I enjoy a good set-up-punchline approach to horror. During the late 60s/early 70s, the British film company Amicus cranked out seven of these omnibus efforts, packing each story with massive star power due to the short shooting schedule. In their ongoing re-releases of MGM’s Midnight Movies catalogue, Shout! Factory has now dropped two of the most popular in the series onto shiny new Blu-ray, both based on EC Comics’ classic titles and inspired by stories from the same.